February has arrived. The focus of this month–Valentine’s Day–becomes a joy to the hearts of some who feel loved and a sorrowful reminder to others who don’t experience a connection of hearts with someone special.
Hallmark calls this month “Loveuary”–cheesy. My girls, in high school, when they didn’t have boyfriends, didn’t see it as love day but hate day, and they chose to focus more on a Galentine’s Day than romance.
This past weekend we had a women’s retreat with all the gals in our program this year. Women with a variety of stories and experiences. Some are married, some not, some longing for that, others not. The theme of the weekend was Being the Beloved. This word isn’t in common use today–it sounds a little old-fashioned, but it evokes a sense of belonging that today’s world often misses.
We throw around the word “love” with a casualness that often belies the significance of what this word means to us. We can love chocolate, a good book, a movie, someone we just met and clicked with, and dinner with friends. None of those requires heart passion or true vulnerability that allows us to be fully seen and valued by another.
Henri Nouwen, a priest, professor, and theologian, once said:
“I kept running around in large or small circles, always looking for someone or something able to convince me of my belovedness….Being the Beloved expresses the core truth of our existence.”
We know this is true because everyone longs to be loved for who they are, not what they pretend or appear to be. This past weekend, each of us acknowledged how significant it was to be fully seen and entirely accepted–a reality that is scarce in our culture of canceled and disposable people.
We are each the Beloved of God. He made each of us with intent, investing His love and delight in who He has made us, and He longs to see us experience that unlimited, unconditional love He has for us. We are able to love others only because God Himself has invested His love in our hearts. Love is His creation.
“We ourselves love now BECAUSE He loved us first.” 1 John 4:19
Being seen and beheld as someone precious and priceless in the eyes of another is the greatest gift we can receive from someone.
God has done that for us in Jesus. Jesus knows our absolute worst, our shattered and messy ugliness, and loves us more than we can imagine.
We are His Beloved, recipients of the best, most long-lasting love ever.
Better than candy and flowers any day.
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