Who Am I When I Had Nobody To Love But Myself?
The night before my 15th birthday my mother passed away from a heart attack. That night I unknowingly transformed from being a little sister and a daughter into a little sister, a daughter, a wife and a mother. You see, my family was the typical husband and wife with three kids, two boys and a baby girl. I spent the first 15 years of my life being spoiled, protected and cared for, I never had to worry about myself because my family had me covered before I could even think about it. When I woke up after the wake and funeral when all of the chaos had gone I realized that I needed to step up and fulfill all the roles that my mother had left for me. I was terrified and filled with purpose. I knew from that morning on that I would need to protect my brothers and cook dinner in time for my dad to eat when he came home from work. I needed to clean the house and do everyone’s laundry because after all I am the woman of the house now and these are my people. I was left with purpose and I needed to see that it was fulfilled.
A few years later my dad started dating and bringing a woman to our house as amazing as this woman is I was unable to see it. I felt threatened, worthless and angry. Who was this woman that was making dinner and caring for my family? This is my family, these are my people, my responsibility, we didn’t need her…what was she doing here? I went off to college and while still caring for my brothers from a distance I was able to find a new group of friends to love on. My roommates and close friends through out the years became my concern. I poured all of my love and energy into everyone else. My years in college taught me that giving love doesn’t always mean you’ll receive that same love in return.
I started going to church my second semester and really learned about Christ and how we truly are able to love one another because of Him. This revelation fueled my love. I started pouring love onto strangers and classmates and honestly everyone I encountered in my day-to-day life. You see there isn’t anything wrong with this except I had been giving out love and not letting anyone love me in return. My nights became lonely as I wondered why such a loving person felt so empty. I soon got into a relationship and that seemed to “solve” things. I cared for him and he cared for me…until he didn’t. I felt a disproportional amount of hurt when our relationship ended because he was supposed to give me what I needed, he was supposed to love me the way I had loved everyone else. After spending a week and a half in bed with the most horrible thoughts of myself swirling around in my head I decided that I needed to make a change. From that moment I decided that I would give the love to myself that I deserved. I was going to love myself the way I had loved others and the way that God had intended for me to feel loved.
Finding the value in myself that I found in other people felt like an impossible task that I would never master. I spent hours upon hours praying for ways to love myself. One day it clicked, the scriptures and other encouragements that I had been using to encourage my friends applied to me as well. The Bible was written to me and for me just as it was for other people. I heard a song called Priceless by For King & Country. This song says "hey, you are priceless, you are beautiful and you are not defined by anything in this world you are defined by the love that Christ has for you and that alone is enough."
Now when I pass a mirror I look at myself and I am happy with what I see, I remind myself every morning that I am beautiful and that I am exactly the woman God has created me to be. Learning to love myself has not only transformed my confidence and courage but it has also helped me to continue to love others in a way that is truly for them and what they need instead of freely giving my love to anyone I encounter.