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Recently I was browsing Bath & Body Works – I love that place – and a nice young girl came over. “Hi dear, is there anything I can help you find?” I was put off right away. Dear? It felt a little condescending. I feel the same way when someone younger than me calls me sweetie or honey. Just a pet peeve of mine. On especially fiesty days, I feel like saying, “Listen chica, I’m old enough to be your mom.”

Last night my daughter was listening to a worship song I hadn’t heard before. I walked from the kitchen where I was washing dishes out to where she was listening at the computer. “Did they say, ‘I love you, my Dear?'” “Yep,” she answered. I hadn’t thought of saying that to God before, possibly because of my association with that word and maybe because of my somewhat silly pet peeve. “Is it okay to say that to God?” I was thinking.

As I listened to the rest of the song, I understood. The writer was expressing passion, devotion and love to God, who loves us so fiercely and faithfully. I looked up the word “dear” in the dictionary and found that it can describe someone or something as beloved, cherished, precious, treasured. It’s an expression of fondness and affection.

I needed to think outside my “worship box.” That’s a good thing! There’s nothing in Scripture that indicates we shouldn’t think of God as dear. In fact, He describes Himself as the Bridegroom who died for and will come again for all of us, the Church, His Bride. There’s no greater love. He surely thinks of us as His beloved and we are most certainly treasured by Him. Why else would he number the very hairs on our heads, hem us in with His Spirit and presence before and behind, be with us all through the night as we sleep, waiting and ready to greet us as we wake? Why else would He step up to the horrible task of sacrificing Himself for the likes of us?

It is bewildering to me that He loves us so. It feels kind of strange to say to God, “I love you, my Dear” but as we sang “My Dear” in worship this morning, my heart was moved. I felt as if a window opened allowing me to tell Him what he means to me in a fresh, new way.

Those boxes in which we put God, our relationship with Him, our interactions with Him, and our understanding of Him, need to be opened and stretched, even taken apart. I’m so thankful for the way He did that for me today.

I love you, Papa, my Savior, my Healer, my Teacher, my Creator…

my Dear.

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.  Song of Songs 6:3

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  Ephesians 5:1-2