Love You More

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Hispanic woman holding large, woven heart

It’s a thing I send to my best girlfriends when we’re texting and have to say goodbye.  “Love you.”  “Love you more.”

I say this to my mom or my sister when we’re ending a phone conversation.  “Love you.”  “Love you more.”

So when the words came out of his mouth, it brought immediate tears to my eyes.

“Have a great week pastor, love you.”

“Love you more.”

Three small words.  Three small words which crumbled my heart into a happy bit of rubble.

My pastor loves me.

Really, this shouldn’t be such a big deal.  A pastor is supposed to care about the people in his church.  A pastor is supposed to teach, lead and guide.  A pastor has many ‘things’ to do in the life of a church.  And a pastor should love the people in his church, unfortunately many don’t.

Then my pastor said “Love you more”.

I wrote awhile ago how we had started the search for a new church.  We had visited a few churches in the area, but nothing seemed to stick.  So when husband said we should check out the church down the street, I figured the same thing would happen again.

We’ve only missed a handful of Sunday’s in the past six months.

We walked in and found a place where ‘real’ness and sincerity met.  We walked in and found a place where safeness is a goal.  We walked in and found a place where it’s OK to be broken and healing.  We walked into a family, we walked into a home.

And it freaked me out.

Terror filled my spirit.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of being hurt again.  Fear of being disappointed.  I wanted to run away, the risk seemed too great.

But each week, I return.

Leaders are showing themselves to have integrity.  Teaching is deep and challenging and biblical.  The people are sincere and willing to come along side and walk life’s journey together.

Each confirmation, each step forward causes me to shed tears.  Tears of freedom.  Tears of healing.  Tears washing away the stain of hurt and bitterness.  Tears that drip down my face and chin, leaving their trails on the front of my dress.  Tears which are breaking down the wall I built for protection.

My pastor said, “Love you more.”

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