Learning to Love (And Be Loved)

A few years ago, I was in a relationship and after a month or so of dating, was engaged. I remember being excited about being a wife and someday, a mom. I daydreamed of what it would be like to say that I had a husband and a family. I was convinced that I would never feel lonely again.

Those thoughts, however, were the only things I allowed myself to think about. Underneath it all was the reason I was thinking any of it to begin with. Was there anything wrong with me wanting to and being excited about being a wife? Not at all, but if I had been really honest, I wanted to get married to prove that there was nothing wrong with me.

I wanted to be able to say I had a husband because that meant I was acceptable and worth someone calling *their* wife. I was trying to root my identity and self worth in what another person made me.

I ended up breaking off the engagement and spent the next six months in a haze of confusion, pain and isolation. I was embarrassed and angry. I wanted to crawl under a rock, never to be seen again. The truth is that I had been using my engagement and coming wedding to patch up and cover hurt and confusion deep within my heart that I had yet to deal with.

My almost-marriage isn't something to be mourned any longer- it's a reason to celebrate. Why? Because I’ve come to know the faithfulness of God in ever-increasing measure. I've finally begun to see His love and presence throughout different seasons of my life.

There will never be a man (no matter how wonderful he may be) who can fulfill the longing within my heart to be fully known. Yes, having meaningful friendships and relationships are important, but there is only One who knows my heart and I’m more grateful for His consistency with each day.

I'm not defined by the events or circumstances in my life. I'm not even defined by the choices I make. My identity is set in who God is and what He says about me. His truth doesn't cover up our pain, His truth binds up our broken hearts and sets us free.

I am the good shepherd and I know my sheep
and am known by my own.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them,
and they follow me.
John 10: 14, 27

Amanda Stokes

Media Ninja Dreamer Creative Whovian Communicator Adventurer Podcast Addict Aspiring Chef