Saturday February 14, 2009

A Valentine Written Especially for me…  (but you can read it too! *wink*)

I was asked a few weeks back to share at a ladies brunch today, along with several others, about the love of God. More specifically, how I’d felt it in my life over the last year…  that seemed like a pretty easy subject. I didn’t give it a whole lot of time or thought. But this week – as the day got closer I found myself struggling with what to say…

Sure, I could stand up and say some canned expected answer, but…. anyone who knows me (and most who read my blog don’t :) so I’ll just tell you), that’s not me!

I sat and waited my turn. Speaking in front of people is my least favorite thing in the world to do. (next to singing at weddings!) Those who went before me had their notes all written out, or their thoughts carefully put together… the more I listened the more nervous I became. I felt so unprepared.

When my name was called I got up and walked to the podium. Taking a deep breath… this is what I said. (perhaps not word for word – but basically the main gist).

“I don’t really have anything prepared. I tried to put some stuff together last night, but… well, I’ll be honest – I was struggling with getting up here and talking about ways God has shown me His love because… I don’t know about you, and maybe you’ve never been here – but at times I just don’t feel God loves me!

I mean, what a horrible Christian thing to say, right? But, it’s where I’m at at the moment…

But as I prayed last night about this all I felt like the Lord said to me so clearly, ‘You don’t feel I love you because you’re looking for it in all the wrong places!’

(here in my little talk is where the tears began to flow… just as they had the night before).

God was right!

When I don’t understand what God’s doing with Shayne’s job and direction for our lives right now – it doesn’t mean He doesn’t love me.

When I pray for another baby to fill our arms and it’s not happened – it doesn’t mean He doesn’t love me.

When people hurt me, and seem unfair, even cruel in their criticism – it doesn’t mean He doesn’t love me.

But I’m human… I don’t pretend to always get God. I base so many things on my emotional reasoning. I wish I could say I have some kind of deep extraordinary faith that never questions God or wavers. But, I don’t. And in these times when I don’t FEEL that He loves me I’m not always sure what to cling to ~ because yes. being human. emotional. and doubting I need something to cling to…

Problem is, I can often go to the wrong places to make me “feel God’s love.” Circumstances that are smooth. Bills that can be paid. Affirmation from others. My husband. My kids… and nothing wrong with God loving us through these things – He often does. But when we go to them in place of knowing and truly experiencing His love alone, it’s wrong. It is sin. The sin of idolatry – anything that I’m looking to meet needs only God can meet! 

Still, recognizing these things doesn’t always change how I feel. So I said, “Lord, how do I believe you love me, even when I don’t feel like it.” And the words to this simple, yet truth packed little song immediately came to mind –

‘Jesus Loves me, This I know – (how do I know?) for the Bible tells me so.’

It is in running to God’s Word – not in any other temporary counterfeit – that I will hear. believe. know. and feel of His great love towards me…

I thought of a verse I had read in Isaiah that very morning and grabbed my Bible to look it up again – “I have graven you upon the palms of my hands….”

I envisioned the Lord standing with His arms open. His hands and feet are pierced, and He bears the marks of death in his body. He looks at me and says, “I understand how you feel. I’ve been there. I’ve felt it too. “

I am convinced that until God becomes our all. Until He is first. second. third. and fourth place, we will never be satisfied. We will continually feel crushed beneath our questions. fears. and doubts. Life will never make sense until we come to accept that there is no lasting fulfillment outside of Christ. Try as we may to fill our love starved hearts with anything else apart from Him. It is not me plus God. God plus something else. It is God alone. And. He. Is. Enough.

So… while thinking I had nothing to say about how God had shown His love to me over the last year – I discovered that He has. was. and does over and over again as I look to His Word~

I wait for the Lord. My soul waits, and in His word I put my hope…”

This Valentines day may you rediscover, as I did, the greatest. sweetest Valentine ever written – it’s pages are strewn cover to cover with the only source of genuine. lasting. eternal love. It’s all right there at our fingertips. And it’s all there Just For Us!

“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jer. 31: 3

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25 thoughts on “Saturday February 14, 2009

  1. inhislight07

    I can always count on you for great photos that go with a great story ……I always look forward to reading.   I so agree about the idol thing it is so easy to fall into and so easy to put your trust into…….I love that you share your stuggles it makes you easy to identify with….although I know that’s not why you share that either….you share cuz that’s you…..oh and on the thing about you calling me georgious…….seriously I try…..really hard lol


    Cara happy love day

  2. chambray7

    Thanks for sharing your heart…..I’ve been there where it just. feels. like. God has forgotten me, and I made a list of verses of waiting on the Lord, and then He impressed upon me to be Joyful while waiting….and it seems like I need to once again be reminded of this….waiting. for. healing……He’s still there, loving us, even if we don’t feel it, it’s right there in His promises!  Thanks for this reminder~ 

  3. chulya

    real and genuine honesty, spoken from a broken heart,  can minister greater than flowery speeches!  i’m proud of you for being truthful.  …and YES!  we’ve all been there! 

    those pictures of your kids are just precious!  i couldn’t help but SMILE!  (all alone in the room).    i can just hear emma saying, “uuugh!”….trying to cover her cheeks….yet loving it.  SWEET AS! 

