A Selfless Kind of Love

Tonight for dinner I made my grandmother’s homemade cabbage soup recipe. It took a lot of cutting and a lot of time and effort. My motto is a meal is only good when it is made with love. Tonight the kitchen was full of love as I sang along to one of my favorite singers, Ben Rector, and I reminisced with my mom over some funny family memories.

Eventually my mom and I’s tour down memory lane led to us talking about my dad. I started to remember several times growing up where my dad had really shown me his love for me. Throughout my adolescence I have more than once found myself in some uncomfortable, unhappy and confrontational predicaments. One was at a family reunion in downtown Detroit where a cousin and I had gotten into a really bad argument. We were only about 10 so of course the argument was extremely dramatic and completely unneccesary, but I remember being really upset. I called home and my dad, being the hero he was, volunteered to come get me. It had to be going on 10 that night and we were about 30 minutes away in downtown Detroit but he volunteered to come get me! It meant so much to me. It made me feel safe, protected and loved to know that whether I was wrong or right, no matter what situation I found myself in that my father would always come for me.

Almost 10 years later when I was 20, I found myself in a similar situation. My boyfriend and I at the time had gotten into an argument and I broke up with him. To my surprise it was no quick fix. He didn’t come after me. He wasn’t calling or trying to talk and make a mends. So I called home to my dad crying. This was a wintry February day in my college town. We had just had a week of snow days and it looked like we were headed for another snowy night. As I was crying on the phone to my dad explaining how hurt I was, he listened patiently as I explained the breakup. He only interupted here and there to ask a question or to reassure me. The majority of the conversation was spent with me in tears and him sitting quietly on the other end. What I do remember him distinctly saying was, “Do you want me to come pick you up?” Mind you I was 20 years old, an adult by most’s standard. I was at my university, which is about an hour and a half from where my parents live in Tulsa. Also, all of northeast and central Oklahoma was getting hit with a huge snow storm that night, but my dad still volunteered to come get me!

My dad put me before himself. It always seemed like my dad was willing to do whatever it took to come save the day and rescue me when I needed help. My dad’s love for me is selfless and I don’t think it really hit me until now at 22 years old the kind of man I have for a father.

Thinking about how my dad has treated me since I was little girl really got me thinking about any future relationship I may have. It made me think that all the waiting and this in between season is worth the wait until a guy comes along who will care for me and love me with a selfless love. I want a guy who will be willing to lay down his pride in an argument and not fight to be right but fight for a resolution instead. I want to marry a man someday who is willing to put me before himself and who I’d do the same for. I want to be with a guy someday whose love for me will be selfless the way my father has loved me since I was a little girl.

I think when you really love someone it shows by how you treat them. I think love is sacrifice. It means having a willingness to put someone before yourself. It is selfless. The kind of love I am talking about is not an easy thing. It can sometimes mean doing the complete opposite of what you want or what you feel like doing and doing what’s rightor what is in the best interest of the other person.

I recently heard about an amazing act of selfless love. Last week, Mindy Sigg of Colorado reportedly called police and turned in her 17-year-old son, Austin Reed Sigg, to authorities for the murder of 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway. According to reports, her son admitted to killing the girl to his mother and she made the phone call to police. Ridgeway went missing in early October and was last seen walking to school. Her body parts were found weeks later in a park in a Denver suburb.

Jessica Ridgeway

When I heard this story I was mortified to say the least. How could anyone hurt a little girl? My eyes got teary when I first heard the details of the case. She was just a little girl is what my thoughts were screaming. How could a person hurt someone who is so innocent and fragile? My heart breaks for the girl’s mother and family. Honestly, I never thought much of the Sigg’s family in the whole scenario. I never thought of how their family must be hurting too until I heard that his mom was the person who turned him in. It baffled me that a mother could turn her son in to the police. I can only imagine how excruciatingly hard that must have been for her.

A mother’s love for her child is strong and passionate. It does not fester or wane with time. It possesses so much strength and dignity. When I heard of what Mindy Sigg did for her son, I was amazed. Now my heart not only broke for Jessica Ridgeway and her family, but it also broke for the Siggs as well. I think Mindy Sigg should be commended for doing what was right in the name of justice but also for doing what was right for her son even if she didn’t want to or even though it was hard for her.

