Tag: Love

Hello, it’s me.

Sometimes you need to take a break, dust yourself off and reset. Over half of 2017 is over and what a mess this year’s been. I’ve learned a lot, grown, and paid attention. Life sure has shown me a lot.

About six months ago, I wrote a few posts after another failed friendship with the same person who’s caused a lot of pain in my waking life. At the time it seemed appropriate to write about it but as time’s passed, I realize even though it was how I felt, my feelings didn’t need a platform, they needed a Savior. When we use our platforms to call out offenses or those who’ve offended us, no one wins. All I  did was reopen the wound, over and over again. This is what offense does. It reopens wounds trying to heal. God wasn’t being glorified by calling out the person. God’s never glorified when we call out folks who’ve hurt, offended, or betrayed us. Any hurt done is between us and God. Healing is His responsibility, not the offender’s. Justice is His, not ours. I’ve learned this lesson too late and I’m making peace with my decisions. I’m not going to delete what’s been said and written, but I will do better with my feelings moving forward. Platforms are good when used for right purposes. Whether your platform is a blog, social media, or something else, ask yourself, “Who’s being glorified?” If it really is God, He will be glorified, not our offenses and opinions. The most powerful weapon against fleeting feelings is prayer not a platform.

Something I learned earlier in the year is the deeper relationship, the greater the offense. In April, a friend and I had a falling out that lasted for almost a month. Eventually, we talked, we both apologized and things are fine now. When there’s a fall out, always seek reconciliation. How’s your attitude towards people who’ve hurt you? If your mind still repeats the offense, release the person to God moment by moment because forgiveness is a permanent attitude. Forgiveness is instant, trust is earned and reconciliation is possible when we’re willing to resolve our differences. Pride keeps relationships broken and at a distance. 

The thought of having real friendships seems rare but there are people in our life so important they surpass everything else.  They’re must haves, the ones you can’t live without. About two weeks ago, I had one of the worst days in a really long time and one of my friends asked, “Need me?” Those words changed the way I view every relationship in my life. When it seems the walls are caving in and things seem to be falling a part, a real friend comes in willing to rescue you from the storm. They don’t leave you out there to drown.  At least one person should come to mind.

I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I use it mostly to share and connect. However, over recent months I’ve seen it divide more than unite. I don’t believe people should necessarily fast from Facebook but I think it’s important to do a daily inventory of where we invest our time and attention. Last week Friday, I spent some time off the grid and it was nice. Life is an adventure meant to be lived.  It’s okay to take a break sometimes from routine and responsibilities.

As messy as my relationship with God is, I’m thankful He always makes Himself known. About a week ago, for the first time in a while I went on my daily walk alone. Something told me to walk a certain stretch of campus, even though I had the slight thought to go a different route. Instead I went the way His voice told me to. This is what faith looks like. Sometimes you’ll go a different way than the one God directs and it’s okay to wander a while, but eventually, you’ll need to turn around. Faith is following His voice even when the way doesn’t feel right. I’m glad I listened to His voice that day.

Over  the past few months I’ve learned it’s okay not to be liked or accepted. No matter what we do, there will always be critics. Yeah, I come off hard sometimes and can be a “ball buster” as a friend put it, but I’ll never apologize for doing the right thing. When we do the right thing, the Christ-like thing, we don’t need to explain ourselves. Never entertain people who are critical, walk away from them and their ignorance. 

All that aside and said, I’m very thankful for this space. I’m thankful for the ups and downs and for the people who have supported me during hard times because there have been more than enough over the past few months. 2017 has been a bad year. It’s all perspective though. It hasn’t been all bad, some things could be better but I’m learning to take life as it comes.

God’s plan for our life will never happen in a straight line. There will be many twists and turns.  Just because something works, doesn’t mean it’s right in His eyes. I walked my own path and did things earlier in the year even with confirmation, but eventually those things fell apart. Never let someone use you or manipulate you to do God’s will for their life, their way. Without God anything that seems to be working won’t last.  What we do His way builds a foundation of integrity and this is far more important than doing things because they seem or feel right. Honesty and integrity are key to a life lived without regret and they don’t need to prove themselves. This is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned this year so far.

