Love is one of those areas I struggle with. God's love - even more of a mystery to me. It's really annoying to KNOW something exists, but to not be able to really grasp it. So after all the kids were tucked away and hubby off to bed - I came downstairs to pray. I like to sit in the dark, in front of the fireplace, but I wasn't much in the mood to pray. I dislike one ended conversations, and I'm so struggling right now to figure out intimacy with God. I decided to listen to a recording of a message I heard in Hawaii in January. The speaker was the author of a book I read a couple years ago. It was his biography about his imprisionment in Iran, and it was such a powerful book. I couldn't wait to get to hear him speak in person and hear more about his story. The message was one I felt was spoken specifically for me that night. So I was really happy when I found someone who had recorded it so I could listen to it again. The theme of the whole message was about God's love for us - intimacy - His desire to show us in all circumstances His love.
When I think of love I have several not-great examples pop into my mind. Unhealthy relationships I was surrounded by growing up, an ex-boyfriend who treated me poorly, each memory left me feeling unloved. Don't get me wrong - I have the most amazing husband. He has loved me through thick and thin for the last 15 1/2 years, but he was not the picture of love that my heart was holding onto.
I remembered during some prayer counseling last year that processing this stuff requires forgiving those who mistreated you or who didn't be who they should have been, to forgive myself for letting it have the control it had, and I asked God for a new picture of love. One that would be so powerful, that whenever the word was said or seen - this new picture would be what comes to my mind and heart.
The picture I got was not one I expected. I wanted something with ME in it. Some grand painting with me as the center. But what I saw was probably the most intense and powerful moments of my life thus far. Even though it was two years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday. Eric standing next to our bed, crying out to God to give breath to our baby boy. Tears running down his face, pleading in prayer on behalf of our newborn recieiving CPR just across the bed from him. He didn't even know this little life that was laying there yet. This tiny being didn't have a name, and had yet to open his little eyes or take his first breath. Yet, Eric loved him so much, not even a room of strangers in police or paramedic uniforms could keep him from crying out to God with total abandon and passion on behalf of his child. It was a very powerful night, but instead of the shock and fear I carried from that night - God has given me a picture of love.
Now that I have my new picture, the challenge will be to start seeing God as being that passionate for me. To stop seeing those who fell short, or who disappointed or hurt me, but to see God's love for me through Eric at Tanner's birth. I don't know why I have placed walls up that keep me from intimacy, but I do know that I am praying for Jesus to reveal them to me, so I get to that place with Him I so desire.