We play this game, my kids and I. A game of extravagant, one-upmanship designed to color in the vibrant shades of how we feel about it each other. We use our favorite word crayons, markers and finger paints to spell out our feelings:
I love you more than dump trucks.
I love you more than tractors.
I love you more than lions.
And the ultimate, ultimate: I love you more than chocolate milk.
We wrap our word love in tight monkey hugs around each other. We squeeze hard. And keep trying to out do each other in sheer volume and extravagance:
Photo credit: East Carolina University
I love you more than airplanes.
I love you more than ice cream.
I love you more than the zoo.
I love you more than my bear.
The declarations come hard and fast and with each new one I watch as my kids fill up to the brim with this powerful and empowering word.
To be loved.
When last did you hear it? Did you believe it?
Why is this word so much easier for grown ups to give than to receive? I believe it when I say it to my kids. I believe it all the way down to my pinky toes then. I believe Jesus loves them and I know that I would step in front of a bus for them without a second thought. But when last did I receive that kind of love?
When did I actually accept it without trying to shrug it off with a counter offer of how unlovely I am?
Photo credit: Dwelling in the Word
I am driving in the car between a doctor’s appointment and what I know will be an unpleasant meeting with the mechanic as I expect to learn that the sounds my car is making will cost a small fortune to repair. I am worried. I am worried about a work transition that is beyond my control, a preschool trip to the zoo I can’t seem to fit in, and a nagging tooth ache that should have disappeared after last week’s trip to the dentist.
Love is the last thing on my mind. It’s raining. I am impatient and empty. And then it comes – unbidden and unexpected:
I love you more than this downpour.
I love you more than the galaxies and the thousand, thousand stars spinning in space.
I love you more than the cherry blossoms.
I love you more than baby’s breath.
I love you more than you love your kids.
I love you for you.
And I’m crying because I feel so unlovely and so loved at the same time. I can’t see clearly anymore and my heart feels tight and my chest aches and incredibly being loved more than chocolate milk makes sense to me now.
I feel it. The tight, tight monkey hug from the God who made me and speaks my love language just like I speak my kids’.
So, now I’m wondering.What is your chocolate milk? Because I so very much want you to know that He loves you more than that.
He loves you more.
He loves you.
He loves you.
And He loved you like that first.Leave a Comment
Kristen@Moms Sharpening Moms says
Perfectly Lovely…this post, you, our amazing God!
And I love you more than birthday cake! 🙂
this is going to be honest and raw & i might regret it later but here goes…
i read this and am so sad at my response. i know that GOD loves me yet i so desperately want to hear it from others. it’s not enough for me to know that the Creator loves me and i know that has to be something He is working on.
by the way…my daughter and i did this all the time when she was little and our thing was, “i love you more than nachos with extra extra extra cheese, a little crispy, with sour cream” (ha. thanks for bringing back that fun memory)
Janine Robinson says
Hi Lisa-Jo … I so love your blog! What a beautiful post. I too am South African and love your sunny Jesus heart! You shine Him well 🙂 Thanks for reminding me how very much my Jesus loves to love me. Such a huge thought for us at times!! Big hugs xoxo Janine
Your post was great. Although I must say I most related to your feelings of knowing you are loved and still being pulled to the question of am I loved/why am I loved and why isn’t that enough? All the way to the cry in the car..been there done that.
But yet Jesus loves us more and HE should be our umbrella around us keeping us dry,safe,loved and present in all that is going on around us.
It’s kind of hard to try to type through tears. 🙂
My girls and I have a game similar to yours. Ours goes like this: I love you! I love you more! I love you the most! I love you the most times the most! And it goes on until someone starts multiplying that with the moon and back and whoever reaches “to infinity” “wins.”
I’ve been in a season of asking God to help me see myself the way He sees me. He has used your blog post to help me to do that.
🙂 Thank you.
Adoption Mama says
This is something to really think on. He loved us first and we are so undeserving. He loved us so much He crushed His own Son for our sins…amazing and awesome.
This year because of a trial with my oldest son…(see my blog) I have asked myself over and over again…do I love “Hoss” more than you, Lord?
May my heart be steadfast to you, O Master.
This was a great post! I loved it 🙂
oh sheesh…i heart you lisa jo, more than a cold stone birthday cake remix! your words always bring me to my knees in thanks and gratitude.
What a wonderful post, Lisa-Jo! We need an “I love you” game for our family, stat. 🙂 Thanks for the motivation!
Isn’t it amazing how knowing — really knowing, experiencing tangibly — this big big love can change you?! I remember quite vividly when I got past the knowing it in my head to the knowing in my heart. I’ll never be the same. His love is so life-changing! Praise God whose love is so deep and wide, long and high, that we’ll never know the end of it!!!
More than clean sheets, the smell of fresh basil in the wind, lavendar soap, and the perfect cup of hot tea in my favorite mug.
We love Him because He first loved us.
Full of sin, ugliness, filth.
He saw me through the work of His Son, Jesus.
Oh, so very precious, so beautiful, so worthy.
Not because of me. But because of Christ.
He loves me more than the mother’s love He has placed in my heart for my child.
The love that now walks around outside of me, beyond my control and safe-keeping.
Side note: Lisa-Jo, my BFF was also from SA and married into the US. Alas, she returned to SA and is not living for the Lord now, but being daily prayed for whether she knows it or not!
Lisa-Jo, that is spectacular! Thank you because I want to FEEL loved beyond chocolate milk! I think as adults, we become jaded by life and forget that yes, Jesus loves ME. The bible tells me so 🙂 Thank you for your gift today.
Sheryl, I love you! Just reading your words brought tears to my eyes. I love you sister in Christ and if a stranger can feel that passionately about you, how must your creator feel about you? Don’t lose heart beloved sister!
I have a friend who doesn’t believe God loves her. As I recently shared with her how much God loves her and just how crazy He is about her, bitter painful tears ran down her cheeks as she said in desperation, “I want to believe that, I wish I could believe that…but I don’t”. It broke my heart.
My prayer is that she will come to know that God DOES love her even more than…(fill in the blank).
Thank you for this Lisa-Jo. This has encouraged me to continue to love her more, show her His love more and continue to pray that she will open her heart and embrace His amazing love for her.
PS. Thanks also for the (in)couragement to “comment” ; )
We say this to our children too. But a few weeks ago my son said something amazing to his sister after he had gone through a heartbreak with his girlfriend. “Sis, don’t make the same mistake I did. I loved Sarah more than God. Love God more than your boyfriend.”
Bittersweet . . . something I need to learn again and again too.
Melissa May says
Thank you… Needed that. A lot.
So this was so spot on…my post from Monday was up the same alley. As usual God’s trying to prove something to my heart over and over again. Thanks for tuning my ear to hear a little bit better the sweet words of our heavenly Father
Dawn Camp says
My six-year-old daughter and I have “I love you more” contests.
“I love you.”
“I love you more.”
“No, I love you more.”