“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.” John 15:9
I have always known this to be true. I knew that God loved me. I knew that he accepted me but for some reason… “so I have loved you” gets stuck in my throat as I read it. My whole body tenses up, my brain seems to twitch and I find myself saying ‘I don’t believe that.’ Logically, of course I know it to be true…for everyone and yet…here I am, that person, not able to connect that statement to my heart. Why do I feel like God doesn’t love me…not that way…?
I became a Christian at the age of 4. I was living in Germany at the time and after my mother had told me that if I wanted, I could invite Jesus into my heart. I did…repeatedly..waiting for something big to happen. No, fireworks don’t go off, my heart doesn’t skip a beat, it is simply an invitation and a belief that He is there with me. I remember walking through the woods (it was safe back then) and holding Jesus’ hand. We would walk together and talk and spend the most amazing moments together in the forest. He was my Daddy, He protected me, He listened to me, He loved on me. I always knew He loved me…so why not now?
Lately, there have been a number of life altering events that have occurred and events that seemed to have spiraled me and my emotions out of control. I didn’t realize that this pain, or this change in my belief system (not in God but in how he views me and others) has built up for sometime. So why didn’t I know about it?
When you become a mother, you literally have to make a decision to push many emotions aside (not the love ones) such as “I’m too tired to get up”, “I can’t be bothered to make dinner and another snack”, “I don’t want to clean up that mess again” – it doesn’t work. There becomes a turning point as a mother where you just focus on the doing because no matter how tired we feel, there are children depending on us..so we become dependable. That doesn’t mean to say I don’t enjoy being a parent because I really do. My children are truly amazing, but over time the focus of getting things done has become…well…a focus. There often isn’t time in a busy Career-Mom’s life to just stop and think, let alone pray and read the bible..not to make excuses…just simply to paint the picture of how I got here. There were also other family challenges that arose in which only I could take care of..and it felt very much like I was doing it alone. I wasn’t happy…(big sigh)…that was hard to admit…I wasn’t happy……..I’m not happy (that one is even harder to say). There were many moments of happiness…but overall in my heart, something was missing.
I became so wrapped up in taking care of everyone else, tending to their needs that I forgot about my own and in time started to “believe” that I did not need to have my “needs” taken care of. Everyone always tells me how strong I am…and in many ways, I am strong. I can push my emotions to the side when need be. I can stand up to bullies. I stand up for my children, for others. But what is strength without vulnerability? With so many people telling me how strong I am, I continue to remain in that box afraid to step out of it. What if the strength wasn’t there? What if I just revealed what I am going through and face the reality that lays beneath the surface? I might crack…..or worse…completely break…
Turns out…I broke… everything had piled up. I had had no rest; spiritually, emotionally and physically and I broke. I had tried to present myself as ‘perfect’…why would I do that when I pride myself on being real? I think part of it is that I want to be a good friend to others. I want to tell them that God loves them no matter what and does not judge them. But after all of this…I find myself laying in bed, reading my bible and crying out to God because I think that He cannot love me just the way I am…because no one else does….what is that?! In my mind I know that not to be true but in my heart it is a struggle. I have always felt judged by others. I have always felt that so many people want desperately to put me in a box but I don’t fit in any. Who I am as a Christian, as an artist, as an English woman, as a Canadian Permanent resident, as a mother…none of those boxes are accepted…because I live in all of them and move freely between them all…why must there be one box and why must it live up to one persons standards? In the past I would say “judge me, I don’t care. I know that God knows who I am and accepts me that way” but in all honesty not finding your fit in life can be confusing and hard.
I imagine that all this change and things I have struggled with on the inside have simply accumulated up to this point. Being English/European has not been well received here, my style of parenting (which takes on a more nurturing and listening approach vs. the ‘children should be seen and not heard and spanked) has been criticized. I am not a ‘good enough’ Christian to some and to others I am too much of a ‘goody two shoes.’ I don’t clean enough.’ ‘My film work is too out there or too serious’. It seems that too many people want me to conform to be like ‘everyone else’ – Too many negative voices.
So time to refresh…time to stop hearing what everyone else is saying and to simply “Be Still…and know that I am God” (as in know that He is God). I have allowed all these imperfect people to speak horrific things over my life and not listened to the one who really knows me…the one who Is perfect.
Why am I being so transparent? This is just where I am right now. It’s not perfect…in fact it is downright messy and hard and I have never cried as much as I have the last 3 months..but boy am I thankful for these tears because I am feeling, I am opening my heart again, I am finding myself again and falling so very much in love with Jesus all over again.
Perhaps you are going through a similar situation. Perhaps my story can encourage you. I decided to not only take a lot more time at night to read my bible and talk with God but have also been reading a wonderful book called “Captivating” – to quote the back of the book:
“The message of Captivating is this: Your heart matters more than anything else in all creation. The desires you had as a little girl and the longings you still feel as a woman – they are telling you of the life God created you to live. He offers to come now as the Hero of your story, to rescue your heart and release you to live as a fully feminine woman. A woman who is truly captivating.”
Through this recent journey I have realized that I just want to be loved. I thought I could live without that but give it to others. How stupid. You cannot give something away that you do not have and I know this logically. I thought I could get away with not being romanced when in reality God made me full of a desire for romance. So after thinking that He did not love me for me or accept me despite my shortcomings I have started the work on ALLOWING God to love me. Because that’s all it comes down to. His love is abundant but I wasn’t letting Him give it to me.
My goal right now…and my only goal, is to draw near to Him, allow Him to romance me.. and begin to allow Him to heal so many wounds. I cannot wait for what lies ahead.