I have spent many years dating men, or boys rather, who I tried to make fit what I had dreamt of since I was a little girl. Searching for qualities that would make the red flags seem not so negative. Over the years I slowly kept pushing away the desires of my heart for the man I had dreamt of; pushing away the longing that was placed in my heart long ago of the man that I wanted to share my life with. I began to think, almost know, that finding my heart’s desire was just a dream; it wasn’t in the cards for me, it was only what other girls who lived a life with better choices than mine received; it was for the girls who were worthy of a man who would love, honor and cherish them, be trustworthy, loyal, honest, understanding and man of strong character.
Over the years I began to feel the at the boys I dated I deserved. I believed their words about me; I believed the words my first boyfriend told me - that I was fat, ugly and that no one would ever love me. Given this, when a guy would “show” they loved me, I took it, I took the scraps that were thrown at me. I settled for guys who didn’t meet the desires of my heart; I settled for guys who didn’t cherish or honor me, who didn’t guard or protect my heart. I settled for guys who instead lied to me, betrayed me, cheated on me, spoke mean and hurtful words to me and at one point a guy who was physically abusive to me. I felt that if I had made better choices, if I had decided to save myself for marriage, had I not made some of the choices I made, maybe then I would be blessed with a true man, but since I wore several scarlet letters, I was receiving exactly what I deserved. The deception was great; the lies I believed were intense.
The craziest feeling of all was not believing these lies about what I deserved, but the nagging voice in the back of my head telling me “This isn’t what you want your kids to see. This isn’t what you want them to think they deserve. Do the work Tiani. Remove the lies, find the truths, even if it means being alone. Now is the time to cut a path through the blackberry bushes, take all the scratches and cuts, do the work, clear a path of truth for you and your kids.” Finally I listened to this nagging voice, for the reality that I didn’t want my kids to feel they deserved scraps in relationships, I wanted them to know they deserve incredible, and they need to be that incredible partner as well; I wanted them to know that regardless of choices they make, they still deserve to be loved,to be honored, to be cherished, to be fought for, to be seen as worthy. Here began the work, the long, intense road of removing the lies, of replacing them with the truths, of searching my heart for the desires God placed within me when He made me.
I went through counseling, I journaled, I poured out my heart in my journal, to my friends and to my counselor. I dug deep. My heart ached during this process; I prayed and begged God to replaced the lies, to tell me who I really was; to speak truth to me. I didn’t want to believe the lies anymore; I didn’t want to be an example of a weak woman for my kids; I wanted them to see strong, to see whole, to see a fighter, and overcomer, to see God make good from choices that were not great. There were certainly moments when the lies were so intense that I would step into the same patterns. The difference was, each time I would see myself about to enter the old pattern, I could say to myself “I don’t deserve this. I deserve different.” I heard the truths my dear friends has been speaking into me. I did the unthinkable, I spent time alone, no in a relationship, not searching for one. Instead learning to be content in being alone; that being loved and whole didn’t mean I had to be in a relationship; that I didn’t deserve unhealthy, abusive love because after all, that wasn’t love. Yes, I still desired to be in a relationship one day, to have that one person who loves me who looks at me a way no one else ever will because they know all of me, the good the bad, the funny and they adore me because of it all; that person who chooses to love me each day because they want to. I realized that this desire to share life with someone, didn’t make me weak or less of a women. I had this desire since I was young, I dreamt of meeting someone, raising kids, and sharing life… the typical little girl dream, and despite the choices I made along the way, that innate desire never left my heart.
The night of healing, of truth pouring into my heart, I remember with such intensity; the night I finally felt the lies stripped away and the truth of who I was, of what I deserved fill me. I was laying in my walk-in closet (which is my place of solitude), listening to worship music. I had just finished journaling, pouring heart out for the umpteenth time, when the words to a Kelly Minter song spoke directly to my heart, the final place in my heart that needed healing. “Forgiven, Beautiful and Worthy to be Loved.” How those exact words were what I needed to hear at that exact moment. As they were sang, tears streamed down my cheeks and I realized, I am Forgiven, I am Beautiful and I am Worthy to be Loved. The beauty! The Freedom! The Healing in those words!
Daily I remind myself of these words. I remind myself this as I enter into a new season of my life, into dating from a healthy place; as I enter into dating from a place of knowing that I don’t deserve leftovers, but I deserve a man, a man who sees past my past, who looks at me and sees me, who sees that those choices have made me who I am right here and right now. It can be hard to accept someone actually seeing you and liking you anyway - it’s overwhelming. I have found myself in tears wondering if it could actually be real; reminding myself I deserve happy, honest, trustworthy, loyal; I deserve someone who makes me laugh, who tells me I am beautiful and means it; I deserve someone who encourages me; who sees me and still wants to know me more and still finds me amazing. How surreal it feels; how lovely, how amazing, but at the same time so emotional and new.
Forgiven… Beautiful…. and Worthy to be Loved… we all need to remind ourselves of this. We are. Each and everyone of us. The beauty in those words, the freedom and healing, and the doors that open once we know the truth and accept it. For knowing those words, believing them in depth of our heart, allows us to know we deserve our heart’s desire to be loved, to be seen as beautiful; that we don’t have to settle for less… we can be choosey, we can, and should, wait for amazing.
I'm a single mom of four radiant kids who believes in relationship with Jesus over religion. I'm trying not to battle with fear anymore - instead I am choosing to follow what God has called me to do. With that you'll find me here, trying to be brave, with the goal of being authentic and honest about God, single parenting and the beauty in the mess of my joyful chaos. It's sure to be a journey... and I am blessed to share it with you!