Warm Oatmeal and Moss Gowns

You Are

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I woke up this morning with the knowledge of how much I am loved.  There were no roses filling my room.  There was no special breakfast on the table.  There was no sweet note on the bathroom mirror.  But still, in the very core of me, has sat this warm-oatmeal feeling of being completely, totally, absolutely loved all morning long.

I’m pretty sure the cynics out there would say it’s just my hormones slightly outta whack.  But I know better.

I’m loved – deeply, passionately, love.  Like meat loves salt.

I know, that’s a weird way to say it.   Let me explain.  When I was a little girl who still wore dresses more days than not, I stumbled across this tale in the library, and it’s still one of my favorite children’s stories.  Right up there with The Velveteen Rabbit.

It’s kind of a Cinderella and King Lear combination, where the father has three daughters, is old, and is trying to figure out how to divide his wealth.  So, he asks his daughters how much they love him, figuring he could divide the wealth by the measure of how much they loved him.  The two eldest daughters told him wild stories of loving him more than jewels and riches, but it was the youngest daughter who loved him best.  In fact, it was she who actually even loved her father.  She tried to figure out a way to explain to her father how much she loved him that wouldn’t sound empty and fake, like her sisters’ false claims.  But the only thing that came to mind was how awful meat was without salt.  So, that’s what she told him – that she loved him more than meat loves salt.

I won’t ruin the rest story for you.  Go read it for yourselves.  It’s called Moss Gown and is written by William H. Hooks.

But that being said, I woke up this morning knowing God loves me like meat loves salt.

It has taken me a long time to actually believe that thought.  I know, I know, I’m a Christian girl. I grew up in a Christian household, shouldn’t I have known from a very young age that God loves me?

Well, when I was little, I did.  I knew it beyond a doubt.  But somewhere around the time I became a teenager, I began doubting.  And by the time I was in my mid-twenties, I was pretty convinced that God put me on this earth to be just an instrument of His love.  He didn’t love me as much as He loved everyone else, and part of the reason He created me was to show everyone else how much He loved them.  It was a pretty sick and twisted lie.

I knew it to be a lie, but here’s the thing.  Knowing something is a lie, and then NOT believing it are two very different things.  You might not think so, but they are.

I KNEW God loved me, but I sure didn’t believe it.  And I definitely didn’t feel it. But I wanted to believe He loved me.  I was desperate to believe it.   I wanted Him to do His “God thing”, point His finger at me, zap me with some heavenly electricity and fill me with the knowledge and warm fuzzy feeling of being loved.

But that’s not how God worked.  He waited until I was desperate and broken enough to actually be willing to believe He loved me.  He waited until I was alone, awake, witnessing the stars turn in their nightly orbits as tears cascaded down my face, asking about something else completely.

And then He sat me down and pretty much just hit me over the head with it.  There have been two times in my life when God told me something so powerfully that He practically turned me into a statue.  This was the second time.  I couldn’t move.  I was still crying, but I was crying tears of joy now.  I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt about His deep, crazy, unbridled love for me.  All I could do was sit there, watching the stars continue in their paths and letting the tears fall down my face.

There have been days when it’s easy to fall back into my old way of thinking, of believing the lie I know to be a lie.  If not in belief, at least in actions.  But once you know and believe something to be a lie, even if you forget for a bit, you remember the truth quickly.

Since that night, when people in interviews or whatever ask me what Jesus means to me, I can never find words.  I always have the problem of the youngest daughter in Moss Gown.  How can you possibly describe this kind of love?  You can’t.  So, you say the closest thing possible.  You say Jesus, to you, is like salt to meat.

And they just look at you weird.  But that’s okay.  Because you know that you know that you know that He loves YOU.  Inexplicably, crazily, unconditionally, passionately LOVES YOU.

I’m not writing this to boast of the God who created the universe’s love for me.  I’m writing this as a reminder.  Because, you see, the wonderful thing is He doesn’t just love me this way.

He loves you this way too.   I would try to convince you, but if you don’t already believe, there is literally nothing on this earth that I can do or say to get you to believe.  It’s between you and God.  I would love to give you a formula to help you understand and believe but we are all too original for God to work through formulas with us.  But, take my word for it – He really does love you.  Promise.  Ask Him to show you.  It might take a while (He has that whole “timing” thing down), but He will.

And when you know that He loves you, sometimes you wake up with the feeling, deep in your innermost core, of being passionately loved.  It makes you feel quiet and secure and snug inside, as if you just ate warm oatmeal.

And that, friends, is when the true adventure can begin!

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