Featured

The Purest Kind of Love

The greatest love you will ever experience is the love you have for yourself. This life is full of so many experiences that can bring your value and worthiness into question. We are often weighed down by the trials and traumas that catch us by surprise. Life is hard. It is hard to invest all you have in a cause or situation and not get anything in return. It is hard to compromise and bend to the will of others, just to wake up one day and realize that your dream turned into your worst nightmare. It is devastating to receive the biggest slap of reality from the thing that you believed would bring you joy. And most of all, it is crushing to hold onto hope; to believe that the situation would turn for the good just to learn you were the only one fighting.

One of the lessons I learned recently is that real love is personal and seasoned. Our love grows depth and breadth when we receive affirmation from the object/people we love. That’s not to say everything will go right, but seeing the object/person flourish under our love gives us hope that with consistency the outcome will be as sweet as the giving. Seasoned love weathers the hard, endures the harsh, and evolves. It shape shifts and becomes agile without losing its integrity. Weathered love is rooted in faith and hope, and anchored by the Giver of love. Love is reflective of the individual who gives it because we are incapable of giving love that is at war with our character. Simply put, our love is an extension of who we are as an individual.

Our love cannot be compromised by something that is not within our value system. Love is personal and exposes the most truthful intentions of our hearts. If you are faithful, your love is faithful. If someone puts their needs first or seeks instant gratification, they are completely incapable of offering a love that is sacrificial and long suffering.

If you are receiving love that causes you heartache, sadness, or to question your sanity and worth, look at the giver. Someone who is secure and grounded in themselves will offer stable love. A safe place. A refuge from your troubles and an ear that does not get heavy. If you are not thriving with those you are in community with, it may be time to build a new community.

As life beats us down, remember to not let it compromise your integrity. Love is a powerful gift that not everyone will get to experience. And more sadly, many will never know what it is like to love themselves wholeheartedly. We all know someone who would rather put their focus into something (or someone) else instead of confronting the hard truths about themselves. And the longer they avoid, the more they become void. Love is so powerful that it changes with the individual. If you do the soul work, love will work. If you heal, your love will become healing. If you develop patience, your love will be patient. And if you work to live in truth, your love will be truth giving.

Here is your gentle reminder that your value is not predicated on someone seeing it. Someone who is lost cannot find (and cherish) you. Someone who is not brave enough to sit with themselves cannot (and is not worthy) to stand in your truth. Someone who cannot acknowledge that they have hurt you, has not taken the time to heal themselves. Someone seeking the comfort and validation of others cannot support you when you need it most. You are worthy of unrestrained; peaceful; forgiving; un-compromised; grounded; safe and secure love that is whole and intentional. And before you try to give that to anyone else, take the time to give it to yourself first.

Hurt.

Have you ever had a moment where you are talking to someone and out of nowhere a profound quote appears? Well, that happened to me the other day. We were talking about life and its dynamic complexities and somehow we started talking about hurt. Then the Lord blessed us with this beautiful quote, “present hurt knows past hurt, but past hurt should not impact present hurt”. What does this mean? Good question.

When we experience hurt in the present, our emotions start scrolling through our emotional rolodex and identifies past times that we have felt the way we are feeling at that moment – not only when, but the what, the where and the who. Present hurt is transported to those instances where that emotion last visited. You may even begin to see faces and familiar surroundings. It is normal to go through this at the onset of the emotion, but it may be detrimental to stay in this state because if you do, you may begin to compromise your present based on your past.

It is easier to say that past hurt should not impact present hurt than it is to execute this principle in the moment. Past Hurt showed you who you were and who you were not. Past Hurt opened its arms to you when the individual who placed you there was not available (emotionally) to help you process your thoughts and your emotions. Past Hurt is faithful and will often check in on you now and again to see if the lessons learned in the intimate embrace had any lasting impact. While Past Hurt made major contributions to your character (and for some, your self-worth), Past Hurt should be given limitations.

Past Hurt can be likened to a past lover. During the time of the relationship, you two were possibly inseparable and spent much time together. You made yourself vulnerable and opened your heart to give and receive the intangible wholeness of one another. Everything was good. You felt needed, wanted and purpose was evident and free flowing. Then something changed. You are not sure if it was you or them, but you recognized that the union that had potential to last forever had to come to an end. And it did. It was tough, but you made it.

