Lord the Healer and Redeemer

Today has been quite a day. I called my mom today expecting to have a hard conversation; her boyfriend had been diagnosed with lung cancer and they were waiting for some results. I didn’t intend to hear such a short end to his future. It’s not for certain but somewhere between 3 months to 9 months left for him. That was really hard to hear, and it surprised my heart so much to find out just how much I cared.

Harder yet, he doesn’t believe in God which means because of his hard heart and rejection of truth… heaven is not his destiny. This saddens me far greater because I care a lot about him and I know God does too.

I’m writing this for prayers and encouragement. I’m not entirely sure what role in showing God’s love to him that I or my mom can play, but I’m praying God would guide me. I don’t know what its like to find a way to trust God through all this hardship from his perspective… its nothing I’ve ever experienced before.

I do trust God though, I trust that He has a perfect plan for Jeff and our family and that He will use this cancer to draw Jeff to himself,  but I’m afraid Jeff’s heart is too hard. I pray God would soften it and speak love into his life and he would have ears to hear and eyes to see. I also believe God is a great healer and a lot can happen in 3 or 9 months.

Please join me in prayer if you read this or pass on any encouragement I could share if anyone has similar experiences! Jesus talked about the effort a shepherd will go to save one sheep… I pray Jeff is that sheep.

Thanks,

from a loving sister in and servant of Christ.

Prayer for Satisfaction

I’m finding in my heart that I am not satisfied with my life. I’m not satisfied with my relationships. I’m not satisfied and content with where you have put me and where you are leading me. I find myself wanting things I don’t have, and I find myself missing the dreams I used to have. I wasn’t expecting the joy I have of giving my choices and dreams to you to wear. Now I find myself thinking about a lot of what if’s. I trusted you and still do with the decisions I have made, but God, I just ask for mercy and satisfaction in who you are, where you’ve brought me, and where you are taking me. I would love to be at peace in my heart because I know that you are it. God show me the meaningless of all these desires and the true meaning of desiring you, and you alone. I want to know what it’s like to trust you completely, so just fill me with peace God. Expel from my heart this root of possessing “things”. I’m set free from following this desire, but I still fall to temptation. Teach me to be fully satisfied in you that I can praise you the way you deserve, not in grumbles of dissatisfaction, but in joy of our relationship and in praise of the blessings you have graciously given to me! Amen.

Unlimited.

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. – 1 Timothy 1:15-16

This was a verse my pastor, Paul Johnson, used in last Sunday’s teaching. Honestly, I can’t remember specifically how it related to his teaching; but the Holy Spirit was definitely relating it to me and my walk with God. 

After the last couple weeks, I’ve been a little exhausted. I’m back at college which makes family life once again, safe; but where my heart left off was not. Satan’s right at my door pretty much begging me to grab a hold of this little lie that I know will just tear me apart. It’s so tempting to believe, to return to a place of sorrrow. I don’t know why that can feel so tempting, it’s really not satisfying at all. 

Anyway, it’s really easy for me to look at what happened with my mom and see where she was lying, where there is some truth, and still question why she would say such a hurtful thing to me. It’s like she didn’t even care and just pushed me aside once again. Just like that. 

So here I am, listening to this verse and I see the sinner I am. I feel the power of God, because like Paul in 1 Tim, God has forgiven even the worst. He’s done this so he could work in my heart and display unlimited patience to those around me who need to see God’s love, as an example for those who will receive eternal life.

 

I think about what it would mean to have unlimited patience towards my family, for where they’re at with God, and the things they say. Towards the people who hurt me, as an example of God. To look at them and know and trust God with their lives and to not be caught off guard by the twists and turns of life. But to have patience that never runs dry. Unlimited patience. God also revealed to me that he is healing my parents relationship, but I can have patience in that too. I think I see how he’s going to bless me in this, just to show the greatness he is which was harder for me to see in all this bleakness. 

We will look forward to rejoicing, and even now we rejoice still. God is a father who desires to give good things, and how much better to a grateful heart! (that’s mine!) 

Please pray for my strength in the meantime. 

On Submission and Sovereignty

Warning: This is a long one, but summarizes a lot of what God has taught me in my life thus far (at least recent life anyway)

One might assume the redundancy of mentioning a statement such as “bad things happen”.  It’s truth is well… truth. But still necessary for those, like the few I’ve run into lately, who actually believe that life is going good even though they still feel this emptiness and sadness inside.

