The I-love-you message.

I love mail.  So much so that, during a lonelier time in my life, I responded to sweepstakes and even bought some scrawny mop thing from them . . not so much because I thought it would really increase my chance of winning the sweepstakes as that I appreciated someone writing to me.

I grew up in the generation of Hallmark card commercials–and boy, were they good.  Little movies about being loved and feeling treasured that made every little girl want to give cards to everyone she loved . . and maybe, just maybe, receive a card, too.

So what is it about a piece of paper folded in half, girls?

It’s this inexplicable desire to be loved–and to be told about it.

We don’t just want to be loved.  We want to be told about it.  It isn’t only because we want to tell others about it (though there is that, too), but also because we think like this:

  • The highest level of love is expressive love.

This is what we seek, girls: expressive love.  We want love that we can see, feel, and hear.  A card is all about the “hear”.

Sometimes (not that I would know anything about this), we spend our lives “fishing” for value.  We cast fishing lines in our relationships, complimenting or even flattering people just so we might hear that they love us.  But then when they do try to affirm us, we wonder if they really meant it, or they were just reciprocating back our manipulative sentiment.

Why is it, girls, that we desperately search to hear the words that we are loved . . why is it that we will give our right arm (and throw in a foot, too), to know we are treasured by someone?

We were created as a treasure.

When God made Eve, He made her not to tend the garden alone, or pioneer new land, or make useful stuff, or even so that Adam and Eve could have offspring.  God made her first as a beautiful, loving being who could love God in a tender, fragile, and utterly trusting way . . and who, secondly, could love Adam as her protector, companion, and friend.

Even since the fall, both relationships have been out of whack.  We struggle to trust God, and we try to hide our tender and fragile thoughts from Him.  And as far as men go–well!  We struggle to find someone to walk beside us who has even a remote desire to protect us or truly befriend us.

Many of us know what it’s like to wait and wait for that kind of love to come along.  We wonder if we are too unlovable to ever be treasured.  Being 29 years old and passed by many times, I understand what it feels like to want that card in the mail you never get.

Others of us have had that kind of love, but we’ve lost the one who loved us.  My mom has gone through several 30 + year anniversaries now since my father died, and none of them are easy.  I had a 97-year-old friend of mine told me that she misses her husband, her sadness as if she had lost him a week ago.  He has been gone for over 20 years.

And there are others of us who found that kind of love, but arguments, or if-I-could-only-take-them-back mistakes, or years of growing apart have made us feel separated, isolated, and unloved.

The truth is, love in this life is always on shaky ground.  Our sin nature, death, and the messy circumstances of living in a broken world all mean that love isn’t going to ever be totally perfect here, that we can’t fully go back to the inseparable, totally complementary, & never-selfish love that Adam and Eve had for each other before sin.

But we can go back to the relationship that Eve had with God.

As hard as it can be to believe sometimes when I look at myself–and all the tragic mistakes I’ve made in my life–God wants to treasure me.  He is beckoning me to come to Him to be treasured.  And He knows all about how a girl’s heart works, how we get all gushy inside for Hallmark commercials, how we long to be sought after.  The Bible is God’s love story for us–the story of how we ran away and how He has pursued us, ransomed us, and is ready to take us back in His arms the moment we cry out to Him.

God has been sending you the I-love-you message your whole life.  From the moment you were born, He had His eyes on you.  He has been looking out for you, watching over you, and creating ways for you to notice Him your whole life.  God knows that we want to see, feel, and hear His love.

He has given us His willing, full-of-love Son–and how can I miss the gravity of this gift?  The love for a child is sewn into a parent’s soul.  Yet God gave His Child for us, that He could ransom us and make a way back to Him.

Jesus is the greatest greeting card ever.  What He did for us on the cross is a Message that is sent to everyone.  No one is excluded from His mailing.  The question is, have you opened the card?  Have you really heard what He has to say?

“We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” (1 John 4:16, NLT)

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