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  • Writer's pictureVickie Turley

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

I've spent most of my life looking for love in all the wrong places. And to be honest, I didn't understand the TRUE meaning of love with another human until I was 33 years old - and I didn't understand God's love until recently! (Wow! That's so hard to admit!)


What do you think of when you hear the word "love?"


How do you define love
What is love?

Maybe you think of the love of your spouse. Maybe you think of the unconditional love that your pet gives you. Maybe you think of the love that is shown to you by your parents or your siblings. Maybe you think of the love on your grandchildren's faces when they are around (this one for me!). There are so many kinds of love, but none of them compare to the love that our Father God has for us.


When you are not brought up in an atmosphere of love, it tends to skew your perceptions. It skews your perceptions of yourself, thinking you are not valuable enough to be loved. It skews your perceptions of others', wondering what their motives really are if they show you kindness. It skews your relationships, as you search for love here and there, wondering if you will ever find a man who will stick through good and bad times! And it definitely skews your thoughts about God loving you, just as you are.


I grew up in a home where we went to church every time the doors were open. We were very active in our church and everyone knew this amazing family with mother, father, and four daughters. But all wasn't as it seemed. I felt I could never live up to my parents' expectations so I felt unloved. The church I grew up in was all about hell, damnation and guilt so I didn't learn or "feel" God's love there.


I decided if I was "unloveable" and the "black sheep" of our family, I would live up to those expectations. When I got older, I started looking for "love" in all the wrong places and in too many faces! While I was doing this to myself, I still couldn't understand why I was so unloveable, when I longed for it with every fiber of myself. Throughout many years, I turned my back on God, not believing I was worthy and not believing that He could truly love me.


During my adult years, I tried therapy many times. It seemed to help when I was "in" it, but once we were "done," all my insecurities came back and I was back to being unloveable and pushing people away so I could prove I was unloveable.


Through all this time of heartache and pain, of moving around physically, of looking and not finding, I would have moments, in my darkest hours, when I felt God was whispering to me. But I wouldn't listen. I couldn't believe He would want me - not with all I had done in my life!


Two failed marriages and two children later, I met my spouse, Rocky. Now, it was not love at first sight, but it didn't take long. We both had previous marriages and children; we were older and maybe a little wiser; and we both had the same core values. We both were close with our families (my father was deceased but I had great relationships with my mother and sisters) and we both wanted to be with someone who would love us, warts and all! We married after six months of meeting each other, bought a home and began raising our children together. We talked about our faith and that we wanted to raise our children in church so we joined a local church and spent many years there. We were active, and I grew, but I was still missing something. I found myself wishing that I had the relationship with God that I heard others' speaking of - an intimate, close relationship - my relationship was still an only on Sunday relationship and was more of a fear and guilt relationship. I also found myself constantly pushing my spouse - wondering when the day would come that he would leave me - and once again, I could prove to myself that I was unloveable.


My patterns continued through almost 20 years of a chronic illness, which finally resulted in surgery in 2019. If you want to read about that journey, click here. I won't go into it here but I will tell you that two years after the surgery, I finally realized a few things:


  • I realized that God had truly saved me with the surgery. I realized He'd never turned His back on me, even though I'd turned my back on Him. I realized He would never leave me;

  • I realized that, in order for me to truly know God, I needed to be in His word and I needed to be in church; and

  • I realized that I had to stop "playing" at therapy and get down and deep into the roots of the issues, before I could ever truly realize what love was meant to be.


When I woke up from my surgery, I knew immediately that I was healed. I knew that God did that, along with some wonderful surgeons, and that my life would now be different. I began embracing every single day, living my life to the fullest, loving my spouse and thanking God daily for His miracle.


In 2022, I began visiting a local church where my son attends. I knew I wanted to worship with my family, so this is where I started. I never in a million years dreamed this would be the church I joined (more about that in a future post), but God knew different, He spoke to me one Sunday and I joined. This church has been amazing for my spiritual growth and my understanding of God's love. The people have been accepting, loving, gracious, and compassionate, and God has shown me a different way of "being a Christian."


In late 2022, I begin volunteering with the Proverbs 31 Ministry and became a small group leader for Facebook groups. During this time, I met a sweet lady who quickly became a confidante and a friend. She is a trauma counselor and she knew how to speak to me. I found myself talking to her more and more and, last year, I jumped at the chance to be a "beta tester" for her course. It was a six-month journey, it was ugly and raw as we dug into deep hidden parts of me, and it was a life-changer! She was able to guide me to the deepest areas of hurt and pain and, with God at the helm, we cleaned them out. She helped me to understand that God had cleaned out all that yuck and made me a new Creation. I just needed to embrace and love that new creation!


I am loved by God! I am loved by my husband! I no longer feel like I'm missing something. I have opened myself up to female friends whom I have no doubt would jump if I needed help. I have opened myself up to the possibility that God chose me for something greater than what this world has to offer - and I've tried to obey that. I've tried to become a disciple of Christ and I will continue this journey for the remainder of my life.


Listen, some days I still fail. Some days the enemy starts whispering in my ear and I listen, just a bit. I am human and I am going to stumble. And we live in a fallen world and sometimes I act like that world. But here's the great thing about God's love - He chose me. He whispered to me! He waited for me! And when I returned to Him fully and unconditionally, He said, Welcome Home! He will never fail me!


Are you thinking today there your past defines you? Do you feel you can never be forgiven for things you have done? I am here to tell you that there is an answer - and Christ is that answer. God sent His Son, Jesus, to live a sinless life as a human being, and then to die a guiltless death, to cover all our sins. Not just some of them - all of them. If you don't know Him, I'd love to introduce you to Him. Just click on Contact and I will reach out to you, privately!


Until next time,

Vickie



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7 Comments


Guest
Feb 15

What a phenomenal testimony! You are an encouragement to all who seek to know God and His amazing love for us.

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sgastenveld
Feb 11

You truly are loved and it’s a pleasure to see this journey you are on!❤️

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Vickie Turley
Vickie Turley
Feb 11
Replying to

Thank you sweet sister!

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gracefilledjourney93
Feb 09

Vickie, comprehending, accepting, and living in God's love is tough! Thank you for sharing this - I grew up in a Christian home where perfectionism was status quo. I view God as seeing me as never good enough - never reaching the bar. Keep it up, Girlfriend!

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Vickie Turley
Vickie Turley
Feb 09
Replying to

Thank you for commenting. It is really tough when your perceptions are so skewed. Thankful that we have a God who sees all our flaws and imperfections and says, you are my loved creation!

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Guest
Feb 09

I love your story and how relentlessly you kept walking the journey to get here! You’re such a delight and joy to know! 💕

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Vickie Turley
Vickie Turley
Feb 09
Replying to

I don’t know how I would make it through life without knowing that God is there - always! Appreciate your comment

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