When we say "Jesus is love," what does that actually mean? This is the question I ask today as I sit asking the Holy Spirit to guide me as I write to you. His love is unconditional irrespective of who you are, what you are, or what you have done, a voice in my head answers.
How hard is it to believe that something or someone that we cannot physically see actually exists let alone can love us? Impossible right? For most of my teen years, I struggled with rejection and jumped from one relationship to the next looking for the wrong kind of love, wanting to be loved, and guess what, I went from one disappointment to the next. I began to think that there was something wrong with me and it drove me insane, it drove me down the path of suicide which first began at the age of seventeen years old.
One day I decided to surprise my boyfriend, whom I thought was my first love, my everything. My world revolved around this guy, I think if he asked me to kill someone I probably would have. I remember knocking on his front door all excited, expecting to see his face filled with joy to see me when the door opens but instead he looked at me surprised. His eyes begging me to not to say anything wrong. He just stood there, topless in his boxers holding his finger on his lips. I asked him who was inside and a woman's voice replied "His girlfriend" I looked at him with a smile and said that someone sent me to give him a message. As I turned to walk away, tears ran down my cheeks, when I got to the gate I began to run as fast as I could, my heart felt like it shattered into a million pieces all at once. It was a pain so great that living was no longer an option for me.
That day I cried non-stop, I felt worthless and unloved. When the evening came I decided to gather all of my grandmother's tablets that I could find, sat on the side of the bed with a bottle of water and swallowed every one of them. A few minutes later I felt myself slowly drift into a deep sleep only to get up the next morning to my grandmother praying the rosary with one hand on my back. As I turned to look at her, she gazed at me with great sadness in her eyes and asked if I was feeling ok. All confused and disappointed that I was still alive I walk into the living room, my cousins looked at me laughing, telling me all that had happened that night. From what I was told, it sounded like the tablets I took made me get up from my sleep and hallucinate doing crazy things. Naturally being brought up in a Christian family they were all under the impression that I was somehow demon-possessed that night but little did they know, that was my first of many attempts to take my own life.
From that point, I struggled and felt like an outcast believing there was no one who could love someone like me. Did I even know what was love? When we think of love, what exactly does it mean? Is it something that is given to you or do we give it away expecting nothing back? Is it a feeling, does it make us whole? These were the questions that clouded my mind. At the age of nineteen, I completely gave up on any hope that this thing called "love" existed so I stood one night under the carport at my grandmother's house and looked to the heavens making an oath to God that I would no longer be looking for this thing called love because all it did was bring heartache and pain. "I'm done with relationships, I will wait for you to send the right person" I remember saying aloud.
Without understanding what I was saying to God, I began to feel rather satisfied with being alone although the desire to be loved still burned from within me. In that same week, I decided to go have my hair done at my sister's place down the road when I passed this boy who was staying at a neighbour's house. Out of the blue, he started a conversation saying his head was sore and asked me to buy him a beer. The first thought that cross my mind was "the nerve of this boy, what an idiot" however I answered promising him that I would be back later. I remember taking my time and returning late forgetting the promise I made. If my memory serves me correctly, it was about 19:30 when I was surprised by this same idiot boy just suddenly appearing at my grandmother's kitchen door as I sat on the floor between the cupboard and table eating my dinner. He looked at me with his hands open saying "how, what happened?" I hurried to the bedroom to get my purse before my grandmother noticed him and slipped R20 into his hand telling him to go ahead and I will meet him outside in a while.
Little did I know that the same idiot boy who asked me to buy him a beer that day would be my partner and husband of eighteen years. Now although God answered me quick and sent someone into my life to show me unconditional love, there was still a feeling of emptiness. My suicide attempts didn't stop there. I was still desperately searching for a love I knew nothing about. There was a void that not even the true love of my life could fill. I began to rebel and refused to believe that there was a God. All I wanted to do was end my life. Every attempt obviously did not work until a little seed was planted in my womb. The horror of being pregnant at the age of twenty-one and unmarried tormented me. I did'nt want to disappoint my parents and to make matters worse, my partner and I had spilt up before I found out. There were rumours of him being with someone else and when I learned it was true it tore me apart. "Why would the Lord do this to me" I asked myself. "this is my punishment"
Immediately I decided to terminate the pregnancy. I remember walking down the hospital corridor on my way to the termination ward with my older sister following behind. She was on the phone with my mother asking her how could she allow me to do this. She begged me non-stop not to do it, reminding me of all our religious beliefs but I was hearing nothing. As we sat in the ward, waiting to be seen, my legs were shaking uncontrollably while listening to my sister still begging me not to go through with it. Suddenly a woman came rushing into the room with blood rolling down her legs, crying in agony as she held onto her stomach. We looked at one another and my sister said to me "Can you see" without any hesitation, I dropped my hospital file on the chair and ran out of there as fast as I could without looking back. On the 25th of January 2007, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. As the nurse rolled the baby's cot toward me and I looked down into my baby's tiny chingy eyes staring back at me, I finally saw and felt the love I had so desperately been searching for.
"All in his time" I've heard so many Christians say. This is what I say, the answer is never what we expect and is never in the time frame we expect. It took me a long time to understand that the love I so desperately desired was actually the love of Jesus, and to my surprise, he showed his love for me through the eyes of a tiny baby. He showed me just how much he truly loves me even in my time of disobedience, in a time when I turned my back on him wanting to end it all. He showed me that he still had plans for my life, plans that still to this day I do not fully understand, but trust that they will be revealed all in his time. Something I have learned from this experience is that the Lord allows certain things to happen in our lives in order to sharp and mold us for a much greater purpose. We have to trust the process no matter how painful it may seem and know that it is all part of the unique purpose for our lives. I want to take this time to give all praise and glory to Jesus Christ who saved me over and over again. He loves you too, never doubt that and, if you do, take a look back on your life experiences to see just how many times he saved you.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2023 Charlene Grendon