Friday, February 26, 2016

To Love Like He Did

"If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love [for others growing out of God’s love for me], then I have become only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [just an annoying distraction]. ...Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]. Love never fails [it never fades nor ends]." 1 Corinthians 13:1-9 amplified

Recently I found myself in a situation, unsure of where it was going or how it would end up. And God spoke to me so clearly. "Leah, I want you to love that person like I would. When you love that person as I would, you have nothing to lose or be ashamed of. Even if they do not accept it, or you get nothing in return, love that person like I would. That is all I ask."

To love people like Jesus did is a really hard & scary thing to do, apart from Him. But one day, I took a deep breath, prayed for confidence and did what I knew I was supposed to do.

When I walked away some time later, I got in my car and all I could do was just CRY. And cry so more. That was a really hard thing. It was scary. And vulnerable.

As I wiped my wet cheeks & rid them of tear drops, the Lord brought a quiet hush to my heart. "Leah, you did good. You did just what I asked you to do. You've accomplished My purpose for you in this place. Also, dear, this is just little glimpse of what My love for you is like. I pursue you through the hard stuff & don't give up. I go the extra mile to love you, even if you don't always accept it or appreciate it. But I love you like that. I love you with the kind of love that costs alot."

Thursday, February 4, 2016

of grace + pleasure

"Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol [the grave pit; hell] ... You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

It wasn't that long ago that I was sitting beside the Kailua Bay on the big island of Kona, Hawaii. As the sea-salt scented air blew my brunette hair across my sun-kissed cheeks, a deep seated sense of guilt plagued me.

"I feel so guilty for having such a wonderful time."

"Is this even okay??"

"I don't deserve to happy."

"Because I'm having such a wonderful time, something horrible is bound to happen soon."

As I took another sip of macadamia nut latte, I realized that maybe I don't fully understand what G R A C E is. Maybe I don't fully understand what it is to taste fully of the goodness & sweetness of God. For many years, I have known God to be a dasher of hopes and dasher of dreams, and that to be holy & set apart for God meant to live a life of misery and suffering. Deep in my heart, I've believed that to be happy was not okay - because if I was happy, there must be a sin problem in my life.

Oh! My thinking has been so wrong & so far from the truth.

G R A C E is merely a free gift, offered up for the recipient to enjoy & drink freely of with no conditions.

How crushed I would be if I was to offer a gift to a friend, to only have her hold it at arms length & say, "I don't want this. I don't deserve a good gift." My face would show bewilderment, hurt & frustration, "My friend, this isn't about how good or bad you are. I'm merely giving you a gift to show you that I love you & care for you! Why can you not just accept it?"

I wonder if my Father's face is cast with a sadness when He sees that I hold His good gifts at arm's length in reluctance, instead of fully enjoying them for all that they are ... because that's all they are - good gifts.

I don't have to try to BE somebody in order to earn His acceptance of me. He breaths over me,

"You are enough. 

I love you just the way that you are."