Read His Words Before Ours!
I wasn’t an amazing athlete growing up. I was never chosen first, but rather became the “pitied” team member. Looking back, much of my lacking coordination in team sports was rooted in my own insecurity. I didn’t know who I was, had no confidence in my abilities, or who I was created to be. I loved reading because it was much easier to live in someone else’s world than it was to exist in my own. I could only dream of what it must be like to be bold, courageous, and confident.
I played volleyball, but was clearly the weakest link, despite how hard I tried.
I played soccer, and really secretly enjoyed it, but could never remember the rules, or where I was supposed to be.
My insides had such rough callouses, I had built up so many walls around my heart, that surviving my teenage years, was exactly that, survival. I had become so accustomed to blocking things out, that I simply had no capacity for recreational sports. Honestly, I painfully didn’t have the capacity to enjoy very much about life. I didn’t dare allow myself that luxury. Enjoyment meant letting down my guard, and I’d long ago learned that was foolish. On rare, rare occasions, surrounded by 1 or 2 friends that I’d learned to trust, I’d allow my own pleasure. By the time I was in junior high, I’d accepted that I would always be the bottom rung. Always the outsider, never normal, never on the winning team, or worthy of high regard. I expected to be hurt, I expected to be ignored and passed over. I expected to be treated poorly because that’s what I felt I deserved. When I did happen to receive an honor for my academics (which were a natural overflow because I worked so hard at succeeding at something), I wrote it off as a fluke or someone awarding me out of pity.
My reality afforded me a heavily skewed perception of God as well. Sure, He loved everyone, but He had to love me because He was God. I was the leftover, the reject. I would never bring true delight to God, or make Him “proud” of me. I’d never been able to please my earthly father, how much greater of a disappointment must I be to the Lord?
Though this reality is now, blessedly, in my long distant past, my insides quiver as I type. Those shadows.
That heavy sadness.
It was a deathlike grip, suffocating me slowly, giving me only enough air to eek out a survival.
Not surprisingly, my self-perception that assigned no value to myself, had significant impact on our marriage relationship. As my husband deeply desired to pursue pastoral ministry, I just couldn’t. How could I give my life away in service to a God who was forced, by His own nature, to love me? How could I encourage others to trust a God who I felt had abandoned me?
But God was much bigger than my past, than my reality, and oh how He loved me!
God used my husband to tenderly hold my hand, teaching me to trust in true love that was completely independent of my performance, wasn’t based on emotion, and didn’t leave me feeling used, abused, and disregarded. My seminary-student husband, who dreamt of pastoring and shepherding hearts for God’s kingdom, withdrew from seminary indefinitely, in order to pour into me as his wife.
He intentionally took time to purposefully show me God’s heart of love as he patiently laid a foundation of truth.
“Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered!” Luke 12:7
To which, my husband pointed out that, not only did the all-knowing, all-loving God know how many hairs I had, but He knew where each single one that had fallen out now laid.
He knows me inside and out, all the things that are important to me, and all the things that will never even register as un-important to me, like how many hairs I have.
I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. Hosea 2:14
He pursues me.
Thus declares the Lord of hosts: Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 1:3
His heart longs for me.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed! John 8:36
He longs for freedom for me.
You are precious in my eyes, and honored. Isaiah 43:4
He sees me as precious.
Strength and dignity are her clothing. Proverbs 31:25
He endows me with dignity and strength.
I love you. Isaiah 43:4
He. Loves. Me.
This shall be their inheritance: I am their inheritance. Ezekiel 44:28
He is my very great reward; my rich inheritance.
I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. Song of Solomon 6:3
He is mine.
He chose us in him before the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1:4
He chooses me.
Unlike my growing up experiences, the Father had much for me and saw much in me.
Today, He is my reward, my prize, and my inheritance.
Just as He chased my heart,
He’s chasing after yours!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!