At the age of 25, I found myself exchanging one unhealthy relationship for another. I knew who the author of my story was, but in the course of many years of serving for acceptance, I found myself drowning in the lies of performance. I kept placing my heart in the hands of people who weren’t fully invested in the long term, who didn’t understand my value, and who took advantage of my generosity. You see, when you get caught in the trap of always seeking attention for approval, well, it takes the world falling out from beneath you to realize that you need to be caught; caught in the arms of a patient Father who is just waiting for you to fall for Him… truly, deeply, recklessly fall for Him.
When I turned my back on full time ministry in exchange for a chance to be loved, what I didn’t realize was that I already WAS loved. To fully love and be loved by the one who created you, well…there’s really nothing like it. He doesn’t grimace at your failures, or point a finger blaming you for your past decisions…He’s always standing, patiently waiting for you to call on His name, take His hand and walk with Him. He keeps pursuing you when you’ve forgotten, or lost your way. He keeps calling to you when you feel like there’s no one who you can talk to. He’s the one who knit you together, and He’s the only one who can put you back together when your life shatters beneath you. What I’m about to share is deeply personal. It is the story of my redemption which is still being written.
When I was 26, the boy I fell in love with and moved across country for, shattered my heart into a million pieces. To say I was devastated, well…that isn’t the word. We never communicated well, but in my mind because we loved both Jesus so much, He could always bring us back to that. It wasn’t enough. Ultimately, looking back, I can see God’s hand separating us and showing us a better way…but at the time, it felt like I had been abandoned. Deeply.
I gave up everything to be with him. I sacrificed time, talent and treasure to support his dreams starting his business and I felt used up and discarded. The truth was, I was looking for approval. The kind of approval that could bury a person in the ground. Everything I did, I needed affirmation about…my insecurities were so deep you could swim in them. I always felt he was going places and I didn’t want to get left behind. How crazy is this sounding? Well, it gets worse…when we broke up, I jumped back on the internet and found me a replacement. That’ll show him I thought to myself! How petty, how childish was I. It didn’t take long for me to find this muscular, chauvinistic, lying scumbag to replace him with. He looked like he was out of a cover from bodybuilding magazine and he acted exactly how you would think…He was awful. He verbally abused me, lied pathologically, was cheating on me, and had a drug problem. Wow, I really showed him, huh? It wasn’t until I moved my life again, having just miscarried after being pregnant for 2 months, working 2 jobs, mentally, physically, emotionally exhausted hiding in a closet being screamed at through a door that I thought to myself, ‘how did you get here?’ People always say they don’t know why women stay in relationships with awful people…I’ll tell you why… fear. I don’t think in all my life I had ever been so afraid for my life. I was terrified, and scared, I was completely broken and ashamed…and I had nowhere left to turn. That’s when God tends to do His best work. When you have nothing left, and your cards are all on the table…what do you have to lose?
As a young teenager, I battled with depression. I didn’t tell many people, I always thought I could work through it on my own…but as a young adult, sitting on that closet floor I found myself wondering what the world would be like without me in it. Would anyone miss me? Would anyone care? What did I really have to offer this world? None of my dreams had come true. I was a mess, and I knew something had to change or it was literally game over for me. That’s when everything shifted. I don’t exactly know except to say the grace of God picked me up off that floor that night. He sent people to literally rescue me out of that relationship…people who didn’t even know Jesus, which goes to show He can use any vessel to bring you back to Him.
The next couple of months, God began to put the pieces of my heart back together. He reminded me of His goodness, and how faithful He is even when I wasn’t. He showed me who my true friends were in my life. In a matter of weeks I was reminded of who He was and who I was in Him. If you are reading this, I want to remind you that there are people in the world who need your touch. Who need someone to lift them up. Valentine’s Day used to be a day where I would find myself always wanting more but friends, God’s faithfulness and blessing of Love is for ALL who call upon His name. Maybe this story spoke to you directly about a situation you find yourself in…it’s never too late to make a change. It’s never too late to leave behind the life of performance for a life of freedom in Christ. Let His love change you today. Allow yourself to have hope for a better tomorrow, have faith in the one who is relentlessly pursuing you and find love for yourself, for others and for Him that will change you forever.
This Valentine’s Day, I celebrate my incredible, kind, hardworking husband who sacrifices so much for our family. I look back on the journey God has taken me from brokenness to wholeness and how truly blessed my life is that I get to be a mom. I’m truly living my best life and it’s all because of God’s relentless love. He never gives up, He never will give up on you.
…and now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.