Refilling

I know that most of you who read these words are women. And I know that not all of you have been where some of my friends are now. But some of you have. And, dear sisters, I know that not all men are like the ones they once loved. Praise God for that! But if you have grieved the loss of a love, the loss of a dream, or even the loss of your faith, I offer you this hug and pray that you find comfort and peace within it. And even if the details of your loss are a little different from theirs, I pray that you feel my empathy for wherever you find yourself at this moment. I pray that you find a way to rest in the love of God that surrounds you. Bathe in it. Be cleansed by it. Then step out proudly into this new day, clean and still dripping with His love, knowing for certain that the new dreams you have in your heart for your future are the dreams that God has for you as well.

This is my attempt to enter into your grief, your pain, in empathy and love. Dear sister, I want to feel where you have been and where you are. And I want to support you as you pave a new road into your future. I pray these words bring you healing and hope.



I gave my love freely, transparently, intimately to the man I was once in love with. I offered it to his lips as a delicious refreshing nectar trusting that the love I gave would be the love I would receive. I trusted that my love for him and him alone would flow freely back to me with the same assurance of fidelity and oneness.

But, instead of relishing, savoring what I had to give him, he trashed it. He guzzled it down like cheap booze and emptied me of it. I struggled to find ways to refill my heart without him only to have him empty me again. And again. And again. At some point I realized he was only into me for the intoxication. He didn't really want who I was. He wanted the high and that's all.

Then he tossed me out the window and drove off.  And now I feel like an empty bottle in the ditch at the side of the road. Discarded. Colorless. Neglected. I feel abandoned, unwanted. And he gets to go on with his life as if nothing happened. Oh, Lord! Stop me! Don't let me go there!

Don't let me slip down the rutted road of resentment, for it only leads into the bitter swamp of contempt, anger and hatred swarming with the gnats of guilt and shame. Please help me rise and stay above that. I don't need to go there.

But, still, I feel old.

Dirty.

Not only do I not feel lovable, I'm not sure I can ever love again. He actually hurled the "un" word at me. Damn, this hurts! This hurts too much. Way too much.

Loneliness has overcome me. I have lost my hope. My dreams have been trashed. Despair lurks like a wild snarling dog in the bushes. I don't know where to go from here. I feel homeless, drifting. The road I had built into my future is no longer on the map. Lord help me!

Lord! (help me).

And just now, a friend stops by. I haven't seen or talked with him for years. He's like a brother. Family. He sees the empty bottle within me and picks me up. He doesn't seem to care that I feel covered with road grime, that I feel so worthless.

He listens. He does not judge. He does not try to fix me or fix the situation I find myself in. He affirms. He supports. He does not condemn. I am doing quite well at doing that to myself, thank you. And now he pauses, prays, and speaks a word from our Father to me that brings me comfort, that brings me peace and understanding. He affirms that I tried until I could try no more. He affirms that I did my best to redeem what needed redemption, but my man chose not to respond. That is not my fault. I did what God led me to do and there is no shame in that.

And now he is telling me that I am beautiful. He is telling me that I am adorable and lovable, funny and attractive. Are you kidding me? I have bad hair, my mascara is making black skid marks down to my chin, my eyes are puffy and beet-red from crying.  Is he nuts? Crazy? Is he blind?

Or can he see through my blindness?

Maybe.

I'm a complete mess! No man would ever want me again! And I'm not sure I could ever give myself to him if he did.

But I like hearing his words of support. I like his voice. For his voice is filled with covenant love -- a love I didn't believe existed in him until now. A love I could not trust, until now.

And as he listens to the drip, drip, drip of my bleeding, I feel myself being filled back up. I can once again taste the sweetness of love on my lips. Love is seeping back into the abused, cracked and broken vessel of my heart.

But this is no ordinary vessel. I am beginning to see that. Even in its brokenness, the uneven, sharp edges of its rim, it is beautiful. Stunningly gorgeous, actually.

The first love to start to trickle back is my love for who I am.

I wrap my arms around my friend and feel the gentleness of his returned embrace. He kisses me on my cheek, and as I release my hug, he releases his, sliding his hands to the sides of my shoulders. He looks into my eyes and smiles. No words. Just a smile of compassion. A look that says "I know". A look that says, "I love you" in a way I have never seen before. He says more in that silent moment than I have ever heard with my ears. He speaks through a moment of peace directly into my hurt, directly into my heart. No words are needed. And I am not so sure I would have heard them anyway if they were spoken.

And then he says, “See you later, my friend. And remember that as you see me turn and leave, know that my spirit will continue to face you. I leave you with this blessing and promise. I can see that beautiful, passionate orange rose within you.  I see that your outer petals are bruised, abused, torn and broken. They will fade and fall away in time. But there are new petals forming at your center. Tender petals. Ones that have not yet felt the touch of a man -- but they will. And it will be a man who knows how to cherish and caress a rose, to touch and explore its beauty without breaking or bending it. He knows the touch that barely touches. He is out there and God will send him to you, in time. May the love of Jesus remain in you … just as you remain in Him. I will be praying for you, as I have promised. Call me tomorrow or whenever you need to.”

Oh, dear friend. You will never know how much this means to me. Thank you.

So as I sit down on the curb and watch him leave, I realize that there comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and the people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, who love you. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. You love the people who treat you right, wish well the ones who don't. Falling down is a part of life. Getting back up is truly living.

I am starting to think that maybe, just maybe, I am still beautiful. You know what? Maybe I really am adorable. And you know what else? I can learn to love again. But first I have to remember how to laugh. I'll get there. I can do this! But I know I can't do it alone.

Oh, Lord Jesus, be with me now. Come fill me with Your Spirit. Expand within me and fill every wound, every dark corner in my soul. Fill me with Your light, Lord, and crowd out all the hurt, the sadness, the grief, the despair. Chase out all my darknesses as I begin my day. Cause your Spirit to melt in with mine. Carry me through this day on the wings of your angels.

And as my friend fades away into the distance, I feel Jesus walk up and sit down beside me along the edge of  the road. He embraces my head in His hands and causes me to look into His eyes. My gaze dissolves  into those deep, rich, chocolate-brown eyes and I instantly know that He knows. I know He feels what I feel. And I watch as He takes his finger and wipes the tears from my cheeks placing them into the palm of His hand. Then he mixes mine with some tears of His own, pauses, looks at me with a smile and wipes the clumps of mascara from under my eyes and mixes them in as well -- which makes me laugh. What are you doing, Lord?

And with that mix of my pain, my brokenness, and His empathetic love, He smiles and makes the sign of the cross on my forehead.

Which, of course, makes me cry again. I lose it. But these tears are different. They are not the tears of pain. They are the tears that wash the pain away cleansing and restoring my spirit.

Oh, Lord. Thank you.

Then He, too, fades away as I stand, breathe a heavy sigh and start my day. A smile appears unexpectedly on my lips as I continue to feel the moistness of His cross on my forehead. He has taken the acute pain completely away, and will help me carry away and discard the lingering aches. He has stopped the bleeding. His Spirit will heal the remaining wounds in time.

And I know that the Holy Spirit has some work, some holy housekeeping to do in me to get me ready for a new relationship, new trust. I know that I will soon begin to pave a new road into a future filled with dreams fulfilled beyond my wildest imagination. And those dreams will refill me with joy.

And, yes, I will laugh again. And I will soon bring laughter back into the hearts of my friends. But for now, I know that I can get through today.  And my today is better than my yesterday. And my tomorrow, with His love and grace, will be even better yet.