Let me share with you a love story. A tale where my Savior has poured out His very lifeblood for me in love. I have spent some of my life running from that love. Other days I have taken it for granted. More recently, I have been soaking it in, relishing it, and relying on it.
This love story starts out simply enough, I was given the benefit of a strong Christian upbringing, a sturdy foundation upon which to build the days of my life. At that time, it was something I had to do. Church was something I did out of obligation, because Mom and Dad said so. Those days were spent chasing things I wanted, the things that made me happy. I pushed my own agenda. I made a plan, called it God’s and forged ahead. Then the unthinkable happened, on a beautiful October day, we buried our still-born son. The life I was forging ahead with was decimated. I was in agony and left with unanswerable questions. I didn’t know what else to do but cling to Jesus. My foundational training had kicked in . Everyone said I was so strong but that is a lie! I was weak. I was destroyed. But no one saw that, all they saw was God’s love because I was hiding in it, relying on it to get me through. In those dark days, God provided comfort and hope and He healed my heart but not because I was strong. It was because I was weak. I had gotten a first-hand glimpse of what God’s love can do, how it can change a person.
Days turned to weeks, weeks turned to years, and I moved forward. I was able to move beyond the death of our son, although it was still painful, and I was slipping back to doing things on my own again. This time I was a little more dependent on God, especially when I needed something, or to say thanks when something good came about. I really thought I had this all figured out. We were in church (almost) every Sunday, we were raising our children in a home with morals and values. We were trying to put God was at the center of our lives but we didn’t really understand the depth that it requires, what that truly means. And then, once again, WHAM! Natalie Grant sings a song, “Our Hope Endures,” that says this. “You would think only so much can only go wrong, calamity only strikes once. And you would assume that this one has suffered her share. So life will be kinder from here.” Well you know what they say about assumptions, and God doesn’t promise an easy road. Disease reared its ugly head when I was diagnosed with the rare auto-immune disease, Takayasu’s arteritus. Bathed in silent symptoms and a lack of medical research and answers, this disease continues to affect me on a daily basis to an extent I am not sure I am even aware of. I was gripped tightly in the hand of fear. But through sickness I have been forced to quit wiggling and squirming and doing things on my own. I have been forced to be still and examine what a true love story with the Lord is supposed to look like. This is more than surface deep! My independent tendencies have been tempered back and I find myself sharing daily life with Him because I want to. Not because I need something, or want something, but because I love Him and that is what love does. God went from being a figurehead to a friend. I won’t tell you I don’t still struggle because that would be a lie. But I will tell you that no matter how many times I have turned from God, no matter how many times I have tried to do life on my own and failed, He has always been there waiting for me with forgiveness and unfathomable, unconditional love. Stop for a moment today, and think about your love story. Maybe it’s only just a story right now and you need God to pour His love into it. He will, you know. It doesn’t matter how ugly the beginning is, He loves you just the same. I am here to tell you that some of the ugliest stories can become beautiful when you give God the opportunity to pour His love into them. It is only through the grace and love of God that I write to you today, not bitter and angry about the hand life has dealt, but thankful that through all of it I have been drawn closer to a God who wants nothing more than to be my happily ever after.
Today, if you want to turn your story into a love story ask God for His help. He doesn’t expect perfection, that is why he offers forgiveness. He sent His son to remove the unachievable obstacle of perfection for us. My son died. I know the agony in that. But here is our God, who in sending His Son to our world, sentenced Him to die for people who aren’t perfect. People who are flawed, and broken, and continually turn away from His love. But He did it all the same. I can’t imagine the pain in that, but He did it out of love, love for you and for me. Is there any greater love?
Father God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for being there with forgiveness when I don’t deserve it. Thank you for having limitless patience for me as I try to figure this life out. And thank you for sending Your Son to die in my place. I am not worthy of that gift but I accept it all the same. You did it to spend eternity with me, not because of anything I have done, but simply because you love me. Soften my heart to accept that love and recognize, on the days that I try to do this on my own, that I need you. With you there is a promise of happily ever after…Amen