March 17, 2013

In All Things, Love

Every so often I get on this kick of blogging all the time and then it dies for a while and then I see the link to my blog in my toolbar and think, hmm it's been a while...
Well I clicked my link this evening and noticed that the last time I posted was on October 25, 2012.  It's really interesting to me, this date and what changes have happened in my life since then.  I since then as if it was months and months ago and honestly it feels that way most of the time.  
October 24th is date I will likely remember forever.  It carries so many words and meaning and memories I hardly know what to do with it all.  For some reason October 25th I wrote something and then not again for almost 5months!  Perhaps it's because the things I have experienced over the last 5 months were so intense, so personal, so above the physical world we live in that it seemed inappropriate to blog about.  If you know me well, you know exactly what I'm talking about, if not well let's just say that one of God's greatest creations is the human capacity to love and be loved and how He went about creating beings, relationships, that are so true to His plan that it is a direct example of the relationship He desires to have with us.  Love is indeed in all things, yes even in hatred and pain.  For if there wasn't love, there would be no reason to ever experience pain.  
A few years ago I embarked on a journey of discovering what it means to accept God's extraordinary grace and love in the midst of a life filled with so much pain and trials that sometimes I am amazed I am still standing here, living and breathing.  Most of those years were spent fighting against the urge to open heart and soul to the glories of Jesus because if this simple question, "what if..." What if He betrays and abandons me?  What if He isn't actually there?  What if I'm not good enough? What if I'm not beautiful enough? What if He takes it all away once He gives it?  I was challenged last June and July in ways I never thought possible and reached a place in my spiritual and emotional being that I had only dreamed about.  Why? How did I get there?  Well I'll tell you, I refused to accept His grace and love because it required humility, weakness, and vulnerability but He was there all the same and the very second I gave Him so much a crack into that dark room that had become my heart, I saw the beauty of all that I been missing.  I even learned about the power of God's love and grace as it shines through His children as they have accepted them.  
That is the story... 
How God taught me about His love through another.  Relationships are a part of life and I have had several at this point in time.  Some I more proud of than others but each taught me powerful lessons.  Each one also revealed to me where I was in my relationship with God.  As I said last June/July I learned some powerful lessons about Jesus' love and grace and had finally opened my heart and allowed myself to be filled with all that He so desperately wanted to bestow on me.  As a result, I discovered my capacity to love others and what exactly His love looks like.  That's not to say that sometimes I think it would be easier and safer to just close myself off from the world and from Him.  But who ever said being a follower of Christ would be safe or easy...  I read an incredible book called "Holding Hands, Holding Hearts" (if you haven't read you should, the best ever!) and something in there has stuck with me over the last few months.  When we accept God's love and grace and are filled to overflowing, we have a much greater capacity to love others and we look for opportunities to love and be loved everywhere.  It's inevitable.  Love leaks.  Passion leaks. Grace leaks.  
I found myself in a relationship that I was avoiding with every ounce of my being.  A relationship that changed my life.  There have been multiple things in my life that I have avoided, college, camp, God, relationships but all of those things have gotten in and provided life changing experiences and this one just like all the rest was of God and so it was inevitable.  It's outcome, undetermined.  But something I heard a while ago has become a picture of my life, "We plan and God laughs..." Not out of spite but because my plans almost never happen and His always prevail no matter how many times I avoid, run, or close the door.  And of course, because God had so filled me with His love and grace I couldn't help but love him.  Was it easy, yes. And no.  Are relationships ever easy? No, Satan tries to destroy all good things and the greatest thing God created was human relationship so why would it be easy... (Holding Hands Holding Hearts)  But God was so leading us and filling me with His love that I had no other choice but to love him.  I also have not experienced such pain as I have in the last month.  In January I started reflecting a great deal on what His love looks like and I'd say that 1 Corinthians 13 paints a pretty perfect picture.  The next challenge: love him and Him the way God loves.  Crap! Failure! Trying! Failure! Trying!  That's about how it went as I read each individual aspect of what love is.  It's a work in progress though; that's what journeys are eh...  I never thought the day would come when this relationship would end but it has.  Do I know what the future holds? Nope but I do know that I am still being filled with God's love and grace.  And I continue to pray that He would fill him too.  Does love just end and go away?  Well it depends on what you call love I guess.  Is it your human emotion that is often mistaken for love?  Or is it God's love flowing into and out of you and into the life of someone else?  Because I tell you, that kind of love doesn't end no matter how much pain and distance and challenges stand between two people.  

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

You see... It's just there.  He gave it to me and He doesn't take it away.