Loving After Losing: Scratching the surface

I loved him, I was sure of it. We met when I was 19. Before him, I never thought I would ever be comfortable enough to let a man in. I grew up without a father and the lack of positive male influence in my life created a void I never knew I had. I was hungry for a love I didn't even know I needed. He filled that void, even if for but a moment. A huge misconception I have found that people seem to have about Christian women is that just because we have a relationship with Jesus our negative life experiences automatically have no power to cause psychological damage. This is the farthest thing from the truth and can be an extremely unhealthy way to navigate through life. Our belief in Christ and His presence in our lives gives us the power to overcome these things and live a completely functional and fulfilling life. It by no means erases the validity of our life experiences. By acknowledging this void within myself I am now more careful with the attachments I allow to be created in my life and I can effectively deal with issues I otherwise used to ignore and assumed didn't exist. This is the truth : Christ completes our souls, but we are also human and it is okay to admit you have some areas in your life that aren't as healthy as they could be due to what you have gone through. I feel a need to clarify that. If you are looking for cliches and a false perception of perfection this may not be the best place to find it. I am the most non cliche imperfect person I know. I have learned that transparency saves lives, that is my ultimate goal. By sharing a glimpse of my own experiences I hope to heal myself and others. Let's heal together. 

"Our belief in Christ... by no means erases the validity of our life experiences"

I never thought I would break all of the rules I set for myself. Gaining nothing in return, I was deeply in love, with what? I am not sure. Potential perhaps. I have a habit of falling in love with peoples' brokenness. After a few years I was very sure that the love was only one sided but this realization didn't just make the love stop. I believe once you love someone that never truly goes away. If it does, did you really love them? I am now 26 and swallowing the rough pill that the only man I thought I loved never really loved me back. I would be a liar if I said it still doesn't sting randomly. You can still hurt over someone you no longer desire to be with. No human being should have to experience one sided love. We all deserve that unconditional and unrepentant love. I finally have learned that and will no longer accept a false reality of love. This took years for me to accept. I didn't understand how deserving of love I truly was because I didn't really know myself. Once I spent genuine time getting to know myself I fell in love with myself and now I will not settle for anyone who doesn't treat me with the same love and care, if not more love and care than I treat myself with. 

"I didn't understand how deserving of love I truly was because I didn't really know myself. "

I remember the warnings, the people pulling me to the side telling me to be careful but I fought them. I still cringe at the embarrassing lack of an answer to the question I was constantly asked "Why do you keep messing with him!?" I thought I finally found someone who wouldn't leave, as he promised. All of these promises were eventually denied and the false romance we shared turned into something that I never imagined it would. I became the secret. The type of woman I constantly hear bashed and thrown under the bus. The woman who had friends telling her she was in an abusive relationship and just couldn't see it. The woman who thought that just because he wasn't physically hitting her, using her was okay. The woman who kept running back to an empty vessel searching for something she was unsure of. The woman who was good enough to spend time in the dark with but God forbid she is acknowledged in public. The woman that people quietly discuss when they are in the midst of people who share the same sentiment that she must be crazy for chasing after a man who doesn't want her. The same woman who was being told lies in private and then publicly was denied by the same man who whispered those lies. The woman who always came to the defense of a man who never defended her in return. The woman who found solace in the presence of other men who she knew didn't love her. The woman who tried to fill her voids on her own. The woman who tried to write a million poems to heal her wounds. The woman who was accused of playing the victim role when openly discussing her pain, which I'm sure may happen again after the release of this blog post. The woman who even now is afraid of writing her truth when it comes to her experience with love, because honestly it  is embarrassing at times. The woman who will be talked about regardless if she attempts to protect the character of a man who would have been the death of her if not for the grace of God. 

 "Life can bring people along your path and you can choose to plant them for permanent residence when they were only meant to be a wall decoration for a season"   

I wasn't perfect, but what makes women like me different from the men who have hurt us is that we are genuine. I really loved this man. A deeply broken man. I quickly learned that two broken people never make one whole individual. I spent years trying to prove myself to someone who just wasn't equipped to see me for who I really am. You should NEVER have to lift a finger or raise your voice to prove who you are to ANYONE. If they don't see you for all that you are even in your most vulnerable broken moments then they are not the one for you. If they magnify your weaknesses and mock your tears rather than build you up when you are desperate for acceptance they just aren't for you. I deeply wanted the man that I loved, with all of his flaws and inconsistencies to love me like I loved him. It wasn't until more recently did I accept the fact that he will never be able to be any or do any of those things I wanted him to be because he just wasn't for me. He didn't belong to me, nor did I belong to him. As much as I wish it wasn't true, my mother was absolutely right when she told me "Leah, you can't change a man, especially one that doesn't want to change". So I stopped and I realized that life can bring people along your path that you can choose to plant for permanent residence but they won't last because they were only meant to be a wall decoration for a season. Once I fully accepted that and realized that I am indeed worthy of a love that only fairy-tales seemed to portray... everything changed. 

I feel like there is so much to be said when it comes to heart break, when it comes to loving a person that everyone told you not to love and it turning out to be a disaster like everyone said it would. Its embarrassing. I had to learn how to navigate my way through this because the majority of people I confided in just got tired of giving me the same advice. "Leave him alone" "He isn't good for you" all of those similar things. And I would listen... and then not listen. And they would still be there when I got hurt again. Get you some good friends who stick around even when you make dumb decisions. It wasn't until I felt a switch flip somewhere within me that made me feel like it was okay to let go. I remember crying on my bed and finally praying for everything I wanted in a man. I never voiced it out loud to God before. It took me being in such a broken place to realize what I needed. Never think your heart break or pain is for nothing. Like I have said a million times before, pain creates a beauty nothing else can create. And I believe those painful moments have made me the woman I am today. A woman to be appreciated and admired. A woman who will indeed get the man she prayed for.    

"Loving someone after you have been so badly burned is horrifying"

 No, like... for real. For the longest time the thought of loving someone else was horrifying. It caused me anxiety and fear. I have always attached love with losing, leaving and rejection. My life experiences have taught me everything that love is NOT. God has taught me everything that love IS. I could list tons of scriptures but the truth is reading it in a book and experiencing it in life are two completely different things. Even now as I search within myself to explain the pain of rejection it is very hard. Heart break and rejection are two things that are just hard for me to articulate. I have always felt rejection deep within my soul. From my father leaving at an early age and being bullied and talked about basically my whole entire life. I never thought I was good enough. I never thought I could be loved. I still wonder if I am good enough. That's the truth. I believe self acceptance can be a life long journey. Finding someone who reinforces you and puts your insecurities asleep will just aid in that journey. The very moment I thought someone loved me in return... I was proven to be very wrong. The only place I ever have felt unconditional love has been within the presence of God. A presence I have accessed through prayer, meditation and self reflection. Accessing the creator has changed me deeply. I have every reason to be angry and hate love. I have every reason to give up on love but I refuse. I refuse to become cold-hearted like the rest of society seems to be.

My goal within these next few blog posts is to expose a lot of experiences with love romantically, religiously and within my own family. I want to share how my heart has been completely transformed. There are times when I don't recognize myself. I am no longer cold. I am no longer bitter. I want others to feel what I feel and to have hope. You can love after you have lost. We are all hungry and in need of love and acceptance. By opening up little by little I hope that I can encourage you to look within yourself and gain the courage to share your experiences as well. I am a firm believer that no wound can properly heal unless it is exposed. Join me in exposing my wounds while I share how I have learned to love after loss. 

Love always,

James.