In closing, I’ve decided to write only when God leads it. Otherwise, there’s no point. It’s what we do when no one but Him sees us that truly reflects our heart and commitment to Him. Not our words, but by our actions are we truly His.

In Jesus and with love,

Julie

More Than Words

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about love. What it is, what it isn’t, and wondering if I’ve ever really been in love. There have been many times I thought I was in love, but recently, I’ve been asking myself if I really know how to love another person unconditionally.

What does this look like? It means laying our life down for another, willingly carrying another person’s burdens, and giving people the freedom to be themselves without trying to fix or change them. Unconditional love is rare. I’ve made several mistakes in this area with past relationships and I’m learning to give myself grace for all the times I’ve screwed up so I can move forward in peace.

I don’t say “I love you” unless I know I can intentionally and purposefully prove it.  As of now, I feel incapable of this kind of love. My past has made me pessimistic in this area. There are days when I feel I don’t deserve to be loved, that I’m too messed up for it, or that I expect too much and those expectations push other people away.

When I stand before God one day, I’m going to give an account of my life. I will be judged by how I lived my life and loved other people. Knowing this scares me.  I haven’t been the best person towards the people in my life both past and present. I’m not always kind with my words or thoughts. But at the end of the day, I know there is a God out there who loves me despite my pride and sins. There are people in my life who accept me, all of me, without fear or hesitation.  They show it in every way possible and everyday. 

Love is more than words.  It’s not only spoken but shown.

As I draw closer to 33, I’m opening myself to the idea of love again but in the right way and with God’s help. The hearts He has entrusted to us deserve to be loved with His guidance and leadership. No other love can compare to the one we leave solely in His hands.

Let His love lead yours. Your relationships will thrive and thank you for it.

If  the words, “I love you” were removed from your relationships, would they still know you do?

#heartcheck

 

You Deserve To Be Treated Well

I came to a pretty sad reality about myself recently. I’m still adjusting to this reality, but it’s restructured my life in very specific ways. Mostly with how I see myself as a person, a woman, and importantly, how I’ve allowed myself to be treated for most of my adult life.

Imagine going your entire life thinking when other people hurt you, this behavior is normal. You tolerate it again and again with the hope this time will be different. You put up with actions and behaviors most confident and secure people wouldn’t. You ignore the warnings, red flags, and inconsistencies. We become naive to truth. You tell yourself it’s what any person who loves and follows Jesus would do because He loves the broken and we should too.  But just because someone is broken it doesn’t give them the right to repeatedly hurt you or any other person in their life.

The bottom line is this: You deserve to be treated well. Any person or persons who rejects you, any part of you, and what you have to offer, doesn’t deserve you and you don’t need them in your life.

I’ve said this before many times, but I’m experiencing them in a different way. I’m learning when people genuinely care about and love you, they won’t find excuses for why they continually hurt you. There is no excuse. Deep down I know all the times I’ve been hurt, the person on the other end didn’t mean to. I know when I hurt other people, I don’t mean to. But I don’t make excuses for it and don’t purposefully find reasons to ignore and avoid them in any manner. I confront the problem, I confront them, and leave the rest to God.

Any relationship/friendship lost when truth is spoken is not a real relationship/friendship.

In the past three weeks, I’ve met new people, made new experiences, and cultivated healthy relationships with them. I can tell them my convictions, areas where I refuse to compromise, allowed them in places of vulnerability without fear of judgement or misunderstanding. I’m able to tell them point blank I’m a woman of God, I take my relationship with Him seriously, and I will not compromise any area for any reason for any one. I’ve laid everything out and basically said, “Take it or leave it. Because this isn’t changing, for anyone.” Their response? Total acceptance, respect, and love.

We deserve this kind of acceptance. Anything less than this doesn’t deserve our time or attention.

I’m not saying this is easy or that I’m perfect. I’m not a perfect follower of Jesus. When I struggle, I recognize the root of my struggles and then I move forward in dealing with it. We need people who can look at our weaknesses and struggles, see past them and walk with us despite their own weaknesses and struggles because we all have them.

We deserve people in our life who we can be authentic with and vise versa. I don’t wear masks in life. What you see is what you get. Being fake has no business or place in a life meant to be lived by faith. Anything less than this doesn’t deserve our time and attention. 

