I was having a relatively productive and positive day until an unexpected visitor came to see me. I am not sure I saw him at first. In fact, I know I didn’t. I was busy typing on my keyboard, listening to a song in the background. He pulled up a chair beside me and whispered the words to the song, his breath fading in my ear in such a way that made me feel starkly alone. I glanced out the window to make sure the sun was still shining – that nothing had turned tragic. Everything was as it was moments ago – everything but me. The company of sadness stirred me.

Sadness is a selfish companion. He sits quietly, stealing our attention. Tears eventually settle into a deep well of disquieted disappointment that we attempt to hide from others. Drawing from this well, it pours out as fear. We shy away from fear because we do not wish to appear weak. As a result, we sit in the company of sadness much too long. Eventually, we adapt to a modified normal; fear becomes sorrow’s breastplate. We are left with a guarded and cautious heart.

Living wounded.

Thriving on distraction, we hardly recognize the whispering chorus of sadness. The melody of melancholy finds us singing along before we even realize the well has been stirred. Our mind meanders in memories where we felt a stronger footing – when we didn’t question God’s purpose for our lives or our ability to live into this purpose.

For many, kids are grown and on their own schedule. We are proud of them, but there is a part of us who misses them. Yes, they will always love us, but they will never fully understand how much we love them. Near or far – they have never lived a day without being fully loved. What a beautiful thought: to be loved by someone your entire life.

For others, they live in homes where spouses are indifferent to one another, filling time with routine and maintenance. They mindlessly put up the dishes, fold the laundry and watch their television series in silence. Even the silence feels distracted. Daily conversations thin. Motivation tires. It is easier to be nice and convince yourself that you are relatively happy than risk finding out neither one of you are genuinely happy. Or so we tell ourselves. In truth, the heart often dictates words that get hushed trying to penetrate sorrow’s breastplate. Fear of rejection. Fear of more pain. Or worse, fear of knowing you caused pain in another.

The world continues to revolve regardless of status. Titles change. Jobs change. Casual clothes of retirement eventually replace uniforms and business attire. The junk drawer keeps a collection of business cards that speak to our past. Schedules are now clear, but the ability to do what we want is limited. Passions of youth wane in sore bodies. Ironic.

Living wounded.

Regardless of our age, stage, or status, we can live with daily intention. We can practice the art of self-acceptance and self-love. There is nothing selfish about taking care of yourself – of feeding your mind, body and spirit with God’s truth, love and hope – balms for wounds. For what you have is what you can give. If you do not have truth, love or hope, you will be unable to share these comforts with others who are struggling. And when the unexpected visitor of sadness comes, as he most assuredly will, will we instinctively reach for the armor of fear or take up the armor of God?

Daily taking up the armor of God is one of the best ways to love yourself and to live with intention. Putting on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit will strengthen your footing (Ephesians 6:10-17). God’s armor will lift your mind, body and soul and remind you that you are never alone.

God is with you and for you.

Friend, we may be living wounded, but we are not too injured or broken for the Lord to fully restore us to Himself. We can live loved. We can pray, beginning now, for a wholeness that only He provides – a love that penetrates fear and turns songs of sorrow into opportunities for worship. Near or far – He is faithful to remind us that we have never lived a day without being fully loved. God has loved us our entire life, and His love endures forever.

SGLY, dear reader.

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier; Instagram:@tiffanysgly; and Twitter: @tiffanychartier. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.