Her son committed a crime. He took a little girl’s life. He was undoubtedly guilty. For his mother to turn him over shows a selfless kind of love that will do what is right even when it is hard. I think by turning her son in, she put him before herself, before her desire to keep him close and before her desire to only see the good in her son. Instead, she chose to turn him over to justice and by doing so she let him go, which I think is by far one of the most selfless acts of love.

Do you have any stories of a parent’s selfless love? Any acts of selflessness that stand out in your life or that you have heard in the lives of others? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

As always, thanks for reading!

Stephkt

Lessons in Heartbreak

When I was younger, my biggest fear was getting my heart broken by a guy. Call me crazy or just a really well thought out kid, but the idea of falling in love with someone and then having him walk away was crushing. It is possible that the fear in my head created my reality because when I was 20 my biggest fear came true. My knight and shining armor walked away and instead of riding in on his white horse to save me, he left.

There were days after the breakup when I thought I wouldn’t make it through. There were days when I was okay and I felt like I was making progress. Those days would then be quickly wiped away by nights I spent in tears. What’s a girl to do? How do you let go of someone you loved? How do you move past the hurt? How do you keep living?

I struggled with this for a long time. I think, for me, a big part of my struggle with heartbreak was my inability to deal with it. Instead of dealing, I stayed busy. I wore a smile. I went out at night. I tried to be okay and be the strong person everyone thought I was. After six months of that, all the emotions I had been hiding came falling down and I hid. I tried to hide from the world. I avoided people. I stayed in. I got off of all social media. I mentally and emotionally checked out.

Needless to say, neither pretending my pain didn’t exist nor running from it helped. It wasn’t until I finally sat down and cried, I mean really cried, that the healing process began. I am talking ugly tears here combined with some even uglier prayers to God. It wasn’t until I allowed myself to grieve and feel every bit of hurt that I had been harboring for a year that I was actually able to heal.

I know understand the importance of grief. Life will have its ebbs and flows. You can either resist the waves or learn to surf them. I have learned to ride with the tide. In the highs, I rejoice and dance in my happiness. In the tears, I have embraced tears as a necessary and temporary friend that is needed to humble me and heal me.

The process is threefold: Feel. Deal. Heal. You can’t skip a step. You must get real about what it is you feel and feel it. Cry those tears! Cry for however long you need and don’t apologize to anyone for it. Then be real with yourself. For me, it took a lot of journaling, running and time with God for me to get to the root of some deep rooted hurts and insecurities in my heart. Tears are a weird thing. They are like drops of magical water needed to get all the bad stuff out. They, along with grief, are necessary to move on.Image

Then after all the tears and self reflection, healing can begin. Mine finally has and I can’t say enough how happy I am to have experienced this process.

I am not afraid anymore of falling in love and getting hurt. Correction: The truth is maybe I am a little nervous about getting hurt again. It is not a fun thing to go through BUT I am willing to love again! I am willing to try again even though I have been knocked down and I think that says a lot. Although I wouldn’t go back to the past two years and relive my heartbreak again, I also wouldn’t change it. Heartbreak I am learning is a part of life’s ebbs and flows. If you get your heart broken it means that you had the courage to try for something, knowing that it could be taken from you. I had the courage to love and I still have the courage to keep loving even though I have been hurt. The past two years have taught me so much and no, I wouldn’t trade the heartbreak for anything because I learned.

Reasons I Am Grateful for Heartbreak:

– It humbled me

– It brought out my strength

– It has made me more aware of how I treat others and myself

– It made me appreciate my family more

– It has uncovered some deep insecurities  and made me have to deal with them

– It has made me want to be more open with people and tell others I appreciate them

– It taught me how to deal with confrontation and to learn how to communicate better

– It has forced me to trust God

– It taught me the importance of self respect

– It made me value selfless love

– It taught me how to be patient for genuine love

– It made me passionate about my purpose to help girls deal with insecurities and brokenness

– It taught me how to forgive

Feel free to comment on what heartbreak has taught you!

Stephkt

The Crazy Rollercoaster Years: aka The 20s

A PR professor at OSU gave myself and several other upperclassmen some profound words of advice. She basically told us that at 21, 22 or whatever age we graduate, we will have no idea who we are. I know that may seem a bit harsh or pessimistic, but I think her point was that in our 20s we still have a lot of growing and living to do. The uncertain, up and down roller coaster that is our twenties is miserable and magical all at once. It is unplanned, uncharted, scary, exciting, exhilarating and crazy fun!

