I thought a reflection what God’s been teaching me might be appropriate this week, since this is the “week of love”, or something like that, thanks to Valentine’s Day. Honestly, I love Valentine’s Day. It’s my favorite holiday. Now, having just said that, if you don’t know me, you’re probably thinking that the reason it’s my favorite is because I’ve always had some wonderful guy to make me feel special on this chocolate-filled day. But that’s not true. Not once in my over-a-quarter-of-century number of years have I had a guy make me feel special on this day, except my father when I was in fifth grade. But that’s a story for another time. I take Valentine’s Day and have fun. I wear something I feel pretty in (usually something new). On my way home from work I stop and buy myself a flower or two and a nummy dessert (this year will be cheesecake!). Then, after dinner I’ll curl up with a good movie and savor my cheesecake. I always go to bed feeling loved, beautiful, and special.
It took me a while to get to this point though. I have a poem I wrote a couple years ago entitled, “Happy Singles Awareness Day” that is a bit…bitter. It’s taken me years (like, a lifetime) to figure out that really, despite what everything around me tells me, all I need to feel loved and special is to accept the love of God, my Daddy, my Beloved. I was sitting in Bible Study Saturday morning with three other wise women, and one commented on how when she was a little child, she never doubted that God loved her. It wasn’t until she got older that she began to wonder. The others agreed. And I just sat there. I don’t remember ever thinking that God loved me when I was younger. I mean, I knew He cared, and I knew He loved me because God is love so He couldn’t help but to love me. But… He didn’t love me AS MUCH or in the same way as He loved everyone around me. I knew God had placed me on this earth to be a vessel He would use to love other people, not to be loved myself.
I’m not sure exactly where that crazy idea came from, but it affected me and how I lived my life. I think God got sick of it though. He began working in my heart, creating a desire to KNOW that I was loved by Him beyond all doubt. And then He placed some insightful, wise women in my life who insisted that I learn to accept the fact that God (and they) loved me. It took some getting used to. You can’t just un-believe something you’ve believed your entire life. But I worked on it, and now, a couple years later, I KNOW that God loves me. It’s only been in the last year though, that this has become a solid fact in my heart.
There came a point this last summer when I stopped everything and told God that if He really did love me like everyone had told me, then I wanted to know it. I wanted to be as aware of His love as I was of my own name. I screamed that at Him until I had no more strength to scream. And then I cried. That’s generally my version of wrestling with Him. And I’ve gotten so much better. It’s been a process; and one I’ll probably have to work through for the rest of my life. But it’s better.
And partly that’s because I realized that God is sending me love letters all the time. He’s showing me He loves me in every sunrise and sunset. In every flower that crosses my path. In every un-looked-for hug from a friend. In every reason to laugh. In every warm cookie or cup of hot chocolate. He’s there. Reminding me that I’m special and He loves me. I just have to open my eyes and accept that He really and truly DOES love me. And I maybe need to take time to watch the sunrise and sunset more often; He’d probably enjoy that.
Anyway, all that to say, if you’re feeling unloved this week, maybe it’s because you haven’t been looking around you. Maybe you haven’t been taking the time to notice all the little love notes your Lover has been sending you. After all, if you don’t open them, what good do they do? You wouldn’t leave a valentine from your boyfriend unopened would you? So go open the ones from God.