…But now let me show you a way of life that is best of all.
1 Corinthians 12:31 NLT
Inside of me there’s still a little girl that desperately needs to be loved.
I’ve been taking my time reading Wholeheartedness by Chuck DeGroat these past couple of weeks, because the truth this book is teaching me brings great relief. I’m learning to slow down and listen to my heart and hear what it’s really saying. Though it has been very painful, it has been very liberating as well.
This morning as I was taking the time to really pay attention what was going on inside my heart, and praying for God to help me, I began to think about myself as a baby. A baby, who was only held by her mother for a few moments, before I was given temporarily to a foster mother. I stayed with her for three months and was then placed in the home of my adopted parents.
I wonder how I felt being moved from one place to another, being connected in the womb with my mother for nine months only to be whisked away to a stranger’s home just after entering a strange new world. It had to have felt very unsafe.
Then to go to the home of my adopted parents who enjoyed showing me off to their friends, but I wonder if they felt anymore connected to me than I did to them as I grew up. I only have brief moments of feeling like my mom enjoyed my presence, but I can’t ever remember the warm hugs and safety that deep inside I know I longed for.
That little girl learned to be tough and do what had to be done to keep her world as safe as she could. She cleaned her room to make her mom happy. She tried to stay out of the way so she didn’t upset anyone. She got in bed with her father when he asked her to. She came into the room where he and his friend asked her to get on her knees in front of them. She kept the secrets she was told to keep. She learned to live in her imagination to keep herself happy.
But she desperately longed for love and to feel something. Maybe the only thing she was meant to feel was sexual desire. Even as I write this that part of me wants to come alive and numb the pain of this deep need, but I’ve told it no, that doesn’t help, but only brings more shame, pain and numbness. I want the real thing.
It was all I wanted when I crouched down next to my former pastor and asked him to hug me. I felt alive and like a new soul when he did. In those moments I actually believed everything was going to be ok. But then he said no one would understand our love and to keep it a secret. So I rationalized that maybe the love my adopted father had shown me was the only kind.
But thank God He has shown me a better way. A love that isn’t supposed to be hidden, but rather revealed to others so that they will want to join in. It’s the buried treasure in the field that we’ll sell everything to aquire. It’s a bright light of hope that we do not need to cover with a bushel. It’s a cup of cold water meant to be shared. They will know that you are my disciples by your love for one another. We are never to hide this love in shame! How blind I was!
But I began to see glimpses of it when my desperate heart felt like it was dying in the darkness of the abuse I’d suffered for most of my life. Abuse that I’d thought was love. God had great mercy on me and provided me with resources that pointed me towards a better way; a new pastor who really cared, songs that ministered to my heart, and podcasts from a pastor (Steve Brown -ironically I was introduced to him through my abusive pastor-God can use any means He wants!) that I couldn’t hear enough of and who as he talked about others (Zach Van Dyke, Sharon Hersh, Tullian Tchividjian(God uses broken pastors all the time), Paul Tripp, Liberate Conferences, and so many more) that I began to listen to them to and gradually the scales began washing away.
And I began to see Him.
I’ve still got a long way to go. Years of abuse produces a numbness that I’m still asking God to heal. But since even death couldn’t stop His love from getting through, I have no doubt that nothing will stop His work in all of our lives that makes us more and more like Him. And one day that process is going to be complete. One day we will all be brand new and all of this pain is going will finally be gone. His love will be all we know and finally there will be eternal rest. I long for this day.
May this blessed resurrection season remind you it’s coming!
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 NLT
I love you could not be said a better way. Downhere