"So there is an incalculable, faultless, eternal God who loves the frail beings He made with crazy kind of love. Even though we could die at any moment and generally think our puny lives are pretty sweet compared to loving Him, He persists in loving us with unending, outrageous love."
It's no secret that a better part of this year has been one of the toughest struggles Kyle and I have faced (I've written about it here). The good news is that the last 2 1/2 months have been the start of healing for us. Healing in so many ways and I believe there's a lot more healing that has to happen, but it's good.
When you go through a fiery trial, it's easy to feel alone and unloved. It's easy for the enemy to sneak in and tell you lies about yourself. It's easy to feel insecure. Trust me, I know. But one thing I'm definitely learning is more about God's love for me. I'm learning that He seeks me out. He reiterates that I'm not alone and that I am His daughter, His beloved daughter that He wants to wrap His arms around.
I stumbled upon a book called "Move On" by Vicki Courtney. There's a section that I just can't stop thinking about.
"When you choose to be real, you embark on a journey. It is not a journey for the fragile or faint of heart. Showing up at the starting line will require courage. It's far easier to blend into the crowd and pretend all is well and good. Smile, learn your lines, and join the ranks of the status quo. If you want to be real, you must be willing to put up a fight. Others will be uncomfortable with your honesty. Many will label you as emotional or unspiritual. You will meet resistance at every turn.
Psalm 51 is an anthem for authenticity, "what you're after is truth from the inside out. Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life." A true life. No pretending. No more of saying you're ok when you're really not. No more pressure to keep it all together and keep it all hidden. It's about giving ourselves permission to be honest about the whole journey of faith, our muddy messes included, not just the highlight reel we broadcast to others. The choice is simple: you can stay where you are or you can get real and move on."
Here's the deal. The enemy would love for us to feel isolated and alone in our struggles. He would love for us to abandon our faith when what we believe about Jesus doesn't seem to match up with our circumstances. But when we choose to live authentic and remove our masks, to share our sufferings with others, then the Spirit meets us and it's like He even knits our hearts with those who are walking with us.
Another book I'm reading is "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. I'm in a Bible study at church for this book. Francis articulates aspects of God that I think we forget or gloss over. We get wrapped up with ourselves and our lives, only to diminish the power and presence of God. And we lose sight of how God pursues us. I know I do. When you feel alone...you feel alone from people but also from God. You know God loves you intellectually but you don't believe it in your heart and mind. You don't live it out.
So in the midst of my healing, God has made it clear to me that He is reaching out after me. He is pursuing me, He is loving me. He wants me to know that He loves me. Even in my sin. Even in my doubt. Even in my anger, fear, unloving attitude towards others, and sadness. I'm so imperfect, but His perfection seeks me out because it's not about me, It's about Him.
Recently I had an emotional day. Those are far and few lately, thankfully. A series of events added up, that brought me down. But man did God blow me away. The thing is that on this day, I had 5 friends reach out to me with encouraging words. All at different times of the day. All concerned about me. All sending me prayers and words of encouragement. This isn't chance. It's God. My God is real and He is an extravagant, loving God.
To those who feel alone, know you're not. To those in pain, run to Jesus, He is the only way to find healing and redemption. This was one text a dear friend sent me and I really have to share some of her words. Holy Spirit, how you speak to me through close friends in my life! Thank you, Lord.
"I just had a mirror kairos moment while making my pizza crust dough and I had to share it with you. As I was kneading the heck out of my pile of floury, crumbled dough, I was reminded of how that resembles my life on a daily basis. A messy, crumbly pile that, on its own I can do nothing with. But God, in His mercy, pushes back together and kneads every crumbly and broken piece of my life...until it becomes smooth and ready for the next season."
God's love and redemption never stops. This doesn't scratch the surface of their ways He is renewing things and relationships in our lives. I'm on a pretty cool journey. A journey of learning the depths of Christ's love. A journey of watching and waiting. A journey of learning to rest in God's embrace. He is putting pieces back together better than I could have imagined and He has set us on a new path. The best part is that He is with us. 😃