Love. What does that word truly mean anyway? Love might be the feeling you get when you come home after a long day at work, flop onto your bed, and your furry friend jumps up for a snuggle. Love could be how you feel towards that delicious box of Girl Scout cookies shoved in the back corner of your pantry so you’re not tempted to eat every last one in a single sitting. You might feel loved when your parents tell you they are proud of you or a friend says they are thankful for you. It might be what you experience when your man or woman tells you there’s no one else in the world they’d rather be with. You know, that “can’t-eat, can’t-sleep, reach-for-the-stars, over- the-fence, World Series kind of stuff”. Love comes in many different forms; it can be a small whisper or a booming lightning bolt. Sometimes you see it coming, sometimes it’s like a thief in the night; sneaking up out of nowhere. Either way, no matter how it presents itself, love is a beautiful thing.
I want to share with you a type of love that still blows my mind every single day. It’s perfect. It’s unchanging. It’s eternal. Agape Love. The type of love only my Heavenly Father is capable of. It’s the kind of love that says YOU ARE WORTHY no matter what.
I’m going to be very open and vulnerable with you. At a certain point in my life, I did some things that I am not proud of, all because I was searching for ways to feel “loved”. I shunned a group of friends so I could be “popular” with another group of friends. I let boys use me and my body so I could feel “loved”. I was moody and selfish towards my parents. We got in fights almost daily and I would say hurtful things to them because I didn’t like that they wanted better for my life. I would drink large amounts of alcohol so I could have an excuse to act promiscuous around guys and blame it on the alcohol. Or to be accepted by my friends because I’d look like a loser and be pressured to drink if I didn’t have a cup in my hand. I didn’t talk to God. I pushed him out of my life so I wouldn’t feel the pain and guilt of what I was doing.
My point of sharing this with you is that for me, at that time in my life, I was so far from the Lord and felt too ashamed to feel worthy of His love. I felt disgusted and ultimately unhappy with my life. At times I felt “popular” and “happy with my life”, which I thought was all I needed to feel loved, but it was never lasting. It was temporary fun, temporary happiness, temporary love that I had to earn from others.
Eventually, I gave my heart back to the Lord as I left my shame and guilt at His feet and He welcomed me back with open arms, right where I was at, not caring what my past looked like. I asked Him for forgiveness for what I had done and just like that, my sins were wiped clean. A brand new slate. He does not hold any record of wrongs.
My friends, there is NOTHING you can do to keep God’s love from you. So you stole that lip gloss? God still loves you. You lied to your best friend? God still loves you. You cheated on your spouse? God still loves you. You pushed God out of your life for years? He. Still. Loves. You. The WORST thing you could possibly think of doing in this world is NOT CAPABLE of separating you from God’s love. I don’t know about you, but that is the best news I have ever received and is SO FREEING from the burden that shame from sin can be. Because God loves us so much He sent His one and only son to the cross to die for His beloved people. You. Me. Your cranky neighbor. The sour grocery store employee who scowls at his customers. We are all sinners, all the same in God’s eyes, and He loves us all equally as much. I know, it’s mind blowing. I mean, seriously, HOW?! Sometimes it’s hard to let it truly soak in, that there’s nothing I can do to make my Father love me less. He doesn’t love the things we do when we sin but that does not keep Him from loving us JUST as much.
I want every person to hear about this perfect love because it is the greatest gift known to man and available to anybody who puts their faith and trust in the Lord. God LOVES you and is waiting with open arms for you to run to Him, baggage and all. He wants to take it from you, and fill you with His peace that surpasses all understanding. And we love because He first loved us. We will never be able to love others like God does, but once we accept His love we are able to love others better.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life.” –John 3:16
Whatever you take away from this post, my hope is that you walk away feeling truly, unconditionally, and completely loved by God.