February 4, 2015 by wedandwanderlust
I truly enjoy a writing challenge. So when I saw this hefty yet exciting challenge by The Love More Shop‘s Instagram account (which btw – they are truly an amazing shop doing much good in supporting parents in an unique way, so check them out!) about writing about love in its different forms, my mind immediately began to put all the words that I wanted to say together. This challenge particularly struck a chord with me because one of my goals this year is to embrace vulnerability. Alas, I read about it just a few days before the deadline of January 31st, and life did not allow me the chance to submit it by then. But with today being a significant day for my love and I and this being the month of all things “love” inspired, missing the deadline allows me the opportunity to share this…to highlight love…to celebrate grace. ( silver linings!:) )
To love is much more than I imagined. It’s not as fluffy and light and delicate as I thought it would be. No, it’s not quite like what I pictured at all….hard, painful, challenging, work. This is the reality of love. (Not exactly what you were hoping to read, huh? Sorry…just keeping it real.)
You see, my love story is filled with dark and twisty challenges and heartaches, but I wouldn’t change it for what I expected/wanted/dreamed it would be. I’m joyfully in love with this beautiful mess.
Love, as I pictured in my youth, was getting married to the man who met every specification on my list, having three beautiful babies & adopting one, & “honey I’m home” kisses as I finished up cooking diner in my perfectly clean home. Love, trust, and protection from the man I loved. This is what I pictured, and this is what would be. Bliss all the time. (Ah, the naiveté of youth!)
The week before my 13th birthday, trust and love became very skewed for me. I was molested…humiliated and broken, those dreams about love vanished in an instant.
Who could I trust? And even if trust could be found again, who would want someone who was broken? Depression and confusion were covered by smiles and a slew of activities. Although I’ve never been successful at completely hiding my feelings, I did what I needed to do remain in my comfort level of not sharing very much.
With much hard work and deep, real inputs of tender care from some very special people, over time there would eventually be dreams of love again…even attempts at having relationships …but intimacy… that concept was not a welcomed one.
It was an impenetrable wall that I had tried desperately to break to no avail. And so I had pretty much given up on removing it. It was now a part of me.
For three years he chiseled away at me…working his way in as I constantly spackled over his hard work trying desperately to keep him out. I wanted to be his, but I couldn’t. I had never felt this way before…this insatiable desire to be vulnerable. So one night, I was brave. I shared with him…in fear and bravery and shame, that I was broken and that I wasn’t this strong, put-together girl that he thought I was…I was broken.
Then, with one sharp blow, he made his way through the wall.
He held my hand and said to me “Lis, we are all beautifully broken. I am broken, you are broken, but our pieces fit. We are better together.”
It was in that moment that I felt the tantalizing, unfamiliar rays of hope. He hadn’t knocked down my wall completely, but enough that damage had been done that there was no returning to my “safe” place. After 3 years of chasing and a few months of me processing, it was on a sandy shore that love was felt as he expressed his feelings for me – the beauty he found in me, the acceptance of who I am and the future he believed we would have. It was there that I truly felt love.
…love, although uncomfortable and new, it was wonderfully peaceful. Love had made its way in and it was freeing!
Over the next two years, my wall continued to come down. The more he loved me, the more I began to love myself, broken and beautiful. We went through many trials and struggles, each dealing with our own personal demons, teaching us that love is more than just a feeling, but a choice. On December 21, 2010, he asked me to marry him and we were married the next October.
On that day, we realized love was rare and precious. It was unifying and created a new beginning. Aspects of a young girl’s dream were coming true as we said our vows… “I take you to be my husband/wife, my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live. May your arms be my shelter, and your heart be my home.”
Yes, this was the beginning of a new aspect of love. And oh, how it has changed, deepened and evolved over the years. We may not have many years under our belt (this October will be 4 years of marriage), but we surely have experienced so much in that short time. We’ve both grown and changed, wandered and settled, fought and laughed with our whole bodies, cried and sat in awe with each other…and brought about a new life to love more.
The end of 2013 brought us our greatest adventure, our beautiful, sweet baby girl. Never before had we been filled with such joy and love for one another, for this amazing little life that God gave us. Then February 2014 brought us to yet another major hurdle. While my vulnerability has limits as this is not just my story, but my family’s, I will simply say this – the ability to love someone – to love them wholly, to love them more than what they can comprehend…beyond what you even think you are capable of… IS what it means to love.
Our love is forever expanding and building. It is permanent and flexible. It is a choice, a feeling and a movement. A wall breaker. A healing agent. A giving of one’s self for another. A display of grace because you have received grace. A celebration of the beautifully broken. We choose to love each other more, and through that, we continue to learn just what love really can do…
After all, love always wins.