Friday, November 05, 2010

He Loves Me

Yesterday, this book arrived in the mail:

A dear friend had highly recommended it, and I was delighted when it arrived and immediately sat down to read it.

I didn't expect how deeply it would impact me.

I might need to read this one nightly for a while.

The story is about two pigs who get an invitation from God.

Norman was the sort of pig who had it all together.  He was on time for everything, did well in school, excelled at work, and generally looked good.  And Norman knew it.  He was pretty confident that God, like everyone else, was very pleased with him.

Sidney was not so together.  He had trouble with deadlines, didn't succeed all that often, was rumpled, out of place, and perpetually running late.  And he knew it too.  Sidney was frustrated with himself, and was pretty sure God was frustrated with him too.

I'm a little bit like Norman, and a whole lot like Sidney.  I put up a good front, and, to be honest, have often times sailed through life with success.  I work hard to make it appear that I have it together.  In fact, I recently shared a post I'd written about my healing anniversary on facebook, and the comment that stayed with me most was one from a friend from university - someone I knew during some of the worst years of my depression.  Her comment was that she would have never known that I was so depressed that I was going to bed most nights praying to die.  That she had no idea any of that was going on while we were in school together.

Inside, though, I'm not all that together.  I've struggled for every one of those successes and can list far more things, carefully concealed, that were failures.  I've been pretty sure that I was unloved, and unlovable.

Phil Vischer, the author of the tale of Sidney and Norman describes Sidney with the following words, "Sidney felt broken.  And some days that made it hard to get up in the morning.  Some days, in fact, Sidney couldn't get up at all."

It was at this line that I fully engaged with this story.  Because I know those days.  I knew them intimately in the depression years.  And I still know them some days, as I walk through the challenges life has thrown my way these last several years.  I know them some days as I continue to journey through some big challenges, and as I continue to offer my life to God for healing.

And so, these two very different pigs are summoned to meet with God.  Norman is confident and Sidney terrified.

And I heard Jesus speaking to me, in God's conversations with both Norman and Sidney.

God told Norman that he loved him, but also told Norman that he was prideful, and it was wrong.  That he shouldn't look down on others and judge them.

Ouch.  Definitely guilty of that.  And God has been working on that in my heart, too.  That tendency to decide I know it all, and to judge the hearts and actions of others from a place of cynicism, sarcasm and cruelty.

And then, poor terrified Sidney, who can barely utter a word in his fear, appears before God.

"First of all," God began, "I love you."

Sidney startled - surprised.

"Secondly," God continued in a quieter voice, "I love you."

Sidney was gripping his hat a little less tightly now.

"And thirdly..." God paused, very close to Sidney.  "I love you."

The look in God's eyes warmed Sidney right down to his toes.  "That is what I wanted to tell you."

Sidney's response is lovely, and you must buy the book, to get the full story, and not just the little bits I'm sharing with you here, but what really struck me deeply was this closing paragraph:

As for Sidney, he still had his share of messes, though not as many as before.  And there were still a few days when he wasn't quite sure he could get up in the morning.  But if you stood outside his window on one of those days, this is what you'd hear:
"First of all, he loves me.  Secondly, he loves me.  And thirdly - He loves me."  

And that was all it took.

I vividly remember sending an email to a friend while I was in my first year of university.  I asked her - a friend who'd known Jesus only a few years, in comparison to what was already a lifetime for me - if she really felt loved by God.  Not if she knew in an intellectual "the Bible tells me so" sort of way, but if she really, really knew, deep inside her.  She said she did, and there was a part of me that was deeply jealous.

It was three or four years later that I encountered God's love powerfully in a car one night and walked away healed.  That was the start of a journey, but after that night I could say that most days, anyway, I really did believe in an experiential way that God loved me.

But a lot of the time I was pretty sure that he only loved me because He was God, and, well, God is love, after all.

And, I was pretty sure that if anyone else saw the broken me, the one hiding inside, they wouldn't love me either. 

The last few months have been a journey of hearing God speak over and over again about his love for me.  And of having that reinforced by a select group of people who have come around me.

This week, as I've celebrated the fifth anniversary of my healing, I keep hearing God say, "First, I love you.  Secondly, I love you.  and thirdly, I love you.  That's what I want to tell you."

And my heart is learning to hear and believe that in a whole new way.

And that, my friends, is a whole new beautiful journey of healing to be walking.


Anonymous said...

So glad you liked it and were as touched by it as I suspected you would be!

Hugs my friend!

Anonymous said...


Sounds great!
Have a nice weekend.

Lisa said...

LP/CA - indeed. thanks again :) hugs back!

Johanna - it was lovely, I can't recommend it enough! Hope your weekend is great as well!

Jenny said...

Oh, wonderful! THank you for sharing it, I think I must get it.

I love animals, and pigs especially.

Take care and be well, Lisa.


Lisa said...

I hope you do get it, Jenny!