I don’t really like to focus on my past too much. While the happy memories abound and comfort me like a warm blanket on a chilly autumn afternoon, I also have painful experiences tucked away in a closet of memories that I prefer not to visit.
But when I do look back, it reminds me that through losing a lot, God also showed me how to love a lot.
The hope of motherhood
My husband and I had been married for several years with no children. It’s not that we didn’t want children, it just didn’t happen according to our timeline.
Our first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage – the worst experience I’d ever lived through. My second miscarriage, while devastating, wasn’t as emotionally crippling, since I knew the chances of losing another beloved baby.
The Lord did eventually bless us with two healthy babies and my sons are now 12 and 10 years old. They’re my absolute world and worthy of every heartbreak that emerged before I held them in my arms.
I often feel my appreciation for motherhood is so much greater than it would have been if I hadn’t experienced that first heart-breaking miscarriage. When you know how delicate life can be, you hold it that much tighter to protect it.
But I would soon learn that sometimes, we hold tightly to things that God knows we’ll need to release our grasp on.
Broken marriage, shattered heart
Our family was complete. And for maybe the first time in my adult life, I felt complete.
Then, when our second son was less than a year old, my husband told me he wanted a divorce.
At first, I thought he was kidding. At that time, I was definitely in denial about some of the damage done in the earlier years of our marriage.
For the next several months, my life was like a tornadic force of change. This was the first time that I fell to my knees and cried out to the Savior I had always known. I had never fully relied on Him like I did in that tumultuous season.
Sometimes, the only way to love with all your heart, is to experience loss with all your heart.
After months of recovering from the divorce and learning to manage life as a single mother, I met a wonderful man. He helped me believe in second chances and find healing. He had walked through two divorces, and we both wanted this time to be different. We decided to marry.
One early spring morning in my soon-to-be wedded bliss, I received a fateful call. My fiance unexpectedly suffered a heart attack and passed away.
I found myself on my knees, crying out to God, for the second time in my life.
But it wasn’t out of rejection, confusion, and pain. This time I was angry. How could I lose love a second time? I felt like the most unlucky lottery player in the history of Lover’s Lotto.
A 1 Corinthians type of love
Rebuilding my life was much harder this time around. The trust issues I developed from my divorce coupled with the grief of this new loss catapulted me into some blindingly unhealthy coping mechanisms.
I fell into relationship after relationship to numb the pain as I tried to find normalcy in my self-defined broken life.
After so many heartbreaks, I was convinced I was not worthy of love.
Almost four years later, God led me to a special man who stood out from those former relationships. He had experienced his share of heartbreak as well, and he understood my own roller-coaster-infused past.
This love we’ve developed isn’t always the red-hot, rose-colored passion you read about in romance novels. Rather, this love is patient, kind, and selfless.
I had to lose so much to finally find a love I refuse to hold too tightly. I don’t fear suffocating it. If it leaves, I know I will survive. If it stays, I will give thanks for every day we’re given.
Loss is hard. Yet, the more loss you experience in this life, the more you learn to appreciate what God has given.
You realize you cannot force a relationship to work. You can’t make someone love you. You can’t go back and undo mistakes.
You can grow.
You can learn.
You can live the 1 Corinthians 13 type of love, which was created by our Heavenly Father – the very definition of love:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Real, true, lasting love does not control, it does not fear, it does not threaten or give ultimatums. It simply accepts and finds thanksgiving for the other person. This love goes the distance.
It’s not deterred by a difficult season, because it knows difficulties in life are inevitable. This love is faithful, committed, and selfless.
I had to lose a lot to even recognize this version of love. And wouldn’t you know, it was buried deep within my very heart the whole time? Only through the losses experienced, lessons learned, and faith restored, was I able to discover this holy grail of companionship that surpasses any love I have ever known.
Sometimes the losses in life make the gains that much sweeter…
works at the UMKC School of Pharmacy, is a mother to two human boys, two furry boys (dog – Atlas and cat – Hamilton), and enjoys freelance writing based on her travels, life adventures, and pretty much anything that stands out in life as ‘story-worthy’. Manndi contributes to several online and written publications, including: Ozarks Farm and Neighbor,Moms of Teens and Tweens, Her View from Home, Motherly, Salt + Sparrow, Daily Inspired Life with Karletta Marie, Calla Press,Focus on the Family, The Christian Standard, and has been published in Chicken Soup for the SoulBelieving in Angels (January 2022). She had her first book published in September 2022, Tales From My Mummy, which can be found in local bookstores and Amazon Kindle. Manndi’s greatest passion is being a boy mom to her two sons, William (13, going on 23) and Waylan (still sweet, boyish and dangerously close to 11). Her sons never fail to provide daily entertainment, which inspires many of her writings. She also loves to write about everything from being a single mom and dating after divorce to finding love later in life, the devastation of miscarriage, the loss of a loved one, and dealing with anxiety and mental health issues (specifically her personal journey with OCD). Her pieces are lovingly filled with inspiration, encouragement, and always a touch of humor.
“Live a life worthy of writing about” is her daily motto and she strives to live up to these words every single day!