Conditional Love…raw and uncut

It sneaks up on me. I am going along minding my own business, and WHAM! The world creeps in-I am angry. I think that I am managing, that I am doing ok. And then, a thought, a simple crack in the foundation and the dam collapses. I am trying, but some days, when I am least prepared, it comes. What, might you say?

Doubt. Doubt that God really loves me. Even reading that makes me uncomfortable. See, selfishness and pride are two of my biggest struggles. I have existed most of my life looking out for number one. In fact, I would say that it has been encouraged, even taught to me much of my life. (I am really feeling vunerable as I type this for some reason but it is on my heart). I am only recently learning what love “really” is. I can honestly say I don’t know if I have loved anyone or anything…and i don’t even know what love even feels or looks like. I know I have given and received levels of love. Like, I love J and B, but unconditionally is a different story.
Sure, I am and have been loved by others. Other people, especially Jut, are good a loving me. But, I don’t know what it feels like for me to actually unconditionally love. If I am completely honest, I love conditionally. It has always been about me underneath. Yuck.

I mean, what am I getting out of this relationship? What do I have to do to get what I want? Or, I will sacrifice only when there is a payout for me. Even with my children. I had children not so I could love them and let them be who God wanted them to be. I had plans. I am disappointed God chose this path for them. I wanted children so I could say I was a mother. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my husband and kids. I just don’t think I LOVE them to the degree that I am called to love. Unconditional, sacrifical love. Like loving Jayden when he is hitting me. Loving Brooklyn when she is kicking me. Loving Jut when he is asking me dumb questions.

Part of me is so angry that I am still changing diapers and for decades, I still may. It makes me angry that for as long as I have children, they will be dependant on me. What I would give to have my child wipe their own butt, feed themselves completely, get dressed independantly, and still exist in me-ville. I want to sit on the couch and watch TV when my kids are playing with their friends. I can’t. Sanfilippo or better yet, God is forcing me to look at my motivations at EVERYTHING and I am ashmed to admitt I don’t like a lot about who I am. (Actually-God is refining that specific desire to appreciate being involved 🙂

I even hate to admit this, but without being careful, even my children’s circumstance can be a platform for me to endulge in…me. I mean, I can throw a mean pity party and tell you how bad my life sucks and turn this into being about me. But, it is not. My life is about God’s story and I am not just “saying” that. I want that to be true. Desperately.

I want to learn how to love. I want my life to totally be a sacrifice. I don’t even know where to begin. I see it in others so naturally…like Jut. How can he give so much of himself to me and the kids and want nothing in return? How can he wake up countless times a night and still get up early with the kids, letting me sleep, and not hate me? I don’t get it.

Part of all this introspection comes from writing my narrative. It is a 45 minute/9 page single spaced, story of my life. I was in VP3 before and I know what this is all about. I warned my group this year to beware of the stuff that is stirred as you write it. Areas of your life you have to look at, admit are a part of you, and tell people is not fun. To tear off scabs and cut open scars, standing naked for all to see, is not comfortable. And, when you let God in to light up the dark areas, you have to look and deal with the parts of yourself that you don’t want to see.

For me, it is admitting I suck at real love. I have never really known how to be both independant and trusting. I have been hurt a lot by others in my past. I have learned how to fight and hurt people with words. I don’t know how to say sorry. I don’t know how to sacrifice. I don’t know how to live like Jesus. I don’t like the charge Jesus gives for us to be servants. The last will be first. I don’t like that. It goes against my very grain. I want to be first, or at least better than the next guy.

Which brings me back to God. I have come to a place in my walk where I want to be obedient. I want to do things for God because He is God and I believe Him. Where I struggle is believing that He loves me. I mean He says He would sacrifice nations and people for me. I know God is good, but my life doesn’t “feel” good. He has given permission for Satan to sift me like wheat! Sanfilippo, the daily life of it, doesn’t “feel” loving. What has He sacrificed on my behalf? His son? I am forced to sacrifice my son and daughter. Every day doesn’t “feel” like a gift. He wants me to be obedient, but he also wants me to love Him. Not because I have to, but because I want to. Even exposing my thoughts to the light seems like blasphemy!

I am just wrestling. I guess this all leads me to a place of brokenness. A place of need. A place that says God, forgive me. Teach me how to love you and love others like Jesus. I don’t know how. Forgive me for putting my will above yours. My needs above others. Gently help me die to myself and embrace your way because I feel fragile and broken. I want that desperately. I want to find your joy, your peace, your rest. Mine just doesn’t compare. I want to love well. I want to feel love from you, Lord. I want to know that Your will is loving. I want to not waiver in my thoughts about you. I want to be a Christian, but in spite of that, I want to be honest. I want to trust all of Your Word. Show me how Psalm 91 is true in my life. Be my shelter. I know you are God. I want to feel it. Amen

4 thoughts on “Conditional Love…raw and uncut

  1. Stefanie…this is an excellent post. I remember the little time I spent w/ you in France. I can see such a huge difference from the Me-ism (that u write about) to what you write here, a God-centered life. We all, if we are honest struggle with me-ism and beat our heads against the wall trying to be what God created us to be. Parenting does that to us. I love hearing your heart. Thanks for sharing and putting life into perspective. Praying for you and your family.

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  2. my dear friend-thank you for once again pouring out your heart in honesty and as you said raw and uncut…I am speechless right now wondering how you can have the strength, the energy, the desire to continue to dig deeper, be more obedient and closer to God in the midst of such trials. You are amazing my friend and I love you so incredibly much-I wish I could do more to show you how much…thank you for your beautiful heart!!!

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  3. i feel the same way a lot stef…i think it's a struggle a lot for me too to know that God DOES love me when i feel like there's no way He even cares…and i feel like i'm not good enough at loving or that i don't deserve someone elses' love. Love is a big struggle for me in terms of understanding it completely…while i think our struggles in the love dept are a bit different i feel like i can relate to that.

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  4. At church on Sunday we sang “Mighty to Save” I tried so hard to sing along with everyone else, but all I could do was think the words in my head and pray them in my heart as tears rolled down my face. I love the part in that song that says “Everyone needs forgiveness, the kindness of a savior, the hope of nations” and “forever, author of salvation, he rose and conquered the grave, Jesus CONQUERED the grave” “So take me as you find me, all my fears and failures, fill my life again” Stef, I hurt for you, I cry as I write this. I pray these words for YOU! I pray that God will fill your life again, he is MIGHTY to save! I love you all so much, you are in inspiration to me in more ways than you will ever know! I hate the road you have to walk down, its dark, scary, and unknown, but I will walk next to you! “Shine your light and let the whole world see” Stef- you shine much brighter than you give yourself credit. I love you so much, see you at your breakfast!

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