love lulu love does

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I’ve had love on the brain the last few months. Good Lord is that a debilitating disease. Kidding. Sort of. What is it about love and heartbreak that consumes our entire being? Basic functions be damned, there’s no room for trivial things like sleep or eating. You have to remind yourself that gripping sensation in your throat is probably thirst and that taking a sip of water from time to time would likely be helpful. I have never leaned into God harder than I am right now.

Except maybe the come-to-Jesus moment I had when I became Christian, or the last time my heart got broken so bad I moved to New York. If this doesn’t dissipate, I think my next stop is London. Apparently, my recipe for healing is getting a new address which is terrible advice because heartache demands to be attended to even in new zip codes. You shouldn’t follow suit, but if you do, meet me there because eventually, London will be great, I’m sure.

For now, though, I’m forced to deal with my feelings. It’s awful. So much about relationships is realizing in hindsight what you could have done differently, and those thoughts at times can be all consuming. To know what we don’t know would save so much trouble. Yet we have to walk through things to learn them, and that walk is sometimes more of a sobbing heap on the floor of your living room kind of walk.

Nothing about heartache is pretty. Not the running mascara, not the amount of Netflix consumed, not the ruminating thoughts or what ifs. It’s real and raw though. Vulnerable and honest. And I guess those things are beautiful in their own way.

love lulu love does

There’s something about love lost that brings you to your knees. It has you searching for strength beyond your own, answers you can’t seem to produce, hope you can’t seem to find. This time around, though, it’s produced a fight in me I didn’t know I had. I realized that both when I was in love, and in the aftermath, I let fear rule so many of my decisions. Being vulnerable is about as comfortable as sitting on a cactus, yet, it’s where you have to sit if you want to let love in.

But damn if it doesn’t prick you from time to time.

So this fight I’ve embarked upon, truth be told it’s more of a spiritual battle. I’d like to report that I’m winning, but I get knocked on my butt on a daily basis by the devil. Sneaky little bastard. Yet I’ve armed myself with the truth, not just about love — that it’s patient and kind, endures, perseveres and prevails — but about my worth, that I am chosen, that there is a plan and purpose for my life, that God works all things together for good, and that surely there is a future hope for me.

It makes me really grateful for my friends. The ones that pick up my call for the tenth time, pray for me and talk me off the ledge. Who ride shotgun with me in the event that the romantic gesture I’m about to embark upon goes south. The ones who invite me over to their house so I don’t have to be sad alone. Who bring me breakfast because they suspect the heartbreak diet has me withering away. The ones that join me on a day trip to Joshua Tree and remind me that if I let it, life can be fun again. Two are always better than one.

love lulu love does

In fact, if I’ve learned anything about love in this period of emotional anguish, it’s that love does. Love shows up, it comes alongside, it puts itself out there, it lays itself on the line. It says I choose you. I expect nothing in return. I’m here. We’re in this together. Love bridges the gap. It lessens the burden. It lightens the load. It’s worth every bit of the fight, the pain, and the uncertainty. True love has a way of setting you free.

We all have this yearning to be loved, accepted, and known, but getting to that point is a process. It requires honesty, clear communication, vulnerability, trust, and risk. On the other side, if you make it through, is freedom. The freedom to go out into the world and be your best self and to come home to love. Not the place, but the person. Love becomes your favorite face to see.

To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” – Tim Keller

Despite this yearning to be loved and known by another person (and how lovely it is to find), the ironic thing is that being loved and chosen by someone is not a requirement for a full life. We are created, loved, and known by God and because of that we have inherent worth and lack nothing. Contrary to what our hearts would like to tell us, we don’t need love from another person to fulfill us or complete us or give us purpose. In fact, thinking we do is detrimental, both to us and our relationship if we’re in one.

love lulu love does

That’s not to say I’m not guilty of it. In fact, for as much as this current love has affected me you’d think my dependency on it is up there with oxygen.

Perhaps that’s because in the wake of what could be your dreams die a little. Your plans for living together, traveling together, the wedding you’ve been picturing, the marriage you hoped to have, the married sex you were going to tap into, how your kids would look and what you would call them. The dog you were supposed to test the waters of presumed responsibility with. It all goes away.

Letting go of my plans feels like letting go of my future. They feel so intertwined. Yet, they are different. The plans I make are charming and lofty, and despite my best efforts sometimes do not come to fruition. But, the plans God has for me are ironclad, they hold promise despite my circumstance; his plans are my future. So no matter how bad my plans fall apart, my future remains intact.

Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. Sometimes we marry ourselves to the idea of how things are supposed to be, we barely allow for people to be people or God to be God. We think we know how the pieces are supposed to fit so we start coaxing them into places they have no business being in the first place. They might stay where you put them for a while, yet a noticeable pressure will build, a resistance that can’t be denied. Eventually, despite it’s best effort to conform, those pieces you’re trying to force will pop back out and return to their natural state.

Homeostasis. There’s no way around it.

love lulu love does

It would serve us well to relinquish control. Let go and let God, as they say. I’ve come to learn this requires a deep, inherent trust. Not in people, or yourself, or your situation, but in a God who cares about the details of your life and says his plans for you are good, that you have a future and a hope. We aren’t meant to settle for a diluted version of God’s plan for our lives.

So perhaps instead of forcing the pieces together, we hand them over to God and learn to wait, expectantly. Waiting produces a steadfast patience, it purifies, solidifies, and firms up the foundation of what’s meant to be. When you draw close to God, cry out to him, wrestle with him, and invite him into your situation, a beautiful thing happens. You start to see his hand in it. Things come together beyond your doing. The pieces just start to fit.

The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It helps to look out for these things. Their presence indicates we’re on the path we’re meant to be on, a person we’re meant to be with. Alignment. Ease. It is well with my soul. I want a love that produces such things, a love where the fruit of the spirit is apparent. Not just to my own eyes, but evident to others.

A love that says, hey, true love is possible.

love lulu love does

Which isn’t to say that it doesn’t require work. Relationships are difficult because people are imperfect. We all have histories and childhoods and pasts that creep up on us. We make bad calls derived from terrible judgment. Stupid decisions. Mistakes we wish we could take back. We misspeak. Yell. We hurt other people, intentionally or not. Act out of fear. We disappoint. Fall short.

Yet, love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Love is not just a feeling, it is the force that draws us and binds us together.” — Rich Wilkerson Jr, Friend of Sinners

So we forgive. Move on. We move forward. Together, if that’s what’s meant to be. We ask and knock and seek, and keep on asking and knocking and seeking, but with a willingness to surrender. Not my will God, but yours. Jesus restores, reclaims, repairs. There isn’t a heart he can’t mend, a relationship he can’t fix if it’s his will to do so. It is always possible to find our way back to what is meant to be.

Here’s to hoping, to trusting, to fighting for love. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable— if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— let’s shift our focus to think about such things. Let’s attract a love God thinks we deserve. One worth laying our life down for. A love we could never earn, but one that is freely given regardless.

Not a love that is, but a love that does.

Post sponsored by BHLDN. I am wearing their Havana Corset Top + Jordan Skirt, which you can purchase here.

Makeup and styling: Lauren Francis

Love Does

Nothing about heartache is pretty. Not the running mascara, not the amount of Netflix consumed, not the ruminating thoughts or what ifs. It’s real and raw though. Vulnerable and honest. And I guess those things are beautiful in their own way.

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