“To be commanded to love God at all, let alone in the wilderness, is like being commanded to be well when we are sick, to sing for joy when we are dying of thirst, to run when our legs are broken. But this is the first and great commandment none the less. Even in the wilderness- especially in the wilderness– you shall love Him.” -Fredrick Buechner

This will be short.

I don’t have a lot of time.

And I have a toothache. 

It feels like a toothache. It throbs like a toothache. 

But the dentist says it’s more than that, I’m clenching my teeth from stress, and it’s actually my jaw as well. 

Like a fist, coiled so tight that it made me think it was my tooth. 

It aches. 

Sometimes life…it aches. 

It doesn’t make sense, and We can’t comprehend how a good God could allow the bad to seep past. 

Life throbs. 

It hurts and we don’t understand. 

And sometimes all we can do is coil so tight within ourselves that we start forgetting who God is, and why we need to continue to share the aches with Him. 

Even when we don’t understand. 

This past week was a lonely week in my thoughts. 

The kind of week where a younger me would have made phone calls and tried to rectify relationships where I feel I’m not valued. 

That I wasn’t important enough to hear. 

That words weren’t valued enough to speak. 

I even realized that a big part of me seeks validation from God.

But I also seek validation from others. 

I want to be valued. In my home. In my family. In my friendships. 

And in the dark last night as my tooth ached I felt hot tears on my cheeks- as I realized that I don’t see a lot of value in me either sometimes. 

Like a toothache, that comes and goes and throbs…

I tell myself lots of things that aren’t pretty. 

I slowly pick away, and look at my faults. 

I think mean thoughts about my body. 

I think I may be failing at parenting. 

I feel insecure as a wife. 

And those are lies. 

I know I am valued, and I know there isn’t truth to all of it, but still I buy into it, worried that maybe just maybe a lot of those things that I think privately- those automatic negative thoughts might be what others see in me. 

How they see me. If they truly love me.

So, today toothache and all, I said all the things I love in order. Even though it throbs . And I started with the One who loves me, relentlessly, in all my good and bad. 

And I choose to Love Him in the Aches. Through the aches. 

And I’m going to work really hard at putting me on my list of things I love. Because I am loved and cherished in my home, and I know my friends love me. And I love them. 

I know even on the dark nights, when my worries and stress take from me– the people that love me always are willing to give more. 

With that sort of love and I can’t coil too tightly. Because there’s so much more to be given when our arms are open. 

And my God, oh how He loves us. 

Love Him.