Why I Struggle Believing God Loves Me

“I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.”

Granny recited the words of that old poem with a twinkle in her eye and sly grin on her face and I believed every word that she loved me. I didn’t know of bushels and pecks but I knew about hugs and a Granny’s love.

I love youa bushel and a peckand ahug around the neck

Granny Mc
Granny Mc

“I love you” wasn’t a routine saying in our house. The actions spoke it when I was little. When my adult years and geography separated me from my parents the words became a regular part of our long distance conversations. “Love you” was the last thing we’d say to each other. The words  were sincere and flowed without struggle.

They knew me. Granny, mama, daddy, these people knew me. Knew my best subjects in school and my favorite hobbies. They knew the best parts of me and the parts that still needed work. I was born from their love. To believe they loved me was all I’d ever believed.

We take that word seriously. That love word. Sure, we toss it around in casual ways like I love that song or that movie but don’t play with that word when it comes to people.

Don’t tell me you love me if you don’t know me.

 

My brother and I know this guy who likes to tell his employees he loves them. He’s known them a few months and as he’s leaving their office he looks back and says, “Love ya”. Ah, no.

Much like Jack Nicholson’s famous scene in A Few Good Men when he says: “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!” I want to say, ‘You love me? You don’t know me!”

You think you know me but you only see the good part. The part that posts pretty photos, inspirational verses and wise quotes on social media. You see the smiling face and easy laughter. You’ve seen me not at my best; a headache or a bit teary over disappointment or loss. You’ve seen me frustrated but that ends up in laughing at myself.

You don’t see the other parts where depression and anxiety rear their demanding voices and the fear of not being enough lurks around every thing I want to be good at. You don’t hear my tongue when it’s wicked with anger or gossip and tears down instead of build up. You don’t see that part of me. But here’s what I know, God does. And that’s the struggle.

You’re waiting for the bible verses, aren’t you? The ones where God declares his love for us. His unconditional love. The kind of love that can’t be earned but is given like an undeserving gift. The love that keeps no record of wrongs, loves me when I’m good, loves me when I’m not.

God so loved art

Those verse are good. They are true. I believe them. More for you, but I believe God loves us without reason, forever and completely. The Psalm that tells us he knew us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13) and the verse that says how much more he cares for us than the sparrows of the sky (Matthew 6:26). He loves.

old television

When I was in kindergarten, I remember watching a show in black and white on our boxy television, called Romper Room. I remember two things from that show: the Do-be and Don’t-be song and the ‘magic-mirror‘. The teacher held it up, looked into it and called out names as if she was seeing that child in front of her. I waited every show for her to call my name. In my child-like faith I knew if she said Debby, it was me.

I long for that childlike faith to believe, every day, that God loves me. To lay down the struggle of not being good enough, of messing up again and again. To put aside the feelings and accept the truth that God loves, as the hymn says, even me.

The first step is a big one. It’s in learning to love ourselves first. On our good and bad days. We’ll never deserve it. But we don’t have to. That’s the good news.

Jesus loves me, this I know….and accept.

Linking up with Holley Gerth at Coffee For Your Heart

More about Debby Hudson

Where do you find grace? Inside the church walls? Around the dinner table with your family? For years, grace was not much more than the prayer we said before meals or a biblical concept. Then I met a group of men who had, as we say, reached bottom. They welcomed me to Graceland. They showing me grace can be found in the darkest of places. I'm still searching and learning. I hope you'll want to come along.

14 thoughts on “Why I Struggle Believing God Loves Me

  1. Tammy Perlmutter

    What a great post. As someone who has lived life feeling unknown until recently, I know that temptation to settle for easy I love yous. Thank you for your transparency and truth.

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      Thanks Tammy. Glad you are at a place where you know you are known and not settling for the easy I love you’s. Thanks for your encouraging words.

      Reply

  2. Gabriele

    I don’t know that side of you, Debby. But I believe it exists alongside the happy, inspirational positive you. Why do I believe that? Because I am a dual person myself. I have a ready smile but at least once a day I fight a cloud of despair. When we don’t have enough inside of us to be at peace we can hope. I always hope that He has enough to make up for my lack. And, he sends me that hope through the Holy Spirit. I am enough, with Him, for now.

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      Gabriele, I’ve long taken some comfort in the Psalmist David. He had that sanguine/melancholy personality. One Psalm of jubilant praise and the next are anguish and grief. I do believe He makes up for our lack. I’m so thankful for that and knowing, even if not feeling, that I am enough with Him. Thank you for understanding that Gabriele and your continued encouragement!

      Reply

  3. Linda Stoll

    So much here to soak up this afternoon, Debby. Thank you for speaking deep into our hearts …

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      Obviously, I’m still working on soaking it up, Linda 😉 Thank you for your gracious words.

      Reply

  4. Annie Rim

    Aw! We sing that song to Elle. 🙂 Love it! And, man. I so struggle with just believing that yes, Jesus DOES love me. That I don’t have to prove it or earn it. Our pastor reminded us last Sunday that God is the father – not in a disciplinarian sense – but in an I love you SO MUCH (even when I’m disappointed or frustrated) but I can’t stop loving you way. I need to remember that….

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      I didn’t know it had a tune, Annie. I’ve only heard it said as a rhyme. It is such a fun little poem. Guess the notion of being loved no matter the who, what, when, and where’s of it all take a bit of faith for many of us. We’re just so human sometimes 😉 But what a lovely thing to remind ourselves us…He Loves Us. (one of my favorite p/w songs too)

      Reply

  5. Valerie Sisco at Grace with Silk

    Hi Debby,
    I watched Romper Room too on my black & white TV as a little girl before I went to kindergarten but I don’t remember much about it! I identify with your post because I love you wasn’t said all the time in my house growing up, either, because why state the obvious? I had no doubt my parents loved me! And what a great reminder that God loves us and that’s why we should love ourselves. Good words here today!

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      My memory is so selective, it seems, Valerie. Just those two things about the show. The YouTube clip was interesting as it included some background on the show. I need those daily reminders. Thanks for stopping by Valerie!

      Reply

  6. sarahgirl3

    Think how much we could accomplish if we could always believe, deep in our hearts, that we are loved!

    Reply

  7. Mama's Empty Nest

    Ah, my friend, we all have these doubts and parts of ourselves that are just not that lovable. (Don’t get me started on mine!) Sometimes it’s just so hard to think that God COULD love the unlovable us, I know, but our hearts are nothing like His. I think that’s why it’s so difficult for us to understand His love. But we try, oh how we try and posts like this one encourage us with honesty and reality. The words of an old song come to my mind: “Oh how He loves you and me, He gave His life, what more could He give? Oh how He loves you, oh how He loves me. Oh how He loves you and me.” Simple but truth. P.S. I remember Romper Room all too well and I too thought she meant me when she called out my name while looking through the magic mirror. 🙂

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      Cindy, I haven’t thought of that song in a while but I know it so well. I’m glad you shared it. It’s perfect and always touched my heart when we sang it in church. I watched a documentary about Mormonism last night(on Amazon Prime) and after learning how they believe their salvation is built solely on works, I was reminded of gracious love, love without requirements. That is true free love. Thanks, sweet friend. Oh, not sure if you clicked on the Romper Room link but it was a fun 2 min. look back with a little behind the scenes of how it started. Fun 🙂

      Reply

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