I've always been drawn to darkness. Not in a scary demonic way but rather in the sense that I can find comfort in sadness, peace in a dark room and love in a graveyard.
With that being said, there are times when darkness seems to come uninvited. Moments when desired quiet time turns into a season of extreme loneliness and the joy of being in a new city transitions into the depression of being away from family.
I've found that even what seems like the safest of spaces can become a dungeon when not guarded correctly.
I fall in love easily. I yearn for connection, as we all do and that leads to me getting lost in a smile, drowning in sweet words and losing myself in eyes. I'll love you until you're gone and even then I'll love your memory.
The way I love is something about myself that I really enjoy. The fact that I can meet someone once and be impacted by them and have a fondness grow in my heart towards them is important for me, it's unique and worth keeping.
But like I mentioned earlier when guarded incorrectly sometimes safe places become dungeons.
There was a season in my life where I began to grow bitter towards love and the way that it's not always returned. I began to approach love with the mindset that no matter how tight I tried to hold on to it, that it would always leave me. Instead of exploring those feelings and figuring out why I felt that way, I pursued love harder and more destructively than ever. Dead end after dead end I came up empty handed and even more bruised and broken than before.
A little less than a year ago, I made a decision that changed my life. I remember the day like it was yesterday, I was covered in shame and guilt. I was the most lost and hurt I'd ever been in my life. I had just come home from my last world tour with Up with People, a program that had defined me for the last three years and I felt so worthless. I would look in the mirror and instead of seeing light in my eyes and joy in my smile I saw pain, so much pain.
That weekend I went to church with my parents and I encountered the Father for the first time in a real and tangible way. I came to God with my guilt, with my pain and with my shame. I told him that if he could take these feelings away from me that I'd follow him for the rest of my life. I was on my knees in the front of the church and I remember feeling a weight lift off of my shoulders and all of the shame and the guilt was washed away. I stood up and for the first time in weeks I felt loved, valued and worthy of life.
That day I was forever changed.
God's love is the most powerful and inviting force I've ever encountered. That day I gave not only my life back to Christ but I gave him my heart as well. You see, in my hands my heart wasn't safe, it wasn't guarded and it was constantly being bruised and broken. When I put my heart in the hands of the father it was finally protected and cherished.
God didn't call me back to him and tell me to stop loving people. Rather, he healed my scars and my wounds and equipped me with the tools to love others from a full heart instead of an empty well. It's been said that you can't pour into others from an empty glass and that's so true, I would add that you can't truly love others from a broken heart either.
As my relationship with The Father continues to grow each day I'm learning more and more about love and what it really looks like. I'm learning that all those moments where I thought I had finally found it, that those encounters truly pale in comparison to the real thing. I feel like the Lord is holding my heart and unpacking all of the baggage, expectations and scars and replacing them with light, hope and the realities of real love.
There's not a thing that we can do that God won't forgive and not a person on this earth that he doesn't long to shower in his love.
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it does not keep record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
Until next time gang, Xoxo