Karen Woodard

Abbotsford, Canada

Experiencing true love

I’ve heard that the greatest need we have as people is to love and to be loved, and as a child, this has been a challenge for me—to feel loved and affirmed and appreciated.

Now, when I was a child, I tried very hard to please my parents. I remember trying to get As in all of my classes and I cried when I didn’t, and I sincerely wanted to win my dad’s approval especially. I don’t know what it is about fathers and daughters; I’ve talked to many women since I’ve had my experience, and they also struggle with feeling loved and secure in their father’s love. 

My dad and I still to this day have a tough relationship, and I have to just remind myself that I love him unconditionally even if he doesn’t love me in the same way. I do know my dad loves me, though, but throughout my life, in my relationships with my parents and then as I got married, I met another relationship where I was looking for sincere love from my husband. I know that my husband loves me, but sometimes, it was hard for him to give me the kind of love I needed.  I just needed to be reassured, to be appreciated, and to be affirmed, and sometimes I felt like I wasn’t getting that from my husband, which made me disillusioned with that relationship.

But then we had children, and as my four children came along, I thought, “Now, finally, I will have the type of love that I really want.” These children will adore me; they will just love me unconditionally.  And to a certain extent they did, but for any mother, you know that children are draining, and often you don’t feel loved from your children. And so I had to wrestle once again with not experiencing the kind of love that I wanted even from my children.

Now, as I look at my relationship with my dad, my husband, and with my kids, I do want to believe that they love me, but there was still something inside me that longed for something else—a different kind of love, And so I realized that the only way I could truly feel the love I wanted and needed was through God.

Now, I’m not going to say that I’m the most loving person either, but I realized that there was something else in my life that was blocking this love. And so I struggled with loving people unconditionally, and I wasn’t a very lovable person; I would get angry. I was impatient. I would not want to be with people, and at times I was anti-social, and I still am. I struggle with that do this day. And so I know that I was not someone who could be loved unconditionally.

So what was the solution? As I mentioned, God has been an important part of my life, in helping me understand what real unconditional love is. He loves me no matter what. His son, Jesus, died on the cross for me. Through him, I’ve learned that the only way that I can experience the love that I want and also love other people the way that they want to be loved, is through God. And it’s through my experiencing his unconditional love for me and then allowing him to love other people through me.

If you have any questions, I’d love to connect with you to help you on your spiritual journey. Just send me a message. 

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