  4. Anonymous

    It is SO scary to have to speak and trust God to give you the words to say. I feel nervous just thinking about it. But it’s so awesome to decide your available to say whatever He wants communicated and then to trust Him to not leave you hanging! Honest transparency is so important in being “usable”. Amen!

  5. Kelly_O78

    Amber, I don’t believe in coincidence, so it’s just a God-thing that our sermon today was about Christ’s actions and loving us in the hard times, and I come home to open this Xanga digest and read this post. Our pastor is going through Mark, and this was about Jesus healing the leper, and how God was there throughout that man’s life, gently guiding him in the direction so that on that day, when he met Jesus, things were the way they needed to be. Even though that man was literally dying, outcast by his people, when he saw Jesus he cried out to him in faith, and Jesus was there at the precise moment. In God’s timing, not ours.

    I wish I had a way to let you hear what was said, but if you want to read the scripture, it’s Mark 1:40-45. It’s my prayer for you (and for all of us really) that we can understand God is working in our lives, even when that’s the last thing we can see.

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us here, and for sharing so openly with the ladies at your function. I know there had to be a lot of heart-blessing and soul-feeding going on that day.

  6. maryhurlbut

    I remember over 27 years ago while going through pre-martial counseling, our past or talked about “a God-made-void within each of us, that only can be filled by GOD…not my husband, food, things, etc. Your post reminded me again to ask what have I been trying to fill that void with lately?
    How precious, how satisfying is HIS Word.

  7. cherylyn_p

    I can identify with the real and honest words you spoke at that brunch. And, I believe it’s your pure honesty about both appreciating the good and disliking the bad that makes me love you so much. Not many people *do* like the bad, despite the flowery speeches they give or the Scripture they quote. It’s like those personality tests in magazines. You know what the correct answer *should be* but it isn’t how *YOU* feel.

    Every single one of us (at least 100% of the people I’ve met) dig in their heels and pull back when the ugly times rear their head. Many may quote, “I count it all joy” (big smile), but most people don’t.

    I think God made us emotional people for a reason. He knew we’d sag and cave under pressure – that’s when His refining work is at the finest!

    Love you all the more, dear Amber!

  8. Elizabethmarie_1

    Wow! So true.  I think we all do the same thing, look for love in the wrong places, when God is right there loving us!  Thank you for being so real and honest, I always appreciate and love your posts!  Hope you had a nice birthday weekend and Valentines Day! :)

  9. resolved2worship

    messages from God to us are something that doesn’t pass by quickly – nor do they always come quickly – but over time and through trial and error, or at least for me :) wonderful words of truth from the Word of God – I have been overwhelmed by God’s love for me – an attribute not always highlighted in some circles – but rather one, not mentioned just in case it might cause someone to think they are so loved they can live in a way that may not be what other people prefer… thank HIM he loves us so much there is nothing, nobody and nothing we can do that will separate us from that. :)

    Blessings and gotta love that photo there at the end. :)


  10. seanjoli

    Thank you for sharing your heart. It is amazing that I came upon your site tonight. I so needed to read this. God is so faithful!!! You have beautiful children:)

  11. Richgem

    Oh my gosh! First I read this awesome post and then I scrolled down and read what your Hubby said about you! GIRL! You are SOOoo loved! In our women’s Bible study we are in a book called To Walk and Not Grow Weary. We’ve studied about Job, Jonah and David. Their lives were horrendous! But God and His infinate love brought them through  the walk. He’s shown me that my life must be completely dependant on Him When I am weary and doubtful, it’s only because I have been walking on my own power.  I am so glad that those of us who believe in the Lord do come back around and realize He DOES love us and takes care of us in His own special way! Love, Gail

  12. bakersdozen2

    Amber, I read this post the other day right after reading DawneElla’s. Over the years I’ve been amazed how God brings his people through the same spiritual processes at the same time. It really must be a ~Body of Christ~ thing.
    I do believe The Lord looks on us with tender love when we question difficult situations with an open childlike wonder. ~not a demanding, “Hey! What about this!!!” spirit…..

    If we are to approach Him with the faith of child, questions should be expected, right? Think of how often our little ones come to us with wondering innocence, yet with full assurance that we have the answer to their most vexing problem….. ~ I’m picturing Emma in my head right now :)
    What a privilege to approach, “Abba, Father”!!!

  13. cricket79

    Thanks so much for sharing what’s on your heart. This post really spoke to me, I so often tend to not look to Him for love and look in all the wrong places for it. Why is it so hard to trust Him, to love Him and to let Him take complete control of my life?? I know He is always there waiting for us/me, wanting more than anything for us to love Him with all of our hearts. Thanks so much for the reminder!

  14. homefire

    I love your heart, sister, and I am crying.  That was just. simply. beautiful.    Thank you so much for sharing.  God is so good to give words when we feel inadequate–it’s quite obvious that this was straight from Him, and I thank you for being the means He used to bring it to me!  Wishing you many rich blessings~

  15. Anonymous

    …sometimes it’s so hard…so hard, but we are only called to take one more step. So I do, sometimes just one step at a time, clinging tenaciously to words that He will never, ever leave me. Thank you for the encouragement.  Thank you too, “homefire” for sharing this blog!


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