There are some lyrics in a song I heard on the “telly” the other day that really got me thinking. They go like this:
“I love your imperfections
I love your everything
Your broken heart
Your broken wings
I love you when you hold me
And when you turn away
I love you still
And I’m not afraid
‘Cause I know you feel the same way
And you’ll stay.”
from “Saints and Angels” by Sara Evans
The words she was singing pricked my heart and lead me to think about God and His love for us. He loves us no matter what we do. He still loves us when we forget to say good morning to Him. He loves us despite our faults, wrong motives, and even when we choose to walk in sin instead of obedience. He just loves us!
My thought process flowed to Bill and I was asked a question. A question I had to think about and be real in my response. The question was, “Do you love Bill unconditionally, just as I love you?” At first I said, “Yes, Lord.” God knew my heart so much better than I did and asked me again. This time He began to show me the times my love for Bill came with conditions; when Bill would turn away from me, I would retreat. Once I licked my wounds for a couple of hours, I would go back to him and demand an apology. If I didn’t get one, I would retreat again. I did this many times over. God was now asking me if I could stay.
This had been my MO for so long, I didn’t think I could. I felt I had a right to be hurt by the way he was treating me! God then probed deeper and asked me another question: “When my son died on the cross, who did He give His life for?” His next question was, “Did His love come with strings and did He demand an apology?” My answer to both question was no!
The condition of my heart didn’t find its place overnight. It took years of practice for me to naturally turn away from Bill and run when he hurt me! God was now asking me to stay and love Bill unconditionally. Real unconditional love! A depth I didn’t understand before. My mind told me that I didn’t have to listen to God because I had a right to be mad. Jesus had a right to be mad, too, but He wasn’t! He even asked God to forgive them of their sins just before He died!
God has been testing me in the past two weeks; a hard test, too! We have been married almost 17 years and have lived in an atmosphere of honeymoon-like freedom in our marriage the last two months. I prayed this atmosphere would stay. I didn’t realize God was setting me up for a test of my heart. The last two weeks have been tough with Bill. He has been cranky, a bear, rude, unloving…do I need to go on?! I didn’t pass the test many times over. Bill was so rude to me at a restaurant; so rude, in fact, I kept looking at him as if he were an alien. Then God spoke His words in my heart: “Cherie, love him unconditionally. Don’t turn away and run! Don’t demand an apology…love him through this!”
It took two weeks of my struggling to get it right. Two weeks of crying, praying, fussing, walking away, feeling unloved, even demanding an apology from time to time. I got the apologies, but was that what God wanted me to get? Do I truly love Bill with all of my heart? Do I love him enough to love him unconditionally when he turns away from me, when I’m feeling rejected?
Only God can teach this kind of love. I am happy to say that I did finally pass the test! Bill’s response was so much more than I ever thought it would be or could be. I was actually bewildered until God reminded me of His love for me! I can love Bill even when he turns away, when he rejects me. When he is rude and complaining, I can still love him!
I pray that you find yourself in my “True Love Tuesday” and God is able to turn your love for your husband into the unconditional love He so freely gives to you! A love without end!