It's Tuesday once again and time for Lelia's study of Lisa Whittle's Behind Those Eyes and once again the chapter is hitting me hard. Maybe the hardest yet. I am amazed at how God led me to this study, the timing of each chapter and the work He is doing through it. So onto chapter 8, We are Completely Loved and Accepted Completely.
Like I said the timing of this amazes me as just yesterday I had a wonderful talk with a very close friend. It seems our friendship grows stronger and deeper with each conversation we share and this talk was no different. She has shared the fact she made poor decisions in her past (haven't we all?) and was not proud of that fact (again I think we can relate), but yesterday she shared from the heart. Though I was surprised with the picture she painted of the person she once was, I didn't judge her, my perception of her didn't change and my respect for her has increased. Really in a way I admire her all the more. She did something I'm afraid to do and that has made me think...
And it all ties in with the book we are reading. We have been talking about being real and I have grown tremendously the last couple of years with that, but yesterday listening to my friend I was reminded of some buried pain in my life. Do I think I need to share it with the world? No, but do I need to deal with it? Yes!! As I reflected on our conversation through the night I never once thought negatively about my friend and her mistakes, but Satan had me dwelling on my own.
It's not that I've committed some terrible crime or really broken any law, but feelings of disappointment and disgust came to mind. Granted this struggle took place before giving my life to Christ, but still I can't believe some of my actions. When the mind starts working, some times bad things can happen or bad thoughts anyway. I wondered what my friend would think if our roles were reversed and honestly I know she'd listen, not judge and assure me of God's forgiveness, but yet it's hard.
But during the night I took a step, no I didn't call my friend, well not the one who's words triggered these thoughts instead I talked to my best friend. In the quiet of the night I had a talk with God unlike any I had before. Sure I've asked for forgiveness, but never specifically talked about this and called it by name. And it was good. Just as I had wondered and in a way worried about what my friend would think of me if I told her, I also thought about God - would he be as disgusted as I was? Could he still love me and accept me? Would he still value who I've become even after knowing who I had been?
That's when Lisa's words came back to mind, "And He loves us still, even in our curlers and terry-cloth bathrobes, (and I might add in our poor choices, mistakes and sin) unsightly to anyone else but Him." I didn't have to tell Him any of this - He already knew and He still loved me and accepted me. Though I didn't have to tell Him for His sake, I did for mine and I am grateful I did. My honesty with my heavenly Father simply reminded me of his love and again as Lisa says, "And when you experience it (His love) in your heart, it makes it impossible to settle for love of any other kind."
His love is real and when we're real with Him we experience it all the more. These words make me think of a wonderful Point of Grace song, "Heal the wound, but leave a scar so I'm reminded of how merciful you are." I believe my healing process is beginning and as it does I'm hurt and humbled. It's all another reminder of my sin and brokenness and it hurts to think that's what nailed Jesus to the cross, but it's beyond humbling to think He did that for me.
There's no explanation for that other than a love we really don't understand, but one that we so greatly need. With that love comes acceptance and as Lisa says, "It is the REAL DEAL."