Here we are. All the work, the inner searching, the outward practice, and the dating dilemmas have led us to this place. Now we look inside our hearts and decide whether or not we have the courage to fall in love again.

Poets describe love as a mighty power that transforms the soul, something that brings one glory, life, and new energy. But as we all know, love also has the power to attack life’s foundation and shake us senseless with pain. What a statement of transformation and growth when a woman can say,“I understand both the light and dark sides of love, and still I’m ready and willing to try again.”

The moment I laid eyes on Al it was energy at first sight; desire, longing, and lust at first touch; endless days of sharing our past and countless nights of lovemaking before we uttered the words “I love you.” I knew I was in love weeks before I said anything and wondered whether he felt the same way. It had taken three years, many dates, and one serious postdivorce relationship for me to come to this place of being ready for a man to share my life, my future, and my kids.

I struggled to understand what had gone wrong in my marriage, to move from despair to hope, from poverty to self-sufficiency. I felt independent and for the first time in my life really had an understanding of what it meant to love myself. I was ready to open up to love, and I was strong enough to go on if my man didn’t love me. But I was still too chicken to say it first.

It was August, one month after we had met on the set of the church musical. My kids were visiting their father, so we were alone. I’d just made a delicious dinner, we’d taken a long walk, and we were sitting outside on the patio when he pulled me onto his lap and said, “There’s something I need to tell you.” For a moment I just stared at him, wondering if he was going to tell me something awful.Then he said,“I’m in love with you.”

Love is one of the glories we are all seeking. Many believe it happens all by itself, with a look or a touch.

But there is no look or touch powerful ‘ “Courage to Love Again OR Falling in Love” enough to unlock a heart that isn’t ready for love. Now is the time to let love creep back into your thoughts, for you stand changed by divorce, made whole by self-acceptance, and strong with practice and the desire to survive.

You’ve become a mighty force! Let’s take some time to look at what we learn from love, why we crave it and are willing to sacrifice for it.

Then we can talk about what love means to us today so that we can begin to create a healthy new love relationship.

With this basic understanding of love, we’ll be getting ready to welcome love into our lives, open our hearts, accept the pain that might come despite being in love again, and dive in with hope. Last, we’ll celebrate finding love, growing love, and letting love go when it isn’t returned.