One of my favorite bloggers, Lindsey Nobles, has a series on her blog where she invited other great bloggers to write guest posts reflecting on the song “How He Loves” by John Mark McMillan. On the last post of the series, she invited readers to share their reflections on the song. This one is mine.
I first heard the song when I was hanging out with some friends, several months ago. One of them just started singing it and playing it on the guitar, and everyone just ended up joining in, even if it was the first time some of us heard the song. It was just one of those moments that you can’t quite capture in words. Just like love….words cannot fully describe it.
I was out for a run this afternoon, and I started thinking about love. I wasn’t thinking about romantic love, just love in general. I was thinking about how it feels to love people, and how sometimes, I feel like I have so much love to give that my heart wants to burst. I was thinking about how I love seeing my nephews smile and I was thinking about what else I can do when I’m with them to bring out those smiles more often. I was thinking about how often I can hug them without them getting tired of it and how I can tell them I love them again and again without them thinking that something’s wrong with me. I was thinking about how, even though I’m single, God hasn’t given me a shortage of people to love and how He has surrounded me with loving people. And I was thinking about how grateful I am that God even gave me the capacity and ability to love, and how easily I could mess it up sometimes, as I’ve done so many times before. I was thinking about how the old version of my self would be too selfish, too needy, too insecure, too scared, too analytical, and too cynical to truly love others. I was thinking about how, sometimes, it’s easy to fall back into my old ways. I was thinking about the times that I felt unloved, overlooked or forgotten, and how God pulled me through those bouts and reminded me time and time again that He sees me, hears me, and loves me as if I’m the most precious and special being in the world. I was thinking about how amazing it is that I even find myself in this place–this place of being able to give love instead of holding it hostage, waiting for something in return. This was not the heart I used to have. My old heart was numb. My old heart was hiding. My old heart was hibernating.
And when I try to think back at how my heart changed, it all goes back to God and His amazing, mind-boggling, unwavering love.
I am only able to love because He first loved me. That’s the beautiful and humbling truth. And I am so thankful, SO THANKFUL, for the times when I had no choice but to surrender into His loving arms and be consumed by His incomprehensible love. That means I’m grateful for the disappointments and heartbreaks, the seasons of loneliness, days of depression, and moments of frustration that opened, softened, and prepared my heart to feel and receive God’s overflowing grace, and ultimately, His abundant and unconditional love.
“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” -Ezekiel 36:26 (NLT)
I didn’t see how He was working then, and sometimes I still miss it. But it’s the truth that surrounds me every day. I go through tough times and difficult seasons, but through it all, He cares for my heart as if it was the most precious treasure in the world.
It’s crazy, but that’s how He loves me. And that’s how He loves you. And if you haven’t felt it, tell Him. Ask Him. That’s what I did. And though I can’t say things changed overnight, I am where I am today because He heard me then…and I know He’ll hear you, too.
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