Love was a curious thing to her; it wasn’t emotional. As an adolescent you know your parent or parents love you by how they treat you. Her father wasn’t around and her mother worked all the time to pay the mortgage, utilities, buy food, clothes, and whatever else was needed to maintain the house.
Love was a practical thing to her because her mother’s actions taught her that love isn’t a feeling. Her mother’s actions taught her ‘if I keep a roof over your head, food in your stomach, and clothes on your back, regardless of what I say to you or how I treat you – this is what love is.’ Her mother had told her cruel things, called her cruel names and was physically and emotionally abusive; but because her mother kept a roof over her head, food in her stomach, and clothes on her back – her mother loved her.
She didn’t initially have a twisted understanding of what love was. Her mother had a twisted understanding of what love was and passed that down to her where it grew into a life of its own. A life of unhealthy relationships, a life of having sexual intimacy without any emotion because of how he showed he “cared.” He would buy her food. He would give her a place to stay. He would also go out and leave her alone knowing she’d be there when he returned because she didn’t have anywhere else to go.
She endured a life of homelessness after realizing what love wasn’t. It wasn’t letting someone take advantage of you emotionally or physically. Her understanding of love grew from not knowing what love was, but from learning what love wasn’t.
How did she learn what love wasn’t? She gave her life to Christ in 1996 and He showed her what love wasn’t by showing her what His love was. A person’s love can be very different from God’s love. A person will curse you out and physically abuse you and later apologize and say, “I love you.” God always spoke kindly to her even when she did something wrong. God always comforted her even after she’d let someone sexually use her. God was always there for her even when she questioned Him for what was happening to her and happening around her.
God, in the person of Jesus Christ, died for her sins before she even knew Him. That’s the love He showed her and oh how different it was from the love of man, from the love of her mother. She never felt guilty and wanted to do better because of being verbally abused. God’s love caused her to want to do better and be a better person as a way to show her love to Him. She loved Him because He first loved her. No one has ever showed her that kind of love. The love always shown to her was ‘if you do this, I’ll like you. If you let me do this, I’ll love you.” God’s love doesn’t demand anything. He loved her without asking for anything in return and that is what made her want to love Him back, that is what made her want to serve Him.
I look forward to reading your thoughts on the above article and how you came to learn what love wasn’t and what it was.
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(This article is cross-posted from dixonldeborah.com)