Independent: one of the words most frequently used to describe me by my family from the time I was a baby. They are not incorrect in their observation. Picture that stubborn child who insists on doing everything by herself and you have me—even now at nearly thirty years old.
I pride myself on being self-sufficient, on being able to take care of myself. Unfortunately, this means that I struggle with asking for help and letting someone care for me. This is partly to do with stubbornness, but mostly because I genuinely fear being burdensome to those around me.
As I begin preparing (officially) for marriage, I can’t help but see the way God has been moving in forcing me out of my comfort zone of independence to be joined with someone who will help me grow in many ways—especially in allowing myself to be taken care of.
“‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ . . . . So they are no longer two, but one flesh.” (Matthew 19:5-6)
In the time my fiancé and I have been together, by the grace of God, my heart has been stretched and pulled in many different ways, including learning how to just be loved. It is crazy how challenging it can be to allow someone to show their love through care, compassion, and forgiveness—especially when we think we do not deserve it.
The beautiful thing is that in our relationship I am learning to let not just him, but others in my life love me as well. Through their love I know that I am seeing just a tiny glimpse of the way I am loved by God.
God uses all vocations to bring us to holiness and fuller understanding of His love!
Whether single, religious, or married, God is reaching out with open arms inviting us to be lavished in the same manner describe in Ezekiel today (Ezekiel 16:6-14) and to experience the same forgiveness and fidelity to His covenant. (Ezekiel 16: 60, 63)
Let’s be honest, I will probably always have a bit of an independent streak. But, thankfully, through my vocation and the love of others, I am learning to grow in understanding of my dependence on God and the need to allow myself to be loved just as I am.
How are you experiencing His love today? Jot it in your journal, hold it in your heart.
Sarah Stanley is a small town Ohio girl who is mildly obsessed with all things Ignatian and is very passionate about faith, social justice, and the intersection of the two. She recently earned her Master of Divinity and now serves as the Director of Christian Service at a high school in New England. When she’s not working, she enjoys contagious laughter, travel, clever puns, and finding the good in all things. You can find out more about her here.