Whatever faith you have, whatever you believe there is this one fact you can’t deny. You look out into the world and see the brokenness, the loneliness; you look out at the earth and feel the pull, the desire for something good. We yearn for a time of no more tears, of peace, of happiness.

A song from Mumford and Sons says “There will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears. And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.” We long to get rid of this bad and replace it with whatever notion of good we think could suffice. At least that’s what I do, over and over again. That’s what I feel. I long to replace my bad feelings with good, my hurtful memories with rolling hills and greenery, sunshine.

It’s so easy to look at God and see, how can he be good if there is bad? How can the truth that he destined everything to be the way it is, including the bad things that happen, be good?

The other Wednesday I heard a teaching from a man from a sister church in Minnesota, talking about God’s sovereignty and how he has specifically asked each and every one of us to follow of life of certain measures and means, that every event has been handpicked for our lives so that God might know us and us Him. For me, the fact that God has specifically “ordained” my life events to transpire made me angry. It means that He has allowed and planned specific bad things to happen in my life. Later that week I went home and just cried out in anger to God. “I can’t help but be angry with you. I’m so angry at you God. Why do you give me this life, why do you pick these things to happen to me. God, I feel unjust in my anger towards you, but I can’t help but be so.”

Earlier I had the tendency to be angry at others, at Satan which is all a cover for our anger towards God. God ordains everything, even the actions that Satan wants to commit, he can do nothing above the Lord’s authority as Christ came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8) and has all authority over everything on earth and in Heaven (Matthew 28:18)

So it felt good in a way to go to God and share my anger with him, towards him; but I was angry none the less. My anger again, was rooted in the fact that God has placed bad things in my life on purpose. The tendency here seems to be, in my heart (and what I assume to be in the hearts of others) is that because “bad” things happen, God is bad.

The truth however is that God knows your heart, before you were born he knit you, and knew just what decisions you would make, and all the ways you would choose the world over Him. He knows just how it’s going to impact you and He knows exactly what it takes to win your life over to Himself. Acts 17:26-27 He determined the times set for them (all men) and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

 I consider the present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation (thats us) waits in eager expectation (the desire for things to be good) for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subject to frustration (anger for “bad” things) not by it’s own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it (that’s God), in hope that the creation itself (us again) will be LIBERATED from its BONDAGE to decay and BROUGHT into the GLORIOUS FREEDOM of the children of God (thats Christians). We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. [Even us saints] groan inwardly as we wait EAGERLY for our adoption as sons, the REDEMPTION of our bodies.

Romans 8:17-23 (emphasis mine of course)

I love this verse because it speaks a lot of truth about why God gives us trials, that we would be freed. You can’t be freed unless you are not. God is using this to show his power and his love. (There is also a lot more to say about such things, but that would take a book [The Bible] )

So what does this have to do with submission?

Well it’s starts with me being angry at God on a Friday and ending up in the office of a beloved Beth Moss on a Monday.

Like I said I was angry with God for giving me the life he has, wishing he could take my memories, or maybe just go back and re-write a few parts. Who wouldn’t want to do that (besides people who are completely content with their life or are more mature in their faith than I). Thing is… that’s not possible. Wishing for another life is like saying God, the life you’ve given me just isn’t good enough. And then I spit in his face. God has given me the life he’s given me because he’s working my life out in ways (though sometimes I can) I don’t understand… yet.

Mrs. Beth Moss gave me some really good perspective from God.

Luke 22:41-42 “He (Jesus) withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them [a measure of distance away], knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet NOT MY WILL, but YOURS be done.”

Christ knew the suffering he would have in store, not only the physical punishment, but the torment and complete loneliness of being turned away from God. He asked God to take the cup, but still says “Your will be done” Christ submits his heart to the father even though he is in ANGUISH (vs 44 NIV).

I can ask God to take this cup he’s given me, but I can submit my heart and my life to him regardless of what he does.

I also stop and consider that I will NEVER have to experience the ANGUISH that Christ experienced. God has rescued me from that. I have confidence in faith in God’s promise of eternal life and hope in being liberated from this life to the next.