I enjoy being around other people but I know often it can get messy. It’s time for us to stop allowing ourselves to be doormats for others, staying in one sided relationships out of love. Love is unconditional, it may not always be reciprocated, but it was never meant to be abused. Real love never fails, and when it does it’s not real love. We deserve to have people in our life who love us in the way of Jesus. It was His way that set the standard. We will always fall short of this standard but it’s our responsibility to do our very best to right our wrongs, repent of any wrongdoing, and ask for forgiveness.

None of this is easy. We all have baggage and pasts that are difficult to move on from. But when God places people in our life to help us in those areas, it’s our responsibility to nurture those relationships. They’re rare and few, and should never be taken for granted.

It is my hope and prayer for you and for myself, we will begin to see ourselves in the image of Christ. That we will love ourselves enough to walk away from any person or persons who doesn’t see our value or worth.

You deserve to be treated well.  Any one who doesn’t recognize this, doesn’t deserve your time or attention.

 

 

A Heart of Preparation

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I find it ironic I’m ending my silence on Valentine’s Day. I haven’t written in this space for a while now, I’ve gone back and forth the past several months with the direction of my writing (or lack there of).

Honestly. I’m not sure where to start.

After my break up over a year ago, I’ve been in a continuous state of  healing, recovery, and trying to move on with my life. I know it’s stupid to be hung up on something that was over a year ago, but the memories are still there, whether I want them there or not.

It’s taken well over a year for me to finally be content with my singleness. As the days and months have passed, I’m realizing why I’m still single. Some of it are lies I want to believe about myself and character but the truth of what I know about God, I know He is repairing and preparing my heart. 

I won’t lie, I’m still upset with my ex. Not because he’s with someone else, but with how easily he moved on. It’s like I’m the one who truly cared about our relationship. Though I don’t live in these feelings, they’re there.

Right now God is doing something in my heart I can’t express in words, but I know He’s working. He’s been digging through the hard stuff and it’s helping me process the past year with better clarity. It’s been humbling, humiliating, and hurtful. The relationship ending was the best and worst thing that ever happened to me.

God is preparing me for something better. 

I could have easily said “yes” to the young man who asked me out last week. I could have given into the advances of the man who flirted with me yesterday, or I can learn to trust God’s will and plan for my life and not rush His hand. All this sounds pretty cliche’ but in those moments of vulnerability, where my heart wants to jump out of my chest and scream, “Please notice me,” God says, “Not yet.”

God is preparing me because He knows right now I’m not ready.

As hard as it is to accept, I’m not ready for the commitment of another relationship. Not after everything I’ve been through. The very thought of being with someone right now scares me. It’s not because I have a fear of relationships, but I do of  failure.

I’m scared to fail. 

It sucks typing that, but this is where I’m at. Until someone can handle me, all of me, I need to allow God to handle these fears of mine and continue to work in my heart.

He is preparing me, I rest in that.

Photo Credit: OlaHelandcc

Why Rejection Will Always Hurt

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I don’t know how I can sum up almost an entire year of my life in one post, it’s hard to. Thinking about the past nine months of my life is hard to put in words. Imagine feeling the weight of an entire year, heavy on your heart, and not having courage to put words to screen, paper, anything. I’ve neglected so many things in my life because for nine months everything grew cold, my heart hardened, my faith shakened, and it was all because of rejection.

Under the surface this is what it boils down to. I replay the past nine months of my life like clock work, I replay it over and over again in my mind, my heart, and in every moment since then, all I can feel is rejection. Over a year ago I tried to convince myself rejection was a blessing and rejection was respect. I believed those words when they were written and I tried to convince myself I wouldn’t allow rejection to define any area of my life ever again. But I was  fooling myself and more importantly, I fooled you.

Deep down I knew rejection and I would meet again, I just figured it’d be under different circumstances. Not from someone who swore to God, to me, and to whoever asked said I was the “One.” It was this same person who though was honest, broke my heart. It wasn’t the breaking up part, it was what happened afterward. He moved on quickly to another woman and now I’m invisible, non-existent.

