Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion (Isaiah 30:18, NIV)
The other night I was fluffing my pillows before I turned out my light and I felt paper where pillow should be. A card! And inside, a love letter from my husband. I cried as I read it and cried more the next day when I read it again. (No one reads love letters just once, right?!)
Everyone receives love in different ways, but words are precious to me. Whether they are written or said, words are the most powerful way to show me love and the most potent weapons used to hurt me. That’s because they rumble around in my head and heart and echo back to me over time.
Still, spoken words and written words aren’t equal. Yesterday, I wrote that humans are forgetful creatures. We so easily forget what people say to us and sometimes we mis-remember and distort conversations. Written down, though, the words became more concrete and able to withstand time, changing circumstances, and shifting emotions.
Unfortunately, I do sometimes forget. The other day I had a breakdown while doing my hair. I was getting ready to go out with my husband, so I thought, “I’ll try to look nice.” So, I painted my nails. I’m the worst ever at painting my nails. I’m never patient enough and always touch something before they’re dry. In fact, it’s pretty impossible to meet the needs of three little people without touching my children, so I had to re-paint this one fingernail FOUR times!!! At that point, when my daughter asked me, “Mommy, can you . . . .” I gave in and just took the nail polish off completely. Then, I decided to work on curling my hair. I love curly hair. But, alas, I was the kind of girl who read books as a child and not a little girl who played with hair. That means that I am now a totally clueless grown woman when it comes to curls and blow drying and styling. After just a few attempts at curls resulting in frizz and disaster, I washed it all out and just left my hair the way it normally is. So much for dressing up.
At that point, I forgot. I forgot my husband loves me the way I am and he thinks I’m beautiful. Inside, I heard the lies—“You aren’t pretty enough. You’re a plain Jane and always will be. You’re surrounded by women with better hair, skin, nails and clothes and you just don’t measure up.”
I need the reminders that I am loved. Imagine if a married couple said, “I love you,” on their wedding day and then never again expressed love for each other. Years later, the wife complains, “You never tell me you love me” and the husband answers, “I showed you I loved you when I married you.”
God showed us His love clearly and completely through the cross. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (NIV). That sacrifice should serve as concrete evidence of love.
The world tells us, “Look at these bad circumstances in your life. God doesn’t love you.” We sin and we think, “No way can God forgive me or use me or love me. I’m too messed up.” We feel distant from Him, and we think, “God’s left me. He’s no longer here by my side.” But, we look to the cross and we remember, God loved me enough to die for me even when I was still rejecting Him.
Christ’s death on the cross was the most perfect expression of love, but God knows us. He knows our fickle and forgetful hearts. He knows that—like a wife in a marriage—we need reminders and expressions of love over time. So He gives us the Bible, His love letter to us. We don’t need to seek affirmation and fulfillment from other people or accomplishments. At any time in a day, we can meet with God and be reminded of His great love.
I tell my two daughters at least once a week, “No matter what anybody says and no matter what happens, remember that you are loved, you are beautiful and you are smart.” Then, they roll their little eyes at me and sigh, “I know, Mom. You tell us all the time.” And I do. I tell them all the time because the media, culture, mean girls, and Satan will fight hard to tell my girls lies, to convince them that they are ugly, fat, unloved, and not good enough. I give my daughters truth over and over again, hoping that they can identify and reject the lies.
It is in Scripture, that God expresses His love over and over again, so that we don’t forget it. In Hosea 2:19, we read:
And then I’ll marry you for good—forever!
I’ll marry you true and proper, in love and tenderness.
Yes, I’ll marry you and neither leave you nor let you go.
You’ll know me, God, for who I really am (MSG).
Stressed out about work? Read God’s Word and be refreshed. Feeling like a failure as a parent? Let God’s Word encourage and strengthen you. Not sure that God can take care of you? Dig deep into the Bible and remember His promises. Struggling with feeling like you aren’t beautiful or loved? Take down God’s love letter from the shelf and be reminded of how He cares for you and longs to lavish you with affection and blessing.
Sitting on the shelf unread, God’s love letter to us might look nice and serve as a memento. But, it’s only when we take God’s Word down and read and re-read it that the words regain their power and become an effective arsenal against the lies we face every day.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2011 Heather King