So many people wonder what these things are all about. It's a question my professors have already started asking me. It's a question we all wonder about whether we realize it or not.
Well, folks. I figured it out. ...at least, I figured out what God's trying to teach me at this stage of my life. And here it is. It's deep, so be ready.
I. am. loved. and. I belong.
I've always known these things, but I knew them as facts in my head. I chose to believe them because it got me through each day. Until recently, that's all they were. Facts. But the other night, my heart grasped them as Truth for the first time.
After the accident, I struggled with who I was. A bit of an identity crisis, you could say. I knew I was still loved and wanted, but all of a sudden, the people I was so identified with were gone. And that, mixed with grief, threw me for a loop. I felt so lost and confused. Suddenly, the confident, carefree girl everyone knew was gone, and I wanted to find her again so badly.
I am so pleased to say that God has been faithful yet again!
Let's back up a little :) .....
Upon my leaving for Liberty, my boyfriend, Jason, and I decided to "take a break." We wanted to get plugged in where we're at and to make sure our focus is where it's supposed to be. To an extent this added to the confusion and feelings of "lostness," but it has no doubt made my relationship with God that much richer. In getting to know Jason and then having that source of strength "taken away," God showed me so much about His character. Many of the things bulleted below are things God helped me see through reflections of my relationship with Jason. God made it so clear that the blessings I received through dating and getting to know Jason are just a glimpse of all that He wants to give me. ...oops, I got ahead of myself again!
I'd been here a week, and homesickness was settling in. I missed home. I missed my church family. I missed Jason and the people I'd come to know through him. I missed my siblings. And I wanted so badly to pick up the phone and call Mom and Dad. But all those things were out of reach.
I felt broken. and alone. and lost.
Like God so often does, He started prepping my heart for the lesson He was about to teach me. I came across verse after verse about love. I knew God was trying to teach me about love, but for some reason, the words were hollow. They didn't bring the restoration and joy I knew they were supposed to.
Then Wednesday night, I attended campus church, and the message was about God's powerful, fierce, undying love for us. I returned to the dorm, still feeling empty, even after crying at the "best" service I'd been to for a while. So, I grabbed my bible, journal, music, and hot tea (and a Fudge Round, of course! ;) ) and headed for a quiet spot outside. And as I poured my heart out to God on the pages of my journal, His Spirit was allowed to come alive in me again.
I cannot begin to retell all that He showed me that night, but I can tell you I am changed from the deepest part of my being. You see, for the first time in my life, my whole heart belongs to God...my Creator and Sustainer, my Portion and my Joy, my Provider and Protector.
As I sat alone under the stars that night, God kept reminding me that I had never confessed my love for Him. Why? Because quite frankly, it had always felt kind of cheesy. But more than that, I was scared. I've always hated disappointing the people who "mean the most," and the enemy had me so convinced that if I say, "I love God," then I have to be perfect. He had so twisted the Word of God in my heart that I thought, "If you love Me, you will obey what I command," meant, "If you really love Me, then you'll be perfect for Me. No more room for error. And if you do mess up...you must have been lying to Me about this so called 'love.' Lying to ME, the One who created you. Do you really want that to happen?"
I didn't. I didn't want that at all, so without even realizing it, I built up a wall between God and me. As if I could protect Him from my failures.
Then God oh-so-gently spoke His Truth into my heart. "I don't want your perfection. I want your heart. All of it."
All of it? What does that even look like? ...He showed me that, too.
First, He wants our relationship to be mutual. I could almost feel the Creator of the universe begging me to just tell Him I love Him. After years of putting it off, I gave in, and my heart and mind flew wide open. Every time I wrote the words, "I love You, God. I really love You!" a piece of the wall fell down. The fears dissolved, and in their place was joy and excitement.
Now, I know that loving God is more than fuzzy feelings, but I'm a teenage girl. Let's face it. My picture of falling in love is still that excitement over first dates, and having a song, and getting cute letters on a day when I feel at my worst.
I think God likes that kind of love, too. Those first stages of falling head over heals! The moments that I still saw in the 20+ year marriage of my parents when that significant other was the only one in the room. Here's a snapshot of what He showed me.
- Not only am I loved, I am unconditionally desired.
- I don't have to be afraid of where He's taking me. I am His most valued possession, and as long as I trust Him, He will do His part in leading me to places that are safe and good. Life will still happen, and we will end up in places that seem horrifying to me, but He is stronger. He will protect me and lead me through as He sees fit.
- He gets excited about treating me! He loves bringing me a field of flowers and the people who brighten my day. He doesn't just watch the sunset with me, He paints it for me!
- Every day brings opportunities to learn more about how wonderful He is.
- Doing the little things for Him is a treat, not a burden. They don't prove my love for Him. They are the expression of a heart so excited about Him that I can't wait to see the smile on His face when He sees I've been paying attention to the things He likes. I get to go out of my way to make His day!
- He wants the little, goofy things that come up in my day to make me smile as I think of Him.
- He thinks I am fabulous and drop-dead gorgeous, so it really doesn't matter what the rest of the world thinks :)
- He is Enough.
...Let God love you. And love Him right back, with your whole being!
Like any relationship, this one will take work, but you can rest assured that God will never leave you. He'll never change His mind about how He feels. He'll never sit there and wish He would have chosen someone else...someone better. In His eyes, you are the best there could possibly be. He chose you knowing exactly what He was getting Himself into, and you are still enough for Him. He delights in you. He wants you to sit there and drink in that amazing, all-consuming love without feeling insufficient or unworthy to the point that you hold back.
He would do anything for you--live and die for you if that's what it took for you to begin to grasp all that He is. ...In fact, He already has.