There are so many days when I blame myself, I compare myself, and I think of all the ways I continuously fall short in ever being wanted and enough for a man. It’s hard for me to look at myself in the mirror and be okay with the woman staring back knowing in my heart, I’m not what men want.

I wake up everyday believing I’m not good enough for any one and it hurts because I know it’s a lie straight from  hell. 

Most people search their entire life for love and most die without ever really finding it. I don’t want to be one of those people. I want to be loved, I starve for it. But not to the point of compromising my beliefs and morals to settle.

Everyone says, the love of the Lord should be enough to sustain us. Honestly, this just places a band-aid on a gaping wound. Yes, the love of the Lord should be enough for us but most of us secretly want to be unconditionally and wholeheartedly loved. And rather than be patient for it, we search, we settle, and we compromise.

Rejection will always hurt because we’ve all believed the lie we’re unworthy of someone else’s love and acceptance. 

I don’t have enough words of encouragement for any one who has ever been rejected. Every single person from my past and recent present have all moved on to either marriage or are currently in committed relationships. I feel the weight of rejection heavy in those moments when I realize everyone has moved on.

Rejection will always hurt because we’ve entrusted our identity and security in what others’ think about us and do to us than in the One who can and will use it all for our good and His glory.

….. I’m just waiting for Him to.

photo credit: Sebastiano Pitruzzello (aka gorillaradio)cc

Do Not Awaken Love

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I feel like my whole life has been one bad love story after another. Looking back, most of it could have been prevented with more careful consideration of who I was choosing to allow into my life and heart. However, in hindsight, I realize there’s a reason for every relationship regardless of their length. I’m writing this in a torrid season and confused heart.

To clarify, I can only speak from experience, my experience, and I feel the topic of dating is one I kind of hit and miss in my writing. I write a lot about having my heart broken, my past, and having faith through it all. I’ve been through a lot over the past year. Last year was my best year, especially in the area of relationships.  God opened a door and I walked through it with confidence and trust.

Over a year later, my confidence and trust is broken.

I didn’t intentionally seek anything on my own strength or through my own understanding. I was led by obedience to God and trusting Him when nothing He was asking of me made sense, I simply obeyed.  Every area of my heart was surrendered to God and His plan and purpose. Over time more of His plan was being revealed through each step of obedience. Then out of no where, the confirmations, connection, and everything built in those four months slowly fell apart. I still believed in the Lord and in His goodness but everything changed.

We changed.

Over the last few months I’ve gone back and forth from wanting to let go and hold on. My heart says “let go“, my gut says, “hold on,” God says, “trust Me“.  I’m leaning now towards trusting God through this than wanting to throw up my hands in defeat and call it quits.

Every area of my life is never meant to be in my hands or within my control, everything is in His.

I’m currently reading, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” by Joshua Harris and I feel the book is rewriting the last year of my life only in reverse. I see things I did right, things I did wrong, and things I will do better in the future. I’ve never dated just for the sake of dating. I don’t feel it’s necessary for two people to date or “see each other” without the purpose of it leading to a long-term commitment. Whether it’s marriage down the road or mutual understanding of where both of you are in life.

If any one struggles with commitment, they have no business dating. 

Let this truth settle in your mind and heart because I’ve had it settle in mine. The truth hurts, but the truth is better than being led on or lied to. We can manipulate our heart and life into believing relationships can fill the voids in our life or worse allowing our flesh to rule our hearts, but only God is the author of our life and what better author to write our love stories than Him?

The question shouldn’t be whether or not it’s right or wrong to date. The real question should be, “Do you trust God and His timing?” or better, “Do you trust God, period?”

I’ve experienced the joy and reaped reward for waiting on God’s timing in this area of my life. I’ve seen God’s hand do beautiful things between two people who surrendered their entire hearts and life to His calling. But I’ve also experienced the heart ache of allowing my feelings to dictate the choices I’ve made recently. Yet, I know beyond a shadow of doubt God’s plan remains and through all of this His purpose will prevail.

Dating for the sole purpose of dating will only lead to temporary fulfillment, it won’t last. Commitment doesn’t happen in short-term relationships. Dating isn’t wrong but the right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing.