In other words, Hurt was with you and gave you strength when you needed it by justifying your dislike for an individual or thing. Hurt made you feel secure because you were able to rely on it to be present at all times, even when genuine love and good intentions tried to get close to you. Hurt told others to keep away because you were taken and was not on the market for anyone else. Somewhere, somehow, Hurt realized that what you two had could not last forever. You began to see Hurt for what it was and had the epiphany that Hurt could not journey with you to wholeness because it could only offer bitterness. With this in mind, you either moved out of Hurt’s home or maybe you kicked Hurt out. Either way, you two were no longer together and you were free. In your present place, Past Hurt appears in an effort to reconnect and make the relationship exclusive like it once was before. If not careful, your Present Hurt can become enmeshed and entangled in the web of Past Hurt and alter your trajectory to wholeness.

I have been there. It is hard to know what to do when Present and Past are fighting over the residence of your heart. If I could offer any advice, it would be to reject them both. Past is not worthy of your Present and Present will become the past once you realize you are too good for both.

Time and Energy

One of the biggest lessons I have learned over the years in marriage is the importance of focusing my time and energy. For those who do not know the difference, let me break it down for you real quick. Time management answers the following questions- what do I need to accomplish? When do I need to have it done? When is the best time for me to do that? Where do I need to go to achieve this goal and how long is it going to take me to get there? Whereas energy management looks at the focus and attention you’re going to devote to the task or project. It asks, how am I going to accomplish this? What distractions do I need to address in advance so I can increase my productivity?

In my marriage, I had to reassess and ask myself- Am I just putting in time, or both time and energy? I realized that if I wanted the outcomes I was looking for, I had to do more than just show up everyday. No, that’s not enough. Instead, I needed to show up and do something. Have you ever attended a conference or an event and you got nothing out of it? It started at 6pm and you were there at 6pm. You stayed until 9pm and walked away knowing nothing new and not even sure of the purpose of what you just attended. This is a typical time vs. energy dilemma. Now think about where this has shown up in your marriage, friendships, and other relationships. How many times did you show up (time), but did not engage or was not committed (energy)?

Remember, time and energy, while different in function, do not have to be exclusive. In fact, you’ll find that you feel most accomplished when they take place together. So, with this new information, what are you prepared to do next? How are you going to bridge these two together in your relationship?

 

What’s YOUR Definition of Love?

What’s YOUR Definition of Love?

 

In preparation of Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be best to share an article I wrote for the Purpose Drive Women Magazine. Whether you believe in the day of love or not, the article is still a good read. Learn about how you can take your relationship(s) to the next level by being more cognizant and articulating what the three words, “I love you” mean to you. Enjoy :).

What’s YOUR Definition of Love?

Check Us Out

Check Us Out

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything. To say life has been busy would be an understatement! I wanted to at least make you all aware of a magazine I have the pleasure of writing for. If you’re a woman, or you know one, and you’re looking for some encouragement, support, beauty tips, health tips or inspiration, please check us out!

You can access the Purpose Driven Women Magazine online at pdwmag.com. Go to the site and get connected! You can also join the newsletter to receive updates as the issues become available. They are published every other month, so you don’t have to worry about your inbox blowing up with messages.

My column focuses primarily on love and relationships, although some of my earlier writings are more freestyle. I just submitted my piece for the February issue and I am super excited about it! So please go to the website and sign up so we can remain connected.

For your convenience, I have listed my articles below. What are you waiting for? Get connected!

Digging Deeper

I Won’t Give Up on Me

Redeemed

Do Not Fear

Marriage is Work

image

Let it be real
Let it be true,
Lord may our love be pleasing unto You.

For You have sprinkled us with sacrifice
Dabbed us with faith,
You even doused us with long-suffering
So that You can get the glory everyday.

As we come before Your table
To partake of your grace,
We pray for Your direction
And on tough days your warm embrace.

Marriage isn’t all sunshine
For days will be good, bad and worse,
We pray our strength will last
For we know it takes much work.

Our Father, who art in heaven
Hollowed be your name,
We pray Your presence will rest
In our marriage as we maintain.

Thank You for being our rock
Thank You for being our shield,
Thank You for your ability
To come and help us build.

Let it be real
Let it be true
Lord may our love be pleasing unto You.