Would you please stay?

I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5

We've probably all heard one of these empathic statements at least once in our lifetime, I am sure: "Not everyone in your life is here to stay"; "Some people are here for just a season."...countless comforting quotes to help us grieve the end of a relationship. I get it! Sometimes, there is not much to say to make sense of what does not always make sense. But when someone witnesses the tragic end of a relationship, whatever the reasons, they can't help but wonder who is here to stay as the fear of abandonment slowly settles in that place, now left empty. Young or old, many of us wrestle with the thought of walking down below, alone.  

As a middle child, I quickly learned to make friends outside the familial cocoon. Growing up, my close friends shielded me like armour.  We did and shared everything: bible camps, 12th-grade graduation parties, sleepovers, and first heartbreaks: we were inseparable. And, believe it or not, our bond is still strong, unbreakable, I would say, and this despite the distance.   

Shortly after I moved to Canada in 2007, the extrovert me was ready to replicate that life. From extra curriculum activities to serving my community and beyond, I did it all to build meaningful relationships. I was longing to have close friends at all costs. After I graduated from University, the situation worsened. With no more group assignments or campus gatherings, my thirst for deeper connections grew deeper and led me to open up my heart to all kinds of people. I spent over ten years looking for that kind of love, a place of safety where I could fully be myself but ended up experiencing the contrary: judgment, betrayal, and emotional abuse.

My marriage was not the only relationship that ended four years ago many other relationships: friends, and mentors. I've changed jobs, and social circles; decided to cut ties with everything that disrupted my inner peace. And, while people saluted my bravery, deep down, I was broken.  

Life was just not the same regardless of all the positive changes that I've made. There was a sense of unworthiness, a belief that I needed to prove myself to be loved and that the new relationships that started in this new season of my life would not last nor grow deeper. My heart needed restoration to build new relationships in this season of my life on solid ground.   

The truth is, I was used to performing, trying my best to please to earn relational reciprocity. But in the end, it all fell apart; I saw my worst fears come to pass. Will my life ever be closer to the one I would have had, have I stayed in Ivory Coast?  Will my grief ever end?... I do not have all the answers and may never will. 

Some life choices are complicated and, sometimes loneliness is a part of the journey as hard as we want to accept it. There is not always an explanation as to why and it hurts. But while we deal with the pain, it is crucial to understand that being surrounded does not always equal being loved. While we can feel alone, we can still choose LOVE. 

 Love is the greatest! It is the source of life itself, surpassing how we might feel about the conditions of our lives. We can spend the rest of our lives fearful of abandonment or allow God's comforting LOVE to flourish from the inside and teach us how to love ourselves and others even, those who abandoned us. The freedom we can experience when we choose to LOVE is a beautiful journey that deserves our full attention and investment.   

If you've been ''abandoned" physically or/and emotionally by a parent, a partner, a friend, or a loved one, I pray for self-forgiveness. While navigating through the pain of your losses, I pray that you rest in the Father's love and allow his presence to accompany you every step along away.  

I am worthy of love, respect, and reciprocity. It is my portion; I will trust God to provide.  
To God, the one true LOVE, the one who never leaves!

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