Sometimes I’m a terrible Christian. I know, I work as a missionary in another country, I know. And sure, I’m guessing God wouldn’t say I’m a terrible Christian. Surely He would say something kind such as, “I created you to be like Me, and you’re your best “you” when you spend your time with Me.” I could wax on and on about what it means to spend my time with God. Lately it looks a lot less conventional, and at first it was frustrating, but now I’ve begun to see it as beautiful. My relationship with Evert is changing each day as we get closer to marriage, as we learn more about each other, as we learn to disagree and still love. How much more does my relationship with God change? It’s beautiful always, I just don’t happen to always see it.
This week it feels as if a million pounds have been lifted off of me. The sun has made its glorious entrance into the city of Amsterdam, and I, along with every other person I see, have taken every chance to soak it in. This little Canadian never appreciated snow until she moved here, until she realized snow is a fantastic reflector, thus illuminating a very cold winter. Remove the snow, but keep the winter, and you have months and months of grey and rain. I can’t tell you how many things God has been teaching me about the sun, and I am drowning in His cleverness in calling Jesus the Light of the world.
As I worked and enjoyed the sun, I made space to think, and to just be. I’ve really needed that recently, and haven’t always been good to give that to myself. So as I worked, I was silent, and something really simple came to my mind. I live in a world inside my head where all I want to do is be effective, to be a benefit to the Kingdom of God, to make a difference, and those things are noble, but terribly exhausting. And God knows my level of exhaustion, and so in the silence, I heard:
“One of them stood up and said, ‘Teacher, which of the laws is the most important?’ And He said to them, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ ” Matt. 22:36/37
I’ve heard it too often. “Love God”. I’ve heard it so much, and declared it so much, that it became more of a statement, a defining tool, rather than a verb. “I love God” becomes something I am, like “I am Canadian.” or “I am marrying a Dutch man.” Instead of something I want to do, something I am created to do, I turn it into a label, and it becomes ineffective and exhausting, like all the other labels I wear.
I began to reflect on my love for Evert, and the difference of saying and being love to him. I thought of all the ways I show him my love, and then slowly started to ask myself, “When was the last time I told God I loved Him?”
I am not of the mind that God needs me to remind Him of anything. God is almighty, and so powerful, and yet so personal. So personal that He desires relationship with me, yet what is relationship without love? So I wrote Him a love letter. I’ve always been the girl to cringe when someone said “Write a love letter to God.” because why would I do that? Isn’t that ultra-Christian? God doesn’t need me to do that.
And it’s true.
Yet I need me to do that. I need to remind myself why I love Him, and really, I need to remind myself that I love Him. Yes, sometimes I forget. Sometimes I let my life get too busy, too hectic, too overwhelming, too ___. I forget that it starts and ends with Him, and He starts and ends with love.
I forget, oh maybe everyday? that the most important thing is to love Him. That is the most important thing. Why? When I love Him, life is set into perspective for me. My loneliness doesn’t go away, but it has it’s place. My weaknesses do not disappear, but they are not my primary focus. My schedule doesn’t manage itself, the wedding doesn’t plan itself, all the things I’m failing at do not magically work again, but my focus is loving Him, and in His love I am made whole.
So I wrote to Him:
I love You for all You’ve done for me.
I love You for what You’ve taken away from me.
I love You for what You’ve given to me.
I love You because You are kind and generous and strong and wise and powerful and perfect and just.
I love You because when no one else was there, You were.
The perfect I am. The first and the last. The Saviour and King.
So I made a small note. A reminder.
I love you
There are no quotation marks. It’s not just a quote from Him to me, but also a quote from me to Him.
I love you Jesus
I love you.
Take a moment to remind yourself today that you love Him. Remind Him that you love Him. I truly believe that His love changes everything. His love softens the hardest of hearts. His love binds up the brokenhearted. His love heals, His love sets free, His love knows no limits. His love for us is patient and it is kind. It is personal. It is real. He is perfect love. If you don’t know His love, ask Him to show you. And if you’ve been holding His love back, put down those tired arms and let Him come close.
Jesus. I love you.
With Strength that is not my own, Samantha