Thursday, February 11, 2010

Glimpse of Love

There is a prayer that God loves to answer and I used to actually feel guilty for needing to pray this but now I'm learning to ask for it on a regular basis. I pray for him to show me tangible love. For too long I settled for the mere concept of God’s love, like knowing about it and thinking that’s all there was. I felt like I should be above needing to see it in this world that we live in.

But God doesn’t want us to just know that his unconditional love exists, He wants to show us! I experienced this a couple of weeks ago when I was super down and depressed at church. I’d probably been feeling that way all week, but it became the most apparent when the preacher was preaching about good things, the worship music was playing lovely songs, people around me were happy and I wanted to roll my eyes, shrink into a corner and cry. Melodramatic as usual you may be thinking.

I was so empty. Too empty to put on a nice smile and say hi to friends on the way out. Too empty to sing and definitely too empty to see any people around me who may be hurting and in need of a friend. If things didn’t change in me soon the ride home from church was bound to be “super fun” for my whole family.

So I prayed and asked God to give me a sign that He even loved me. It was too desperate to even analyze and think that what I was asking was selfish. I was too desperate to gather a list together in my mind of different things that God could do for me right then to show his love. I was asking and I didn’t care how he answered, I just needed something!

Blessed are the poor in spirit for they shall see the Kingdom of God. Matthew 5:3

Right after I prayed that I saw an old friend with her husband and new baby. I hadn’t seen them in months and as soon as the singing ended I made my way over there…she had a brand new baby and even if I’m feeling lower than low I will make time for a baby!

We talked for a little while and she told me that when they were talking about visiting the church the main reason was that they wanted to see me and my husband! She is NOT the type of person to say things that she knows you want to hear and how could she have known that I wanted to hear that anyway??

She also asked the dreaded question after seeing through my “I’m doing fine…” (said through gritted teeth). She said “How are you really doing???” Ahhh, I totally broke down and cried and spilled out how I was really doing...

On the ride home though I felt amazing at that tangible showing of God’s love to me.

Have you ever read “The Five Love Languages”? That book revolutionized my thinking when we were first married. I remember, at some point in our first year of marriage, my husband saying “Do you even love me???” I was like “Of course, how could you even ask that? I cook for you; I pick up your dirty clothes without complaining! I rub your back in the evening and wake up early to make you coffee and lunch!” He said “But you never tell me what you think of me, you say ‘I love you’ but you never say more than that…”

My husband was needing words of affirmation (his main love language) and I was pouring on him acts of service (mine). The idea was completely novel to me but it made sense and I admitted that I wasn't feeling too loved myself, since I was feeling like I was doing more for him and internalizing my complaints... At first the words of affirmation were completely forced and unnatural but the more I said them the more easily they came. I realized that I didn’t have to make every affirmation sound like a greeting card and actually the way I talk to my husband is pretty similar to the way I talk to my son, LOL... "You are such a big strong man…show me those muscles”. He loves it, imagine that!

God created us to love and be loved in ways that we can feel deep in our hearts. He also wants to be a part of that so he also wants to show us love in the language that speaks to us.

So this week I was feeling a little low once again and I said that same prayer. And God has this time rained down on me His love. Mostly in the way of people I’ve talked to. I’ve had several conversations in the last few days that have gone into the deep almost immediately. I’ve been able to open up about things that I really needed to and these other women have either opened up about things to me (which always blesses me) or have poured positive things into me. Saying that prayer and waiting for God to answer I believe helped me to receive things that they were saying.

Grace is around us all the time and sometimes our eyes just need to be opened to it.

Something else happened that was pretty cool. I really have needed a toddler bed for Brayden and we don’t have the money to buy one right now. I’ve prayed for one and asked people on facebook, but couldn’t find one. I was just thinking of ways to go and buy one because someone gave us a new bed for Ruby. I thought about using it for Brayden, but it’s pretty girly.

It occurred to me though yesterday that when I set up this bed for Ruby we’ll have an extra twin mattress and I wondered what I was going to do with it. Then yesterday afternoon a friend on Facebook (actually my Zumba instructor…I don’t really know her) said she was needing a twin sized mattress and she would trade a toddler bed!

This might just seem like a nice coincidence to most people, but I take everything personally and love to see God’s hand work.

I know this post is already very long but I just want to post these lyrics to a song by Jennifer Knapp from her album “Kansas”…

“All the chistles I've dulled carving idols of stone
That have crumbled like sand 'neath the waves.
I've recklessly built all my dreams in the sand
just to watch, them all wash away.
Through another day, another trial, another chance to reconcile
To one who sees past all I see.
And reaching out my weary hand I pray that you'd understand
You're the only one who's faithful to me.
All the pennies I've wasted in my wishing well
I have thrown like stones to the sea.
I have cast my lots, dropped my guard, searched aimlessly for a faith
To be faithful to me.
Through another day, another trial, another chance to reconcile
To one who sees past all I see.
And reaching out my weary hand I pray that you'd understand
You're the only one who's faithful to me.
You're the only one who's faithful to me.”


Angela Strand said...

I totally know what you mean about the love languauge thing. Mine is Acts of Service also. It's always good to be reminded about how that ISN'T my husbands!
It is so good to have friends that can talk to you about what is REALLY going on and remind you that they love you. God sure shows us his love through other people sometimes!

Shannon said...

Jewel!!!!!! I just found this and oh my goodness, you have made my day!!!!!! Thank you for your BEAUTIFUL heart for the Lord and for your honesty! I miss you and am so excited to be able to stay a bit more connected to you!


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