To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.
I was sitting with my daughter Megan as she read through this chapter's outline. When she read the title "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not," she giggled comically.
"What’s so funny over there?" Tim asked, watching TV from the sofa nearby. He had just asked me if I used to play that game with daisies when I was little.
Megan responded playfully, "When I was a little girl, I remember plucking the petals off the daisies and saying 'He loves me, He loves me not' in the landscape outside the house. And the funny thing is, I wasn’t even interested in boys yet."
That’s when I protested, "What do you mean, yet?"
As her mother, I may have been slightly overprotective, but this illustration points to something written deep in the heart of every woman—the longing to be loved. Even before Megan was interested in "boys," her heart’s desire was to be loved. Like me and you, she will feel this longing a lot more in this life.
Why do we make sure that the last petal we pick is engraved with those three comforting words "he loves me"? Is it simply that we were made for love? Or perhaps that we fear being unloved?
Living in such a confusing world, we can easily miss how beautiful we are to God and how much He really does love us. But extraordinary women long for the love of God and are able to receive it.
Here's what we know: Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression, and 20 percent of women can expect to suffer from clinical depression at some time in their lives. At least 33 percent of women have been physically abused, forced into sex or otherwise abused during their lifetime, and 25 percent of women in North America were molested in childhood.
The open and unhealed wounds plaguing the hearts of women, adding turmoil and stress to everyday life and interpersonal relationships, are huge. Both single women determined to find a life partner and married women frustrated with theirs experience the tension of living with longings unfulfilled.
How do we cope with the tension of feeling unloved? We actively search for love and reach out to find it. Psychologist Ernest Becker wrote that "modern man is drinking and drugging himself out of awareness, or he spends his time shopping, which is the same thing." Statistics reveal that today women control 80 percent of household spending, a market worth $3.25 trillion. And the average debt for a woman with a credit card exceeds $2,300. The unbridled anxiety, depression, divorce, and escapism through drugs, alcohol, consumerism, sex, violence, and suicide have suffocated women from the spiritual fresh air of God's love they long for and so desperately need. Dallas Willard alluded to this in his book on spiritual disciplines stating, "Obviously, the problem is a spiritual one. And so must be the cure."
Evil hates God's beauty in you and is trying to get you to believe God doesn't care about you or doesn’t love you. Evil wants you to believe that you mean nothing to Him. But here is the truth: "If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him" (1 John 4:15-16).
Your ability to understand, accept, and embrace the fact that God loves you is at the heart of finding your freedom. When you accept His love, you can more easily pass it along. His love shines through you.
But first you have to dispel the evil lies running rampant in your mind and accept that God really loves you. There's a simple way to find out if it's true—ask.
An old adage says, "Don't ask if you don’t want to know the answer." But the opposite is also true. If you want to know the answer, ask.
When you ask God if He loves you, He will answer because God is love. And because He is love, everything He does is infused with love.
That's why you long to be certain of God's love for you. Joyce Meyer agrees:
"A confident woman knows that she is loved. She does not fear being unloved, because she knows first and foremost that God loves her unconditionally. To be whole and complete, we need to know that we are loved… receiving the free gift of God"s unconditional love is the beginning of our healing, and the foundation for our new life in Christ"
Being secure in God's love for us is an essential element of handling whatever comes our way. Wife, mother, and grandmother Cathy Hendrick, experienced the unimaginable but was able to move through it by holding fast to God’s love. On October 24, 2004, her husband and 22-year-old twin daughters were killed in an airplane crash. Following the accident, she asked herself, Did God love me any less on October twenty-third than He did on October twenty-fourth? She knew the answer: No, He did not.
Says Cathy, "I know He loves me and of this I am confident. My assurance of His love began many years before the crash. But it is during these times of broken heartedness, sickness, losses, etc. that you will discover what you really believe about Him and if you truly put your faith and trust in Him."
By putting her faith in Him, Cathy has been able to move through tragedy with her faith intact.
Evil tells you that love can’t be trusted. But God will show you it can.
God’s love shows in the gentle hug of a friend who knows you’re hurting but doesn't need to know why. In the flowers delivered on your birthday or the card or e-mail that arrives for no other reason than to cheer you. In your husband's voice when he asks, "How can I help?" and your child's when she says, "You're the best mommy ever." His love shows through the touch of a nurse who inserts the needle into your chemotherapy port as you're treated for cancer and in the mind of the doctor who studies overtime to make sure your treatment is effective. It shows in the act of a neighbor who returns your trash can after it has blown down the street, in the smile of the elderly man who opens the door for you when your arms are full, in the funeral director who gently helps you plan a memorial service befitting your father, and in the neighbor who recognizes you’re weary and offers to watch your kids for the afternoon.
"There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life…is one not yet fully formed in love" (1 John 4:18, MSG).
Consider what Meister Eckhart, one of the great Christian mystics, penned in the 14th century: "The soul must long for God in order to be set aflame by God's love; but if the soul cannot yet feel this longing, then it must long for the longing. To long for the longing is also from God."
Because God loves us, He puts that longing to be loved—and the longing for Him—in our hearts. It's no wonder we want that last petal to say, "He Loves Me."
Live the Dream: Long for the love of God and prepare to receive it.