We had driven eight and a half hours — longer if you count how many times I had to stop and use the bathroom. (If you’re wanting to get somewhere quick, I’m not exactly the most ideal person to road trip with.) We drove from Ontario to Massachusetts, right across the state of New York, and the closer we got to the coast, the more I thought I could smell the salt rise from the sea.
The sea does something to me. It opens up a well inside of me — some deep, cavernous place I had forgotten about, and it brings out realizations and understandings that I hadn’t quite grasped before.
Cape Cod is nothing short of stunning. Despite the fact it was freezing, I slipped my toes out from my shoes and felt the sand beneath me as I walked closer toward the ocean. My sister wrapped her arms tighter around her small son, a fuzzy blanket keeping him warm.
We were small, minuscule in fact, in front of that gaping water.
I have felt small before — the good kind and the bad.
I have felt small in the good way: while standing in front of the sea, sitting under the star speckled sky, looking out at the mountains of Rwanda and Peru. And the bad way: feeling unloved and like a desperate disappointment, all the while convincing myself I needed to do something in order to measure up.
I was thinking of these different feelings of smallness, when my sister handed my nephew to me for a few minutes. I held onto him tightly, my body protecting him from the wind. He was sleeping in my arms, and once again I felt my intense and zealous love for him.
I whispered to him, “I love you. And even if you grow up and decide to never love me back, I’ll love you still. Nothing could ever change my love for you.”
The world was wide around me, the sand long and endless, the sea water clapping waves against the shore, and as I looked out at the expanse of beauty, I realized something inside of me had shifted.
All of the love I have for my nephew — it’s the same kind of love Jesus has for me. And yet, like the infinite ocean that stretched before me, His love for me is infinitely more.
I could run from God, choosing not to return His love — but even if I ran, His love for me would never cease. I am small and loved and fragile, and He is mighty and tender and good. He holds me the way I hold my nephew, tight and protected from the wind.
I have believed the lie that I am unlovable for far too long. I have given into the bad kind of small, the disappointing kind.
Jesus has waited patiently, seeing me as I am and loving me all the same.
It took my nephew and the sea to realize this, although I’ve been reaching toward it for awhile. Jesus loves me as I am, in all of my smallness, and that, I think, is the most stunning thing in the world.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I am always amazed at how God confirms His Truth to us…even if it means (literally) putting it in our arms. What a beautiful moment when you could look at your nephew and say sincerely that you will always love him EVEN IF HE NEVER CHOOSES TO LOVE YOU BACK. What a powerful life lesson that God IS love and he can’t deny Himself. Even if we never love Him…His love for us remains. And, His love is unfathomable…it stretches beyond the vast ocean that we gaze at in amazement. I was deeply touched by your post this am.!!
Blessings and LOVE to you,
It is such a powerful lesson! I am so deeply grateful for it. Thanks so much, Bev!
Joanna @ Modern Ruth Project says
Great post!! I agree – so often we cannot understand God’s love for us because we as humans are not capable of the same great abounding love that He has for us, we can only see it in glimpses through our relationships with others. If we could see and love others with God’s love, what a better world we would have. Great post (and you make me want to go to Cape Cod this summer!).
You should go to Cape Cod — it’s so beautiful! And yes yes yes, what a better world that would be.
This was very nourishing.
Have a blessed day,
Thanks so much for the encouragement, Penny!
Loved this post, Aliza.I’ve felt both kinds of small too. And when I really stop to consider the magnitude of God’s amazing love for me, for us, I’m in awe, feeling small and unworthy. And yet, he still loves me. He calls me His daughter. I’m learning that, God’s love is so much deeper than I understand. I’m trying to learn to walk in the depths of His love. 🙂
Your post got me thinking today, Aliza. Thank you for that. 🙂
Ohhh thinking about that makes me feel so small too, but precious. Deeply, deeply precious.
Madeline Osigian says
I’m feeling the good and bad small right now. Thank you for pointing me to the simplest but truest truth: Jesus’s great love.
The past couple of days haven’t been the best for me. When I feel like all hope is lost…I can feel God’s arms holding me tight. He’s got me. Helping me to feel the love that I so desperately desire. His love is always there. ..all I have to do is just reach out to Him. Thank you Aliza for this post.
Beth Williams says
I am awestruck at God’s infinite love toward me. For a long time I felt small & unworthy. Not good enough to be loved. But God in His wisdom chooses to love us unconditionally. Now looking out over the mountains and into the sky I can sense His love for me.