The same professor who gave us these profound words told us that she has changed so much since her early twenties and at that time she wasn’t fully aware of who she was. When I heard her say this, it was like music to my ears. As a graduating senior, I didn’t have a five year plan. Yes, I had goals and dreams and ideas for how I could get there but I also had a lot of uncertainty on my plate during my last semester of college. The pressure of having everyone from distant relatives to strangers on the street asking the daunting question “So what’s next?” started to add up. Needless to say, I was more than a little stressed a year ago.

Here’s what I have learned. You don’t have to have it all planned out! If someone is telling you that after college graduation, you need this detailed, thorough plan, well politely disagree. Like I said, it’s great to have goals for yourself and ideas for the future. However, if you don’t have a five year plan, don’t freak. If you don’t have a plan for the next year, still don’t freak. I promise that it will be okay.

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Life has a way of magically working itself out. You don’t have to know all the hows, whys, ifs and whens. I have learned the importance of just going with the flow and stepping out on a whim.  This has really been hard for the anal planner inside of me, but I’m learning.  As long as I stay honest with myself and stay true to my passions and dreams, I have no doubt that I will get out of life exactly what I desire.

So have fun! Trust the process of life. Go in the direction of your dreams and don’t let other people’s negativity EVER EVER stop you. Keep going! Run your race your way. Color outside of the lines. Surround yourself with dreamers and achievers. Set goals, put in the work to achieve them and prepare for life to throw some unexpected curve balls. If you forget everything else, remember this bit of advice…….stress less and live more. After all, you are only in your 20s once. Enjoy the ride!

Taylor Swift’s song “22” describes everything I just wrote about really well! Give it a listen even if you’re not much of a Swift fan.

Stephkt

Nothing New Under the Sun

The older I get, I realize more and more the importance of listening to the advice of people older and wiser than me. Yet when I find myself in tough binds with money, dating, education or any life experience that is new to me, I rarely have ever taken heed to the wise words of people older than me.

I know I am not alone in my need for youthful zeal and independence. We get so caught up in having fun and living life that sometimes we forget to hit the brakes and take time to really listen to people who have more experience and knowledge about life. I do believe that people have to learn for themselves but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from other people’s mistakes too.

Nothing new is under the sun. I firmly believe that statement. Everything happening now has happened before in one way or another in times past. This is reassuring news for a twenty-two year old, who has experienced her share of trials and errors. It is good to know that there are people older than me who have had their mishaps, learned from them and survived.

I Peter 5:5 says “You younger people submit yourselves to your elders.” Even though it has taken me awhile to come to this realization. I am glad I did. I have learned the importance of listening, especially to people older than me. We have two ears and one mouth. I think our physical anatomy speaks for itself. We should be quick to listen and slow to speak.

So I thought I’d write about some of the many cliche sayings that I have heard growing up. I’ve come to realize how wise these sayings are. They are cliches because they are overused, but the reason is because they are true. At least I believe them to be. As they say, there is nothing new under the sun.

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-Time Heals All

I agree with this cliche to a certain extent. I think time and space can HELP a hurting or broken heart, but they do not necessarily heal it. I think healing comes from a proactive choice to pursue learning and facing past hurts and mistakes. Time helps but a person can definitely be hurt and angry for years even with the aide of time.

– Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Great things take time and effort. It takes time to cultivate good things. Plant a seed, water it and wait for it to grow.

– What Goes Around Comes Back Around

You reap what you sow. How you treat people will certainly be repaid to you in time.

– The Night is Darkest Before the Dawn

I have seen this in my life and in others. Just when giving up seems inevitable, break through happens.

-What’s Done is Done

The past is in the past. You cannot change it. Learn from it and learn to let it go.

– Love is Blind

Love sometimes stops us from seeing the obvious and the things that are too hard to acknowledge.

– Laughter is the Best Medicine

I have known many tears. Laughter, pure and simple, is the a great way to bring hope and light to a dark situation.

– If You Love Something Set it Free

Love is selfless. You cannot force your love on another person. You must be willing to let him or her go. If that person comes back, then you were meant to be. If he or she does not come back, then learn all you can from that relationship and know that there is someone else out there for you.

– Beauty is in The Eye of the Beholder

People make fun of me for this but I sincerely believe that there is beauty in everything and every person. I don’t believe that people can be ugly. I hate to ever say that. What one person finds attractive, another may not but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t possess beauty. It is all in how you see it.

Feel free to comment on pieces of advice or cliche sayings you have been told time and time again.