Love Language: Quality Time
My Story: My parents have been married 35 years. As young believers, they formed a family who valued Christ, the covenant of marriage, Biblical man/womanhood, integrity, hard work, sacrifice, affection … and laughter.
A Daddy, a Mommie, and 2 little girls.
We work. We play. We plan. We travel. We joke. We love.
Loved and taught to love … and yet, there was still an emptiness inside of me.
God loves me. My family loves me. Teachers love me.
Still an emptiness. Who else can love me?
I spent most of my years in school (particularly high school) seeking and winning the approval of others. Still an emptiness.
Incredibly high standards (thank God! … and Dad!) plus insecurity doesn’t equal a lot of dates, but it does build a fantasy of a perfect “soul mate” being the one to fill this empty spot in me. And this, dear ones, has been the cry (literally!) of my lonely heart for so long.
Meanwhile, when I went to college at the U of I and joined our church here, the personal relationship part of believing in Jesus Christ clicked. Not just going to church. Not just reading The Bible. Not just trying to obey what it says. Not just trying to avoid “bad stuff.”
Believing that Jesus wants me to come to Him, to commit to Him not because He’s egotistical, or to make me follow rules, or to scare me. But because He wants to redeem me, restore me to something better than a “good person.”
All the times I’ve been hurt — He wants to heal. All the times I’ve been lonely — He wants to help me understand the fullness He provides. All the times I’ve been too much or too little to someone else — He wants to remind me that He made me beautifully, exactly how I am.
… and the times I’ve hurt, or alienated someone else to loneliness, or been overbearing to someone with too much, or disappointed them with too little — He wants to free me from that guilt. He wants to take that on Himself, so I can be free to love those other people, to love Him … to accept consequences, but not live a life trying to compensate for hidden shame.
When He does these things — when He heals me, or forgives me, or frees me — the emptiness fills up.
Even though I doubt all the time, even though I still mess it all up, in His fullness, He fills me up. And when it drains out, He fills me again. And again. And again.
What does He fill it with? His Truth. His forgiveness. His assurance. His hope … in short, Himself 🙂
In His grace, He has given me the greatest desire of my heart. To be a wife. To be a wife on mission with her husband to help other people get their emptiness — that needs Truth, forgiveness, assurance, hope — filled up too. And I am thankful! (I’ve had to wait almost a decade and a half on this one!)
Being “in love” hasn’t all been a fairy tale. It’s been beautiful and ugly. Refreshing and exasperating. But nothing else has tenderized both our hearts to the sober reality of what it truly means to love and be loved, as Christ wants us to. And we are only just beginning …
At the end of the day, we don’t believe in “soul mates” or “The One.” But we do believe in God’s providence; that we are just a speck in God’s greater story with mankind, and that united Alan and I can be better stewards for God’s kingdom together than on our own.