Thursday, February 4, 2010
Once upon a time...
That's pretty much the way all good love stories begin, isn't it? The fairytale kind, the ones that star a beautiful princess and a handsome Prince Charming. (He is always "Prince Charming," because giving him a name humanizes him, and we can't have a Prince with flaws, now can we?)
Here I must dispense with my Dickensian rambling and begin my love story. Which does not require a once-upon-a-time. The princess is a normal gal with beauty issues, and the Prince - well, He has a name, a human name. "God with us."
I never know quite where to begin this story.
Sometimes, it seems that it must begin way back before I was ever born, in my mom's desire for a baby girl, in her long wait, the womb-knitting, and the beginning of her birth pains. Sometimes, it goes all the way back before the foundation of the world, with a Father's love for His Son, with a God-love for the world that gave.
But all of that happened long before I was aware of God, long before I was old enough to suspect His love. No, I first encountered the love of God between my year at Bible college and my Freshman year at the four-year school I attended until my health forced me to drop out.
Not that I hadn't been taught about its existence before. There is not a time in my life that I can pinpoint that I didn't know intellectually that God loved me. I grew up with God. I grew up with parents who loved me, and who taught me that God loved me. I grew up in church, and if there's one thing they teach you in Sunday School, it's that "God so loved the world..."
I memorized John 3:16 forty-eight times.
I knew that "the world" God loved was me.
But there is a difference between knowing someone loves you and knowing you are loved, and all the head knowledge in the world isn't enough to span that eighteen-inch gap of sermon-illustration fame.
I said a salvation prayer when I was a young child, on a day my parents never recorded, sometime around four years old. I remember kneeling beside a bed - it had a hush puppies bedspread; I remember the butterflies playing with the puppies on it - and asking Jesus to be my savior. I knew enough at that point to understand that sin was something I didn't want to have, so the expedient thing to do was ask Jesus to forgive me, which I figured would pretty much take care of things.
Such was my faith as a child.
It seems that from the beginning of my life, I was meant to be God's. I can't explain it, His pursuit of me that has spanned twenty-eight years and eternity past. In many ways, it has been for me a consistent deconstruction of what I thought I knew about God.
I used to think He displayed His love for me by answering my prayers.
There was the time I sat down under a tree on our 25 acres and asked God to send a deer walking by after dinner. I was putting out my fleece... or hunting for venison? The deer didn't come the first night, so giving God a second chance, I changed trees. I went a little further down the path toward the back of our 25 acres. Still no deer.
I figured at that point that God wasn't too interested in proving Himself by answering my prayers.
So I began to think that He loved me by indulging me. Maybe He wasn't actively answering my requests, but as long as He didn't interfere with what I wanted, I felt loved enough.
I never expected Him to let my heart break...
On Thursdays this month (because I never know quite what to post on Thursdays), I am going to write out my love story. Not the one about my crushes or my first love or even my love for Pete - though those stories all play a part. Bonnie Gray at Faith Barista and Holley Gerth at (in)Courage challenged us to write out our God love stories, and I had one to share. BOY, do I have one to share.
So I know it's a little canned, being the "love month" and all, but I thought I'd take some time to write it out anyway. It's good for me to dwell on His love for me.
Tomorrow will be my second "Leftovers" post, complete with a McLink-up for readers to share your own reposts.
NOTE - I am offering "Leftovers" as an opportunity to justify reposting a post you love. You're welcome to join this carnival of original unoriginality (since you've already said it!) here at my blog - just follow the steps below:
*REPOST a favorite blog post at your blog
*Please kindly INCLUDE A LINK to my blog in your explanation for your repost ;-)
*LINK the direct link for your repost (not the original post) into the McLinky I will provide here.
*LEAVE A COMMENT so I know you're there.
Hopefully, in two weeks, when I host "Leftovers" again (yeesh, people, if you have a nicer, more poetic, romantic name for it, leave a comment - NOBODY likes leftovers, right?), I will try and have an irresistible button for you (with CODE!) to add to your repost.
(Image © Informal Moments Photography)