One of the biggest lies a single woman can tell herself is that she isn’t loved. Despite the love of the Lord, my family, friends, and boyfriends, I started to believe that lie. This lie just about ate me up inside, because one of my greatest fears is not being loved.
It started with my Aunt Shirley’s funeral. I was 7 or 8 years old. I loved her, and for the first time in my life I had to figure out what death meant. My siblings, cousins and I stood around the casket, looking at the woman who loved us, took care of us, hosted Thanksgiving dinners, and let us watch Jack and the Beanstalk on repeat with nary a complaint. She was gone. I struggled to remember the last words we exchanged, and came up empty.
From that moment, I was determined to always tell my family and friends that I loved them, no matter what. Even after fights and tears, I would still say “I love you.” I never wanted to die without knowing for sure that those I loved knew that I loved them. I demanded hearing, “I love you, Rachel” before I went to bed each night. With my friends, I always say “love you” before I hang up the phone. It sounds like a throw away phrase, but it isn’t. The words, “I love you” never lost their power. Each time I hear it, each time I say it, I realize how important it is.
But lately, I hear it a little less. My circle has gotten smaller, so most days, I’m just hanging out with the Lord. And that’s okay–really. I need some time to think and figure out what I want my life to look like. My problem, however, was believing the lie that I’m not loved, just because I hear “I love you” less than I used to. I had to lean in and look a little bit closer at my life to figure out what being loved look like. It wasn’t only in words, but in actions.
We live in a world that values romantic love above all else.
I bought into the lie that just because I’m not married, I’m not loved. How could I make love into something so small? Love is when my family calls to pray for and with me; love is when my mom shows up with roti and curry she made just for me, or when my dad is late to bible study because he’s fixing my car. Love is when my married best friend makes me a part of her family, and never makes me feel small because I’m not married, like other Christians have tried to do. Love is when my guy friends call me and listen to me talk about my day or my research, or my philosophies on life and the importance of having tea, even though I KNOW they could care less. Love is when I’m on my back porch, talking with the Lord, and hearing His still small voice. And yes, romantic love is amazing–but it isn’t everything.
I’m fragile. We’re all fragile. And we all need to be loved. We all need to know without a shadow of a doubt that we are loved.