One of the greatest things about my husband Eric is that he has consistently loved me over time just for who I was at that moment.
He loved me when I was young, foolish, attempting to be brave & confident, but was really scared & insecure not knowing who I was, but trying to be everything to everyone for their approval. He loved me when I was selfish and arrogant and trying to achieve status at an unhealthy pace.
He loved me in my brokenness when the hard work wasn’t paying off and was requiring increasing larger payments of myself to keep up with. He loved me when I wanted to make big changes and he loved me when I was reluctant to change.
When I have asked over time what he loves about me (obviously wanting him to list fine details of the things he adores that would speak words of affirmation to my heart) his answer is “I love all of you, just as you are.”
Honestly that answer used to frustrate me. I mean come on…we’ve been together for YEARS, in all that time he couldn’t come up with a few highlights?
My husband is not a man of many words. He’s not going to lay with me in the sun and say, “How do I love thee, let me count the ways.” Followed by an eloquent list of details his adores, cherishes and admires about his wife.
Eric is just going to squeeze me tight, say “I love all of you, just the way you are.” Then he will probably fall asleep and take a nap.
We will forever be the pairing of the incurable romantic and the quiet mechanic.
Believe me when I tell you, to be loved as I am over time, it’s a RICH blessing. It is a treasure that I value more and more over time. The greater the breadth of my experience is, the more relationships that I see implode, deteriorate, or stagnate over time, the more I recognize the miracle of what I have.
The more it inspires and encourages me that I too should love myself just as I am and love others just as they are.
What I want more than anything is for Eric and I to be loving people together, for the best of us both to wrap around others. For the squeezes that are needed with the “I love you just as you are” and for the times that you need someone to “how do I love thee, let me count the ways.” Cause let’s face it, I’m really great at counting those ways.
It is not always easy to love me, just as I am. I know there have been times I have made it exceptionally challenging for Eric to love me just as I am. Just as I have often found myself listing the ways that Eric frustrates me rather than counting the things I love about him. I thank God for giving Eric and I endurance in our marriage, being the stretched rubber band keeping us together when we were pulling apart.
Even more so, I thank God for loving us both just as we are. For this perfect, grace filled, mercy saturated, accepting love. Love that knows the absolute worst of us – our deeds, our thoughts, and the darkest of dark parts of our inner workings – but would give so much to have the opportunity to love us just as we are.
To be able to give that kind of love, one first has to receive it. Go right to the source and drink it in deep.
“But God shows his love for us
in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8 (ESV)
There are scarcely words to articulate this abundant provision of grace, this immaculate gift of forgiveness through the death of Christ to be given the gift of receiving a perfect love just as we are.
On our worst days, on our best days, and on every day we live in between the extremes, God loves us just as we are. There is nothing we can do to increase or decrease the love the Lord has for us.
We do, however, have a choice. Do we receive this gift? Do we accept it and open it? Do we rely upon it in the ups and downs and twists of life? Do we utilize it fully knowing that it will never break, wear out, or diminish? Or do we pass on receiving it, believing we are all good on our own? Or take it and store it on a shelf, just in case or for someday in the future?
Just as you are. Loved, just as you are.
Do you know how powerful that is?
Being loved just as you are, welcomes you with open arms when doors have been shut, when what you were holding on to has been taken away, when the bad news comes, and when disaster strikes.
Being loved just as you are cheers you on in the victorious moments, gives you courage to answer the callings that have been placed upon your life, provides a strength to endure what you thought to be impossible, and to have an unusual peace in the midst of chaos.
Being loved just as you as gives you a freedom to release the desires of the world, an infilling for the empty places, and a deep acceptance of what you can not change.
Live it Out
Have you recognized the blessing that comes from being loved just as you are? Have you received this wonderful and powerful gift?
If you have, are you fully utilizing it? Or have you just stored it away? Is the perfect love of the Lord something you are relying upon, trusting, connecting to everyday for refreshment and endurance?
If not, oh dear reader, I deeply encourage you to consider receiving it. It is a gift that will transform your life. It will work miracles in your relationships. It will give you the strength needed to meet and love others just as they are as well. There is healing, restoration, blessing, miracles, wonders, and so much more to be found through the Lord’s love.
I would not be the same without the Lord’s love of who I am, my marriage would not be what it is today, and I certainly would not be able to share the gift of it with you.
You are such a precious gift and beloved treasure, just as you are in this moment. I may not know you in person or understand your circumstances, but I know the Lord of all creation. He knows everything about your life, your family, your circumstances. Every detail carefully seen, heard, and felt. All the while loving you just as you are.
Pray Through It
Beloved Lord, thank You so much for loving each of us just as we are, and loving us all the time regardless of how we change and the choices we make. What a blessing!
I am so sorry, Lord, for the times I selfishly want more, desire grand gestures and spectacular displays of affection. The greatest gift is really in the consistency of Your love. For the grace of Your goodness to love me in my most grotesque moments by the same measure You pour out in the highest moments, why that is grand and spectacular in more ways than my minuscule imagination can fathom.
Lord, I pray that we would all receive Your love willingly and embrace it fully. May we learn and grow in a way that would fully utilize the vast array of benefits that come with it. May we experience growth, healing, community, peace, joy, hope, strength, confidence, perseverance, generosity, relationship, kindness, self control, gentleness, and an opportunity to share the blessing to be loved just as we are.
In the name of Jesus, who gave all to love us just as we are, amen.