For as long as I could remember, I had been in love with Damon Kent. My family moved away for a few years from the town where I grew up. During that time, I changed, of course, and matured into a sixteen-year-old girl who could pass for a twenty-year old young woman with no problem. My foray into big city life had afforded me a new-found confidence, so the summer I returned to my hometown, I called Damon. It was a wildly bold move for me, but my time away had not been the most positive experience. I was hoping Damon would turn into my prince, that he would rescue me from the disappointments that came with maturing way ahead of most of my peers.
Damon and I talked the entire summer vacation. We had long conversations on the phone and my crush intensified. After returning from a place where I had no friends, was ridiculed constantly for my accent, and had to wear my mother’s clothes because nothing in the teen section would fit, I needed the ray of hope he offered. There was only one problem, my imagination was larger than life. I was never satisfied with just a little; I always had to take it to the nth degree, and nothing short of this would quench my hunger for the grandiose and extreme.
I imagined Damon and I walking to classes holding hands, stealing a kiss after study hall, and getting engaged in college. Oh yeah, I took it there and beyond, even though we hadn’t seen each other in four years. Finally, the day arrived. I, not having my license yet, would be taxied to high school to register for classes. Damon was attending band camp at school, and we planned to meet up. Butterflies couldn’t touch the huge pigeons flying around in my gut. I remember it as if it were yesterday. I tried to look my best, and felt confident that I did, but it was no match for the fact that I had grown over a foot taller than Damon. When he and his friends spotted me, they behaved like ten-year-old boys. I pretended not to see them, and soldiered on as I had always done.
He had been so incredibly kind and tender over the summer. “What happened to that person?” I thought. This is a question that seemed to plague many of my relationships, and countless others have asked it regarding those that have hurt and betrayed them as well.
I love the saying “go big or go home!” And one of my scripture favs is Ephesians 3:20 (NKJV), “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,” The wonderful truth that God ‘goes big’ when it comes to blessing us floods my heart with joy. Even at some of the worse times of my life, I’ve always known that God wanted the best for me and that more out of life was available, but oddly enough, I looked to others to fill my cup instead of Him.
As the desire to partner took center-stage in my life, my big imagination gobbled up the individuals I dated. It was no way that they could meet those expectations, but I had a huge hole in my soul. I imagined that my love would be reciprocated from the object of my affection in such enormous proportions that it would fill me up and then some.
I needed to be loved, but I had not seen another person give the kind of love that I craved. I couldn’t even figure out how to love ME, with all my awkwardness and quirks. How was it that I expected someone to do for me what I couldn’t do for myself? It was a tough question, and 2Peter 2:9 has the answer. It tells us that the Lord knows how to rescue us from our trials. It finally dawned on me that I had been looking for love in all the wrong places. I needed to grow in the love of Christ, and at first it wasn’t so much about how I loved other people. It was about me allowing the roots of the love of Christ to grow down in my empty places. I had to trust that he loved me more than I could ever know. I encountered God’s love, strength and power in a way that anchored me as I had never been in my life.
God’s perfect love is the greatest reality of all eternity. Heavenly Father loved me to deliverance, and then healed my broken heart. My work continues to be one of surrendering my need to control how I’m loved by others, and I find that the more I release my need to control, the more my heart swells with gratitude and love for Christ. People will sometimes turn on us, for seemingly no apparent reason. When this happens, we have to remember that our identities are not shaped by what they give us, but by how we love them and ourselves through Christ. In John 15:9-13 The Message (MSG), He tells us, “9-10 I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love. 11-13 “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love.”■
Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
“What Happened to That Person? written for Overcomingdomesticviolenceorg.wordpress.com ©2020. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!