If God is going to use me as a part of his plan, don’t you think I’d want to be apart of it: THE REDEMPTION of our SOULS! Why wouldn’t I want to submit to a God like that, a God with such power.

I love the lyrics to a song by Leeland called “I wonder”

I am afraid, for no ones ever sacrificed and loved me this way. So on my face I fall under your heavy grace and here I lay in awe and wonder.

When I am angry, and wishing God to take my cup, I resubmit my heart to God and say “Your will be done”. God could take my cup, but that’s for him to decide to do so as the creator of the world.

A verse that is encouraging for my suffering, the laying down of my life for God’s glory to shine through because of the greatest sacrifice that God has made is 2 Corinthians 6: 4-10

…As servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, yet possessing everything.

And to summarize: Galatians 2:20- For I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live,but Christ lives in me. The life I live in body I, live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.

My prayer is that I can take this a submit my heart to God all the time. Trials and sufferings are hard but I have confidence in God who is using my life for his glory. What worth do I have but to glorify God?

1 Timothy 6:12 – Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called…

However, I count my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. (Acts 20:24)

Thoughts of a Shepherd

We are sheep. We are sheep because, well the easiest analogy is that sheep are stupid… and well we are pretty stupid too. 

Sheep do things like, a more commonly known situation, get their heads stuck in the fence because they really really REALLY wanted that grass on the other side. Shortly following, hopefully, the Shepherd (this would be me in this situation) has to come and push their head in the opposite direction, which is uncomfortable for a short while for them. They are free and run away, but later come back and do the same thing over. Rinse and Repeat.

I’ve been raising sheep since I was 7. It started as a fun 4-H project after seeing some cute lambs on a highway and then turned into a business when we found out how much our one little rare breed sheep was worth in the sheep industry. Throughout raising sheep I’ve experienced many things; especially over 12 years or so. I always enjoy the warm fuzzy feelings of bottle feeding orphan lambs and holding their fragile warm bodies as they fall asleep in your lap. I enjoy less the moments when they’ve gotten sick and they stop breathing but I can still see their heart beating as I desperately try to keep them alive but only to fail, then following having to lay their lifeless but still warm bodies in a sandy hole deep enough to not attract coyotes. Sometimes there are even gruesome tasks such as pulling maggots from their skin after a bad case of fly strike, then setting the maggots on fire with a passionate anger. Lovely, I know. 

There are a lot of moments in between the beauty of new life and the heartache of death that make the life and analogy of sheep very applicable to the world around us and our relationship with God. I often think of it best when I remember moments last summer when I led the sheep out to pasture so they could enjoy some fresh green grass. Their enjoyment of having a new patch gives me a lot of joy to see them fervently eating as much as they can as quick as they can. I sit with them and watch as the flock walks around me. Normally when they are wandering free I walk with them as they tend to run off and get lost a lot, but today I gave them a new portion surrounded by a temporary fence I quickly threw up. 

Sitting among them I just began to watch them move and interact with one another, a mix of lambs from late May and older ewes and many in between. Sitting I become as tall as they, as my sheep are miniature and quite close to the ground, here I’m less intimidating. My goal for the time is to help them know me. To know my voice. To know my face. To not be afraid of my presence. The elder ewes will stand near and some a far, they are not startled by my presence or any movements I make. The young ones are curious but keep their distance, too afraid of what I am. They don’t see my intentions to know and love them. Peacefully I sit, as I know if I’d chase them violently, they would only run away. I desire to run after them, to capture them, to hold them close and enjoy their little body heat, but I know the terror they will feel. Trust is something that grows. As I sit patiently, I take heed to the few little nose I hear sniffing behind my back and in my hair. I give them a few seconds as they think I don’t notice, then I turn around slowly and look at them. Their little faces pull back and they scamper away. I can call to them, tell them how much they can trust me, I can tell them how I want to love them, I can even show them how kindly I treat the others; but they just don’t understand. Sometimes seeing me gently work with the other sheep gives them comfort and they might make their way towards me. They know me best when they are hungry, when I can feed them, when they see I provide for them. They know I fill the water tank, so they call to me when its empty. I fill it gladly. 

During this time with them a few lambs will get out, they’ve snuck under the fence and I have to help them quickly find their way back in as they get out just fine, but finding their way back… that’s a different story. Sometimes they need a close watch and discipline. Sometimes they need to test the electric fence for themselves. 

