As I have written this particular series on my blog, I have tried to identify some of the reasons we need to love ourselves before we can truly love others. In the middle of producing this series, I was blessed with opportunity to give a talk at a gathering of ladies on the topic of self-love. While preparing for that talk, God gave me some practical tools for doing just that kind of loving and accepting of our selves. But nothing prepared me for one of the most precious truths He presented to me last Sunday at church. That lesson was, and is, about accepting the genuine love of another as a form of self-love. It went like this.
In her message, our pastor talked about the power of upholding one another in prayer. She asked us to get into small groups and share something we would like others to help us bring before the throne of our God. Keith and I were with one other lady. That lady said she is considering leaving her life-long profession because of new regulations. She asked for our prayers for guidance and strength. I shared a concern on my heart as well.
When Keith’s turn came, he said all he wanted was for God to continue presenting opportunities for his adored wife to share her gifts in writing, speaking and dancing for our Lord and his beloved children. He asked nothing for himself. I was so overcome with emotion and recognition of the tender, selfless love my guy was speaking, I could barely breathe. I still cannot put my feelings around this into words. I ask you to ignore the errors in this post, if you find them, because my eyes blur with tears as I recall that moment.
The rest of that day and every day since, I have thanked Keith for his love and tenderness with me. I have thanked God for the man He has given me to walk with these twenty two years of marriage. I realized that it was in some ways, on some levels, difficult to just accept that unconditional and devoted love – even from this dear man I share my life with. But then I saw that accepting it is exactly the point. Through Keith, God is showing me that I am loved, am lovable and worthy.
Today Keith and I celebrate Valentine’s Day and our twenty second wedding anniversary. I pray every person in this world, on this Valentine’s Day, will have and feel the love I am blessed to have and feel. I also pray that every day I walk and breathe, I will thank God for Keith and thank Keith for his example of faithfulness, selflessness and tender God-ordained love. The love of my God and my man are helping me to sit more comfortably in the seat of self-love. When I rest in that truth, I cannot help but let everyone in my world know how much I love you too. And I do. I really do.
Copyright February 14, 2015
Mrs. Laura L. Padgett