I'm in the midst of another clean and purge.... I do declare, how is it I get rid of so much stuff and our house is still so cluttered??
This round brought me across a box of my old journals. I've kept a journal since childhood. Sporadically, for the most part, except in the midst of my teenage years. I was pretty faithful to journal about all of the teenage angst and ecstasies I was experiencing.
So I have wasted a lot of time over the last two days, reading those old notebooks. Some were fun, like the journal I kept when Paul and I started our relationship. I thoroughly enjoyed reading my thoughts and emotions, and I was so happy to see that none of it has changed. I still love him, and admire him, and am excited to be around him. Who says those feelings don't last? They have for us. All I can say that God has blessed us.
But reading the journals from my teenage years were not so pleasant, because they brought back all of those emotions. I'm sure all teenagers feel them. The feelings of suffocating uncertainty, unrequited love, and the need to feel special to someone, but having no one interested. And I do mean no one.
I was a confusing teenager, I'm sure. On one hand, incredibly brash and outgoing, but when it came to other things, painfully shy and introverted. Walking controversies. Even within my journal entries - "He likes me!.... He can shove it." Adding to the loud, feminist exterior, was the fact I was a good couple inches taller than most guys I knew, which made me a formidable female to approach, I'm sure.
Yet I had a deep desire to be special to someone. And the fact that no one was interested, despite all my silly crushes, made me very familiar with the feelings of rejection and loneliness.
As I read through my journals, I could see God's hand guiding me toward the future He had prepared for me, even though I was totally unaware that my future was right by my side as I was living all of this. (Paul has been in my life for nearly 30 years!)
The only boyfriend I had, I loved as much as a 17-year-old could. But after 10 months together, I got the undeniable realization that God wanted me to break up with him. I undoubtedly heard the silent yet audible voice of God in that matter, speaking right into my mind and heart. I'm glad I was a sensitive teen when it came to spiritual matters, and I listened to Him. There was no reason not to marry my high school boyfriend. He was a really good guy from a nice family. But that wasn't God's plan for me.
And it shattered my heart and confused me. Why would God have me break up with him, only to face complete singleness (for 3 years)? I know my self-worth is found in Christ, but I think women need to know that they are special and beautiful to a man. I had a need to be loved by a boy, but again, this personality God gave me protected me. I was too shy to go looking for love.
Even after I fell in love with Paul, he didn't return my emotions for almost two years. And that was probably the deepest hurt I ever received. I know now that God put that deep love in my heart for Paul, but during the time he didn't care the same way for me, and I couldn't make myself stop loving him, I was miserable. I still get choked up remembering how I felt. Even some movies that are supposed to be lighthearted teen movies remind me of that rejection, and the emotion I can still feel surprises me.
But I know the road God leads us down is for a reason. I see that now. And it makes me wonder how to protect our daughters from the same emotions. I think it is somehow built into women to need to be someone's special person - Zadie already asks who she will marry - but heartbreak doesn't have to be part of the road to happily ever after.
Part of how I want to protect them - all of my kids, but especially my daughters - is from the boyfriend/girlfriend pressures that surround them, even as young as preschool. (!) I absolutely refuse to tease Zadie or let her be teased about the boys she plays with. The result of having two older brothers means she is around a lot of boys. And she is really good buddies with one of them, but it is so sweet and innocent. They are both clueless. And I want it to stay that way. I don't want him to get teased about "his little girlfriend" and start being a jerk to her. So I jump all over any of the kids that even hint at anything "lovey" between them.
So we start the journey with a new generation, and teach them from our failures and successes.