Tag Archives: You are made to be loved

Loss and Love

Are highs and lows part of every vacation? Or just two week-ers? with family?

Going to NC is always a high, the beach in September is always a high, but right after, I got word that a good friend’s dream house burned in the fires of Northern California. And on the heals of that, learned that another good friend unexpectedly lost his father who was also a good friend of mine. It’s hard to imagine him gone. He was so full of life and laughter and love. He lived with God and told hilarious stories of his adventures.

Grief is always hard, even though it’s rich if you lean into it. I just experienced that again this morning. The hardest part of vacation was feeling unwanted at my daughter’s. That’s happened before in tiny doses but always had an antecedent–I had a clue why. This time no clue. I just felt like I was in the way and not liked. It was painful.

Fortunately God drew me to a book on her end table and I started reading it. Of course, it was exactly what I needed. I knew she loved the book, but I had never felt a desire to read it before. It’s about learning to live in gratitude. I thought it would be all fluffy. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

1000 Gifts is a book so raw, and so rich in its detailed unfolding that you are enveloped, learning as she does through her life story. Perfect for what I was going through.

The last day we did have time together and she opened up about her stresses and post partum, and redeemed the week; but leaving I still told myself, this is her life, her choices, and if she is happy  then I will be too. Maybe I’m going to die young and being so far away will make it easier on them than being here every day. I will give thanks in this too, and be thankful I didn’t move here.

Then she texts me that she always has such a hard time with us going home!

Really? I’m in the airport waiting, and we text till takeoff. We pick it up again in the next airport. She couldn’t enjoy having us because always in her heart lurked the hurt we’d be leaving soon.

I really do get that, we share it, but it seemed like such a waste. We texted again when I got home, and so much pain came out. I discovered that she had always felt I was trying to fix her, and she just wanted me to love her.

What? I always thought I loved her too much! Was always afraid I’d lose her. Always fought favoring her above my step kids. Always tried to tone it down!  Felt I needed her to be happy. Feared I loved her more than God.

I should have known nobody in my life would ever feel loved too much, our lives are too broken! And for sure not by me–I’ve had too many lies healed about not being lovable! not being wanted, not being good enough. But under all that rubble, had hidden one, whispered by some dark imp in a vulnerable time, and I had agreed: Nobody really wants me in their lives–they just tolerate me. It had helped me keep everyone at arm’s length so I wouldn’t get hurt.

When Jesus gently and graciously brought it up this morning, I could see that it fit every stage of my life, confirmed every broken relationship in my mind. And I had hidden it from myself because there was just enough attraction and newness in life to pretend it wasn’t there. Yet I believed it. So if someone didn’t need me anymore, moved away, got too busy, was more attracted elsewhere, it just reinforced the belief and I stepped back, moving on. It was almost comforting to me. The reason… And I didn’t have to work at loving. (It’s work for me.)

But when He pulled it up, the feelings came in sobs from the deepest part of me–physically from the pit. And what relief it brought! Especially when He said, “I want you in My Life. I’m so glad you come to be with me every morning. Not many people do that–just come to be with Me.”

Then came what could be called peace, relief, joy, fulfillment, freedom, but I call it loved.

Even in your brokenness, even in your wounded mess and weakness, He will be there. He brings light into your darkness.

No one will ever love you like Jesus.

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You were made to Receive–Thankfully

Listen to this, “My nature is to bless. Your nature is to receive with thanksgiving. This is a true fit, designed before the foundation of the world. Glorify me by receiving my blessings gratefully.”*

This is God talking. What a great recipe for life! Receiving God’s love and blessings gratefully. What has gone wrong?

Two things: if we are raised with that belief, we can begin to think we are “all that” and life turns around us–we never grow out of being the center of the universe. (Yes, there is a time for a natural narcissism. Before the age of seven it develops your security to believe you are so loved.) Ideally, you grow out of it–it just makes you a loving and gracious person, aware of God’s love with the ability to give it.

If we didn’t get that experience before seven, we constantly try to find it–usually in all the wrong places and all the wrong ways. We struggle with insecurity–needing people to prove their love.

These two have a myriad of spin offs on a spectrum reaching from personality disorders to addictions to poor coping styles. Usually being raised with love is the safest, but it doesn’t guarantee good results. Bad things happen here to all of us. And sometimes we listen to the interpretations that evil whispers to us and agree. Then it becomes part of our belief system. We all have guilt or shame (guilt being better than shame).

Here is the  reason. We are broken. And it has taken me a whole lifetime to realize that God doesn’t want us to feel guilt and shame, but to just know that we are broken and go on with acceptance and receive His love anyway!

So you are broken, so is every other person on this planet. The smartest position is to know it, embrace it (which means accepting what God and other trusted loved ones tell you). Also lay down the defenses. If you get uncomfortable feedback about your behavior, look at it squarely. Yes, it will be embarrassing, even painful, but if you know you are loved, you will be strong enough to take it to God asking Him to help you face it and understand it and heal it.

You’ll be amazed at how fast it goes (usually). He loves to heal our hurts and our craziness, more than we want it healed even. And He knows the best, safest and fastest way. You don’t have to be afraid. HE LOVES YOU. And he is faithful. He isn’t going to take you down some needless painful alley. He hates pain, but loves what it does for us. He won’t make you heal, but he gives you opportunities to become more than you are with all the pain. Think about it. He’s safe. And you were made to receive with gratitude.

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