The lyrics to Tenth Avenue North’s By Your Side have resonated with me since the song came out in 2008. The part that gets me the most is when he says, why are you looking for love; why are you searching as if I’m not enough? Growing up without my father caused a void in my heart I was never aware of or acknowledged until somewhat recently. My whole life I just wanted to feel loved, feel accepted, to know I was significant to someone. Growing up in church taught me about God and the difference between wrong and right, but I never developed a deep, meaningful relationship with Him. It’s not even something I was aware I was lacking until about a year ago.

When I think about that line I ask myself that, why am I searching as if He’s not enough? Is He not the creator of the world, of me, of every living thing? Why do I limit Him to someone who I pray to and ask for help in tough situations, or who I thank for my blessings? Because I don’t know Him. I know of Him, have read stories from the Bible that, to be honest, I don’t fully comprehend. I have an idea of who He is based on my experiences, but I’ve not pursued His heart and learnt how deep His love is for me. My confidence has always stemmed from not really caring what people thought of me and in a sense, showing off because it got me attention. But I’ve never been confident in myself in the way of knowing who I am to showcase my strengths. We all have this internal desire to be known, to mean something, to have significance. And we do, it’s just not in the empty ways we try to fill that void. It comes from recognizing who God is and the unique ways He’s created us to serve the purpose in which we were made for.

It’s so easy to look to people, possessions, roles we play, to satisfy this deep need in our hearts. But if we just turn our attention towards the One who made us, He will give us all we need, and then some. This is such a foreign concept to me because I’d always thought that if I were married my husband would give me purpose, having kids would give me a title no one could take from me. And in my mom’s absence in my life, I was always driven to be the best mom I could be. I’ve always misplaced my needs and put so much stock into things that not only can, but will disappoint me. It’s a sobering reality to be honest, but it’s one I know God has been preparing me for. Had I been anywhere else in my walk I would probably disregard this realization. The famous saying is, with knowledge comes responsibility. I suppose I’ve known so many things. I was just fearful of changing because it meant I would have to be accountable for my actions. Perhaps God just knew when I would be ready and patiently waited for me to catch up.

I can say, however, maturing in anything is hard work but the reward is always  worth it. Marriage, childbirth, raising kids, all takes sacrifice and a willingness to see it through. I’m learning all this the hard way but I can honestly say it’s refined my character more than I ever expected and being able to help people is the greatest blessing to me!

-Julia

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