I don’t remember when I first became cynical about love and Valentine’s Day. Perhaps it began as a girl when my words of affections towards my father went unnoticed. Or maybe in sixth grade when the cute boy sitting in front of me turned around and announced I should learn how to pluck my eyebrows. The cynicism was certainly present as a young, married women when my husband told me to buy my own Valentine’s Day card. And by the time I became a single mother, my animosity towards lovey-dovey, lace-trimmed, greeting cards and perfume-soaked, cupid bears holding plastic bows and arrows grew to such a level, I was certain I would never recover.
Love simply didn’t exist.
At least not for me.
And as a single mother, February was just about more than I could handle. The jewelry commercials, made-for-TV movies, and grocery stores festooned in pink and red garland screamed one, powerful message.
“You don’t qualify because you are not worth loving.”
Of course, I put on a brave face for my daughters. I bought them cards and filled them with prayers and words of blessings. I gave them heart-shaped boxes of candy and even felt a bit of joy if they saved a chocolate-covered caramel for me. How quickly that joy disappeared after I tucked the girls into bed at night and climbed into my lonely bed alone.
Yet, despite my cynicism, there remained a profound longing to be loved- the kind of longing that sat heavy and painful in my chest, pulling me through my bed and into the depths of the earth. It was an “all I’ve ever wanted in life is to be loved” kind of longing.
And there, in the middle of my lonely, earth-sunken bed, I whispered a simple prayer that would change my life.
“God, do YOU love me?”
I heard His gentle answer. “Read my Word as a love letter.”
In doing so, I learned five truths that enabled me to let go of my cynicism and embrace the love God has for me. Now, I share those truths and His love letter with you.
1. God loves you.
I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness (Jeremiah 31:3). Grasp how wide and long and high and deep is my love (Ephesians 3:18). I have searched you and know you (Psalm 139:1). You are precious and honored in my sight. I love you (Isaiah 43:4). See, I have engraved you on the palm of my hands (Isaiah 49:16). Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed, for I have compassion for you (Isaiah 54:10). Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart (Proverbs 3:3). My love for you endures forever. I will not abandon the works of my hands (Psalm 138:8).
2. God will guide and direct you.
Come with me by yourself to a quiet place and get some rest (Mark 6:31). Along unfamiliar paths, I will guide you; I will turn darkness into light before you and make the rough places smooth (Isaiah 42:16). I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you (Psalm 32:8). I tend my flock like a shepherd: I gather the lambs in my arms and carry them close to my heart; I gently lead those that have young (Isaiah 40:11).
3. God will protect you.
Cast your cares on Me and I will sustain you; I will never let you be shaken (Psalm 55:22). So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10). You will call and I will answer; you will cry for help, and I will say, “Here am I” (Isaiah 58:9). I am your refuge and strength, your ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). I am your hiding place; I will protect you from trouble and surround you with songs of deliverance (Psalm 32:7). I will heal your broken heart and bind up your wounds (Psalm 147:3). I am with you as a Mighty Warrior who saves. I take great delight in you and will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine (Isaiah 43:1).
4. God longs for us to love Him.
Reach out to me and find me. I am not far from you (Acts 17:27). Seek me. You will find me if you seek me with all your heart and with all your soul (Deuteronomy 4:29). Love me, the Lord your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37).
5. God is beside you. He will never leave nor abandon.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9). Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you (Isaiah 46:4). If you go up to the heavens, I am there. If you make your bed in the depths, I am there. If you rise on the wings of the dawn, if you settle on the far side of the sea, even there my hand will guide you. My right hand will hold you fast (Psalm 139:8-10). And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20).
Michelle Lynn Senters has a message for single moms— one forged in her own journey and deepened through her years of ministry to single mothers. “You are not alone.” She is the Founder and Director of SEEN, a ministry designed to demonstrate the love of Christ to single mothers and equip churches to meet their spiritual needs. Michelle is a sought-after speaker at women’s events, Bible studies, and writer’s conferences. She is the author of The Unseen Companion- God with the Single Mother. Learn more at www.michellelynnsenters.com and www.seenministries.com.
Image courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: February 13, 2017