“You need to love him”. Those words, spoken by the Holy Spirit, woke me in the middle of the night. I looked around, who is the he I need to love? I realized He meant my husband, (now ex) Donny, asleep or should I say passed out next to me. My response was immediate “I can’t love him, You see how he is”. And with that I went back to sleep.
The next night, I was awakened by the same words, “You need to love him”. I still didn’t have to think very long for my answer, “I can’t love him, You see how he is, he is so mean to me”. And again, I went back to sleep.
This continued night after night and night after night, I added to the list of reasons why I couldn’t love my husband. It got harder and harder to come up with reasons and I found myself during the daytime thinking of more reasons. It was getting old to me and every night I thought I had made my case and this would be the night the Holy Spirit didn’t wake me with the now familiar words, “you need to love him. But every night, He did.
One night out of frustration, when He spoke those words, I presented my whole list:
You see how he is, he’s mean to me, he’s seldom home, he’s almost always drunk, he doesn’t help out with anything, he’s unfaithful, he neglects me, he neglects his kids, he’s abusive, he abandons us for months every winter, he’s always at the bar. I ended my list with, “no, I can’t love him because in my opinion, he’s not worth loving”. I went to sleep satisfied that I had settled the issue.
The next night, I didn’t hear the words I had come to dread. Instead I heard these words spoken in a very soft and imploring tone, “But, you weren’t worth loving either”.
Wow! I felt like Eve in the garden of Eden, naked, exposed, ashamed and desperately in need of somewhere to hide.
I wanted to crawl under my bed and dig a hole through the carpet and the floor and keep digging until there was no chance of being seen.
I was so ashamed.
When I realized there was no place to hide and no need to hide (He’d already seen my gross sin), I asked for forgiveness and the grace to begin loving my husband.
I’d like to say that as a result of that encounter, I was able to love him well enough that he responded to my love and responded to God’s love and changed his ways and we lived happily ever after. But that’s not what happened; we were divorced three years later.
What did happen was a paradigm shift in my thinking. I had been raised to believe that love was conditional – conditional upon my being good as defined by … whomever. I never was good enough and never felt worthy of being loved.
What I learned is that I’m not worthy of love, no one is really.
We are loved simply because God decided to love us. Love is a choice, not a feeling.
God’s love for me, for you, is not based on our worthiness, it’s not based on our good behavior or lovable actions.
It is based on His character and His decision to love us – regardless.
Isn’t that good news?
- God’s Love (asavagelove.wordpress.com)
- All of Him loves all of you (and me)… (smilingbyfaith.wordpress.com)
- The Word for the Day: Does God Love Me? (fggam.org)
- Always Has, Always Will (womenatthewellfbco.com)
- Endless love (buildinglegacies.wordpress.com)