God loves the real me
By Jessica Brodie
In high school, I used to get these wild, sweeping, all-consuming crushes on boys I barely knew, and then drive my friends crazy by talking about it. All. The. Time.
“You know what? You’re in love with love!” an exasperated friend told me one day, hands on her hips.
She was right—I was enamored with the idea of what it might look like to have a boyfriend, to have that happily-ever-after feeling I read about in books and movies.
I craved the abstract. And on occasion when I’d actually go on a date with one of these “amazing” boys, reality would smack me in the face and I’d quickly lose interest. These weren’t fairy-tale princes but regular teenaged boys, after all.
Now, I’m happily married and madly in love with my husband, and we enjoy real love. Yes, my heart still goes wildly pitter-patter, wibbly-wobbly, topsy-turvy for him, but we also know what it looks like to nurse each other through the flu or get down-and-dirty cleaning out the kitchen (and still remain best pals in the process). It’s an intimate, concrete, authentic love. A lasting love.
But lately, I’ve come to realize my relationship with my Lord wasn’t always the same—and it’s because I hadn’t taken that leap of faith to go from abstract love to concrete. I might have been a follower of Christ and a believer, but when I’d read God’s word and hear Him say “But God shows his love for us, because while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 CEB) or “See what kind of love the Father has given to us in that we should be called God’s children” (1 John 3:1), I’d always imagine the “us” or the “you” to represent generic humanity as a whole.
Here’s what I’ve come to realize: God loves me—the real me. He loves Jessica, makeup-free and vulnerable. He doesn’t love the “idea” of me, doesn’t love me in the abstract way, but the true, raw, unfiltered, bare-bones, no-frills soul parts. He loves even the parts I can’t mask or shove away in a corner. He loves me so much that He died for me.
And He calls me! He knew me and planned for me before He even placed me in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13) and has been speaking over and into me in love my entire life.
It’s not just me. God has the capacity to love everyone individually and collectively at all times, everywhere. As Hebrews 4:13 tells us, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (NIV).
Yet I’d been loving Him back superficially. I’d pray to God as though He were a “God in the sky somewhere” idea—a real idea, but still not the way He loves me. My surface-level heart stood in the way of the blooming, blossoming love relationship I know now that God sought with me, His precious daughter, His Jessica, this whole time!
How wrong I was.
Just like in my marriage, it’s a personal, intimate love, an uncovered love.
And I am so grateful for that.