Love Wanted and Needed

          I   have had two great loves in my life, the one I wanted and the one I needed. To prevent confusion I will call them Mr. Want and Mr. Need.

          Mr. Want entered my life in the eighth grade.  He chased me, and I still remember the first time he kissed me.  He knew I would be making a visit to the nurse for my asthma med, and he waited on the stairs. Just so he could kiss me.  I let him kiss me but I didn’t let him catch me.  I still don’t know why, but I didn’t.  He moved away which made communication difficult.  In those days we didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, E-mail, cell phones, or Skype.   Each time he came to Muncie, however, he would contact me and we would see each other.   Mr. Want was tall, liquid blue eyes, and a voice smooth like honey.   The summer between our sophomore and junior year we made a pact to marry in seven years, and go to prom together.  We didn’t go to prom together.  Mr. Want blew in my life again the summer after we graduated.  He blew right back out like a hurricane. I was left heartbroken and confused.  I thought for sure he was the one for me.  I couldn’t understand why he had said he felt the same and then left me.  I thought our story was over, finished, but it wasn’t.  Mr. Want came back five years later.   I remember everything about those few days.  All the old feelings came rushing back, but it still wasn’t meant to be.  He left again, where I don’t remember, and for ten years not a word.    He came back around in 2009, and by this time I was living in Florida and had met Mr. Need.   Mr. Want tried to talk me into coming home to Indiana and being with him.  Did my heart skip a beat when I heard his voice? Did all those maddening feelings come back?  Absolutely. But by then I knew a relationship with Mr. Want had always been and would always be like a roller coaster; a fun wild ride that would always come to a thudding heart wrenching stop.  And it was time for me to get out of line, and not ride anymore.  So I chose to stay with Mr. Need.

   I never expected Mr. Need.   He was nothing like Mr. Want or anything I wanted at all. He wasn’t over six feet tall, didn’t wear Levi’s, had a quirky sense of humor, and was divorced and had a daughter.  He was calm, crazy about me, and our relationship wasn’t at all like a roller coaster. It was more constant like the waves of the ocean coming in.  I remember our first kiss, our first date, and what he said to me on our first date.  He bought me flowers just because, for my birthday, Valentine’s day and even Christmas.   No matter what came our way he stood by me. I saw him fight for me, and fight to be with me.   For the first time in my life, I was unabashedly adored.  For the first time in my life I was in a healthy relationship.  There was some drama, of course, but nothing that we couldn’t work through or get over.  Mr. Need was the love I needed and never knew I wanted.  It was gentle yet tough when it needed to be, constant and sure.  I married Mr. Need.

            The lesson I learned in all this is love comes in many forms, and what is wanted isn’t always what is needed.    Mr. Need makes me a better person, still unabashedly adores me and brings me flowers.  Our love is still constant, secure, and sure.  We have been to hell and back and have managed to emerge stronger.  I am so happy I married the love I needed and never knew I wanted.  

    I don’t know why I decided to write this today, maybe because Valentine’s Day was just the other day or maybe because I have just been thinking about the difference between want and need.  It might be because Mr. Want recently contacted me via social media.  I don’t really know.  I just know, for whatever reason, I am reassured that Mr. Need was and still is the perfect choice for me.

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February 19, 2014. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Hard answers

     When Habakkuk poured out his heart to God I wonder what his expectations might have been.  Did he hope for a specific answer from God or simply any answer at all?  The answer he received was a doozy.  It was a hard to swallow answer.  God told him he was going to allow Judah to be turned over to the Babylonians.   History, as well as the bible, tells us how cruel and violent the Babylonians were.  I don’t think this was the answer Habakkuk was hoping for.  I feel his pain.

     I have had many answers to prayer that I haven’t liked because they were hard anwers.  The answers have elicited such responses as: “Really God?”, “Are you kidding me?”, and my personal favorite, “Why do I have to do all the changing?” While I haven’t been handed over to any Babylonians, my answers have been a battle. Why? Because when I get an answer I don’t like, it usually means I have to change or give up something.   This essentially was the reason God was allowing the Babylonians to have their way with Judah.  Judah needed to changed their ways and turn their heart back to God.  Habakkuk might not have liked the answer, nor have I, but the answer was necessary.

           I have found a great amount of suffering usually accompanies the hard answers, and as a result we grow into the person God is making us to be.  I know had God not given me some hard answers I would still be stuck in some very painful places.   I thought the pain of the answer might be worse than any current pain I was feeling, and for a while it was.  Once the suffering ended, however, I found I had peace and a healed place.   I have come to understand that is why the hard answers and suffering are necessary.  That can sometimes be the only way we can grow and heal, and ultimately find peace.

             I don’t want to miss a key point in the hard answers and suffering- God’s mercy.  Habakkuk died before he saw an end to the suffering of Judah God was allowing.  That begs the question how did he not give up and curse God?  I think it is because in the midst of the suffering he saw God’s mercy.   The bible doesn’t tell us whether he did or not, but his contemporary Jeremiah wrote this in Lamentations 3:22-23 “The unfailing love of the Lord never ends.  By his mercies we are kept from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies are new every morning.”     I believe those words with all my heart.  I have seen God’s mercy in the midst of my suffering many, many times.   And that is why I have never given up in the midst of my own hard answers. 

        God might be giving you some hard answers right now.   It is uncomfortable, scary, and hard.  Keep going on your journey, remembering God has a new mercy for you every day, and that the peace and freedom you will find at the end of this road is well worth it

February 9, 2014. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.

You say it’s your birthday?

   Today is my birthday.  I am 38 years old.  Here is the truth:  I have had a love/ hate relationship with my birthday for many years now. I have loved it, placed a mountain of lofty expectations on it and ended up heart broken and miserable, expectations unmet. On the flip side, I have hated it. I have wanted nothing to do with it, wising I could skip the whole day.  The day would come and I was heartbroken and miserable.  What I have sought and had trouble finding was balance and truth.  The happy place of no expectation and contentment with what is or whatever will be.

  The truth is I have in the past questioned why I was alive to see another birthday. I have begged God so many times to let me die it is ridiculous.  I have contemplated ways to end my own life, and yet never found the nerve to follow through.  This of course added to my frustration with my birthday.  I would face another feeling unloved, unimportant, with no real purpose.  I would feel like no one, with the exception of parents and grandparents, cared that it was my birthday and that I was still here to celebrate it.  That is where expectation came in to play in the game. I wanted to feel loved. I wanted to feel like I was important. I wanted to feel like someone cared I was here.  And when they didn’t? The hatred and disdain for another birthday.  More honestly, hatred and disdain for myself. 

Today I am 38.  I started telling myself the truth about yet another birthday a week ago.   The truth of I am loved, and I am accepted.  The truth is there are people (who aren’t my grandparents or parents) who care that I am alive to see another birthday.   The truth is God still has a purpose for me and that is why I am still here.  The truth is I will no longer put any expectation on my birthday, nor will I hate it.  I can simply enjoy it for what it is.  A day to celebrate my life and all the blessings it holds.

               My love/hate relationship with my birthday ends today.  I am going to enjoy each moment for what it is, and be grateful for it.  Life is too short for anything less or more than that.

                           “You say it’s your birthday….it’s my birthday too.” –Sixteen Candles

February 3, 2014. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.