The Painful Truth

This will more than likely be the hardest thing I have ever shared with a large number of people. If I actually post this trust that it is meant cleanse me.

I am a mother of a wonderful 14-year-old son. He is handsome, talented, funny, kind, prayerful, intelligent, and more than I asked for in a son (and let me tell you…I asked for A LOT while I was pregnant). He is my life. He is what drives me. Everything I do is to make his life wonderful and to glorify God in that. I don’t do it for show or recognition. Every single thing is for that “boy”.

I became pregnant by a man that I did not know long. I loved him but wasn’t in love with him. That did not change my hurt when he walked away from us. I won’t get into the awful commentary that transpired, just know that it was ugly. I made a decision to be a single mother in a city I knew very little about. I was in graduate school at the time, and was being pressed by my department to disenroll and try again later.

That was not an option for me. I stayed in school and worked 2 part-time jobs to take care of myself. I refused to buy an expensive parking pass for campus. So I commuted every day. I drove to a COTA park-and-ride, and the bus dropped me off in front of my building. The ride home required that I walk ½ mile (yes while pregnant) to the bus to get back to my car. I never really thought about it truthfully. Everyone else was bothered. I just saw it as what I needed to do.

Nights were bad for me. I was very alone. I only had 1 good friend in Columbus that made it a point to check on me and see to it that I was well. He brought me Arby’s and put Josiah’s room together for me. So each night I would call my friend Jamie and vent about pregnancy stuff that no one tells you about. She was so kind to listen. She even let me cry the first few weeks. I had my mother too. But, as a mom now, I can see why it hurt her to see me go through this.

Well, over the years I have worked several jobs to make ends meet. Sometimes ends did not meet. I’m not sure if it was my pride or the Joe White in me that just handled most of it without saying a word. Those times were never easy. I always felt like the worst mom in the world. I always prayed that Jo would never remember any of it.

In all of this I tried my hardest to still give Jo an amazing life. I feel he deserves a life of smiles and memories that he will love to share with his wife and children. I feel like I have done that pretty well up until now. The heart wrenching part is that I cannot give him the 1 thing that his heart desires the most, a father. This one thing makes me feel like a complete an utter failure. I realized a few years ago that there is no amount of love from me, care from others, and relationships with men of integrity that will ever take the place of the father he deserves.

His earnest prayer is for me to be married and him to have a father. It’s so serious that he wrote it down. Now, we all know that this cannot be done without a willing man. I’ve had people tell me I should not worry about it…just get him a mentor. YO! A mentor is not a dad! I’ve had people tell me to lower my standards. Are you crazy? I’m already far more compassionate than I should be! I’ve even had folks try and tell me not everyone is meant for marriage. No kids! Read the bible. We all are meant for marriage. That’s exactly why Eve was created. I’m Eve’s daughter. So, go on somewhere with that one.

Some people are fooled that I date just to find him a father. Not true. I date because I want to be married, and whoever I marry will be his father. I love love. I deserve love. What I don’t deserve is the mess that’s been hurled at me on the journey to that. Not every man is the same. Neither is every woman. There are men that were not marriage material in my life. When that was realized I moved on about the day without recourse. In 14 years there have only been a couple of men that have made my heartache and question myself. Then I’d question them (about me). The consensus has been that there is nothing wrong with me. So, I was okay mostly.

I understand there is only one mate for everybody. Getting to them can take time. I get that. But when you (mutually) believe that’s what you’ve found and it’s just gone, with no warning it makes you hurt in a very deep way. I’m there…How do you just turn away from that? How do you just so quickly change your mind? How do you love someone so deeply and sincerely to just nothing?

I am hurt. I am tired. I am drained. My hope is somewhere. But I don’t feel it. I have faith. But it’s not as great as it was. I am trying to stay positive. But just when I thought God answered my prayers and heard my heart’s cries…this. And I really don’t even know what “this” is. Now I feel even worse for my Jo. The joy and hope on the horizon was so beautiful. My heart is broken for me and for him, and that’s a lot of breakage. I am not sure how I might manage through this. Maybe I won’t.

I know that we must have trials, and press through. I know God hears me. I know to stay in the word. I know to pray. I know to be persistent. I do all of this through the pain. I do all of this with the pain. I am actually more patient than I give myself credit for. So it’s not about rushing to the finish or anything.

*This is the part where I am supposed to say something encouraging or helpful. But I’ve got nothing.* Maybe some woman will read this and know it’s not just them. Maybe some man will read this and think twice about how he interacts with women. I don’t know. (SMH) I really just don’t know. There’s nothing worse to anyone to be told everything wonderful and it to be just washed away. This is making me fade and I am hard pressed to stop that from happening.

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This Thing Called Love

In my life I have loved many people: family, friends, colleagues, men I’ve dated, and random people who spark a special energy in me or reflect something I am or hope to be. As Christians we know that there are levels to this thing we call love:

  1. Philia- Brotherly Love
  2. Eros- Romantic Love
  3. Storge- Familial Love
  4. Agape- Selfless Love

There are people who do not factor all of this into the equation when you say that you love someone. For the purpose of this post I am going to talk about how we love people as our mates, husbands/wives, significant other, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.

For most people when they say that they love someone they are referring to eros love. There is certainly nothing wrong with that. As the relationship evolves people will begin to say “I am so IN-love with ___________.” What in the world does that mean? I’ve said it myself, and when someone said to me once, “I love you Olivia. But I’m not IN-love with you.” I had to really sit back and think on what he meant.

