I thought when I first read this post, that I had nothing substantive to offer, and thankfully others have stepped in with their wisdom. But, it did occur to me that I could share my experience at least. Make of it what you will.
In 1990-91, I was in my second year of college, and I was facing the unavoidable conclusion that I was gay. I barely had a word for it. The terms "gay" and "homosexual" were almost not a part of my very rural background. I was by heritage and choice Mennonite...an extremely serious, and devout young man. Being well-read and well-taught in scripture, I tended a meticulous garden of faith. It took me a long time before I could even address my sexuality with myself...longer to address it in prayer before God. Needless to say, I hated myself, and couldn't imagine God loving me.
At that time, I watched the 700 Club almost daily. (I know...
) In truth, though, I watched it for Sheila Walsh. I saw in her a truly compassionate soul, and loved her music. She sang one of her songs on the show one day..."God Loves You." For whatever reason, it seemed as if God was singing to me. That was the start of one particular way God reaffirms a personal love for me. I know, it's a little corny, but God sings to me. Every now and then, I be listening to a song, and the feeling comes through so obvious....a feeling of gentle arms wrapping around...of tender words in my ear.
Also...since high school, I have been a dreamer of big dreams. In a tribal culture I might have become a shaman...in ancient Hebrew culture, I'da kept it too myself to avoid being stoned. In one important dream from those early college days, I was running from a big party in a grey cemetery. I fled from the clamor of the crowd out the iron gate and down the hill. Then a man with a close-cropped black beard chased after me, caught me from behind in a close embrace and held me...kept me from running. I woke up with only one thought...that I'd seen Jesus and he loved me. There've been other dreams that reaffirmed my sense of intimacy with the Divine. Dreaming is for me a way of seeking and finding answers and healing.
As others have already said, meditation played an important part in developing my ability to listen. I actually was unemployed for three months in 1999, during which time I read voraciously, spent long hours each day in meditation, and wrote poetry.
I really spend the better part of a decade "rewiring" my brain...learning to think differently about God and me. I hope that you and your girl find a path to as much love as I experience in my soul.