I think of the most difficult things I’ve endured through my life, one of the top ones has to be being in a long-distance relationship. It’s nice in the sense that you still get warm and tingly feelings when you think about that person and what he means to you. And when you see him, everything seems to fit into place like why I try so hard in school, work, or serve in church. Like all of it means something when I’m with him.

And I think this is due to the fact that I define myself through how he sees me. This person that I care about so deeply returns that same affection, and I feel like I have an identity and it is loved and adored. And because I am affirmed in my being as a person and because I am loved for it, I have meaning in all the things I do. Everything falls accordingly.

So when I can’t see this person often, I’m patient at first. I bide my time for when we’ll be able to see each other every day, and everyday will feel like I am affirmed and feel wonderful. As time continues and progresses, I grit my teeth to be patient. I pour out my heart to him that it’s so difficult and I’m not sure I can take it anymore, but he reassures me that he feels the same way, and if we both are willing to try, he believes everything will work out.

 Many of those talks soothe me over and I have to constantly remind myself that that reality will occur and I should be living towards it, in preparation. But when I’ve had a terrible day at work, or I feel misunderstood by my family, or I’m so lonely that the strength is sapped right out of me, I have a pain that is ebbing deeply. Not the sharp pains of being hurt by someone who has intentionally done so, but just the feeling of almost hopelessness that time will never progress, that we’ll never reach that state of togetherness, and the feelings of euphoria by being defined by my love is just a sketch of imagination. The waiting is maddening. His absence is becoming more and more the reality of my life, and not his presence. Although I have hopes of a life together, I’m truly living it alone right now. He’s not there for my darkest times, and he’s not there for my vibrant jubilations. He’s just not there.

And I have to keep reminding myself, keep myself busy, preoccupied so that he becomes just a tiny corner in my mind so everything is bearable, manageable.

And I’m still waiting. But I’m beginning to see that I can’t define myself through how my love sees me. I have to define myself through how much God loves me.

Tonight, as I listened to Pastor John Cha’s sermon, I felt like I have been affirmed in everything that has been happening in my life so far. And this feeling pulsated through me like a heartbeat: I love you. I love you. I love you.

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like God loves me. It’s been a long time where I feel like I’ve been able to lift the burden of my own shame, guilt, and perfectlessness onto the broad shoulders of my God. I felt deeply moved and a new spring of hope has welled up inside of me.

I listen to a lot of lies in my head, from other people, from the devil or what have you. But I don’t want to define myself in those ways. I want to ultimately define myself upon God’s love for me, because human love won’t always be able to fulfill that need. When the love I need so bad isn’t present, God’s love is always there. But I still need love from God and my love.

So if you’re reading this, my dear, I really miss you. It’s like torture being apart from you, but if we’re both willing to try and God blesses us, let’s keep burning, babe. And as we are separated, I want you to know that God loves you and I do too.