It’s through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Lord real love is awakened.  Genuine love is best in God’s timing

Song of Songs 8:4

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

Are you willing to wait?

#heartcheck

photo credit: Helga Webercc

Show & Tell

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As I reflect on the past month, I can’t help but feel disappointment at others’ actions towards me. It’s a crazy cycle. One day I’m over it, the next I’m reeling. God tells me to forgive, my heart speaks differently. All the while, every moment hangs in balance as I try to fix my eyes on Christ, not my conscience.

As I think back on every word exchanged, not a single person have kept their word.  “I’m willing to walk with you.” “You’re not alone.” “I care about you.” “We’ll do this together.”  Words are faulty and when they are, so is trust.

What we see from others is a reflection of what’s in their hearts. When a heart is hurting, it will hurt another. When a heart is bitter, it will resent another. When a heart is fully surrendered to the Lord, it will love and help another. Regardless of our best efforts, we will never understand a person’s heart. It’s in a person’s heart their true motives are known and only God knows them.

As an adult, we can only focus our attention to what is shown not told.  We can only see what others’ are willing to allow us to and more often than not it’s their true colors.  I’m not perfect and don’t expect any one else to be. But it would be foolish to take everyone at their word when their actions speak differently. 

When I look at my life and my every weakness, all I want is human connection. People who genuinely understand and are willing to walk with me through the fire without fear of being burned. We need people who are more than their words, they walk in integrity, and their actions prove it. Yes, we will fall short. Yes, we will disappoint. It’s recognizing we are imperfect and are willing to humble ourselves and admit it.

All I’ve heard are excuses. We need to stop our excuses and start taking responsibility.  We are responsible for how we treat others. We are responsible for our words towards others.  We are responsible for everything we do this side of Heaven.

We have two choices in life, God or self. God is glorified when we keep our word and show His love towards others. God is glorified when we walk in integrity and humility. God is glorified when we honor our commitments and keep His commandments.

God is glorified when we reflect Jesus to hurting hearts. 

Which are you doing more, showing or telling?

#Heartcheck

photo credit: Steve Rhodescc

What Relationships Will Teach You

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In 30 years, I’ve been in three relationships. The last relationship was probably the best I’ve ever had because God was the center, He directed everything. So often as a single, people give us advice on how important it is to place God first above all and everything second. I did, we did. Ultimately though, the relationship fell apart.

There are times I blame myself, I blame him, and at one point, I asked God, “Why? Now, I sit in thanks and praise. Not because I’m glad it’s over, but thankful for what I’ve learned.

The thing about relationships most of us overlook is everyone is given free will. Free will is what ended our relationship, not God or faith.  Regardless if God and the Holy Spirit worked and continues to work, free will is still a choice and the choice was to end it.  And I have to respect it. Not because it’s right, but because it’s best.

It’s hard moving forward knowing everything in the past year was led by the Lord and realizing somewhere along the way our focus changed. We never took our eyes off the Lord, His hands were in everything but we took our focus off Him together. Individually, He moved in ways I, to this day can’t put into words. Together though, the focus was more on us and less on Him. Factor in past wounds from childhood to current, it’s a recipe for conflict.

Everyone will come into our life with baggage. It doesn’t matter if the baggage is past or present, it still exists. If the baggage isn’t unpacked and collects itself over the years, issues which never existed before will begin to slowly spill over in areas it was never meant to. This is the reality of allowing another person into our life with history too long to trace each step to its beginning. Harder when the other person isn’t open or vulnerable to communicate it.  Where there is trust, there is communication regardless of its content.  When we’re fully exposed to each other … raw, naked, vulnerable,  exposed, it doesn’t matter how the content is communicated, there’s a level of trust and it’s safe. This is why communication is crucial for a relationship’s survival.  

Lack of intimate, vulnerable, and intentional communication means no relationship. We’ll build nothing on nothing and lose everything. 

Everyone will come into our life with characteristics hard to love. Inconsistent, check. Always late, check.  Insecurity, check. Pride, check. I learned to look past certain things and give the benefit of doubt, I extended grace and forgiveness, not judgement or condemnation.  This is the hardest lesson we’ll ever learn about loving others despite our differences. We all deserve grace. Most  issues I’ve seen in others, I refused to stand and see the inconsistencies in my own character and issues in my own life.

