In love after 30 years

My current daily Bible reading plan. Search for “A Passion to Serve” on the Bible App (YouVersion).

My heart leaped this morning when I saw what was next in my Bible reading plan!

I’m currently working through the “A Passion to Serve” plan on the YouVersion Bible app, focusing on places in Scripture that detail what it means to serve God and serve others. I’m on Day 305! ­čÖé Yesterday I finished the book of Genesis and the life and legacy of Joseph. Today, I opened up the app, and I’m diving into the book of Acts next!! This is one of my favorite books of the Bible. I was almost giddy when I saw it!

In that moment of silly joy over Scripture, it hit me all over that this is what it means to be in love with Jesus.

God saved me 30 years ago. It really blows my mind that we have been in relationship for three decades!! The God of the Universe has chosen to walk by my side for all these years, putting up with my faults and annoyances, my failures and fears. He’s seen my best and my worst, and His love has never changed. He’s never left my side. He’s carried me through the darkest moments, shouldered my burdens, and held my heart through unbearable loss. He’s invited me on mission, imparted the words and the courage to share the Greatest News, and given me the precious privilege of seeing my children come to know Him. He’s blessed beyond what I’ve ever deserved! His patience astounds me, His compassion overwhelms me, and knowing He will never give up on me makes me love Him even more.

So when my heart beats a little faster opening up God’s letter to me, it makes me smile. Not everyday is like that. There are times I read and pray because I should, and not because I want to. Yet, God’s faithfulness isn’t determined by mine. I’m in a love relationship with the God who created me, with the Savior who sacrificed everything for me, with the Spirit who has chosen to dwell within me.

When God redeemed my life, it was for keeps. I can think of nothing better than growing old with Jesus. After 30 years, He still makes me smile.

 


**I do realize that many of us have and are walking roads where our faith has been stretched across the painful realities of life, and our love relationship with God has been strained. Our hearts don’t match with our heads. We may be asking hard questions, struggling to see where God is in the midst of a difficult situation, or perhaps we’ve just grown apathetic over time without meaning to be. Our desire is gone. I raise my hand and confess to all of these scenarios over the course of my relationship with Christ, even recently. Please know in those moments, God’s love does not change. He has not left you, and He is continually choosing to love you. There has never been a time He has regretted dying on the cross for you. Pray for God to renew that love and joy in your heart. Pray over Psalm 51:12. ┬áThere is no distance that God’s grace cannot reach. I’m praying for you today.

Always time for John 3:16

Lauren's verse

Lauren’s verse

Right in the middle of Sunday’s sermon, Lauren leaned over to me and loudly whispered, “How do you spell ‘world’?”

I glanced down ready to shush her, and saw what she was diligently working on.

Normally, Lauren likes to copy the sermon notes from the screen, because now that she’s in Kindergarten, words (especially ones she recognizes) are very interesting! But, she had abandoned her notes for a new, more important, endeavor.

On her little notebook paper, Lauren had written:

“For God so loved the”

And so, I whispered back to her: “W-O-R-L-D”.

I am sure the rest of the sermon was convicting and edifying, but God was giving me a lesson of my own and I watched Lauren sound out words and write out the most beautiful of verses, John 3:16.

On Lauren’s prompting, I spelled out a few more words, like “begotten” and “everlasting”. She was determined to etch out on paper what was already imprinted in her heart.

John 3:16 is always worth the time.

So this morning when Lauren came to me crying right in the middle of her devotions (the Bible App for Kids), I stopped what I was doing. We went to a private place and talked about what was going on. She was experiencing conviction. She had a dream last night that she had died and that scared her. She had been thinking about that and others she knew that were no longer here with us, and not knowing what would happen after death worried her tremendously. This scenario has occurred several times in the last few months. Each time I have shared with her how she can have peace and know she would be with Jesus, but she wasn’t ready to pray and begin her personal relationship with Jesus (and I did NOT want to push her).

This morning was different. Jesus has been part of her life from the beginning, loving her and gently drawing her to Himself. Lauren knew how she could have hope and be with Jesus forever. And so, before I could even begin to share the Gospel again with her, she burst out in prayer! She asked Jesus, with all sincerity and love, to come into her heart. As we continued to talk, she asked God to forgive her sins, she told Him that she believed in Jesus and His death on the cross, and in her own precious words committed her life to God.

When she opened her eyes, the only tears that remained were mine. Her eyes lit up as she smiled, because her fear had been replaced with God’s peace.

After a few joyous announcements to Daddy and her big brother, we had to make a few phone calls, too. That put us behind on the morning to get the kids to school.

And, none of us were concerned about that. Because there’s always time for John 3:16.