I don’t think I ever truly knew love until I accepted the love of Christ. I mean, I loved my sons the moment I held them in my arms. That was amazing. That feeling surpassed all the other feelings of love I had before then. I love my husband too. Deeply and madly. But it is not the same as the love that you receive from God. No, that love is the kind of love that brings you straight to your knees because you are in awe. You know you are not worthy of this love, yet it is being poured out onto you graciously. And once you receive that love, you realize that before you had been empty and dull inside without it.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Not to downplay the love I had for my husband and children in any way. It’s just that the love of Jesus has opened up my heart to a whole new level of love. I am sure He has even more in store for me. The depth and the breadth of His love will never stop revealing itself to me, I am sure. Even once I am in heaven with Him, I don’t think I will ever stop seeing more and more of the amazing love that He has to pour out onto me. Thank God I will have all eternity for that.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34
It is only because of this love have I been able to open my heart up to others. I have lived a life closed off from people. Always afraid to trust or to let someone else in. I have been hurt countless times in my past because I did not know how to love freely and unconditionally. You see, I was putting conditions on everyone. I had to be treated a certain way otherwise I was hurt and offended. Then I would want to protect myself and hurt back. That is not the way God’s love works. He loves without condition and even through offense and rejection.
Yet it was the only kind of love I knew. The only way I knew how to relate to other people. I had no chance to mature in my understanding of love or my interactions with people I would meet. And I was so hurt – my heart was scarred and torn and weary from so much pain. Unfortunately that is what happens with people. We are broken and therefore we don’t know how to love without hurting. It has taken me time to see this truth and realize that I have a lot of forgiving to do. My parents, other members of my family, people from my past, and even some people from today.
I can’t do it though. I can’t possibly forgive any of these people who have hurt me. I can’t shake the memories of things done wrong to me or move forward into a world where I don’t let it bother me anymore. True forgiveness is something that can only come from God. So I thank God this day for his healing power in my life. It is only through Jesus that forgiveness is going to happen for me. I pray for Him to forgive through me, because I simply can’t. What a wonderful gift that is! To know that I have a Savior to rescue me from myself!
The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.Psalm 103:13
I have come a long way from the girl who would hide behind her long hair. I would use it as a shield when I was crying so people could not hurt me any more. I would use it as a curtain in which I would peer out from the shadows of my pain into a world I could never be a part of. It was just so easy to let my long locks fall into my face and cover me, for I was ashamed of who I was – not good enough. It was safe there, alone, because there no one could hurt me. It was easier to not look people in the eye.
God has transformed me and made me new in so many ways now! I have very short hair – no place to hide anymore! I knew that God led me to cut my hair, but I had no idea why. Now I see so clearly that He was giving me an invitation into a world of communion with other people. I now look people in the eyes and smile all the time. It is not always easy, but more and more I am putting myself out there. And it is all for the love of Jesus. He has healed me and made me whole again. Brought life out of death and healing out of pain. Where would I be today without the most wonderful gift God could have ever given? Himself.
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5