There is loneliness, and then there is solitude. 

At 7 years old, I spent much of my free time daydreaming about my perfect future: a house filled with children, a loving husband, and a full heart. I would fall in love in high school, and the man of my dreams would ask me to spend the rest of my life with him shortly after graduation. That’s how life works, right? At 7, that’s how I saw the world, in one aspect, anyways.

At 12, I found the heart of Jesus, and burrowed myself deep beneath the shelter of his wings. I had been reading a book called Voice of the Martyrs, and wanted so badly to suffer for God, to look into the eyes of adversity and choose the love of my Savior. So, at 12 years old, my plans changed. I begged God to give me a life of suffering so that others could look at me and see the faithfulness I had in the midst of adversity. Then, they would know God is good.

I thought I knew what I wanted. I was so sure of it, but I had no idea that a long road of suffering was to come. When the bad came, I didn’t turn to God. I turned to men who promised me more love than anyone else could provide, and I trusted them to fill the self-inflicted void that had gnawed it’s way through my soul. I wanted my 7 year old dreams back, and I was going to have it at any cost.

And that is when life takes a wrong turn. I’ve been in love once. I had my high school love story, but that’s as far as it went. After the awful breakup, I turned to any guy that would give me the time of day, and the hole in my soul kept growing bigger and bigger.

At 21, I was diagnosed with Huntingtons disease. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a neurological disorder that causes your brain to decay over time. In the beginning stages, the parts of your brain that allow you to be happy, rational, and  sane start to dissolve. Over time, it takes over your body, and by the time you’re at the peak of your life, you fade away. My life was in shambles. I felt rushed, like I needed to find a husband and have kids before the disease took over. I wanted it so badly, and I’ve spent countless nights mourning the time on the clock. Every second I spent single and childless killed me, and I panicked.

I dated guys I would have never given a second of my time if it hadn’t been for the disease. I lied to myself, saying I could make it work if I tried hard enough. It was a lot of work, and I quickly grew weary of my endless pursuit of happiness.

This past month, I took a step back and looked at my life. I realized that I loved solitude more than the company of these “potential husbands.” I thought about the one time I was truly in love, and two things came to mind: my high school lover, and Jesus. l can’t get the relationship I once had with my love back. We are now two separate people, with two totally different lives, but I still feel like he is a part of me.

Most of me believes in one soul mate, and in my case, I think I already had mine. He is in my soul, and my memories of him and the happiness we shared keeps my heart beating when I start to confuse solitude with loneliness. I had my time for love, and it was good, with all of the ups and downs that came with it. Still, I begged God for a husband, for children, for my dreams to come true. I didn’t realize until recently that he had been saying yes all along.

All at once, I suddenly had a baby goddaughter and a nephew, and I love them with every inch of my battered heart. I can’t even imagine having a child and loving them more. The love I have for them fills in the maternal hole that I’ve always had in my heart, and now my soul beats steady with the rhythm of their tiny beating hearts.

God gave me what I had been begging for, I just couldn’t see it. Now I do. Even if I could have kids, I would be risking the chance of handing them the disease that has haunted my life, and I just can’t do that. And I’ve decided, maybe out of pride, that I don’t want to have a husband who will have to feed me through a tube and change my diapers in the prime of his life.

But it’s okay. I’m a bride to a God who died for me, and I know he will provide more love than any standard American Dream could.

At this point in my life, I’ve decided to carry on in solitude, analyzing my life and bettering myself based upon the standards that God provides. I think it will be better this way, and I’m happy.

Look at them. My heart.

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