God Is a Love Relationship
My experience of the Divine entering the ordinary moments of my life created in me an inner stirring. It felt active and alive, like a fluttering butterfly or a green plant stem pushing up from the dark soil. Something had awakened in me—a profound sense of Sacred presence and the awareness that I was not separate from the Divine. I felt a longing for an even deeper union with God, for a growing consciousness that I am living inside this Divine love, and this Divine love lives inside of me.
As the years went by and I moved through a series of jobs from nonprofit director to elementary school librarian, staying steady in a loving marriage that faced infertility, my urge for more intimacy with God continued to grow. I wanted to live out the commandment to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” My burning question was how—how to nurture Divine intimacy.
Last winter, the answer came. I’d returned home from a long day of work, then grocery shopping, and finally a last-minute yoga class. I sat on the edge of my bed, drained and ready for a warm bath, and I prayed, Dear God, let me not forget that you are with me through all of this.
As I slipped out of my clothes, my eyes landed on a single pink rose in a slender vase my husband had placed on the dresser. My gaze lingered, and I felt an invisible unfurling of something within me. In the stillness, my heart cracked open and God’s boundless love flooded my being. I knew I was returning home to the place where the Divine has always been and would always be waiting for me, inside myself. Everything I need, I could see, is already in the beautiful bud of my heart. God’s generous love is always there. We’re born knowing this, and although we might forget, this is our spiritual heritage and our spiritual intuition.
At that moment, I heard these words clearly within me: God is a love relationship. Like the rose on my dresser opening to the light, my heart was opening to the Divine. This unfurling, like the petals of the rose, seeks and needs to open. That is its purpose and its destiny, and in that moment, it was both obvious and a revelation. We are, in every moment, living a Divine love relationship.
The Divine Unfurling
Over the next few days, I watched layer upon layer of rose petals slowly appear in the vase on my dresser, bringing the deep pink flower into inexpressible magnificence. As it opened, I felt as though I were glimpsing the Divine love relationship I was already living—tender, dynamic, and delightful. I felt God’s love blooming within me, and I was flowering in it. I could sense the Divine intimacy I am always living, as is everyone else. In a moment of despair, getting ready to bathe before dinner, I found what I’d been longing for—the Divine home of my heart, the access point for God’s intimate love. For me, the rose became a symbol of this unfolding. From bud to flower, our hearts open and reach out to the Divine. This intimate heart recognizes it’s a dwelling place for the Divine and that it lives and grows within the heart of God.
In moments like seeing the seagull, riding the city bus, and sitting on the edge of my bed, exhausted, I discovered that my love relationship with the Divine is a living, searching, learning journey. This unfolding dynamic keeps growing and changing as I discover new ways to navigate the world. I now know that I am connected to a vast, expanding love that is within and around me. As intimacy with the Divine grows, so does a more intimate relationship with myself, with others, and with nature, art, and sacred ritual. Each is an encounter of the heart, with Divine love at its core.
And when I’m mindful of it all, I can see the cross-fertilization of the sacred with my ordinary daily life. My love relationship with the Divine brings me closer to the particulars of my own life, and at the same time, my intimacy in all my relationships brings me closer to God. Love for the Divine and love within are reciprocal, and I know I’m a full participant. As thirteenth-century philosopher and mystic Meister Eckhart said, “The eye through which I see God is the eye through which God sees me; my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.”
Each of our experiences of the Divine is uniquely personal, a truth we must honor and claim, and yet, at the core we share the same bond to Divine love. This is a love relationship not unlike those we long for with our spouses, parents, and friends—a connection that nourishes and holds our very souls. Every day we’re called to live in and experience this unfolding intimacy with the Divine, and it makes my soul feel light, like lace on a veil. As I feel this lightness, I hold the Divine close, closer than my own breath. I find shelter with God—the Divine, Holy, Sweet One, Comforter, and Friend, the One Who Loves Me into Being in Every Moment.