This is a continuation of a series every Friday where I will be highlighting the growth and healing of one of my readers, a new reader each week. These, my sweet ones, are their brave and vulnerable stories. Take heart…you are not alone.  -Elisabeth

“It’s time for a bigger dream,” says my counselor after I answer that my ultimate childhood ambition was to be loved and safe, which, in my mind, meant becoming a wife and mom. That was my heart’s desire, and I spent my youth preparing for and fantasizing about the day I would finally belong to someone who wanted me. Every boyfriend was “the one,” and I worked hard in my young adult years to learn as much about marriage and parenting as I could to be ready for my Dream fulfilled. I ardently navigated family of origin trauma with a professional counselor, listened to countless broadcasts on personal growth, family, parenting, etc., and otherwise made every effort to equip myself for the fulfillment of my Dream.

However, what I thought was a unique bent towards domesticity, I’m realizing was just the limit of my imagination given the fact that I had for so long lived without a foundation of love, belonging and safety. It created a chasm in me that meant getting those basic needs met was all I longed for. The world beyond those things just didn’t seem to matter much to me. If I could be loved, I would be content.

Predictably, this led to unhealthy relationships fraught with codependency, heartbreak and low standards. Thirteen years ago, I thought I had met my final “one,” and married with great expectations of love and purpose for the years to come. Now, after thirteen years of being a wife and eleven of being a mother, and finding both of those beautiful roles far more heartrending than I anticipated, I’m starting to understand my Dream differently. And, after surviving a marriage that has killed my heart little by little— like death by a million papercuts— my counselor is helping me come up with ideas to spark life in my spirit again. She asks me what I always dreamed of as a child when I imagined growing up. I tell her, and mourn a bit the fact that my Dream morphed into my nightmare in so many ways.

“Yeah,” she quips, “it’s time for a bigger dream.”

And so, as I consider what my life may look like moving forward, the question of love and my longing for it still lingers at times. In the past, any time I have considered walking away from a destructive relationship, the fear that always gripped me (and often held me back) was this: Will I ever be loved again? Will I ever find another love? Yeah, this love is bad, but will I really find a better love if I leave this one? Sound familiar?

Now as I write this, I can’t say that refrain does not still tug at my ears…but this time there’s another lyric – a stronger, more compelling one playing as well. It says, “You already ARE loved, right where you are. Fully. Completely.” True, it’s not a love of a man who can bring me flowers, write me notes or cuddle with me on the couch. But it is a love that won’t be snatched away. It is a love that will never die. It is a love that doesn’t lie, cheat, and steal. And it is a love that is from the One who knows me completely and finds me worthy of His love every day. I am loved. If, in the end, I walk away from this relationship with all of its heartbreak, I don’t walk away unloved. And that love has given me inspiration to dream big and embrace goals and aspirations beyond what fits into my home.

-Rebecca Lawson

If this sweet woman’s post resonated with your heart, please know that you are not alone. Here are a few resources for you:

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If in a difficult marriage: Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage is available as a PDF/e-book:
If separated/divorced: Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage is available in paperback/e-book:
If a single mom: Moving on as a Christian Single Mom is available in paperback/e-book:

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