Grief GOT HARD! So I stopped blogging for what… 3/4 years. I don’t know.
I’ve been thinking about starting again for a long time now. This journey of healing has been crazy. I will blog about the deep grief and recovery later, but in honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ve worked on a piece titled Unloved.
From my earliest memories, I felt unloved. I remember thinking maybe I was simply unlovable. There’s just something about me that people can’t love. When Kai died, I thought his death meant God didn’t love me. Feeling unloved is part of the fall. If you, like me, have felt unloved, you are NOT ALONE. We all seek to fill this void with everything except The One Who is Love.
1 John 4:8 … God is love.
Leah is the most famous unloved women. Her story with her husband, Jacob, is recorded in Genesis 29-33. Jacob is a scoundrel, deceiver, and thief, but chosen by God. He is fleeing for his life after conniving with his mother to steal the firstborn’s blessing. Prince Charming, he was not. In Jacob’s mad dash out the house, his mother commanded him to hide out with her brother Laban.
Jacob obeys his mom. On his way to Laban’s house, he meets Laban’s second daughter, Rachel. Infatuation infects Jacob; he was in lust. To move the story along, Jacob meets Laban, and agrees to work for his uncle. His uncle wants to pay him and asks his price. Jacob wants to marry Rachel because she is beautiful, but Leah, the older sister, had “weak eyes”. Scholars have written quite a bit about what this means, and not all of them agree. However, we can assume that her eyes were unattractive and were mentioned as a detriment to her looks in contrast to her sister’s “beautiful form.” Jacob works for seven years to earn Rachel.
“Give me my wife. My time is completed, and I want to
make love to her.” Jacob said to Laban. Genesis 29:21
-There’s nothing I can say about that.-
Laban calls everyone together for a marriage feast. That night he sends Leah into the marriage tent instead of Rachel, and Jacob seals the marriage. He wakes up the next morning angry at Laban for the trickery, but Laban says, “Our custom is for the oldest to be married first and then the youngest. Work another seven years and I will give you Rachel.” Jacob agrees. He finishes out the first week-long honey moon with Leah, and then Rachel was given to Jacob. The Bible is not specific, but it reads as if Leah got one week before she had to share her husband with her sister. Then, “When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless.”
Leah gives birth to three sons. Each time she believes that her husband will love her and become attached to her. The first son is named Reuben likely because it sounds like the Hebrew word for he has seen my misery. Then comes Simeon which sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew word for one who hears. The last one is named Levi which sounds like and may be derived from the Hebrew word for attached. Although in each of these names Leah is struggling to understand God as the one who sees her misery and the one who hears her, her focus is still Jacob.
Tragically, we are all like Leah. We seek love from other people who are looking to us to love them. The deadly cycle of needy broken people needing needy broken people is born. We insist that there must be a way to find love and make life work by affection, achievement, acceptance, affirmation, addiction… the list is very long. Eventually, we realize that no one or thing provides us the love we need.
What are we to do? Counseling is an option. It is good to help identify the traumatic events that left us vulnerable to victimhood. However, Christian counseling too often encourages us to get in touch with those feelings of being unlovable, and uses the love of Jesus to overcome them. Some may even tell us to pick our “thing” that shows us that God loves us. I’ve heard of everything from pink skies to picturesque deer feeding in a field (mine was a rainbow). The Suffering Savior is reduced to an inspiring symbol that helps us realize our worth. Would Jesus go through being mocked, spit on, flogged, and killed, so that we can develop a good self-image? We look to God, not to find Him, but to use him! We are exploiting Jesus!
The power of the cross lies in the undivorceable marriage of repentance and restoration.
We can face the evil traumatic events in our lives that produced the feelings of being unloved in us. Let us repent, meaning that we will declare those events as evil and sinful. We agree with the Lord! For us they are under the blood! The perpetrator now owns his/her sin, not us! We are now responsible for the selfish acts that we did in our quest to be loved. We are not worthy of this amazing gift of forgiveness.
“We all like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to our own way;
And the LORD has laid on him the
Iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6
This is the beauty of the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross. While we were sinners, God demonstrated his love for us by sending Jesus to die for us. Sometimes I feel ugly because I was behaving ugly! I know the nasty feelings of jealousy and envy, and I feel worthless. I don’t feel beautiful when anger and strife are having their way with my words. We know that we are not always worthy and beautiful, so I’m not going to trick myself into feeling worthy and beautiful. The Cross of Jesus frees me from these unfair expectations. Read Romans 7 and 8. It frees you too.
Let’s go back to Leah’s story. She again conceives and gives birth to a fourth son, but this time she declares, “This time I will praise the LORD.” Then she stopped having children. Praise and love flow over us, when we realize how unworthy we are for God’s amazing love! There is nothing in us and there is nothing that we can do or not do to make God love us any more or less than He does. Jacob’s dysfunctional family displays God’s grace that is available to each of our dysfunctional families.
Isn’t He Beautiful?