Love and Heartbreak

God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them.” 

                                                                                                        –Genesis 1:27                                                                      


The final project for my gender psychology class is to write an autobiography about how I came to be the gendered person I am today. Out of all the thoughts that have come to me in preparation for this assignment, the best answer I can think of is that I am a woman because that is who God made me. This answer seems so simple, but the more I think about it, the more complex I find it to be…


Last Wednesday, I had the chance to share some time with two of my friends. We were just sitting in a car at the church parking lot listening to BarlowGirl and talking. It’s almost strange to think that three young women with such different life experiences and different ways of looking at the world can come together and have so much in common. We shared a lot that night: our dreams, our hopes, our mistakes, and our heartbreaks. In some ways, our dreams and hopes are our mistakes and heartbreaks. We keep waiting on the right time, the right person, the right something, just hoping that God will make all of our waiting worthwhile… hoping that He will somehow give us proof that our waiting hasn’t been in vain.


With everything we talked about that night, there was really nothing specific that stood out about our conversation, but what we shared has stayed with me because it reminds me of just how much of a woman I truly am.


I used to think that in order to be the best woman I could be, I had to wait and be patient and allow God to keep my heart from ever being broken or torn apart. The more I think about it though, the more I realize that if I want to be the best woman I can be; I have to do the exact opposite. I have to give my heart to God and allow Him to do as He chooses to do with it, even if that means being heartbroken.


God calls me to love beyond reason. This isn’t always easy in the world we live in. There are times when I find myself wanting to run from anything that could potentially cause me pain. I want to stop taking risks and stop putting my heart on the line, but that isn’t who God created me to be.


In Mary, I find such a great example of who God calls me to be. Mary loved Jesus more than any one of us could ever imagine, and she gave her life entirely to Him without question. Mary knew she would eventually have to give Jesus up, but that didn’t stop her from loving him. She knew what Jesus would have to endure, and instead of running from the pain, she embraced it. Mary stayed with Jesus every step of the way. She walked with him even though her heart broke more with every step and with every drop of blood that her son shed. Mary loved and at the same time accepted her heart break.


As a woman, God calls me to do the same…to love with all I have and to accept the times when my heart must be broken.


I can live with heartbreak, but not the kind of heartbreak caused by someone who treated me without any respect or dignity. The kind of heartbreak I can live with is the kind caused by having to change my dreams to fit God’s plan instead of my own plan, the kind of heartbreak caused by having to let go of the guy I care for because his feelings for me changed, the kind of heartbreak caused by finding out my grandmother has cancer and there is nothing that can be done to make her better…that’s the kind of heartbreak I can live with…that’s the kind of heartbreak God calls me to live with.


In my life I have loved more than I ever thought I could, I have forgiven beyond the limits I placed for myself, and I have lived through more heartbreak than I thought I would ever know. I am a woman because I love. I am a woman because I forgive. I am a woman because I don’t run from heartbreak; and I will try my hardest not to run from love, instead, I will wait for God to bring me to a greater understanding of love.


I am a woman because that is who God made me. I was created with incomparable beauty. God made me to love and to feel. My strength lies not in the physical, but in the emotional. God made me a woman, so that I could allow myself to be led and so that I could allow myself to wait on Him.



“I won’t run when it looks like love, I won’t hide beneath the fear of how my past has come undone” 

                                                                     -Looks Like Love by NEEDTOBREATHE

 

Originally Written and Posted: November 20, 2010 at 10:38pm

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I Am Pro-Life. I Am Pro-Forgiveness.

It’s that time of year again…election season.

I can honestly say voting is one of the most conflicting things I do in life.  It feels like we are constantly reminded of how important it is to vote so that our voice gets heard. Looking at the ballot for this year, and for previous years I’ve been able to vote…my voice feels anything but heard. I look over the issues each year hoping someone will really be my voice; but in the end, I sift through my mind and think, “Which issues do I want to compromise on this year?”

What bothers me the most out of all of this isn’t the frustration I feel towards voting, but the comments I hear from other people in regard to voting (i.e. other Catholics).  “As Catholics, it’s our duty to vote! We’re pro-life, so we have to vote for the pro-life candidates!”  At face value, I agree with these statements. Voting is important, so we need to vote; and we are Catholic, so we are pro-life. Where I have problems, though, is when we really get down to what people mean by saying they are pro-life.

Most Catholics I know often equate the statement “being pro-life” with “being against abortion,” but the pro-life movement is about so much more than just abortion. The pro-life movement is about respecting life from conception all the way to natural death. A lot of people get stuck on just the beginning of that phrase. They seem to forget about natural death and about life between conception to natural death.

Yes, we are a Church that believes life begins at conception, but we are also a Church that believes in the beauty of family and in the beauty of helping the less fortunate. We are a Church that focuses on being charitable to others and focuses on loving everyone regardless of where they are in life. We desire hope and peace, and the pro-life movement strives for all of these things.

Abortion, poverty, bullying, education, suicide, addiction, unfair wages, health care, immigration, war, capital punishment…the list of pro-life issues is endless. If I had to sum up the pro-life movement in one word, though, I would use the word forgiveness because if we don’t have forgiveness for others, we don’t have respect for life.

My heart breaks every time someone contradicts him/herself by condemning the act of abortion but just as easily refusing to provide help for the homeless. Maybe the deeper issue lies in the fact that we are condemning people for their wrong actions, in the first place. We have to give people a chance at redemption. We have to let people make up for their mistakes before writing them off.

My heart further breaks every time someone contradicts him/herself by standing up against bullying but just as quickly pushing for the cruel punishment or death of a criminal. I am fully aware we can’t allow criminals to run free and do as they please and that there are criminals who don’t want salvation or change in their life. As a counselor, though, I’ve seen more times than I’d like the pattern of the abused becoming the abusers, generation upon generation of people who have never known anything but abuse in their lives. Punishing criminals in cruel ways only lets them know it’s okay to treat others in a cruel way.  It doesn’t show them a better way to behave, it doesn’t teach them that people in their right mind don’t kill or abuse, and in the end, it just makes us the abusers…it makes us the cruel ones.

Forgiveness…sometimes, we have to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we’ve made or for not living up to our goals. Other times, we have to forgive others for their heartless actions and for all of the pain they’ve caused…and still, other times, we have to forgive God for letting us down, for not letting us take the easy way out, and for having a plan different from the one we’d like.

So, this year, when November comes around, I will, once again, vote for the lesser of two evils. My voice may be just a whisper in the election results, but as long as I remember to keep forgiving, then the pro-life movement in all stages and journeys of life will be heard in my tiny corner of the world. My voice may fail at times, because I’m only human after all, but maybe if other voices join in with mine, I’ll finally be able to stop wondering which issues I’ll have to compromise.

Originally Written and Posted: October 21st, 2014