I gave my life to Christ in 2013. In the middle of a relationship with a woman, in the middle of not knowing fully what that meant, but fully knowing that I could no longer survive in my own body and mind the way that it was.
For years singleness didn’t bother me. I had so many pieces of myself to surrender and heal that I wasn’t interested in a partner. I had spent so many years ignoring motherhood, avoiding healing and being self-destructive that my heart literally couldn’t imagine having the capacity to fully give myself to another person.
But then —slowly but surely, as I did the work– the healing came. I crossed barriers that I had been stuck in, I got to know my true self and my heart opened and with this healing came the desire to share in life with someone. As my heart healed parts of myself that I’d never known was there began to show up no longer as pain, but a different aching that expressed my desire to have someone that loved me and wanted to spend their lives with me and my children.
Now my safe haven at home that I created felt more like a prison.
The peaceful bedroom that I’d prayed for felt empty and alone.
My living room felt bigger because I was in there by myself.
My confident independence began to feel like a badge of shame rather than honor to God.
The strength that I’d gained in life felt like it kept me ostracized instead of valued.
Whereas in one season I had been grateful to be able to go grocery shopping, handle tantrums, find peace and be grateful for solitude—something unnoticed and unchecked in my heart was turning God’s blessing and healing into bondage and addiction to finding love.
Let me clear, I wasn’t dating at all. This shows just how empty I felt in this area. The fact that God wasn’t sending anyone fed further into my belief that this was some thing that God was withholding from me. In my mind I was living from a place inside that was lack. I also WAS NOT taking my feelings to God and asking HIM to fulfill me. I was wallowing in an emotion that I wasn’t quite familiar with.
Through tears, sleepless nights and intentional time with the Lord I was able to recognize that I was dealing with abandonment issues. (Go figure right?) it wasn’t just the fact that I felt like God had forgotten about me in this area, it was more so that my issues from my past of abandonment had moved to the forefront of my heart. This was something that, if I had taken it to God and allowed him to walk through it with me, he surely would have.
Abandonment feels like,
“Why couldn’t they love me?”
“Why didn’t they choose me?”
“Why wasn’t I good enough?’
“Why isn’t God hearing my cries?”
For most of us, abandonment issues began way before we ever found ourselves single or even feeling that emotion for that matter. For the sake of time and your attention, I’ll get to the revelation that this showed me. Even though my sexual abuse shattered my soul, I believe it was the fact that I had no one (clears throat, i.e. my parents) to comfort or be there for me. I remember as I got older and began to process the abuse, I would often think to myself, “Why weren’t they around making sure that I was okay?” But here’s the thing- it’s not like I didn’t talk to or see them, I just felt like we didn’t have that type of relationship where I felt like I could talk to them. This coupled with the fact that I was left as I grew older to fend for myself meant that I felt in a sense abandoned by those that were supposed to love and care for me.
Thus, for the most part, any type of NO or absence felt like abandonment. By definition abandon means to leave completely and finally; forsake utterly and to desert. Even though I had forgiven my parents, even though I had forgiven my abusers, even though I had forgiven every person that I believed had hurt me, being single for almost 6 years had exposed in me that forgiveness does not fulfill the space in your heart that was hollow from your past.
I didn’t realize that healing was not the same as surrendering the negative emotions that are centered around trauma. It seemed to me as if, now that I had the capacity to love myself and others, I still needed to process of this side of healing. I’ll always be amazed at how multi-faceted healing and wholeness is.
Living life as a single mother and the sole financial provider for your family (something that I had been doing myself since I was 13 years old) it taught me that when my back was against the wall, it was a hard wall and there were times when there were no one to call. It more than felt like abandonment, I knew I was physically alone and whatever I didn’t have, often didn’t get. But here’s the truth—I had to find a way to process those instances and MOVE ON. Otherwise, I would continue to make decisions from that place.
Here’s my conclusion:
I prayed. I fasted a few days (sparingly, I don’t do it well) I got a few friends to pray with me and I sought wise counsel. I repented of my actions and thoughts and asked God to help me get back into position. I went back to the places that I had found joy in and asked God to revive them again. I read a few of my favorite books, I recalled His faithfulness in times where I had felt the same, I forced myself to recognize that I was rooted in Christ and that there was nothing that could separate me from his love. And then I just committed to processing my abandonment issues.
I’ve done word studies, created a few affirmations and taken some journal time daily to just work on redirecting the narration in my head about being abandoned and forgotten.
I want to leave you and encourage you with this.
My story or reasons do not have to look like yours. Your reasons can be different. But here’s what I want to encourage you with. God is not punishing you. You have not missed your time. And as a believer, you probably already realize that there are some battles that we walk through and we grow and learn from. And sometimes the lack of a promise may represent an area in our hearts that needs healing. I don’t love the fact that I am single, but I love the fact that I will not enter a relationship dealing with abandonment issues.
I don’t love how the process of healing looks, I don’t love waiting. But after I been angry with God, ignored him, questioned him, I always find myself back on my knees, knowing that he is the one and only person that can help me and heal me.
In moments where your heart is tender, I know it may be hard to hear –get to know yourself, do things you love, travel, stay up late, be with your kids, etc. but that is the truth. Don’t allow a season of preparation and/or rest to go to waste being discontent. I myself have wasted a good 4 months wallowing in something that I was supposed to be thriving in.
In light of the voice of abandonment that tells you that you are not wanted or valued, fight back with the words of the father that tell you, you are protected and loved.
I hope this has been helpful and thanks for reading.