When I began to believe that God did exist and I actually began to feel and see the evidence of Him in my life, the way that I experienced love immediately changed.
Unlike most other aspects of change in recovery from addiction (and underlying issues) this change was almost instant and didn’t require work.
No longer was it a word that I tossed around, or a word lacking meaning behind it.
I could feel it.
Although it is an over-used word these days, there really aren’t words powerful enough to describe what it feels like to experience love for the first time.
Self-Love was brand new to me.
For the first time in my life, I saw my own reflection in a new way, and felt differently about all of the circumstances that I had inherited and created for myself.
I saw who I really was, and I embraced her.
For the first time, I could say that I loved me.
Not who I would become, not who other people told me I needed to be.
I loved myself, and it was enough to let myself embrace the things that were to come.
Feeling the Love for my children.
I had always loved them but something was different when I looked into their little faces, and seeing the brightness behind their eyes, celebrating their victories, soaking in the belly laughs, hearing their stories, cherishing the color pages, and even wiping their tears.
I could remember the moments.
All of it became something more than what it had been before.
I could finally see them.
Being madly in Love for the first time.
I wasn’t in love with a persona, or who a person might possibly become.
I wasn’t staying for lack of better alternative or the sense of being needed.
I knew I was valued and appreciated, imperfectly accepted.
I was in love with someone who was already whole.
I could see this person for who they were and I didn’t want to change anything about them.
I wanted to be more because he inspired me.
I wanted to keep going because he pushed me.
I wanted to unpack my own baggage, so that I could be a whole person too.
I wanted to receive his love and to give it right back.
It all finally made sense.
I had finally accepted love. I had finally let myself be loved.
I was finally able to give love away.
God’s love for me shined a beacon of light on what this life is really all about, about what love really means, how it really feels, and why it is all so important.
1 John 4:19
We love each other because he loved us first.