When God’s love language is serving

Loving hands
I don’t remember when it was – perhaps four or six months after the birth. I remember the place – sitting across from Jon, my arms on the big oak dining table, eating a tired dinner with tears.


“Why aren’t you mad at God?” I asked him. “You are going through all of this, just as I am. Why aren’t you mad?”


I was half-accusatory, half wondering.


“I don’t know,” he replied. “I guess it’s because I see Him in the ways we have been so cared for: the ironing done, the meals brought, the flowers, the gifts, the prayers, the faithful emails.” He was, as ever, gentle and sincere.


I didn’t want that.
“That’s not God,” I said. “That’s just the amazingly lovely church family we have, and friends who care for us. I want God to do something. I want to feel His love. No way am I letting God off the hook. I am not giving God credit for something others have done.”




I think back now on that conversation, and combine it with my recent thoughts on spiritual love languages, and I wonder.


Could it be that sometimes God’s love language to me is acts of service?


I don’t want the quiet ways of loving, I want the loud and tangible ones. I want to hear God guide, to feel in my gut His Spirit speaking when I read the Bible. I want to love God in the way I serve Him, not in the ways that others serve me. I needed God and it felt like He didn’t show up.


But now, a year and some months later, I am playing with the possibility that those loving words from friends, the hugs, the ironing, the meals, were also a quiet love sonnet written by the finger of God.

I am asking the question again: was it God, after all?



This was my best five minutes on ‘quiet’. Also linking with

Beholding Glory

Over to you:

  • Have you ever been in a situation where you felt God ministered to you through His people?


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30 Responses to When God’s love language is serving

  1. Paul Gardner 21st November, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

    Tanya, just referred to your blog for the first time. Love this entry and others. Thanks so much.

    • Tanya 22nd November, 2012 at 10:34 am #

      Thank you! Do drop by again 🙂

  2. Tim Carlisle 10th November, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

    I wonder, just wonder would your friends who cooked, prayed, washed cleaned, encouraged have been able to do this in their own right. Would they have chosen in their own way to choose to serve you? Would we selfish, self righteous, self-serving people choose in our own time, place and using energy and time that we feel we have little of to do what we can, whatever we can, whatever the cost to show love, affection, to bring help, service and relief if it wasn’t he who always has been working in us and through us?

    And this is why, those who serve and those who are served should both bring praise to God, for he enable us to serve and blesses us through it too. Without him I have few kind words, I have little reason to serve, little motivation because I don’t understand what love is. And it is love that drives us to serve.

  3. Amy Young 10th November, 2012 at 6:17 am #

    I think one of the ways He’s evident … I am, not surprisingly, more comfortable when I am the one giving, when I am the expression, than when i am the one receiving. So, I’m not sure if that says more about me or God. Good to think on that one!

    • Tanya 10th November, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

      Yes, me too! I am not great at receiving… Thanks for stopping by, lovely Amy.

  4. Laura Rath 9th November, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

    God’s timing often has me puzzled, and I wonder why He’s not showing up. Sometimes my frustration turns to anger, and I’m sure it blinds me to what God is showing me at the time. I’m looking for what I want, but He’s working in ways I don’t see. That’s when I especially have to look back at the ways He’s shown up and worked in my life, and let that calm me and remind me that He’s there…I just don’t know what He’s working on.

    What a loving God we have that He lets us ask these questions!

    • Tanya 10th November, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

      It’s a real challenge, to not let our emotions blind us – I fear mine do, all too often. Thanks so much for your wisdom!

  5. Jenn LeBow 9th November, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    Looking back, I often see more ways God was loving me than I saw in the actual moment. And that knowledge alone sometimes keeps me from losing it when I just don’t “feel the love.” I can remind myself that in hindsight, His ways will be plainer to see. And I whisper a tiny, miniscule, “thank You.”

    As always, your words make me smile in recognition and in appreciation for the gentle challenge behind them. Thanks, friend!

    • Tanya 10th November, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

      Jenn – I just love your faith here, that says, God has been good to me in the past and I’ve seen it, so I’m going to trust that I will see that again in this situation, and thank him for it, even before you have seen it. This is the place that I long to get to… Thank you so much for spurring me on! Much love x

  6. Mark Allman 9th November, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    I don’t know Tanya. I wish I did. I get mad at God sometimes because I think it should be more evident. I know the people I love know it without a doubt. I don’t want to doubt God’s love. I know when someone does something for me I feel loved by them. I know when I have the privilege to do something for someone else and they appreciate it I feel loved then too. Love flowing both ways and is that God’s touch? To know God used me to love someone for him would be such a grand honor. I hope he does use me.

    • Tanya 10th November, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

      Thank you so much for really getting this, and for your thoughtful response.

      I know I am greatly helped by your words, every time you comment. Is that God at work? It could be. It could well be… 🙂

  7. Joyce 9th November, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    Beautiful post, Tanya. Reminds me of the story of the child in the thunderstorm who keeps running into mummy and daddy’s room every time the thunder crashes terrifyingly loudly in the middle of the night. Each time, the parents remind the child how much God loves him, so he doesn’t need to be so afraid. Each time the child says “Yes, I know how much God loves me” and trots obediently back to his own bed. Till the lightning flashes even brighter and the thunder gets even louder and more scary. Back across the landing into mummy & daddy’s room. “Now, you remember how we agreed God loves you very much, so you don’t need to be frightened?” “I know!” says the little one, “but right now, I need somebody with SKIN ON!”
    I really believe God in his love and tender mercy gives us people around us “with skin on” to make His love real and tangible to us when we need it most! Bless you! XXX

    • Tanya 10th November, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

      Oh I love that story! Yes – that is it completely – sometimes we just need somebody with skin on… Love that phrase. Thank you so much for your encouragement.


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