This is my first blog post for the Write 31 Days challenge. I am starting this four days later than most.
As a child, I first tasted the love of God through the faith-filled love of my parents for both me and those dear to me. But as I grew and discovered like all children, that my parents weren’t perfect, my trust of God broke because it rested upon the idol I had created of my parents and of the love of family, friends and acquaintances. Where love, acceptance and safety once rested, fear grew and birthed a hardened and closed heart.
Not fully understanding it all, God became a God of punishment and dread: a God who only loved and accepted those who deserved Him. Every little failure to be “good”, to think pure thoughts and act in accordance with Biblical principles, grew a seed of fear, a fear that I was one step closer to God’s wrath. The grace of God I had been taught as a child was replaced by the fear of punishment.
And thus began my journey into fleeing the fear and numbing the pain within me. I fled not only God, but also failure, seeking to stifle my fears of “not enough” with perfectionism. But no matter how hard I tried, perfection of course remained illusive, especially as a sleep-deprived mother and teacher. This left me exhausted, empty and perpetually seeking to maintain control, anger growing within me at the lack of control I felt.
In the midst of my struggle to survive, my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given 3 months to live. It felt like I was clutching onto threads that were slipping through my fingers. And yet exactly into the depths of this despair, God poured out His love. As I looked up toward the towering mountains, glistening lake and tapestry of skies, I physically felt the love of God wrap itself around me. I heard no words, but I felt Him speak peace out over me, as the tears came streaming down my face. In that moment my anxiety dissipated and His love washed over me.
Later God would give me this verse from the Psalms to help me understand that this love He poured out upon me in that moment is a love that had been chasing me every single day of my life:
Psalm 23: 6 (The Message)
Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.
This was the start of what has been, and continues to be, an amazing journey into God’s love for me.