"Where The Chase Ends" | Erika Renee Henry

A few Saturday mornings ago, I laid in my bed refusing to get up. Usually, I do this because I want to extend the time of basking in the idea of sleeping later than 6:30am but this time was different. I was alone -- my sister was in Baltimore and wouldn't be back for another week. The house was cold and was dark from the unopened blinds and shades.

I was depressed.

My hair which I took so much time to twist just hours before was now a bird's nest. I hadn't wash off my makeup and the pillowcase was darkened from the mascara filled tears. I didn't want to move. I don't think I could've.

I felt extremely and overwhelmingly unappreciated and even more than that, unloved.

For as long as I could remember, I've always been an extremely emotional and sensitive person. My mother never liked that quality in me. Neither did I. I've spent all of my life learning how to fight this thorn in my side. I knew I was a better person when I wasn't climbing inside of my head to pick my life apart. But sometimes, like that morning, I'd fail.

A friend of mine called me that morning while I gripped my body under the blanket. She already knew that something was wrong and she called to check on me. We spoke for a while and at one point in the conversation she said, "You know, everyone has that need in their heart for love. Everyone. But some of us have a longing deeper than others. I think you're one of those people. I think you're one of those people who have a 'love need' so wide and deep, that you're easily pained and damaged just because of it."

I didn't like to hear that...but I knew she was absolutely right.

I have an extensive history of heart break. While I had a mother who loved me, I strongly believed from early on that love is found the way Disney Princesses found love. It didn't require much work and a handsome man would always find them. Of course, I live in Brooklyn and I knew that this wasn't a Disney film. So I've always searched for love in men. Always. Throughout my elementary and junior high school days, I looked for love in classrooms in between city-wide tests and recess. Each little boy I'd find interest in, I'd put my entire being out there and I'd end up disappointed and hurt. The story repeated itself far too many times beyond my how much my fingers could count. All of this, and I wasn't even 13 yet.

When I reached high school, everything was much more complicated. This time, the boys grew an awareness of girls and they wanted the girls who "looked good". Sadly, I wasn't one of those girls but I did everything in my power to change my look (at one point even losing a dramatic 50 pounds during my Junior year) and personality in order to be that. All of that just to be loved back for once. When I would do this change successfully, I did manage to win a couple of hearts of the guys I liked. But the charade would never last -- soon, I'd be back to the "Old Erika" and they would be turned off, thus leading to more heartbreak on my part.

Since leaving my teenage years and a difficult relationship in my college years, I made a vow to stop chasing guys. But while I would do well in heavily restricting myself in flirting, I still lacked that fulfillment...or as my friend would say, "that love need".

So there I was, pressing the hot phone against my earlobe, trying not to get upset that my friend was telling the truth. But then she continued, "People are always going to fail you and you're always going to fail people. But God won't fail you. He made you with that extra deep need for a reason. He wants to fill it. He doesn't want you to get hurt and he doesn't create relationships for you to get hurt. You may think he should send someone to fill it but he made you this way so you can depend on him to do so...and I think it's good that you're like this because you're in the perfect place to appreciate love more than many others."

She was right.

And on the evening that I write this, I look back at that call a few weeks ago. My deep need for love isn't a thorn. It's a blessing and I believe so many people out there have that extra deep vacancy like I do. When I sit still and choose to receive God's love in the morning, it's beyond words. A few days ago, I sat before the Lord completely empty and asked him to fill me with his love, his joy, his peace and immediately I busted into this giggle and swooned over the Lord's love. I've always been aware that "God loves you" and John 3:16 and all of that...however, it's one thing to know it but it's a completely whole other thing to live it out. 

When my mother was alive, she'd come into my room in the middle of night to pray over me as I slept even if I ticked her off that very day. But she still came to watch over me because I'm her child. Now with my mother being gone, no one physically comes to pray as I sleep but God does and his love outweighs the amount my mother had for me.

And here's an amazing truth I want to share: Nothing can separate you from the love of God. Nothing. In my case, my past relationships won't stop God from finding my heart. I love the New Living Translation version of Romans 8:38-39: "And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." Nothing. That's how deep the Lord loves you today and forever. Your hope is not in your past but in the Lord. Your hope is not in your plans but in the Lord. Your hope is not in relationships but in the Lord.

I'm pretty sure I'll have my off-days like that Saturday morning but I'm thankful for those moments to come for where there is discomfort, comfort rushes to fill it. I pray that if you're like me, you'll let God overflow in your heart right now. Stop reading and ask God to pour himself into you. He will. I praise God that I don't have to find fulfillment in a person but instead into the one whose fire for me never dies out. 

Erika used to be a lot of things. A future lawyer, a future author of a New York Times Bestseller, a future graphic designer, a future actress, and a future fashion stylist. Erika thought she'd be rich by the time she hit her 20s.  Now, she's just a regular girl. Stripped. Desiring to desire what God desires. She has become what many call an average joe but her heart is bigger than all of the things she used to want in life. To God be the Glory. Erika's a Christian. It's not a religion to her. It's a lifestyle. She's a cupcake addict, likes creative things, and likes fun things. Erika also likes to hit her dougie at the most random moments. Catch more of Erika and other cool things about her on erikarenee.tumblr.com and @itserikarenee.