I have always measured love by gifts. I based my parents’ love for me on all the things they provided for me until that summer day when Daddy overheard me bragging to Sandy that “since I’m an only child, my parents pretty much get me whatever I want…” Once Daddy heard that, the well dried up and I assumed he was mad at me for my cocky, selfish attitude. I also assumed that once he was done being mad at me, he’d be more generous, but that wasn’t the case. I didn’t realize until much later that he wasn’t mad at all – it was just that he didn’t want to spoil me and communication wasn’t his strong suit.
I always measured how much my husband loved me by his gifts. I remember the year I picked out a jewelry box for Valentine’s Day and when it was delivered, I told the girls in the office, “See how much my husband loves me!” Later, I realized that he didn’t love me the way I thought he did. He was just performing what he and his best friend called “marital maintenance”. I remember a business trip to Canada that he took and brought back a tiny crystal bell. I was so appreciative until his friend let it slip that he had to “shame” my husband into buying it.
Right now I’m praying for something really important, not just for me, but for others as well, here at work. It seems though, that the more I pray, the harder I pray, the worse it gets and the more tightly Your blessings are bound. I asked You what the problem was, and it occurs to me that part of the problem is me and my attitude about Your love for me. I can see how with You, too, I’ve measured Your love by Your gifts to me. They started out so abundantly – the good job, the inheritance that enabled me to have a down payment to buy the house and the dining room suite. But since I lost the good job, Your gifts aren’t as generous. The new job doesn’t pay as much and the commute is so much longer. And so I’ve distanced myself – out of shame and anger.
I confess that I’ve measured Your love for me by Your gifts, forgetting that the only gift that matters is the gift of Your Son. Buster Brown is Your dog and if You take him home today, I thank You for the time I had him and affirm that You still love me. My money is Your money, and if I lose it, I thank You for what I was able to do with it while I had it, I ask Your forgiveness for not using it better and I affirm that You still love me. The house is Your house – You picked it out for me – and if I lose it, I thank You for the wonderful sanctuary it has been and I ask Your forgiveness for not being a better steward of it, and I affirm that You still love me.
No matter what happens, You have always loved me, You love me now, and You always will love me.