Easier to point out someone else’s junk than face our own. It requires a humble and repentant heart to fully surrender the “junk” in our lives to God and leave them there, for good.

Everyone will come into our life with expectations and expectations always lead to disappointment. I can look back on all the times I expected more than I knew I’d be given. I always felt if a man loved God with all his heart, mind, and soul he would know how to treat a woman.  The reality though, we all fall short.  There comes a point when we have to lay down our expectations and stop making excuses for allowing a man or woman to take the place of God. Expectations create mini “gods” and they become idols. It’s no longer God on the throne, but our expectations.

We need to let our expectations go and trust God’s wisdom. God’s Word is filled with wisdom about relationships because it all points to our source, Jesus. He is love and every relationship should be founded on love, not expectations.

Everyone will come into our life with fear of love and being unconditionally loved in return. I was afraid to put myself out there and lay my heart on the line again. This was different, it wasn’t forced or planned. I didn’t look for it, it found me. And I can still thank God for it all knowing He knew what I needed and when but we can’t force love. Love isn’t something we magically create, it grows over time. “I love you” is exchanged long before a relationship has time to grow.

We need to leave relationships in the hands of God. We need to allow our hearts to heal from past wounds before we can give it away to someone else. This may never happen in my own life but the more I seek God, spend time with Him, and lean on His promises, my past doesn’t hinder my present much like it used to. Not because I’m fully healed, but because Jesus redeemed it all when He died for me, the way He died for you.

If I’ve learned anything over the last month it’s God is still good. He is a God of surprise and He knows. He hasn’t failed to reach into the depths of my heart and point me to truth. There have been some low points but the high points far out weigh the low points of my singleness. I do wonder sometimes if  I will ever find someone, but I rest in God’s promise to me . He has promised to never leave or forsake me, He has promised He is doing a new thing, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19) and while I can’t see the road ahead, I trust His wisdom more than my heart.

Relationships founded, built, and cultivated with God at the center will always thrive, regardless of our baggage, expectations, and fear. This is the bottom line. It’s free will  that collects baggage, creates expectations, and creates fear. It’s the refusal to surrender these things that end relationships.

If relationships have taught me anything, it’s God is still good. God is still the author of my life and I’ll be fine. It hurts some days, but God is a God of healing. He is greater than anything any one can ever do to me. Free will or not, faith is a choice and so is love.

I’m lucky the choice was made for me from the very beginning, the rest is in my redeemer’s hands.

What have relationships taught you?

photo credit: ‘Ajnagraphy’ cc

Am I Worth It?

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This question has sat with me for the past week. Christians and close friends have rallied around me to offer support and encouragement, but nothing said can erase the burning question in my heart.

Am I worth it?

I was scared to write my last post.  There was fear I would jinx the inevitable by telling the world love had found me. I felt safe, secure and found. No longer searching endlessly.  The pieces fell so beautifully, the hand of God in every minute, second, and month leading to then.  And now here I am questioning what I should already know in my heart regardless of my circumstances.

Am I worth it?

Everything changed, everything I thought mattered became nothing in a matter of minutes. What makes this time more difficult but bearable is it was through obedience the pieces fell together naturally. The work of the Holy Spirit couldn’t be denied. I can’t even put in words now the connection, the intimacy, and the powerful hand of God in those two years and then back again for those four months. Most people search their entire life for this kind of connection, rare, but powerful. I didn’t know what real love looked like until I saw God’s hand in everything.  Then the inevitable happened, everything fell apart.

I never thought I would be 30 and single, another holiday alone. There are so many questions with no answers because the point of blame is never on the other person, but on me.  Everything I touch with the hand and  heart full of love falls apart. There’s a part of me who feels I will never have committed relationships because I’m not capable of loving someone when I can’t even look in the mirror most days and love myself.  There are some days when I hate myself for trying too hard, carrying more burdens than my fragile frame and heart are capable,  and sometimes I just simply hate myself for taking the risk at all.

Am I worth it?

