Day Three in the love posts come from my friend Bre. I admire this girl to no end. We became friends as the two tallest girls in science class in seventh grade, and I have so many funny memories of inside jokes, passing notes, and two-hour tanning sessions (I know, I know… skin cancer) trying to get that BABE tan for the eighth grade. #priorities, am I right? Hahaha! A few months ago she found one of our “tanning mix” CDs, and we were both mutually horrified/impressed with our song selection. So many gems. We thought we were just the sickest with our Brad Paisley meets Ludacris meets All American Rejects playlist. Anyway, I really love Bre, and I have loved seeing her grow over the years and learning from her incredible example of faith. She really is amazing in every way, and the message she shares about love is so needed:
“Last February I was a total mess. My marriage was in pieces. I was completely heartbroken. I would literally cry on my way to and from work. And have to take three or four breaks during the day to go cry in the bathroom. And I don’t mean a couple of tears here and there. I mean complete, body shaking, ugly girl sobs. It was bad. My marriage was so toxic and had helped me come up with these lies about myself. I felt like a failure. I felt like I had unsolvable issues. I felt like I was helpless and hopeless. I didn’t like myself. Actually, I really disliked myself. And I was convinced that I would never be loved, or love anyone, ever again. But God somehow took my greatest trial as a way to prepare me for my greatest blessing.
First of all, divorce taught me that God loves me and how to love myself. Once my divorce was final I started seeing a counselor. Mostly as a way to sort through all of the hurt and confusion that came with a toxic relationship. But it taught me so much more. My counselor helped me to realize that even if I didn’t feel like I was worth anything, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ knew that I was worth everything. Christ loved me so much He died for me, doesn’t that make me worth loving? Absolutely.
I learned that God knows me. He made me, after all. And he loves me so much he WANTS me to be happy. I learned this by just looking at the details of my life. My parents, my brothers and their wives, my nieces and nephews, my friends, my boss and coworkers, my bishop and neighbors. The temple. The scriptures. Prayer. Every little aspect of my life was a blessing. And do you know what, that’s not a coincidence. God made it that way. He made sure I had everything and everyone I needed to get through the heartbreak. If that’s not pure, genuine love then love doesn’t exist.
During my divorce I met with bishop every so often. He asked me how I felt when I thought about seeing my ex husband (let’s just say it wasn’t very positive). Then he asked me how I felt when I thought about seeing my Savior. I got emotional thinking about it. The love and gratitude I have for Him is unexplainable. And it’s amazing because I know that He loves me on a level that I probably don’t really understand. And guess what? I know he loves you just as strongly, deeply, and purely as He loves me. Isn’t that rad?? Anyway, my bishop counseled me to strive to be with someone who made me feel more like my feelings of seeing my Savior. Which I thought was incredible advice and has brought me immense joy. So that is something I’d like to pass along to you. 🙂
I get that some people hate Valentines Day. It can be hard. Last Valentine’s Day I had just moved back in with my parents and was more heartbroken than I ever knew possible. I hated seeing all of the lovey mushy posts on Facebook and Instagram. It made me feel horrible. So if that’s you this year, I get it. I’ve been there. And I’m sorry. But it gets better because God has a plan and wants us all to be happy! And I know that I’m lucky and not everyone who goes through divorce ends up engaged to their perfect match like I am. (The love and gratitude I feel for my fiancé would be a whole post on its own). But I do know that no matter where you are in life – single, married, divorced, widowed, whatever, God loves you. You have a Savior who died for you and will always always always be there to help you grow through your trials. So keep your head up and look around for the love God has put in your life. Then look again and see how you can be the love in someone else’s.”