Maybe you can see the parallels here. As a shepherd I learn about what it means to be a sheep, but I also learn a little bit about what it means to be God. I see how desperately I try to make them see how much I can help them, how I can love them. Yes, you can love animals. It’s ok too. It is even glorifying to God. Did he not make them, do you think he doesn’t love all of his creation? God has given us the opportunity to learn what it means to care for creation. There is no greater enjoyment with my sheep then successfully loving them to the point when you walk into the pen, they run to greet you and close their eyes in enjoyment as you scratch their chin. There is joy and pleasure in my presence among them, and that makes me feel loved. It all grows from trust and its all a gift from God too, just to me. 

Sheep need to me led, because like us, we don’t know where to go on our own. 

The LORD is my shepherd I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters. He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me. Your rod and staff comfort me….. surely goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever!

 

I love that David was a shepherd. I love that he could see himself as a sheep and God as a shepherd. I think of David’s great relationship with God as a sheep and a shepherd. 

As sheep come to know their shepherd, come to know their voice, they are built with a desire to follow. They become excited by the presence of their shepherd and will enjoy their company far beyond just knowing as a shepherd who provides or sustains, but who is just enjoyed among the luscious greenery, gently lighting, and quiet hum of dusk. 

Image

But to have childlike faith

Sunday night at our church’s cookout my understanding of what it means to be a child in my faith became something new and moving.

Some people from a community we are in came to our cookout after we spent the day playing with these two kids and others. Dayja is going into 3rd grade and was very sweet. Her face was gently speckled with freckles that most might of missed had our faces not been so close, just the mere presence of innocence surrounded her. We broke up into groups to pray and I was surprised to see the Dad and his kids stay. Levi and Izaiah went with the boys and I stayed with Dayja with the ladies. We started playing tic tac toe on the cement with chalk while the women were talking about our intentions for prayer time, slightly disappointed that I would be on the ground while they were praying and wouldn’t be able to hear them, I decided I would sacrifice it so that Dayja could feel welcome and not overwhelmed. I also desperately wanted her to hear the prayers of godly women. We did many rounds of tic tac toe and then switched to a rock paper scissors games and then the game where you make boxes between dots one line at a time. I’m never sure if that game has a name. The ladies are talking about our vision into the next semester in the fall, thoughts towards which I wanted to share, but I wanted to give all my attention to Dayja as well. Right when we started praying, Dayja turns to me and asks “What are we doing?” I answered that we were praying. She responds “Would you like to listen?” Yes! Yes! I was secretly jumping for joy as this little girl gave me permission to join the women for prayer. Secretly, it was an answered prayer in itself. I answered her with a calm yes and invited her to join me at the table. As we prayed Dayja would tell me about herself and about her brother. Sometimes her brother would do mean things to her, but he would say he was sorry. Then she sometimes does mean things to him and has to apologize. She began to tell me about the one time he did something mean and didn’t apologize and I could tell her about Jesus and the cross and how because of his forgiveness we can forgive others, even if they don’t ask for it. Something that resounded in me thinking about my childhood and forgiving people even when they don’t ask. Then she began to tell me about the prayers that God answers of hers. When she is afraid of the dark, asking God to protect her.

She looked at me with her sweet little eyes and short brown hair, “Do you know God answers prayers?”

Yes God does answer prayers. It pretty much made me want to cry though. She continued to tell me about the prayers God answers and I was able to affirm the beauty of her life. We continued through the gospel talking about the joy God has when we believe in him. Little whispers among powerful prayers.

One of the women at the table was really feeling some pain from some convictions which Dayja noticed. “Why is she crying?” she asked me sweetly. I began to explain what it’s like when God is teaching us things and how it hurts, when we learn to not have pride anymore. Her empathy touched me and I pretty much lost it when we started singing and Dayja went over to this woman and gave her a hug while intently listening to why she was crying. “What’s wrong” she had asked in a light, quiet voice.

I was moved and couldn’t even make it through one line of “How Great is our God”

Oh I pray for the impact that night may have made on her heart, that even if we never see her again she might think fondly of it and remember God.

