I received a love letter the other day. Not the mushy kind inspired by infatuation. No, the only similarity to a middle school love note is the notebook paper on which it is written. This love letter is not the kind filled with dreamy visions of the future. It’s not loaded with good intentions or empty promises. No fancy words were used, no love songs quoted. This love letter was a simple expression of his feelings for me. A surprise love letter, too, because it’s been at least ten years since the last one.
Hard times caused him to write it. We’re struggling. Not connecting, not agreeing, whatever the reason, hard times have come. We’re not doing so well with them. We’ve lost it with each other. We’ve said things that we meant at the moment but wish we could take back. Things like, “I can’t do this anymore” or “do what you have to do.” Words that make us wonder if we even know each other at all. The kind of words that hurt deep down. Then the silence comes, and the processing and sometimes more anger. Most of the time the silence brings revelation, understanding, conviction. Most definitely it brings regret. I come face to face with my foolishness, my pride, and that brings its own kind of pain.
This time, he chose to break the silence with a love letter. He didn’t say anything when he handed me the folded piece of paper. He left me alone to read. I won’t share the sweet words he wrote, those are mine. I know they were written in a moment of pure love, the kind you feel so intensely that you think your heart will burst. The kind we wish we could show all the time. The kind we express when we love our best. We are learning to love well.
I have a long way to go. But I know I’m on the edge of becoming someone better, someone freer to love the way I’m supposed to. God is transforming me with His perfect love and I am still learning.
This process of becoming Christ-like seems painfully slow at times. But I am not defeated when I mess up. John Piper writes in his book When I Don’t Desire God, “To be sure, our all-too-slow growth in Christ-likeness matters. It is the necessary evidence that our faith is real. But, oh what a difference it makes to be assured, in the discouraging darkness of our own imperfections, that we have a perfect righteousness – namely Christ’s”
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own”.
Philippians 3:12 NLT
So I will cherish this letter and all the other perfect moments Johnny and I share.