Each week in HOPE, I make sure each one of the women receive one of God's promises tied up like little scrolls to hold on to thru whatever circumstances they face thru the week.They are various Scriptures of promise and assurance. It's been amazing to see how personally God ensures each woman "picks" a promise that just fits them though they pick any random one without knowing what's inside. It's become a very meaningful part of our time together. This week, mine was one I've clung to in the darkest of times and the brightest of times. And not a day passes that I don't call it to mind at least once. Isaiah 43:1-3 has very literally become my LIFE verse...
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you: I have summoned you by name; YOU ARE MINE. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. FOR I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD...."
To think that He has summoned me by name, not just randomly but by name and claimed me as His very own. Those words "YOU ARE MINE" speak such life to me! At times, I fret and wonder how or why He would want me and other times, I bask in His promise. I've had to learn to "live" those words--I'm STILL learning! Tonight as I read the words aloud to the other women, so many memories ran through my mind--those times when He didn't just speak the words to me but showed them to me. It's not enough just to know in my head that He's with me, that He loves me...That as He is God, He is MY God just as I am His child. I have to know and believe it with my whole heart and trust His promise. I have to surrender to it.
Chad's life motto has so often touched me and many have taken his mantra as our own: "Live to Love." Sometimes we learn to live by loving others. Our sole purpose, after all, is to live in love with our Father--in worship. How better to worship Him than to love those He gave His very son to die for! I've finally began reading "The Shack" and last night two words impacted me and have stayed with me throughout the day..."living loved." For people like me, it's very simple to love others--to give all that I have for others. Living to love is no great sacrifice at all for some of us. But I realize that too often, though I live to love, I often love others out of duty and responsibility rather than out of worship. I love others but I don't live as if I am loved. And in those moments, I feel so empty and spent--like I have nothing left to give. If God took the time to assure me (and you) how very precious we are to Him, not because of our goodness but because we are simply His creation and masterpiece, then shouldn't each one of us live as if we are especially loved by our Creater? And in doing so, won't I love others better or more richly and fully--as He loves them?
When I'm seeing the worst in myself, I cling desperately to His claim, striving to believe it. "YOU ARE MINE....I WILL BE WITH YOU" And if I am to surrender my best, and more especially, my worst, am I willing to live loved--to live in confidence of His love for me? Too often I fall short of that and when I "feel" I have no value, I live that way--without meaning and purpose. Yet God has a plan and purpose for each one of us and to fully share in all that He is in us and for us, we must live out that purpose by surrendering to His amazing and fathomless love. And in the surrendering to His love, we are able to love others better. After all, Jesus told us, "Love your neighbor as yourself" so His intent is that we love who we are & who Christ is in us...to recognize our worth in His sight and to receive His love completely. And that enables us to love others more. We get it backwards sometimes--we love others so that we are worthy of love. So what about you? Are you living loved?
Dear Jesus, for all that You are and all that You will be in me, I am forever grateful. I am so humbled and honored that You want me to be Your own but in my uncertainty, I fall short of living in Your love. I fail to surrender completely to the grace and love You have for me. Help me to live in love for others with my whole heart. Help my hands, my feet, my voice, and my heart to be Yours. But for me to fully live in Your will, help me to live loved. To live in confidence and in joy of Your overwhelming love. Help me to be so completely in surrender to You, that when others see me, they see only You.... for You ARE my God.