As the oldest in my family, I’ve always grown up taking care of myself. My mom was a single parent, and my little sister was five years younger than me. I ended up being a second mom to her because that’s what big sisters do, especially as latch-key kids. But because I’d always been the optimistic and cheerful type, it felt good knowing I was helpful and wasn’t a bother or burden to anyone.
Never did I ever dare complain; it would’ve been a luxury to do so. A good day was getting up with a smile, finishing homework, helping out with dinner, and trying not to fight with my sister when we were home alone.
But one thing I didn’t know was missing only became apparent after I grew up and found myself single and thirty.
One night, I was praying, though I don’t really know what I was praying for. I was thanking God for loving me, but the next minute, I felt so very, very lonely. It was a loneliness that didn’t seem to have rhyme or reason because I had friends and loved doing ministry in community.
I know You love me, Jesus, I began, making sure I started on a good note. I’ve tried my best to love others the way You love me, I continued, putting my best foot forward.
But the tears broke through. The frog stuck in my throat gave way to the waterfall of tears lodged deep inside, tight behind my chest, where the courageous, I’m-doing-fine, be-strong self was protecting the part of me that longed for tenderness.
God, is there someone to love me? Someone real that I can touch, who can hold my hand? I whispered, through choking tears. I don’t want to be alone anymore. I want someone to hold me, to kiss me. I need someone to love me, Lord Jesus.
There it was, the truth: I needed someone to love me.
I’d never said it so bluntly. To say something like that out loud seemed sacrilegious. I felt the shame of even admitting such a thing. All I need is Jesus, I’d told myself my whole life. This was the truth I’d built my life and faith upon, giving me strength through many seasons of journeying alone.
But now a new intimate prayer I just voiced startled me. What would God would do with my loneliness? In the intimacy of honesty, what happened next changed my soul so deeply.
It was something like what the prophet Elijah might’ve felt as he ran away from Jezebel. Elijah didn’t hear God in the earthquake or the fire. Elijah heard God speak in a gentle whisper. Something about hearing God’s loving words gave Elijah strength to stop running and return to His calling.
God loves us in our moments of longing and need. He whispers, I love you.
I looked up at the stars through the window that night, and as I did, a verse came to me:
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of stars; He calls them each by name.
. . . His understanding has no limit.
Psalm 147:3-5 (NIV)
I heard Jesus whisper, I lit these stars in the sky thousands of years ago, so that you would see them light up this very night for you. I see you. I love you.
Dear friends, God’s understanding has no limit. None.
Nothing we experience on our journey through life can keep God’s love from holding onto us. Nothing can separate His gentle hand from holding onto ours. Instead, Jesus lovingly takes our hands, drawing us even closer to His embrace, so He can feel the touch of the tears that fall on our cheeks.
There is no need, no weakness, no longing that Jesus doesn’t want to touch and love back to life.
Jesus understands you unconditionally, irrevocably. You are safe in His arms.
Needing tenderness and affection isn’t shameful or weakness. It reflects the beautiful part of you God made, just like the amber sunset God paints in the sky and the softness God put in the petal of a rose. Your longing for love isn’t a liability; it’s your humanity upon which God’s love for you ignites.
Like a beautiful robe clothing my shame, God’s words from Scripture became my heart’s shelter. God didn’t send me someone right away, but when I unexpectedly fell in love with my husband years later, I was reminded that just like Ruth never expected she would find Boaz while gathering leftovers in the fields for Naomi, I was not forgotten. God hears the dream you dare to whisper in private.
During this month, with so much focus on love, remember God’s mission is loving you. Let Him hear the ache in your voice and the whispers of your dreams. To love is to be vulnerable. Take time to talk to Him openly. Listen to His whispers of love just for you today.
What is something you want to ask God that comes deep from your soul?
Don’t be afraid to open your heart to God. Pray and ask him.
Want to feel closer to God in a more personal way? Join my newsletter this year, as I share the life lessons I’ve learned as God’s beloved! I’ll also be teaching “How to Study the Bible to Hear God Personally.” Just sign up here for my weekly Beloved Wellness newsletter, and you’re all set!
God loves us in our moments of longing and need. He whispers, I love you. -@thebonniegray: Click To Tweet