Belonging.....what does that mean to you? I have struggled for my entire life trying to figure that one out. I was a chubby child and was always being put on one diet or the other by my Momma. I have always had strong opinions, but wasn't secure enough in who I am to express my opinions. I struggle with feeling 'good' enough or 'smart' enough or 'important' enough.............ENOUGH!
I accepted Jesus at the age of eleven. I thought I would instantly change into this confident child who would no longer struggle with so many issues. Unfortunately, the things that happened to me along the way didn't boost my self-esteem, rather they conspired to make it even worse.
I met and married a wonderfully imperfect man who loved me perfectly. Now, surely I would have 'it', that elusive 'it' that would make me feel as if I belonged. Again, it didn't happen. I was totally comfortable with him, had no qualms about making my point decisively with him! I was semi-confident with my immediate family. Outside of that very small circle, I was never 'me' because I didn't know who 'me' was.
|Me with my biological sisters|
Smoky Mtn. Sister Vacation
I was constantly changing myself, my beliefs, my way of being in this world. I thought I would change enough to finally find 'me' and live confidently. It did not happen. I needed acceptance so much that I would make myself over into whatever image seemed acceptable at the time. I lived behind an elaborate facade. My poor husband didn't know who would be awaiting his return at the end of the day. He often told me I could 'flip' my personality quicker than the blink of an eye.
I didn't have a personality disorder. I was always in control of that, but too insecure to assert myself. I didn't like 'me'. I didn't want to stand out, I wanted to shrink into the woodwork. The real dichotomy is that I had (have) such a LOUD personality. I continue to struggle with that. It made no sense to me that I hated being in the spotlight, but I was so aggressive that the spotlight was exactly where I ended up. I was (am) very dramatic.
Then, God rained his mercy on me by bringing a group of women into my life that have changed me forever. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf..............they love me like Momma, Daddy and my sisters loved me. They love me like my husband loved me............unconditionally with no judgement.
|My 'other' sisters!|
When I'm with these women, I can speak my mind and they understand. They support me with that same type of acceptance as those closest to my heart always have. With these women, I BELONG. They accept my dramatic personality and love me anyway. When I agree with them AND when I disagree with them, they just love me. I no longer feel the need to be aggressive. Assertiveness carries my message and they accept me WITH my message.
So, now I have these two wonderful biological sisters who love me AND these sisters of my heart who love me as does my family. Their love and acceptance has helped me find myself in the Lord. After the death of my parents and my husband, I feared I would be forever lonely. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The love of all these sisters, both biological and heart sisters, in my life has opened me up. My heart loves more freely because of their loving acceptance.
In my 55 years of being on this earth, I now know I BELONG. God always sends what I need the most when I need it the most. I wish I had accepted that fact earlier in my walk with Him. I wish I had sought Jesus more personally instead of blaming others for my lack of understanding of God and who He is and how He loves me.
Belonging...............what a wonderful feeling!