Ever heard that Rihanna song where the chorus goes:
“We found love in a hopeless place, We found love in a hopeless place, We found love in a hopeless place”
Here’s the thing though: it doesn’t make any logical sense. It’s easy to sing those lyrics and fancy that they are a poetic way to describe your salvation experience- finding Love in the hopeless place that is this world.
But I didn’t find love. Love found me.
The sheep doesn’t find the shepherd nor does the lost coin present itself to the woman. The lost son had to return to the father because it’s the presence of the Father that makes it home.
Love is not relative to my position just as the sun is not relative to its orbiting planets; on the contrary, my position is relative to Love. In the presence of Love I am found and I am lost otherwise.
Love never walks away.
Been awhile, eh? These lovely roses were a surprise from my parents (currently located across the continent from me) on my birthday!
I am so grateful for: flowers on my birthday; my best friend treating me to coffee, a movie, cake, and champagne to ring in my personal new year; the fifty dollar gas card my aunt and uncle gave me to help with my cross country trip; my dad having my car checked and buying me oil AND filling up my tank before I left; Nic Broussard letting us stay with him in OK City;Ruth and Robby Hayes housing and feeding us in Tuscon; Stephanie Laprise getting me cupcakes on my birthday; Makara Stonehouse moving in so we didn’t have to pay more on rent; my mom buying me some awesome running shorts and sports bra on top of some sweet shoes; my best friend enduring hours of driving and treating me to Las Vegas; Nationwide Insurance owing ME money on my bill; my car passing emissions testing; Paul Laprise helping me with my car; earplugs that work; the January homework milestone cancellation; $1,311 donated to my South Sudan trip so far; not getting lost, pulled over, or in any accidents on the drive from GA to CA…
Dang, God is good!
Last summer I read C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters and I don’t think any passage in literature has ever moved me as much as this excerpt from the final letter describing the futility of the enemy’s attacks once we have seen our Very Great Reward face to face:
“All the delights of sense, or heart, or intellect, with which you could once have tempted him, even the delights of virtue itself, now seem to him in comparison but as the half nauseous attractions of a raddled harlot would seem to a man who hears that his true beloved whom he has loved all his life and whom he had believed to be dead is alive and even now at his door.”
No, the story isn’t over yet but don’t you love that you already know the ending?
Ever wondered what “your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” looks like?
“Just a little while longer and I’ll see you. It’s just a little while longer and I’ll know you. It’s just a little while longer and we’ll be together.”
One day, I’ll see him face to face.
As long as you only know the truth in theory, a lie will continue to be your reality. But the weight of experiential knowledge of the truth will shatter the lie every single time, just like light always prevails instantaneously over darkness.
I realize now that that is what happened when I did that trust fall with my Sudan team. In theory, I knew that my body weight wouldn’t crush five people but until I became willing to submit myself to the law of gravity and actually fall into their arms, the lie that I was too heavy was the reality that kept me wobbling precariously on a chair.
What you believe determines what reality you participate in. Lies isolate you in a place of insecurity while truth surrounds you with community. Lies demand you protect yourself. Truth tempts you to vulnerability.
Which is scarier?
Earlier tonight I walked into my apartment in time to witness one roommate running around with a frying pan in flames while the other two panicked. In that smoke filled moment, my life did not flash before my eyes but my security deposit certainly did.
Sinners in the hands of an angry God? Oh no, Jonathan Edwards ain’t got nothing on chicken in the hands of a Scandinavian chef!
I’ve been living under the lie that if I could just be more my true self then people would love me. That’s what all my fantasies revolved around: dazzling people with all the facets of my personality so that they would respond with the love, acknowledgment, and adoration I so crave.
The truth? I get to be myself because I am loved, not the other way around.
The problem with believing the former instead of the latter is that it actually does work some of the time. I’m a lovable person so people have encountered my true personality and loved me in response. But that defined their love as a reaction and love that is a reaction can always be questioned.
True unconditional love is proactive not reactive in nature. I believe that to be its defining characteristic. His defining characteristic.
I experienced that today as I was having breakfast with my Sudan mission trip team. One thing led another and suddenly I found myself standing on a swivel chair about to do a trust fall into the arms of five people I didn’t really know.
It felt like eternity passed before I finally let myself fall. And when I did, there was this loud snap as my body hit their unyielding arms. I honestly believe that that sound was physical as well as spiritual- it was the sound of a chain breaking.
I didn’t realize until this very moment that the chain that broke was the lie that said “You can never bring your full weight to your relationships because they couldn’t handle that. You’re too much.”
When I fell, I knew somewhere in my spirit that one of two things had to give way: their arms or the lie.
Turns out a lie is significantly more fragile than the body of Christ.
Most profound thing I’ve heard at Bethel.
No one knows this better than my dad. Because I am constantly asking him questions that a college graduate should already know the answer to.
Throughout my life he’s always been pretty gracious and patient with me- from repeated lessons on tying my shoes all the way to repeated lessons on shifting gears in my tired old Honda- but now, his grace and patience is spiked with hilarity.
Last night I emailed him asking when my flight home is and how to navigate the airport by myself. His response?
“Your flight is _______ and you need to check in by such and such time…yadda yadda… You go to the terminal for Delta Departures and follow the bread crumb trail I left for you back in September anticipating this email.”