Every August, I feel the surging riptide of the beginning of school that every teacher is familiar with. As my husband Kris likes to say, “Summer Anna” is gone. A few days before the opening of school this year, we were taking full advantage of an evening alone. Our boys were away with the grandparents. We were out for a romantic dinner, yet had somehow ended up in the dollar store. As I started down one aisle, my husband took my list and began hunting down items. The moment was almost lost on me as I hurried about, my mind on my classroom and a tremendous to-do list. But something made me stop in my tracks…
Why are you here with me?
I asked my husband in disbelief. He was standing in the school supply aisle of the dollar store at 8 o’clock at night while our kids were away with the grandparents. This is the last place he wanted to be, except for the fact that I was there which somehow made it the first place he wanted to be.
How can it be that he loves me that much?
It struck a cord with me because I had been feeling particularly unloved lately. Prone to insecurity, I was feeling a striking lack of confidence as a new school year approached. I do that more than I should: get so wrapped up in my worries and self-ruminating, that I completely miss an act of kindness or a compliment. It just passes me by, perpetuating my insecurity since I miss the kindness that could have given me a more positive perspective. This dollar store moment forced me to stop long enough to notice the love God was showering on me through my husband.
Don’t miss it. You are loved.
I remember a time in my marriage when there were no date-night trips to the dollar store; no offers to help clean up the kitchen; few words of affirmation. In those days I put a lot of pressure on Kris to make me feel loved. And I became resentful of him when his love did not live up to my expectations. Nothing he did was ever enough. Even when he mustered up enough courage to pay me a compliment, I wasn't appreciative...criticizing the timing or the sincerity with which it was given. One night as I was getting ready to go out, I surprise-attacked an unsuspecting Kris with, "Honey, do I look okay?" His response was innocent enough, "You look great!". To which I bitterly replied, "You're just saying that because you want me to hurry up." He never had a chance. My insecure response to my husband had nothing to do with him and everything to do with my failure to receive love from the only ONE who could fill me with the love I was desperately searching for.
Jesus is the lover of my soul.
I cannot even begin to comprehend the enormity of God’s love for me. He reminds me in his Word that...
He knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13 He has great plans for me. Jeremiah 29:11 He delights in me. He sings over me. Zephaniah 3:17 He came for me. Matthew 1:18 He numbers the very hairs of my head. Matthew 10:30 He runs out to meet me when I come home. Luke 15:20 He cares deeply for me. 1 Peter 5:7 He lavishes His love on me and calls me His child. 1 John 3:1 He died for me. John 3:16
How can it be?
I am lavishly loved and adored by the creator of the universe. His perfect and amazing love compels me to love in return. But I am only capable of love because he loved me first.
“We love because HE first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
The book of 1 John describes love this way: “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because GOD IS LOVE. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:7-12 My husband loves me, but he is only even able to love because of the love of Christ. Our ability to love each other is Christ’s love through us. Marriage is an expression of that love, a picture of Christ’s love for His church. (Ephesians 5:32)
A love like no other.
Even in the loneliest days of your life on this earth, you are enormously loved by the Lord. He is lavishing His love on you every single day. Once you offer your heart to God and allow Christ to be the lover of your soul, He fills you with His love for your spouse. We can love our spouse BEST when we love God FIRST.
Thank you, Lord, for your perfect love. Let me be filled to overflowing with your love so that my husband… my family... would feel the flood of Your love through me.