She was sobbing next to me and finally put all those unmanageable, messy feelings into four words.
“I feel so unloved.”
One fight with her sisters, one afternoon of correction and quiet discipline….and this totally loved daughter of mine told me she didn’t feel loved at all.
She sat with her tissue, snuggled against my side, my one arm hugging her shoulder, my other arm smoothing her wild hair that had been mussed by all the emotion.
But she felt unloved.
I had packed her lunch for the day, putting in her favorite snack and slipping a tiny paper with a joke on it into her bag of pretzels so she would smile and laugh and think of me.
She was wearing the outfit I had bought her and a ribbon in her hair that I (yes, the mom recovering from an allergy to crafts) had made for her with my own two clumsy hands.
Her favorite dinner was simmering on the stove.
Before bed the night before we had studied her Bible verses for the week and read together from books I ordered used online because they were out-of-print. But they were her favorite, so I had happily spent an afternoon performing Google searches to find them.
I had combed out her long blond hair after her bath and sprayed it down to ease out the tangles and reminded her to brush her teeth.
And I had told her I loved her often, hugged her and kissed the top of her head throughout the day, then tucked her into bed under the blanket I had made for her myself.
But still she felt unloved.
I just finished reading an article about prison ministries and how many of the inmates come from homes where no one bothered to make sure they weren’t starving or had warm clothes to wear in the winter or a place to sleep.
No one really cared about them at all, but my daughter didn’t know the horrors of need and desperation.
So I told my crying girl how loved she is and how even when her emotions push their faulty lies into her heart and mind, she can shut them down with truth.
Doesn’t my Mom care for me? Doesn’t she tell me she loves me? Doesn’t she take care of my needs and even those extra things that I want?
We’re just as forgetful as my daughter is at times, feeling unloved because of a circumstance, a correction, a trial or sadness. And we sit among our piles of blessings, of salvation and daily grace, and think, “God, don’t You love me?”
We meditate on the lies and feed them with our feelings, just like the Israelites did in the Old Testament.
Psalm 106 follows their long journey through forgetfulness and betrayal…
…they gave no thought to your miracles;
they did not remember your many kindnesses (verse 7).
But they soon forgot what he had done
and did not wait for his plan to unfold (verse 13).
They forgot the God who saved them,
who had done great things in Egypt,
miracles in the land of Ham
and awesome deeds by the Red Sea (verse 21-22).
They didn’t just forget minor provisions of lunch box meals and some new outfits for school.
They forgot miraculous deliverance out of slavery in Egypt, the parting of an entire body of water so they could cross on dry land, daily provision of manna from heaven and the protection from war-loving enemies on every side.
But always God was faithful:
Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,
to make his mighty power known…
Yet he took note of their distress
when he heard their cry;
for their sake he remembered his covenant
and out of his great love he relented (Psalm 106:8, 4-45).
They forgot. He remembered.
“Yet, He….” it says in each verse. In my NKJV Bible, it says, “Nevertheless…”
That’s what God is...never at any moment less than good and powerful, mighty and merciful to us. He is never less than His character or His faithfulness to His promises.
Even when our feelings tell us otherwise.
Even when we’ve believed the lies.
Beth Moore writes, “To live some semblance of victory, I’ve had to learn to be intentional and determined about where I would “set” my mind. We can’t just depend on a good mood to get us through” (Esther).
That’s what I quietly tell my girl–how she’s always loved, even when she doesn’t feel like it, and how to conquer the lies by remembering the truth.
And that’s what I remind myself on the bad days and in the hard times, when I’m annoyed, frustrated, tired, or overwhelmed…that God loves me and cares for me. Even when I mess up, never-the-less He is faithful.
That’s the truth.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer 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. Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2012 Heather King