I remind myself that I have parents who love me abundantly; a boyfriend who loves me too; a best friend who listens and a surrogate nephew who thinks I'm "so cute" and gets excited to see me; friends from college to have funn with; brothers and sisters in Christ who will pray for me upon request; coworkers who come see me and listen to the drama of my life; and even a brother who lets me use his X-Box to play Rock Band.
But somehow it doesn't feel like enough. My heart feels like a vacuum that cannot be filled. And I think, the fact that I comfort myself with reminders of the love of people shows that I am finding my worth in the wrong place.
I am not valuable because of the amount of people I know or by the amount of Facebook messages I have or the amount of friends or family that love me or call me or email me. I am valuable because I am loved by a God who gave his Son to die for me so that He could have a relationship with me. God's love is the the substance of my worth and anything else from anyone else is the cherry on top.
Why, then, do I make God's love the cherry and people's love the substance? Mostly because I am human and it is way easier to see the tangible expressions from people when they hug and kiss and give presents and post on my Facebook wall and listen and talk. Also because I forget to remember God's abundant love and take the good news of the Gospel for granted because I have heard it so many times.
I know that God has created us for relationships. I believe that He uses the people in our lives to bless us and help us grow. Relationships are the way He demonstrates His love and lets us experience a taste of the the abundant way He loves us.
But in the end, if I am alone in that nursing home (and even if I am surrounded by family and friends to the end), the only thing that is going to really matter is how well I know Jesus and the degree to which I believe and experience His love as the sustaining force in my life. So I pray that I could grow in knowledge and wisdom so that I may know Him better.
"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know that love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
"But now, this is what the LORD says -
he who created you, O [Jenny],
he who formed you, O [Jenny];
"Fear not for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine...
Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give men in exchange for you,
and people in exchange for your life."
~Isaiah 43:1, 4
*my wise friend Sheri who went to seminary said it is theologically okay to put your name in where it says "Israel"