This just may end up as multiple entries; the thoughts bouncing through my brain seem to cluster by the dozen. But then again, maybe those thoughts are to remain mine and to be let out only in other areas of my life.
Summer 2012 was one of stretching. Again. This is good, though I process things so much more slowly than they hit. The time at home flew by it seems with school for the first half then varied travels the second and work throughout. Lessons still managed to fit themselves in to my seemingly packed life.
My prayer when I started out the summer [keep in mind this morning didn’t come until mid-July] was to grow in love. I wanted and still desire to become a woman who loves everyone all the time especially when I don’t want to. Trust me, I still have tons of work to do, but I can already see improvement in my heart. My desire to grow in love didn’t start out because I realized I lacked it – I wish I was that aware of my failings! – but rather because I was to be chaperoning a group of high school girls to Tennessee for their church’s youth conference. I didn’t know them nor did I know the church they belonged to so I was nervous about how we would get along. So prayer started when I found out I would be going. For myself and for them. I wanted to be able to love them well because I knew that in loving well we lead well.
At the end of June, my cousin got married. Through the vacation for the wedding and in the month and a half before, my prayer had been to grow in love. I wanted to love more widely with more depth than I ever had. Dumbest thing I ever did! Okay, that’s not actually true, but it is how I feel sometimes, even now.
The ceremony was beautiful and his wife [so excited she’s part of the family!!] looked lovely throughout the night. The wedding made me want to get married, something quite foreign to my I-want-to-be-single-forever mindset. By the time my family made it back to the hotel I had convinced myself I merely wanted a party - a gathering of my friends and family with laughter, good food, and some dancing. I wasn’t craving any sort of relationship especially not one as intimate as that of a spouse. Talk about ridiculous for my life plan and situation.
Terrifying. Still is.
It only took me four days after the wedding to admit to myself it wasn’t a party I wanted. It was the marriage. And I didn’t even realize it until well into a conversation with my roommate. Cell phones really are categorized as common grace. My love had grown. And with that I started to become open to others loving me.
This lesson is – yep, I’m still working on it – deeply personal. It involves my heart... There are specific people this affects, much more than the general population. There are people I have loved poorly and I must ask forgiveness of. There are those I have pushed to the side of my heart when I ought to have given them all. Many of those relationships will never be what they could have been. Now I see the error in my philosophy. Now I realize just what I’ve missed.
My eyes have been opened.
After a summer of practice I am starting to see a habit: My capacity for love has grown. My realization of the need for love has grown. My desire to love, to be loved, has grown. My intentionality in loving those around me as grown. I feel it in my heart and see it in my still imperfect life.