This post is a reflection on what I read this morning at my sweet sister’s blog Inking the Heart. Rachael has been sowing God’s truth into my heart over the last 9 weeks through her series called “Who God Says You Are.” I hope you take time to see how God uses her words to speak a bold truth.
Quiet. The house is quiet for once. Music plays, but it’s my music with no one to change it at the best part of the song. There are no competing voices to erupt into an argument that seems so unsacred in that sacred moment that had been building in my heart. For a 3 day moment, the house is mine… mine alone and I am soaking in peace. And the Lord is whispering into my moment. And I have time to listen hard and listen long and listen on repeat if I want. Over and over. And this is what he said:
You know that I love you, but it’s more than that. For you, in this time, I want you to know that it is about HOW I love you.
As I clean house, I hear simply, “It’s how I love you.” As I vacuum a floor twice because once just isn’t good enough with 5 kids and a dog sharing life with it, I hear “It’s how I love you.” I step outside and relish thunderclouds that offer a fresh 80 degree breeze compared to the stagnant 108 of 2 days ago and I hear, “It’s how I love you.”
“I love you, child, with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)
“But God demonstrates his love for us in this, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Thoughts flood my mind. His love is extravagant. His love surrounds. It pursues me into a trap, into the tight grip of itself. His love is hot on my heels and yet stands before me with arms open wide. I throw myself into the safety of its embrace. The love that was in pursuit pounces on me and smothers me in holy kisses of tender affection. Oh how he loves us so.
The Lord took his sweet time to speak of formative experiences and wove this new, fresh truth into what had once been harsh and unforgiving. Hosea 2:14-15 became living and active as he cut through my fears and anxious thoughts.
I remembered that growing up in the competitive culture of AAU swimming, DQ was the one thing I never wanted written across my time card. Disqualified. The race was for nothing. Didn’t count. All those points just earned, gone. Year after year that shaped me because even to this day, one of my greatest fears as a Christian is being disqualified in this race. Paul describes it. I fear it. But, into that fear my Lord spoke, “It’s how I love.”
"Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards…” (Hosea 2:14-15)
He takes me away, alone, in a quiet place, and he gives back my standing. He gives back my favor. When I am disqualified, he offers all that was lost back to me.
Going deeper yet, I was reminded of how a swimmer could have a weakness in her stroke, one that was a huge issue: a flutter kick, a scissor kick, a careless touch on the wall. Some faults could be forgiven. Some weaknesses could not. Some kids got DQ’d. A lot. They agonized before certain races. Will they do it again? Thankfully, I never struggled with that in swimming. At least in the pool my faults rarely got me in trouble. But in my walk they do. My tongue disqualifies me often. My meandering mind and my wandering heart both cross that line more times than I can remember. Certain situations stir anxiety in my heart, because I know, I know what I am capable of. So the Lord says, “It’s HOW I love you.”
“…and [I] will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.” (Hosea 2: 15)
The Valley of Achor was Israel’s stumbling block. It’s where they DQ’d. It represents that very point, that very weakness that removes us from the running time and time again. And that is the very place that our Savior built for us a door. It is at that point where we consistently fail, that he arrives with tools and wood in hand and begins building… and out of his sacrifice, we gain access to his love. We are given a door of hope. “It’s HOW I love you.”
Oh, how he loves us.
And these thoughts ebbed and flowed through my heart all day. I cleaned, I rested, I took myself out to dinner. I sat in counsel with sisters of like mind and spirit. The sun set red, and thunderclouds tried to decide their temperament as my wheels traced their lines down Freeway 99 back home.
Now sitting again in the silence, I hear a familiar whisper, “It’s HOW I love you.” He’s not done speaking to me. Joy fills my heart. I sing a familiar song, and think of unforeseen kisses. Oh, how he loves us so. Oh how he loves us. How he loves us so!
“There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.” (Hosea 2:15)
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