My youngest son takes everything I say literally. He always has. About five years ago I was sitting with him in the drop-off line at school. He gathered his backpack and gave me a hug, and I said, “I love you to pieces.” I said this all the time, and he usually just says “I love you too.” This time though he said back to me, “I actually love you ten pizzas!” Then he slammed the door and ran inside the school.
It was at this moment I realized that for all of his eight years of life he thought I was saying “I love you two pizzas.” I mean, I do love pizza, but two pizzas have no comparison to the amount of love I have for that ornery little boy.
I waited all day to get home from work to talk to him about this. I wish I had a picture of his face when I explained that I had been saying “I love you to pieces.” He was almost appalled at the saying. He thought the idea of me loving him to pieces was gross and that I should start saying pizzas. We laughed and from that day forward I changed my heartfelt comment to the number of pizzas that compared to my love for him.
The truth is, loving him 5000 pizzas is cute and relatable to his little brain, but it does not compare to me loving him to pieces. I love all the pieces of him. The sweaty pieces. The ornery pieces. The hyper pieces. The pieces that take it out on me when he is tired. The baseball pieces. The picky eater pieces. The good sleeper pieces. All those darn pieces make up the little boy I honestly love more than all the pizzas in the world.
I wonder sometimes if the way God speaks and shows his love to us doesn’t seem to land the way it should. Maybe the journey he is allowing us to be on is loving, but right now it feels gross. Maybe the quiet he is showing us doesn’t feel as loving as other moments have. Maybe he has been trying to tell us all along that he loves us to pieces, but we just can’t quite comprehend it.
My idiom of loving my son to pieces was a little over his head in second grade. I could easily see it on his face when he imagined himself in little pieces. So today, single mom, if God’s love doesn’t feel just right, maybe you need to hear it in a new way. I believe these verses in Ephesians are telling us God loves us more than all the pizzas in the whole wide world.
Ephesians 3:14-21 (NLT)
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
Read those verses today knowing God loves you way more than you love those little stinkers you are raising or have raised. Then go make yourself a pizza and remind your children that you love them, but God loves them (and you) more.