A Startling Revelation

Freda Howell McMahon   |   May 4, 2016 


"You are not romantic," he said. "You're not romantic at all!"

We were at the Mumbai airport, juggling luggage and our baby, headed home to Goa. I didn’t really have time to process this unexpected admission. If anything, my husband was the one who needed to up his romance skills. And here he was, telling me that I wasn’t romantic! Undoubtedly, I had read more romantic books and watched way more romantic movies than he would ever had.

"What was the last romantic thing you did for me?" he asked. The wheels that had been spinning out of control in my mind came to a sudden halt. “Oh no, he is right,” I thought to myself. Not that I was going to admit it. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t think of anything I had lately done which would count as romantic. And if I was going to be completely honest, my husband had actually made an effort to be romantic, but I had not appreciated him because his acts weren’t romantic enough.

It’s not that I am not romantic. But, here is the shocking part; I’m just a romantic in my head. If you were to examine my actions, I would not qualify as romantic. I am a romantic, waiting to be romanced. I am not a romantic freely willing to romance my husband.

I am tempted to blame this discrepancy between my thoughts and actions on my baby; the easiest target. But, sadly, my behaviour has nothing to do with my innocent nine month old girl. Honestly, I think I’m just a little self-obsessed. That does not sound very Christ-like, but if I’m going to improve, I can’t sugar coat the truth.

Let’s take the example of God Himself. Unlike me, God is a true romantic. His thoughts and His actions both demonstrate His love for me (Ps.139). History testifies to how God lavished His love on us, giving us the privilege of being called children of God! (1 John 3:1). And the most romantic act I have ever encountered is this: while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me (Rom. 5:8). Jesus didn’t think, “Let me see how Freda lives her life. If she loves me, I will love her back. I’ll even die to save her. But if she doesn’t love me, there’s nothing in store for her.” But God, the Creator of this magnificent universe, the Maker of you and me, chose to lavish His love on us while we were still living in sin.

I can join the poet, Francis Thompson, in saying,

“I fled Him, down the nights and down the days; I fled Him, down the arches of the years; I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways of my own mind, and in the mist of tears I hid from Him... From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.”

But all through those years, God followed me, wooing me with His unchanging love. Until one day, I willingly surrendered, and accepted His love; embraced His offer of forgiveness.

And even though I am humbled and delighted to received God’s love, I am so slow at demonstrating the same to others, particularly to my husband. Why? Because I have failed to truly appreciate God for His continual out-of-this-world demonstrations of love. Frequently, I forget that the world’s greatest love is already mine. Instead, I go through life, feeling that I deserve to be romanced, claiming my right to grand gestures of love. Without appreciating what I already have, I kick up a storm when I don’t get what I want.

This, however, is not where I want to stay. I am ready to change. I am willing to be a romantic in outward action, as well. Here’s how it’s going to happen: I am going to pour my energy into loving God and being loved by Him. I am going to receive lessons in love from the greatest Lover of all time. As I surrender myself to God in daily meditation, I’ll be better able to love Him and love my husband. It truly is as if God is saying just to me, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34).

Do you find yourself struggling to give love too? Maybe it’s time to receive love before you have something to offer.


Photo Credit : Flickr 

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Freda Howell McMahon

Freda McMahon lives in a little Goan village with her husband and two daughters. She is a counsellor by profession, a homeschooling mom, and in constant need of God’s grace. Dark chocolate with sea salt, good conversation and solitude are a few of her favourites.

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2 comments on “A Startling Revelation”

  1. A very clear analogy between God romancing us and our own concept of self seeking romance! It's so true,we can never truly love or show it ,till we really recognise God's love for us. Very well written Fred a!

  2. Yes! We'd all be more content people if we really let God romance us.. and more loving people too! Thank you 🙂

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