redeeming, powerful, healing love.

It’s midnight. Tomorrow is Monday. I should be in bed.

Technically I am, but I have no intentions of sleeping until I can fully express everything that is on my heart right now.

I finally read “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers. It only took two days, and I could not put it down. It’s amazing how a different perspective like that book can drive the Gospel, something I’ve known my entire life, so deep into my soul.

Simply put, I am overwhelmed by the love of God right now.

As I’ve grown into an adult, I have had many experience’s with God’s love. I was surrounded by His love by my wonderful parents as I grew up. But I spent a good part of my life during high school basically pouring my heart into a sieve. One of the worst feelings in the world is loving someone so much that it hurts, and then feeling nothing in return. Even worse than that is knowing  that while I was wasting away, God was yearning for me. As I wallowed in self-pity, wondering why thing wouldn’t happen the way I wanted them to, God waited patiently for me.

He is jealous for me.

It took a while for me to finally surrender my heart to Him. Much like the main character in “Redeeming Love”, which is a modern re-telling of the book of Hosea, I was the unfaithful wife. I clung to the things I thought I needed: the idea of a boyfriend, status in a sorority, etc. I wanted to fill the void. The only thing that could make me whole was Christ.

While working CentriKid this summer, I had a personal, specific, and healing encounter with God. I prayed that He would lift the baggage I still drug around off of my heart, and He did. In that moment. I prayed that I would know His love. For the rest of that summer, I began to fully understand the overwhelming love of God. I personally experienced the power of the Gospel; there is nothing like the love God has shown us. Seeing children understand the Gospel was like experiencing it for the first time over and over again.

And when I least expected it, God put someone in my life that made every single heartache of my past seem minuscule. God gave me someone to be a huge part of my life, but not the center of it. God gave me someone who treats me like a princess. God have me someone who brings out the best in me, who makes me want to be a better person; God gave me Christopher.

I wouldn’t be a very good female if I didn’t get emotional over a good love story, and today, I did just that. I got emotional over a good love story, a love story that everyone has–God’s love to us all. God loves me so much He let His son die for me, in my place. He wants a relationship with me. He wants to be the center of my life. He has blessed me in ways I never imagined.

Sometimes I feel like the variations of the phrase “sent His son to die in our place” gets overused. We hear it over and over, and it just becomes a “church word”. But think about it: someone loves you enough to die for you. Do you love anyone that much?

If you have never read “Redeeming Love”, I encourage you to. It’s like a spiritual slap in the face, in a good way.

These two songs have been on my mind lately, and the lyrics are too good not to share:

He’s waiting to die as he sits all alone
He’s a man in a cell who regrets what he’s done
He utters a cry from the depths of his soul
“Oh Lord, forgive me, I want to go home”

Then he heard a voice somewhere deep inside
And it said
“I know you’ve murdered and I know you’ve lied
I have watched you suffer all of your life
And now that you’ll listen, I’ll tell you that I…”

I will love you for you
Not for what you have done or what you will become
I will love you for you
I will give you the love
The love that you never knew

-J.J. Heller

 

Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame
But fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to Him who showed great love
And bled for us
Freely You’ve bled for us

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave
Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with Him again
Come awake, come awake
Come and rise up from the grave

Beneath the weight of all our sin
You bowed to none but heaven’s will
No scheme of hell, no scoffer’s crown
No burden great can hold You down
In strength You reign
Forever let Your church proclaim

O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
The glory of God has defeated the night

O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
Our God is not dead
He’s alive! He’s alive!

-Matt Maher

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