Sunday, November 25, 2012
How He Loves Me
In the midst of digging through Christmas decorations, I found it. A box I had forgotten even existed. I spent about an hour pouring over its contents, piece by piece, memory upon memory, falling in my lap. Each old photo, card, and letter told a story, held a glimpse of a part of my life long past.
The ones that meant the most to me included a letter from my Grandpa Harrison, written to me late in my college career while I was active in campus ministry, seeking after God with all my heart. To my knowledge it is the only letter I have from him. He is with Jesus now. And then there was the one written by my father, after he helped me move into my very first apartment on the campus of Lexington Theological Seminary. It was full of a father's encouragement, but more than that. It held the blessing and prayers of one farther down the road, who had also followed God's call into ministry, speaking hope into the new journey of another just beginning.
There were pictures from my graduation from college, graduation from seminary, and all those adventures I had as a young associate pastor in my first church.
I looked at that young woman, so full of promise, so full of dreams. And then I went and looked in the mirror. I don't look so young anymore.
I walked through the rest of yesterday with a faint sadness tugging at my heart.
I've finally put my finger on it, that sting. It is the question that I have trouble answering: Did I live up to the letters?
This season is so hard. I never dreamed that God would ask me to surrender everything. I never dreamed that the Holy Fire I felt when I knew I was serving Him in the way I was created to, would make its way to the altar. Nor did I reckon on having to surrender passion and purpose as well. I sometimes wonder if I was mistaken all those years in campus ministry telling young people God had a purpose for their lives, something they were made for, something that would bring them great joy. Was I lying and didn't even know it?
I wonder at my purpose now. I see it in those three angel faces that call me "Mommy." I know that I only have one chance to be their mother, to share with them my heart, to be the instrument God desires me to be in forming their hearts. I only get one shot. And it means the world to me to be here. So I don't want to blow it.
But at the same time I struggle with the thing I believe other mothers struggle with: I just don't get over-the-top-excited about packing lunch boxes. And I remember what it is like to live in the sweet spot where inward desire, meaningful purpose, and fulfilled calling meet. I was there not so long ago.
Did I miss something?
Last night I lay in bed, silent tears tugging at the corners of my eyes, daring to spill. Tim was saying such sweet words to me. I interrupted him with my "But . . . ," telling him of the ways I no longer feel worthy of love. He said to me simply, "You are telling me how you feel about yourself. I'm telling you how I feel about you."
His love trumps my self-doubt. Self-pity. Self-concern.
I believe God was showing me something through him. All those years of serving, I believed God loved me because my service made me worthy of love. And the truth is . . . Oh how He loves me. And He chooses a plainspoken man to show me His kind of Unconditional Love, a man who adores me, who sees me as beautiful, who is proud to be my husband, who finds joy in in my arms.
Today was better, easier. When I feel lost in the randomness of ordinary, understanding the why of it helps. And sometimes locking us in ordinary is the only way God can get through to us, to get us to be still enough to understand His truth--that Love loves. And it is His Love that makes us lovely. Not because of what we do for Him or for anyone else. Not because of what we accomplish. We are beloved because He loves us. Little ol' us, without the bells and whistles of anything noteworthy. Learning this little Truth is horrible and wonderful all at the same time. Oh, how He loves us so.