Do you know what difference it makes to your life when you feel loved?

A few weeks ago we were asked by our friends to look at a house they were thinking of buying. It was a small, country house in a need of repair and redecoration but in a location they liked, with a big garden where they wanted to plant vegetables and keep hens. When we approached the house we could see the front garden: well kept and tidy. Inside the house there was something about it which warmed our hearts.

It was small but cosy. A bit quirky but charming. Draughty but warm. Old style but authentic. I took some photographs as there are less and less places like that and I wondered: what was it that made this place so special? It wasn’t until I showed it to my colleague at work who said: “It just looks LOVED”.

That was it! Loved! How did I not see it before? It was loved and cherished. That was an unseen dimension which reflected in every little detail throughout the house and although there wasn’t much going for it otherwise, it made it attractive.

Same rule can be applied to people. You will know who feels loved by the way they are and behave. It is what makes them happy, positive and secure. Loved people emanate joy, peace and self acceptance. They know their own strengths and accept their weaknesses and flaws because they know they are loved despite them.

The problem with affairs is that where you previously felt loved and secure you are no longer sure of anything. The smallest doubt can throw you back into despair, even years later, when you think you’re fully recovered. Triggers are hiding in the shadows and can take you by surprise.

I was doing so well for a long time that I started to get worried I was detached from my feelings or I was suppressing them. Nothing could move me to tears over the affair: no memory, no thought, no place, no object… until Charlie put a CV on my desk.

“What do you think?” he asked.

A young girl, master year student, foreign, looking for a summer job. Good qualifications and experience in previous jobs. Strong, confident poise on the photo. I noticed some similarities to Ana.

In only a few seconds it all came back. It felt like I was opening a murder file. I remembered how cunningly he made everything look so normal, how stupidly I would suppress the bad feelings and convince myself I was over sensitive. I remembered the first days and weeks after Ana started the job, the time which I still find the hardest to deal with, as it was then that the foundations for the affair were laid, the rest just rolled from there.

And immediately I thought: what if he does it again? Maybe he’s planning it already? I looked at his face across the office and tried to find signs of deceit.

There was no other reason to doubt his sincerity then that CV. We were good, we were as much in love as ever, he was growing in his relationship with the Lord but still, my trust was as limited as unlimited the works of my imagination. Where previously I would classify my doubts as just that – my imagination – I could no longer do it because the truth turned out to be even worse.

I spent the morning silently wiping the tears and pretending my sniffles were an unusual cold at the beginning of the summer.

We talked about it later and he apologised for even suggesting it and for showing me the CV. He said he normally deletes those offers now but this one came from our good client who is helping a friend to find a job. I wasn’t angry with him, I knew he didn’t mean any harm.

What shocked me most was how small I felt looking at that CV and the photo of that girl. The betrayed side of me was telling me that she would come and sweep Charlie off his feet and she would be so much better then me in just about everything (apart from loving our kids, that is). I could logically reason against it but in my heart that was what I believed.

Those lies are a legacy of Charlie’s affair, of my father’s emotional neglect, of my mother’s own negative beliefs about herself, of my sinful nature which chooses to believe in them rather than in the truth God speaks about me. Sometimes I feel like I am a slave to them.

But I will rise against them every time and proclaim God’s promise:
I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you from the land of Egypt so you would no longer be slaves. I lifted the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk free with your heads held high.

I am LOVED with an everlasting love.

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