Love, love, love......

“Long before he laid down the earth’s foundations, [God] had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love” (Ephesians 1:4 MSG)

In my life, I think I’ve experienced love on several levels but I am no expert. None of us can claim that. If you can, well, you aren’t human. We are all lifelong students in the experience of love. My first experience with love was most likely before I was aware of it, as an infant. If you are a parent, you know what I am talking about. The look on a baby’s face when that first smile appears, tiny hands reaching up, a sleepy one snuggling in to sleep in the arms of Mom and Dad. We see it in their eyes, I can’t explain it but it is a glow that only a parent can see. Love. I think in some way, it is our love reflecting back to us in their eyes. It is indescribable and something that makes a lasting impression the moment it happens.

As a teenager, I remember the first boy I had a crush on and thought I “loved”. I look back at those years, and I see a girl who was caught up in what those new emotions, new feelings did to my heart. That first crush, first heart break, finding my way through the raw emotion of it all and wondering how I’d ever recover, well, it was just the beginning of my journey into discovering the many different kinds of love.

Somewhere between that first crush and my first boyfriend, I found the Lord pressing into my heart to renew my commitment to Him. I had accepted Christ at a very young age, 7 years old, so I was very immature in my faith but I think God sees and understands that and intends to use it for our growth and maturity as a Christ follower. At the age of 12, I found myself wrestling and collapsing into a new found level of faith in Christ and made the decision to renew my commitment to Him.

As a college student, and two more intense relationships under my belt so to speak, I found myself really struggling to establish a healthier self-esteem because I was finding that my happiness was depending far too much on having a companion. Thankfully I was able to get some much needed therapy and work through a number of issues, giving me an opportunity to identify what I needed and how best to step forward in the life I had been blessed with and did not fully appreciate. I am so grateful for the people in my life through those years—my family, my best friends, my mentors, my teachers/professors, pastors and so many other people in my life who were praying for me to find peace, to be empowered and fully rooted in Christ. That was a season of my life in which I fully appreciated for the first time the depth of love that Christ has for me. I believe God allows us to reach the rawest moments in our lives to teach us just how fully, abundantly He loves us!

He does not require or desire anything less than for us to simply know Him. He doesn’t want sacrifices, He simply wants us to embrace the mercy He has given us so freely.

'I don’t want burnt offerings; I want people to know Me… '(Hosea 6:6 The Voice)

Love is at its best when we know in our hearts Whose we are, how highly blessed and beautiful we are in Christ, and we can confidently walk through life knowing nothing else matters. Everything else is secondary to our relationship with the Father. Everything is secondary.

I love my husband, I love my children, but I love Jesus more. He is first and best in my life, and because of that my focus on any given day should begin there. His love is enough, always enough. When I am at my worst, He is there to lift my eyes to His presence and fill my heart with a love that cannot be matched by anything this world would attempt to equal.

Where does it begin for you? What will you choose today when you consider how you have experienced love in this life? Return to Him, to His first and best love for you.

There is no other, none greater, and none better. He is Jesus, and He loves us.
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