As I type this question, the answer is always “No.”  No matter what I’ve done, regardless of my obedience and faithfulness, love is still hard.  There is no formula to love, it just is and when you struggle like me with finding their worth and knowing it, loving others is difficult.  I’ve told myself and others we aren’t defined by our relationships and our worth is found in no man, but any one who understands love and wants to be loved in return knows we want the other person to love us and find us worthy of their affection and attention, more importantly their heart.

Well, the pieces have already scattered and I’m left with the truth; I wasn’t worth it.

I will never need a man to save or protect me  but I want a man who sees me for who I really am and doesn’t run from what they’re faced with. Rather than run, they run towards it not scared of the commitment and sacrifice.  This is the battle I face, this is the question which plagues my very essence and being.

Am I worth it?

The only answer I have is I don’t know because at this point in life I’ve gotten it wrong. When it’s me and love, my wires are crossed. Some people land on their feet after being heart broken, I have, but this time is different.  There’s a part of me who doesn’t want to try ever again and then there’s another part who says to get up and move forward.  Sometimes I think my only purpose here is to share the love of God with others and  when I’ve done what He gives me the power and strength to do, He will take me from here and let me rest where real love is found.  Real love isn’t found here because when two imperfect people are brought together, their differences will either compliment each other or they will give up on each other.  It’s always been the latter with me.

Am I worth it?

Right now I don’t know how to answer this.  A pastor said Sunday when we question our worth, Jesus is looking down at us from the cross saying, “You were worth it to me”, but this doesn’t fix the scar over my heart right now or cures the longing.  Every person deserves to be loved unconditionally and found worthy in the eyes of someone who understands their worth first. This is why two people are brought together, where one fails to see the truth of who they are, the other person sees it for them and loves them despite their best efforts. They work together and lead each other to the cross, where real love began.

This kind of love is worth it to me.

Do you understand?

#heartcheck

photo credit: plaskotacc

God Isn’t Writing Your Love Story

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Now that I know there isn’t a future with you, I guess I can move on.”

How can there be Julie? We’re miles apart.

It’s taken a year to muster the courage to write this. I’ve touched on the heart break here and there through numerous posts but never found words to express the disappointment and embarrassment I felt that day. There was a deep sense of longing in those two years, a longing we’d end up being together. It seemed right. We went back and forth in our friendship and we always found our way back. I found him in his place of loneliness and he found me in my place of longing.. Until two years later of hot and cold, he said those fateful words I knew all along.

We were never going to be together.

I went through the motions and shrugged the hurt off. I didn’t shed one tear until three months after our friendship ended. Our friendship didn’t end on a bitter note, it ended on a broken one. He was too broken to accept love and I was too naive to see the bigger picture. Though deep down I knew truth, my heart tried telling me otherwise. It was an uphill battle and I came undone.

I wanted a new beginning, a new life, and I was ready for a relationship. 

In January, I decided to try online dating. I wanted to be in loveI wanted  someone to want me. After the hurt and rejection subsided, I saw some glimpse of hope in my relationship status. I felt in my heart God would lead me to the right man. I wanted God to write my love story, I wanted Him to rewrite what had clearly been broken.

Instead, He told me to delete every dating profile created and wait.

I can’t explain the moment, but it was a small still voice in my quiet time that spoke to me. He found me in silence and told me to trust Him in this area of my life. He told me to delete every profile and wait. At the time I didn’t understand, but it was in my obedience the reason became clear.

God was calling me back to Himself. He wanted to be my love story.

When women told me in this time of waiting Be patient Julie. God is writing your love story. Don’t lose hope!” I felt more pain than reassurance. I know they meant well but it never reassured me to the point of belief. Honestly, I felt God had robbed me of true love. Though I know now He wasn’t, those words never provided me with any hope.

I didn’t know what my love story looked like at this point. When one door of hope opened, another closed. 

One morning while driving to work, I prayed and begged. I asked God for a sign of hope. I needed a sense of direction and needed His wisdom to guide me. I told Him I was ready for a relationship and to bring a man in my life who would love and accept me completely. I asked Him why He allowed all this to happen to me. I told Him I didn’t deserve it, that I deserved to be loved. And you know what He said?

“Julie, do you trust Me? I’ve been here all along. I am your love story.

I love you completely and unconditionally and I would never keep a good thing from you.

