“I hope I don’t say that too much,” I giggled out loud, in a self-conscious manner before being reminded of the truth.
He didn’t just love me in pieces.
It might sound crazy to some, but over time I have grown so close to Jesus that we’re in continuous conversation. I don’t have something pop-up and send out an emergency SOS or click the airplane icon with a quick email request to God. There’s no “Dear God, it’s me Margaret.” There’s simply an open, continuous line of dialogue. When I wake in the morning I speak to Him, and as I’m driving down the road (like this morning) I say it.
I love you.
After I uttered the words, words that came so naturally and in such passionate truth, words that poured out passively from my lips, I was briefly hampered by my human experience of love. I had to remind myself that Jesus didn’t love me like I had ever known.
I am frequently reminded in my mind, every time I say those three words, of my ex husband. When he told me he wasn’t happy in our marriage he was quick to tell me why. He had a laundry list in his head of things I did that irked him, reasons, if you will, for his discontent with the life we had built together.
“For example,” he had said, “you say I love you way too much!”
He painted a picture of my needy self, with desires to cuddle far too often, and an annoying need to proclaim my love for him out loud. I had always been a lover, not a fighter, and it seems he wanted me to fuss more and hug less. I wanted to be intimate more than once in a blue moon, and a hundred other nuances came to light. Most of them highlighting the fact that I wanted to love wholeheartedly, but that apparently wasn’t his cup of tea.
They, whoever “they” may be, are correct when they say intimate relationships join your very being to another, because it took me a long time to recover from our divorce. Even in the midst of the new, blessed relationship God had given me, I still had pain to recover from, and I was reminded this morning that I still had scars from it all.
In this world we are molded by our experiences. A fatherless child will have trouble relating to the Father Heart of God. Those who have suffered through abuse by those who are supposed to “love” them will have difficulty understanding Agape love. Those who have been rejected will have a problem trusting in the future, and sadly, the pictures others paint of us hang around. We become what has been spoken over us, because words are powerful, and we believe the lies the world whispers. We think we are our faults, our mistakes, our broken pasts. Performance based love that we have gotten used to will cloud our understanding of God’s love. And if you love someone who has been broken, they will hold back from your affections. They won’t want to, but they will. You’ll only get a piece of them.
This morning, as I once again proclaimed my affections to Jesus, I had to place His truth over my past experiences. I had to remind myself that He didn’t love me in part, but wholeheartedly. In fact, He relished my affections, and He smiled at my unbridled emotions. He reveled in my shouts of joy, and I could never be more than He could handle. He took all of me, with open arms, and more importantly He gave me all He had to offer.
I am so grateful that the Lord gave me a new marriage, with a man who is sensitive, emotional, and highly loving like myself. We’re lovers, and I’m so thankful for that relationship He gifted to me, redeeming my past, and bringing me an abundant future. But above all I am grateful for His love, the love of Jesus. I am grateful that He loves me more than I’ve ever known, and that He loves me bigger than the hurts I have experienced. It’s difficult to find love that gives all, but that unconditional love can be found in Christ. And I am blessed to know a Savior who loves me just as I am.