It’s late. My eyes are swollen and tired from not one, but two evenings spent crying. I’m not going to lie, being a female doesn’t particularly help this time of the month [I literally will sob over spilled milk], but you know what? I’m just tired. Tired of living unloved. Tired of not believing the Truth, and of not claiming it. I am tired of not living it.

Have you been there?

I have the very best women surrounding me in this season. I inherited sisters eight years ago, and a sister was never something I had growing up. I have supportive parents. A prayer warrior of a mom. A loving husband. I even have an enormous community of women here in this space, within Instagram and this blog, that I absolutely love and adore. So why then is my immediate reaction to conclude, “She doesn’t love me.”

This afternoon I took a chance to share something vulnerable and immediately walked away from the computer in tears. I put words in their mouth, that never came from the person I contacted. I was convinced that I had made a mistake, that they thought I was silly or immature, and that surely they wouldn’t love me as much after reading what I had to say. And then I was reminded of Lysa TerKeurst’s words in Uninvited regarding the woman at the gym, “…obviously I don’t know what went through her head, but it has me thinking about all the many times I assign thoughts to others that they never actually think. I hold them accountable to harsh judgments they never make. And I own a rejection from them they never gave me” (29).

There were a few moments of silence, of no response, and suddenly a, ‘Hey let me get back to you later!’ and I was ready to hit the ground running. Except not actually running. I sat. And I cried. And felt panicked and at a loss. I hugged my husband as I choked on words, “I still can’t handle some of my friendships losses, I can’t believe that we don’t hang out anymore. Why doesn’t she want to be closer friends?!” And how all THAT baggage related to what I was presently going through–I have NO idea. Except that I do this often. It’s a BIG reason I started seeing a counselor months ago because deep down in my heart I knew that I was loved, and yet, I couldn’t stop these negative thoughts.

These negative thoughts should have no place in my mind or heart. None. “You are a dearly loved sister, a dearly loved daughter to the mighty and kind KING,” my brother’s wife texted me recently. Is that as hard for any of you to fully grasp as it is for me? My counselor did some exercises with me, and one of the methods we did was visually decorating a giant sign that said STOP. And anytime I started to feel myself turn negative, or go down the wrong rabbit trail; I would say, “STOP, Ashley! This is NOT helping!” Sometimes, if I’m like really on it mentally and emotionally, that helps. But 75% of the time, truthfully it doesn’t.

Lysa said, “Live from an abundant place that you are LOVED, and you won’t find yourself begging others for scraps of love.” Ouch. (There’s a reason I’m hosting a book talk for this book!) With every chapter, I’ve been convicted and reminded of God’s saving grace. Of how He loves me, calls me, encourages me to sit quietly at His feet. Or crying at His feet. However I am, He’ll take me.

I, like you, live in a day and age where life is just hectic. Either we have kids to care for, rooms to pick up, meals to prep, exercise to be had, pictures to be posted, e-mails to respond to, stories to share, friends to hang out with, families to love on. Which all means, just how easily distracted are we? I want to be better at living more securely. I want to be able to do all of the above, but also when it gets hard and I’m sitting in my daughter’s bedroom crying, of silencing myself at His feet. At feeling His love. I want to hear the words coming from the women in my life; from my parents, my husband, my children, and to walk and LIVE that way:

Cherished.
Appreciated.
Valued.
Loved.

Do you long for this too? Of dwelling in His trust that life doesn’t have to be perfect; there can and will be conflict, moments of pause, friends who need to wait to respond. And that none of that means you are loved ANY less? I’m not sure how to help one another, other than maybe being one giant support group, but heck, maybe that’s what we need? Does anyone want to create a Facebook group for living loved? Ha. If you do, add me to it! But regardless, let’s pray for one another, cheer each other on, and walk through this life together. Sister, you may be hundreds or thousands of miles away, but I’m right here holding your hand. Comment, e-mail, share with someone who needs this reminder today and please know; you are loved.

Ps: I was reminded of a *very* long phone call (aka cry fest) with my mom yesterday: the job will never be done. It will never be over. There will be days that we feel like we’re put back together and we’re doing GREAT, and then we’ll be left feeling unloved all over again, and we will HAVE to remind ourselves of the Truth from our Creator. Thanks, Mom. For always loving me, counseling me, and sharing a heart with me.