This is a bit disjointed. It’s a bunch of random thoughts on love I wrote in a journal right before the new year began.
2014 was the year everything changed. Well, everything changed, but oddly, stayed the same. I have the same marriage – yet it’s better. I have the same house – yet I feel more content, despite the constant struggle against the mess. I have the same children – yet I feel more confident in my mothering roles – as mentor, as parent, as teacher. I have pretty much the same life.
Yet – there is a different me.
Oh, wow. A different me.
I’ve changed, I’ve grown. Almost could use the word “renewed.”
I can’t pinpoint where or when or how this change occurred. So, what changed?
I prayed a dangerous prayer early last year. Genuinely, honestly, in the depths of my soul, I prayed with tremendous desire, “God, break my heart for what breaks yours.”
And I think that is where the change started. It was subtle at first. And I really only meant that prayer for a particular situation in my life dealing with a pretty nasty individual. I just wanted to learn to love her like Jesus did. I wanted to feel compassion for her. I wanted to love the unlovable.
But not all of them. I really only meant that one woman.
But God doesn’t work that way. When he heard my earnest prayer that day – well, looking at my journal, wow. It was today. A year ago today. February 23, 2014 I prayed, “God, break my heart for what breaks yours.”
And today I find myself writing changed… this transformation isn’t complete, but I can sense it started back then. A year ago.
My views of God have changed. My way of looking at the world around me has changed. My faith is different as I’ve experienced real paradigm shifts.
When things were at a tipping point with that one woman, I reached out to God like I haven’t in a very long time. And he used that moment to reshape my world.
I couldn’t begin to list the changes in me here. My blogging is partly due to trying to process everything. There are nuances I see in the world that I didn’t used to see. A rainbow of colors instead of black and white.
All I know is that here I am a year later. I’m happy. I’m content. I no longer hate myself. Yes, last spring I wrote a list out of all the things I hated about myself. Kinda unhealthy, no? Yet, with my Life Coach I was able to turn that list around to a form of empowerment and positive change. And through reaching out to God in a way I haven’t done much before, I was able to know and feel His love like never before. His love replaces self-loathing. His love is greater than all, and it’s life altering.
And that love – it’s overpowering. And there is a need to share it with others. His love is so different than I’ve always heard taught. It’s so real, so personal, so tangible now.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.. 1 John 4:7-8 (NIV)
It isn’t passive and found in a Sunday School lesson. It isn’t found silently listening in a church. His love is active. His love demands action. His love is giving. It’s like wrapping arms around someone who desperately needs a hug, those that are hurting.
His love feeds the hungry – literally and spiritually.
His love outfits the cold and poor and naked. It covers our shame.
His love serves. But not just in our churches and not even to those on the periphery of our churches. No, his love seeks and saves that which is lost. Think about that, his love seeks… how active and involved is that kind of love?!
His love is unconditional.
Unconditional for me. Unconditional for everyone. No exceptions.
Especially the lost, the hungry, the poor, those on the margins of our society. Those cast out by the establishment. Those shunned because they are told they are broken, different, sinners. Especially them.
When I think of his love I can be overwhelmed. I can’t help but be changed. I can’t help but be transformed. I can’t help but be compelled to demonstrate his love.
His love? Described in detail in I Corinthians 13. Demonstrated perfectly in the life of Jesus. I want to live that love out to the best of my ability now. I don’t know why I didn’t get it for so long… why it eluded me? I thought I understood his love, but it’s crazy how little I understood. And I’m not saying I totally get it now. It’s so outrageous and so all encompassing that I don’t think I’ll ever totally fathom it.
The greatest change in my life happened when I think for this brief moment of eternity I glimpsed it and started to understand the heights and depths of God’s love. And I understood that the world can’t know of this outrageous love if I’m not living it. Not just speaking it, but living it. Too often we live as judges, and we need to just live as people with an enormous capacity for love. I’m tired of judging, and frankly, it’s not my job. I’m tired of fighting and quibbling over the non-essentials of life. I’m tired of the constant war against something.
When dealing with others, I rather err on the side of love than the law. If I’m wrong, my motives were right. And at least I showed love. I can’t recall anyone being rebuked for loving too much, but I can recall plenty of rebukes for those who where so caught up in living by a checklist from the law that they forgot to show love.
My change – to love. That’s what I’m expected to do. And it’s now something I understand a bit better than before.
Love. Love. Love.
God is love.
God so loved.
He loves us. Oh, how he loves us.
Even while we were sinners, especially then, he loved us.
Love wins. Every time. It just wins. Why? Paul explains it best in I Corinthians 13. Faith, hope, love. The greatest of these is love.