He is Jealous for Me

I sat across the table, a newborn at my breast, smiling my biggest smile and willing the tears to not break through.

My husband had invited me to meet him and his co-workers for lunch. It was a welcome opportunity for this social woman whose days now consisted of breastfeeding, laundry, and the company of a non-conversational little person.

I didn’t understand why she was there. Sure, they were friends. But she worked across town. So while I loaded up the van with diaper bags and baby carriers, their van had picked her up at her office building.

Don’t be jealous, I told myself.

As I sat in the restaurant, feeling underdressed and unattractive in my mom attire, baby attached to me in ways that, at the moment, I loathed for its inconvenience and permanence, I watched across the table as she leaned into him, laughing at a personal joke between them.

They’ve worked on big projects together. Of course they have jokes between them. They bond over clients like I bond with my co-workers over zany students. Don’t be jealous.

As I tried to soothe a fussing baby, the table grew seemingly larger. I was a struggling mom, watching from across the room a group of friends and co-workers enjoying their lunch hour.

She leaned in again, too familiar for my taste. He wasn’t even embarrassed by it, as he bent sideways to hear her in the busy Chinese restaurant. Sleep deprivation causes overreaction. Surely if something were going on, he’d be careful to hide it from me.

But he was oblivious to my presence across the table. My attempts to be part of the conversation were ignored.

Why am I even here? I wondered, struggling to keep tears from welling up. Why did he even invite me? Does he know how much effort it took to get the baby out of the house today? The patience, the multiple diaper changes, the faith that a ponytail holder and clean shirt would make up for my baggy pants and baggy eyes?

After a painful hour struggling to balance food and baby – why did I think going to a buffet was a good idea? – and leaving most of my plate untouched, I smiled even bigger, made an excuse about nap time, and bid my farewells. He looked up at me, surprised I was still there, and said, “Oh, okay,” before returning to his conversation.

Maneuvering my way out of the crowded buffet took forever, as I held it together until I made it to the parking lot. Almost. The stranger who held the door open for me saw the silent tears streaming down my face as I looked up to smile my thank you. I wondered if he thought I was being an emotional post-partum woman.

The ride home – and many rides after that – was filled with ponderings. Why didn’t he sit next to me? Why wasn’t his attention on me and our baby? Why isn’t he enthralled with my jokes anymore? What does he see in her? Doesn’t he remember how much we’ve been through and how I’ve always been there for him?

That was years ago. Another marriage ago, in fact. But apparently it can still sting.

As I went about my chores earlier this week, I wasn’t really focused on the background music. Until, with crystal clarity, the line grabbed me and wouldn’t let go.

He is jealous for me.

I’ve read all the Bible verses about Jehovah being a jealous God. I’ve even heard this song  (“How He Loves” by David Crowder Band) many times.

But until that moment I never really thought about it.

He is jealous for me.

Like I was jealous that day in the restaurant? Is that how much God hurts when I put him on the backburner to work on my to-do list or when I disobey his commands?

He won’t mind. We’ve been through so much together – he’ll always be there for me. I can invest my time in other relationships, other activities. He’ll understand.

And yet it’s because he’s invested so much time in me that I need to be mindful. To choose Him first.

He is jealous for me.

14 Comments

  1. Paola Lovecraft

    loved it ♥ i feel so connected , and have yet a new perspective of God in mi life 🙂 massive love and infinite bliss

    Reply
    • Kendra Burrows

      I’m so glad! Thanks for stopping by, Paola0.

      Reply
  2. Rod Semple

    Kendra wonderfully written. I agree with all the other comments. Adds a whole new perspective to the God who loves us. Loved it.

    Reply
  3. sharybary

    I agree with all of the comments above! Absolutely beautiful parallel. Painfully beautiful!

    Reply
  4. Lisa

    Wonderful. Simply wonderful. You succeeded in helping us feel the pain of causing Him pain. Thank you.

    Reply
  5. Noreen Saemenes

    So beautifully written. I am sure so many people can relate to that. Thank you for making it real and so vulnerable. I can relate to the feelings x 2-different circumstances but the feelings are the same. Thank you for being so brave.

    Reply
  6. Sherrey Meyer

    Kendra, a powerful post! I appreciate the analogy you have drawn between your jealousy and God’s jealousy for us. I am as guilty as the next for placing other things and people in priority over Him, putting Him on the back burner. I will never think again about doing something and setting Him aside without feeling the hurt and pain I felt for you today in this post. Thank you for making me feel the way He feels when I ignore Him.

    Blessings on your writing and on your Easter!

    Sherrey

    Reply
  7. antonia.a.hurst@gmail.com

    Beautifully written, sad to read. Made me wish to have been there to do or say something. A vulnerable and thoughtful piece.

    Reply
  8. Pat Youther

    Kendra, thanks for your openness and vulnerability–and for the spiritual connection you made. I love that song and especially those lyrics. They hit me afresh every time. This Holy Week I’ve been meditating on Romans 5:8–“But God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Oh, how He loves us so!

    Reply
  9. Laura Hile

    Kendra, thank you. Sharing and being vulnerable with the wide world is not easy, but I see you reaching out, human heart to human heart. Blessings to your and your family this Easter. He is risen, indeed.

    Laura

    Reply
  10. Carryl R

    Owch. Oh, owch. Encouraging and convicting in one beautiful, gracefully written package. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and for challenging me to take a closer look at how I choose to invest my time. And with whom.

    Reply
  11. Melinda Lancaster

    What a powerful life experience you’ve used to share a deep spiritual truth, Kendra.

    As I’ve somewhat rushed today to catch up with my Lent reading challenge I have felt grief at the ways I prioritize my life. Something has to give.

    I’m thankful that God’s love is unchanging along with His grace and mercy! This post is very timely for me.

    Reply
  12. Denise Jackson

    Kendra, I have known your confusion, and your embarrassment. I am so glad we have both moved on. Blessing on you for Easter.

    Reply
  13. kayesims

    Wow; Kendra. You’ve done such a good job articulating the pain that is familiar to most of us. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability.

    Reply

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