Just to see God at work in someone so small, so innocent, that she could give such love… oh what faith. Maybe she doesn’t know how to debate creation verse evolution or understand the complete context of Mere Christianity, but she knows God answers her prayers and sometimes that the one thing that keeps me from doubting.

But to have childlike faith.

Matthew 18

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Remember

It’s been a good while since my last post. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been seeking how to need God, to seek God when I don’t feel broken; when I don’t feel like I need him. From missing my brokenness, to searching for more (the strangest feeling) God has recently led me to a place where I just need to remember what he’s done in my life. I used to praise him every day for the work he was doing, and I’ve just forgotten. The moment was similar to Mufasa floating in the clouds “Remember, remember”. I was riding my bicycle tonight through the deep warm air, and I felt a moment of clarity… no maybe not clarity, but a moment of realization. Only just a year ago July, I was at my breaking point: I had yet to forgive my brother for the offenses he committed against me when I was younger and I was still trapped in the turmoil of a broken family. There were countless nights and drives home from my internship where all I could do was just cry. It was the brink of every horrible feeling I had suppressed from the previous years and it was drawing me as close to God as I could ever be. He brought me from my desert and spoke soft tender words of hope, trust, forgiveness, and joy. He took me on a journey I never imagined over the next months, and now I often say that what God and the gospel means to me is just ability to breathe again, or maybe just being able to finally breathe. God saved me from lies that I had begun to believe that effected every portion of my life, and then he spoke authoritative truth right to it and set me free, rendering me peace. There were even moments when I felt blessed by my trials.

I must say, I don’t remember that feeling as much any more. That just shows how much I’ve forgotten.

I felt blessed to look at my life like the broken clay pot it was, and let God freely flow through my cracks; I couldn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t be completely overjoyed by the fact Christ had died and risen. I even shared my testimony in a public place and ended it off saying “Once someone asked me why I would let God take all the Glory. The truth is, I can’t take any of the glory, because I wasn’t me working, it was him” Even at that point, I still didn’t even know what God was doing yet. Later it turned out God healed/ is healing yet the relationship with my mother. I don’t envy other’s families like I used to, I don’t burn with jealously towards my brothers and sisters like I used to. Now I can help my sisters how to learn to love their mothers and fathers. Now I can help my sisters feel encouraged that their trials are helping me grow. One day I’ll have that too, I already know and pray who I’ll be that to, and there will be others. God is glorifying himself through my life, but if I forget what he’s done in my life, whats the point of it all happening. 

God knows that I find no value in my life if its not bringing him glory. I may not know what he’s going to do, but I know what he’s done so far and I just need to remember, and if I forget like I’ve done, then I need to do what he asks and take time to remember. 

Theres always lies and battles to fight and I need God ALOT, just to function and keep breathing. He’s designed me weak and needy that I would need him and find my strength in him; I’ve tried finding it in myself, but I just come up short, and still wanting God. 

 

Late Night Walks and Park Bench Talks

To describe my feelings today I might say: frazzled, frustrated, anxious, confused, cold, sad, restricted, convicted, deflected. A whole jumble of things. I spent most of the evening in public trying to contain my tears. If someone were to have asked me what was wrong, it was one of those nights when I would talk about my crazy day, but I couldn’t really attest all of my dramatic and heart throbbing emotions to anything in particular. Yes, I felt stressed; but to pin point it, I just couldn’t find the means. 

I felt the desire to sleep when I got back from my room, but Lord knows I’d just have spent it like the last 4 nights, tossing and turning, thoughts rambling and jambling; waking up still confused and concerned. Tonight as I sat on the bed at 10:30, I flipped open my textbook to start reading the chapter I had assigned to me about Radio and Broadcasting. As tempting as it was to enjoy reading that ( a hint of sarcasm) I threw my laptop case over my head and decided the only thing that was going to settle my array of craziness was the time with God I had been putting off for several days. So I stood up and put on my shoes, yelled to my roommate that I was going for a walk, and headed out of the house and down the street. 