This good thing is Me.”

His words broke me because the love, hope, and reassurance I needed was in Him all along. 

While there have been moments of loneliness and hurt in my heart, He’s there every single time lifting me up and carrying me through my singleness. He reminds me every single day I’m not alone. Right now my eyes fill with tears because I know through every moment of loneliness and sadness, He carried me.

It was never about writing my love story or finding the ‘perfect’ man, it was always about Him. 

The more I’ve spent in His Word and in prayer, He’s speaks so clearly and pierces every lonely and broken place I’ve guarded. He invites me deeper into Himself, His Word, and His life. I accept His invitation with a bleeding heart and open hands.

Jesus is my love story, cover to cover.

I can’t express enough what this last year taught me, what He’s shown meThe longing in my heart for a relationship has since been replaced with my desire to delight in Jesus fully. Nothing else compares to His love and attention. Nothing else will fulfill the longing in my heart the only way He can. He took two years of my life and renewed me. 

God isn’t writing our love story because He already did; Jesus was our love story. 

1 John 4:19

19 We love each other[a] because he loved us first.

And this is the best love story we could never write ourselves.

photo credit: zhouxuan12345678 cc

When Falling in Love is Easy

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I’ve settled a lot in my life. I settled for what was comfortable and seemed ‘right’. I settled for the abusive relationship and the pseudo relationship where all the perks of the relationship were there, but the commitment wasn’t. I’ve had my heart broken more times than I care to look back and reflect on. And I realize looking back what was missing from each relationship; God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit.

We can’t force others to love us unconditionally and forever. If either of our relationships aren’t right with the Lord, it affects everything. We haven’t become whole persons and we aren’t complete in ourselves.

We can be happy. We can be whole persons. We don’t need men in our life to define our worth. Yes, we need prayer and we need each other. But we can’t let others create our happiness for us. We need the love of Christ to renew our hearts, create a new Spirit in us, and reveal to us the presence of the Lord is enough. 

Read the rest of the post here.

photo credit: aftab.cc

How Involved Are You?

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I’m often sit in amazement how the world around me can be unmoved by the immeasurable grace and love of our Creator. I see it in Christians around me, the shame, fear, and guilt abound on top of trial after trial and unbelief sets in. I see them wax and wane between loving the Lord and mocking Him. Rinse. Repeat. The reality sets in, that we, as a body, the Church aren’t doing enough.

We’re here to finish what Jesus started and this friends is where we have drastically fallen short. We have used our faith as a formula and method to “get people to Jesus” and we’re missing the point.  

I have been thinking about this a lot lately and I’ve realized how more involved and intentional I want to be in the lives around me. Not because I want to save or rescue them but because I want to love others unconditionally without selfish motives. As I look around me I see where I’ve drastically fallen short.Truth is, it’s a lot harder loving others who can do nothing for you than it is to love others who are always there for you.

We have managed to make our faith more about a formula and method than about love. And this is where we’re all missing the mark.

We can read our Bibles, go to Church, and serve our hearts out, but all these things without love mean nothing. I think this is the most important thing God has taught me in this season of my life. I think it’s easier for all of us to talk a big game what it means to love people, but we aren’t actually doing it authentically. 

Being actively involved and intentional in someone’s life takes work and sacrifice and most people in our life aren’t really worth the effort or sacrifice.

I connect with a lot of different people but only 1-2 are really intentional in my life. We ask each other the hard stuff. We ask each other if we’ve sinned that day. Masturbation. Porn. Yeah, we go there. We sit and talk for hours about the Lord together. We pray for each other.  We challenge each other. We’re accountable to each other. And this should be a daily habit for all of us.

Why? Because this is what love really looks like when applied. Love gets and remains involved.

Look around you. Do you have someone in your life you can do these things with? If no, ask yourself why. The reality check for me was when I noticed how selfish I was with my love. It was only when the Lord completely broke me and humbled me of my selfish ways, I really begin to invest in others in an authentic way.

There is no formula to loving others, it just is and it gets involved.

Even the most impressive and sacrificial actions are worthless if they are not empowered by love.

How involved are you?

#heartcheck

photo credit: Paulo Otáviocc