To know I was loved was an entirely brand-new experience for me. It wasn’t for lack of people in my life saying they loved me… I know Tim loves me, my kids often say they love me, my in-laws are truly incredible, and significantly more than my own parents would verbalize their love for me. Yet, and I imagine many of you understand, as I heard the words my heart always qualified it in some way.
Now, even if nobody else said a thing, my heart was transported by the complete security and assurance of being truly loved. Then to think that this love was coming from God Himself – Almighty, Creator, Redeemer – well, that just pushed me right over the top. This was when I first noticed everything changing…
Now I was free to completely believe Tim when he said he loved me, and I was completely free to love him back in a way that we had never known before. It’s like an invisible force field or barrier that we didn’t even know was there had been removed; now I could believe and enjoy when he said I was pretty or that I had done something well. The enjoyment and freedom we experienced were exceptional and conspicuous to me.
Now I was free in my relationship with my children. I was free to let my children go into the safe Hands of the One who loved them every bit as much as He loved me. My children were teenagers at this time, and one of them particularly was making questionable choices regarding friends. We had talked frequently and this teen especially was the subject of much of my most intense praying. There was so much potential for poor choices leading to life forever changed for the worse – you know what I’m talking about. But once I knew I was loved, when this one told me they were going out with friends, the familiar tightening around my heart and the great urge to control them simply never happened. I knew God knew, and there was complete freedom and joy to simply leave it all with God for Him to take care of! Now that was a miracle even if nothing else was. And it was so completely unexpected! I had no idea that believing God loved me could affect my relationship with my kids so significantly. Who knew??!
Another telling change came with all 3 of my children when they said, “I love you, Mom.” It was as if my heart finally heard and believed it for the first time ever. I was so completely thrilled to think that my children could love me! Nothing had changed in our circumstances or conversations – only this incredible change in my heart. It was as if my ears were unplugged and let me tell you – my heart was completely thrilled every single time I heard those words, “I love you, Mom.” It still is!
I became more outgoing with acquaintances and friends. I wanted to broadcast this unimaginable difference God had brought to my soul. I began sharing the gospel with people – something I have struggled with for all of the 28 years I’ve been a believer. Everyday I lived with this excitement of passing on God’s gift of life whether to believers or unbelievers. This was certainly a far cry from struggling through life and enduring my days hoping it would all be over soon.
I must also tell you that about three days after I let God be the boss of me and His love completely transformed everything for me, I could feel this new-found freedom beginning to slip through my fingers; old mindsets and very familiar lies [you’re not good enough, this isn’t for real, you’re just going to fail again, nothing can change for you] began to rear their ugly heads. I kept on with the Bible study, and thankfully Beth addressed this exact situation in the next chapter. It all came back to believing God’s truth – and so I printed up cards with the truth about His love on them, so when I began to doubt He loved me I would read:
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10
Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love. [Not, ‘save me because I deserve it’!] Psalm 6:4
His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. Psalm 147:10-11
Rise up and help us; redeem us because of your unfailing love. Psalm 44:26
Let [the redeemed] give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Psalm 107:8-9
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Do you know, I still wonder what I thought “unfailing love” meant before last September, because now I understand. God’s love doesn’t fail – no matter what, no matter the circumstances, no matter the past, no matter the present, no matter the future – His love is “unfailing,” unable to fail, dependable, secure. My hope and prayer for every one of you who reads this is that you will believe the incredible truth – YOU ARE LOVED – more than you can imagine, more than the best love story ever told, more than a fairy tale come true. God IS love, His love is not able to fail, and unbelievably … we are the object of His love! To believe it – now that changes every thing!