LET ME LOVE YOU
What more could you want than a dinner like this? Kudos to my friend Kristy for sharing so much veggie love at her house this past Sunday night. To be with people we love and like, while eating homemade mango salsa and black olives on top of all the good stuff underneath, is heaven on earth.
And who knew that heaven was in the car on our way home too? We were listening to Justin Bieber sing "Let Me Love You," and everything about the moment was right. All the kids quiet to hear the words, and the van cozy on a chilly May evening, and our bellies full of all those veggies and s'mores, and the six of us heading back the way we came to the place we love the most.
I knew how crazy the twenty minutes after arriving home might be, as we scrambled to get kids cleaned up and in bed, but I also knew this moment on our ride home wasn't that. This moment was about being loved in a particular way, by a God who is big enough to make His voice sound just like Justin Bieber's.
A couple weeks ago, after another insightful therapy session, I was on a mission to name the voice in the third circle. This is what my counselor called the "loving invitation" voice, the voice that opposes the "demanding right way" voice. It's the voice that gives me gracious permission to be a person and that brings authentic release from all the pressure.
I knew this third voice was a gentle one, but I had not yet given it a name. I prayed for a few days that the name would come to me. I read Scripture related to God's voice. I thought about the name in the shower. I received an email with the very last line, You are so easy to love, Ginger. I cried over that line. And then one afternoon as I sat in the sun after lunch, I read Isaiah 30 and landed on the answer.
Verse 18 says, Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.
This idea of a God who longs to give me grace; who rises to show me compassion (as another translation puts it); who waits, or who can't wait, to love me like this, is the gift these lines of Scripture gave me. And these lines in turn birthed the name I had been seeking all week. Over and over in my head was the resounding voice of a God who says, Ginger, let me love you. And that is how the "Let me love you" voice came to be.
I made a list of what the "Let me love you" voice entails. Phrases like I know you, I know what you like, I am for your good, I've got this, You can rest, and especially Let me surprise you are encompassed within this voice.
TJ surprised me with tickets to see Taylor Swift in Chicago a couple summers ago for my birthday, and I couldn't let us go through with it. The "demanding right way" voice was too much then. There were too many responsibilities to leave behind and to come back to, so we sold our tickets and I squashed his dream (and mine). I feel sad when I think that I failed to let TJ love me, but I am thankful that my neighbor Shannon told me about having a "redo." Come on, Taylor, I say to myself now, come out with a new album, go on another tour, and I will let TJ surprise me again. I'll let him love me next time.
I couldn't wait to tell my counselor that I gave the voice a name, and that I found a Justin Bieber song to match. And then, in the wisest of ways, my counselor helped me see (visually, with a diagram that she drew right on the spot, and that of course I copied!) that only in letting God love me will I be able to have energy to love my children, to let TJ love me, and to give myself compassion in my moments of weakness.
I am always amazed at the insights she has and the connections she makes in such a short time each week, but now I can see that this, too, is God saying "Let me love you" through this wise woman.
"Let me love you" through dinner with friends on Sunday night and all the veggies you love. "Let me love you" with warm sunshine in the afternoon. "Let me love you" with a husband who knows you love Taylor. "Let me love you" through Anne Lamott's new book Hallelujah Anyway. "Let me love you" when you hear Justin Bieber. "Let me love you" when you and Story have difficult relational moments. "Let me love you" when you feel discouraged and overwhelmed. "Let me love you" when the moment on the way home is perfect. "Let me love you" when the Matilda audio book is finally done and you realize what a gift that shared experience as a family turned out to be.
Going a little further in Isaiah 30, I realized that whether we have all the good things that we love in life, or whether we are given the "bread" of adversity and the "water" of affliction for a while, we can trust that God is continuing to say "Let me love you."
And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. (Isaiah 30:20)
So "Let me love you" with bread and water, too, I guess.
Gluten-free and sparkling, please.