As I evaluated my relationships up until that point compared to the 4 types of love mentioned above, I fully understood what had been said to me. Though it hurt I was glad to have clarity. From my perspective when you’re in-love with someone you love them in all 4 ways. The love for a spouse/mate is the only love that encourages all 4 to be combined into 1 experience or relationship.

When you are in-love with someone you usually begin with a love for them as you do your friends. At some point you create a connection that includes intimacies and sharings that are only meant for romantic relationships. And very soon you will find yourselves loving one another as you do your family. And as Christians, I am sure that the selfless, supernatural love we are to have for all was in it from the start ;)!

Why dear Olivia Are you talking about all of this? Because I think that quite a few people consider all of this. Not everyone takes time to think about how and why we love people, and what that converts to in our actions and words. This is in no way meant to admonish a lack of loving expressions. Even though we should all consider how we treat and express our love to our mates based on what space we are loving them from. But I am looking from the other side.

I could talk all day about what we should and could do for our mates. Most of us reading this already know these things. We may not always do those things, or do them the best when we do. When we don’t we often beat ourselves up to a point of immobility. Remorse is a natural response when we disappoint someone we love. But it should not hold us or our relationship hostage. What I want to challenge is for us to look from your mate’s heart at you in those moments.

You know they are in-love with you, right? If the answer is yes, then why don’t you trust them to love you through your errors, faults, and shortcomings? That’s what we are to do as Christians. I could just leave that right there. But listen, that’s how we are to love our family and friends too. So, why in the world do we think that the 1 person in the world who has godly love for us, endears us as a friend, cares for us as family, and is romantically involved with us would not be willing to look beyond your flaws and have forgiveness and compassion for you…and STILL love you?

There are “deal breakers” for some people, and I understand that. I am not talking about those things. When you are completely loved by someone as Christ intends mates to; at some point you have to trust that they will love you over the potholes and speed bumps. “Yeah, you made my head jerk and may have scratched my new rims a bit. But I still love you.” Too many of us have missed out on sincere love because of this.

We basically think that people only love our goodness. Nah son! If I’m in-love with you I love all of you. We aren’t perfect. You may irritate me. But that’s okay. I’m sure I irritate you too, and you still love me! The things we are scared to share usually are 1. not so bad, and 2. what has shaped our character. Many people have to move from the fear of shame and criticism and trust in God’s work and love in our mate to be like Him in times of pain or frustration.

This is one storm that many couples do not get past. It can be painful to watch. I implore you all to trust the God in your mate. Trust the love they have for you. Trust that with those things plus sincerity, prayer, and communication you will be loved perpetually without reservation.

 

Time to Move

I became a single parent in 2002. The journey of course began 9 months earlier to my dismay. I spent a day or two in shock. Then I gathered myself enough to tell 2 friends and my mother (& stepdad). My mother encouraged me early on to stay positive as to not disturb myself or my son’s spirit.

I took her simple and only advice while pregnant and declared “I’m well. I have peace. I have joy. I can do this. I don’t need his father.” Over the past 13 years I had plenty of struggles, some related to being a single parent, some not. I had even more blessings. So I did not complain very often about being a single mom. My mother often reminded my situation was a ministry to those watching. So, I should walk up rightly knowing I’m blessing others. During these years I simply prayed for my son to have great male role models and occasionally for me to have a male companion.

Last year I began digging to discover myself. This spring my ex boyfriend and I split. He declared I deserve more and I can do better (than him). The light bulb turned on! For 13 years I did not believe I could have exactly what I wanted. That’s why my prayers seldom my were for a husband/father. When I did pray that prayer it would always resolve with “not my will but Thy will…I’m okay with just having a boyfriend.”

Looking back I see how my defeated state in 2001, societal views (women can do it all), and certain religious rhetoric (just be happy with what you have, He gives what we need maybe you don’t need a husband) formed my thoughts and prayers. I’m not blaming them because I could have changed them at any point.

With this new light I have created a new way of thinking, prayer, and expectancy. I have to think up, big, and expect the same. I can’t limit God with my tiny thoughts. Because that’s what He’ll send. I have to ask for exactly what I want. No more dumbing down my desires because others may think I’m doing too much or for fear that God will laugh at me. He really wants to perform miracles. He really want to bless hugely so He can receive the glory! Jesus came so we could have life more abundantly!

My mother was right  in so many ways. I have been a walking billboard for all sorts of people. I opened my life in so many ways locally and worldwide with social media. Some people think you shouldn’t share so much but I live life out loud. I’m an open book. I really want to be a blessing to my “friends”. But abut 2 weeks ago I realized it’s time to transition to walking in my full purpose as a wife; which will provide me several other intimate desires.

I’ve been praying for it since May and over the summer I’ve realized through the word, meditation, and life happenings that it’s time. I can’t go any further forward without my husband’s covering; not to mention my son is in need of his father just as much as he wants him! I’m certain his yearning spoke to God who spoke to me.

I’ve been in the way. But not anymore! I spent many days praying for everyone else but me. God had to tell me many times to pray for myself! I would sometimes. When I did it was usually a quick prayer of protection and good health. I’ve done all I could for my friends (those watching). I’ve emptied my vessel for their good. Now it’s time for God to restore Me (Job 42:10).

I will always pray for those placed on my heart and who ask. But now is my time! God has made it clear! This season is over. I won’t reside here! It’s time for me to walk into the best of days in my life!