God wanted me to pray. I felt like I didn’t have anything to pray about. God wanted me to pray. Walking didn’t help. I found a bench swing and sat in it. I could feel God there with me, like a bright light you see with your heart not your eyes. I found myself wanting to be emotional, as only a few moments ago I couldn’t contain it, but now, here myself, I couldn’t muster a tear. I started to miss the winter months where I felt broken and clung to God, I missed what it was like to desire God and nothing else. It’s been a week since I’ve really felt that, it’s like my hearts just all out of love. I started to realize why I was digging deep into my past for remnants of pain, why every small thing that seemed skewed or offensive was being blown out of proportion, why dissapointment was growing. I miss God. I miss God being the only thing that keeps me going, I miss that closer relationship I feel like we used to have. I just haven’t had the desire to desire God. I wish I could look back on the few last weeks and say “God, I feel like I love you more today than I did yesterday” but I just feel like I love him less. I found myself praying about all the reasons God just shouldn’t love me. I’m proud, independent, self-centered, unloving, disobedient. I found myself asking “God, why do you even love me?” I didn’t get an answer. I seem to see God shaking his head “Silly child.” I have a lot to learn about life. 

God needs us to get away from everything to seek him. My main prayer tonight was just guidance. I trust that God is taking me to glorifying places, but theres fear in my heart because I don’t know where I’m going or what I could possible learn. Taking time to just run away and sit on a bench with the fireflies and moths, thats what I needed. To pray, be still. He gave me peace and something to trust in. 

Prayer of Thanks for the body

We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. 2 Thess 1:3

God I am so encouraged and blessed to be in the family you have placed me. It’s so amazing to hear my family’s prayers, to hear them seeking you, and to hear their desire to fully give their lives to you. We are on the same mission, God! You are knitting us together as you knit us to yourself and you are teaching us what it means to love. I feel like there is so much about your love that I just don’t comprehend. Perfect Love? What is that and how can I have it to give? To give myself completely for the body around me, the family around me, to give my life completely to you, that sounds like a task I could never accomplish. I want to know it though God, I want to know your perfect love for me better. I know it would change me radically, and I want it. Thank you for giving me the place, this body who wants that too. Wow. I have no idea where you’re taking my life, but just knowing that you’re taking it somewhere… yup that’s exciting. I just want to keep being able to trust you God, I don’t want it to waiver. It’s so cool that I can just give you my problems and you just take care of them. I don’t know how you do it, but I approve! Haha! Oh man, to think how lost I was… wow look what you have done God. Look how you’ve changed me, and I’m so thankful for the great brothers and sisters that encourage me and love me. They help me understand more of this perfect love thing. I pray that they would know it more! Thank you so much for all you do! Yup… dare I say it, but life is good! Love you Lord! Amen.

“I love you”

love: the preference given by the highest authority. I prefer you. God says these words to me all the time and asks that I find it in my heart to say them to others. To say “you have sovereign preference in my life” to people after him. I can have sovereign preference for God and I can feel that daily. Loving others, thats a harder story. 

Loving my mother? the hardest story yet. 

It starts by loving her, then it continues in me hating her. Is it possible? Yes. It is possible to hate, and hate in the worst way. And I did. Then it started to hurt, a lot more than I could bare. Then I started wishing I could not hate her, but it seemed written into my inmost being. Hate. It filled me and controlled my life. I started to not want to hate her anymore first when I saw, that though I tried my best to hide it, she started to notice and feel. My lies of love no longer felt real. I started to want to know how to love her when God started teaching me more about his love. My hate was taking his love for granted. So I started the journey to grow towards love with God. 

He’s brought me to a really beautiful place. 

I shared true, tear jerking laughter with my mom. The kind of laughter I usually experienced with my closest of friends, even God. I shared a comforting hug, the kind of hug I give when I don’t want to let go. I shared tears of sadness when I saw her for the last time and had to say goodbye; I love my mom. For the first time in 5 years I felt genuine, deep, true real love for my mom. 

Where did it come from? When I felt it welling up inside of me, all I knew, all I could sense was this gift from God. Despite the path I’ve walked, the things I’ve experienced I can look at my mom and feel love because God has given me love to give. The other day I hung up the phone without telling her and I had regretted it as soon as the call ended. Today I spoke with her and it was the best part of the conversation when I was able to end the conversation and say “I love you” 

How did it happen? Through God’s Restoration. He is restoring all things. With me, he is intimately restoring my heart. It makes me really excited to know a God who has such power to fill me with love I’d never thought I’d ever be able to feel again. 

I will praise him forever!