The Love I Know

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Before my cells were strung together, before blood began to flow through tiny veins, before my eyes opened, before oxygen filled my lungs, before my parents spoke my name —

He already knew me.

Before I walked a faltering first step, before sentences slipped from my lips, before I knew His story —

He already knew mine.

Before I could love Him, He already loved me.

This is how I have been loved: nothing-held-back, in-all-things, whether-or-not-I-deserved-it.

His love is never-earned, never-condemning, never-faltering.

He lifts my head to see His face; it’s His smile that shatters my shame.

He takes my worn-out, try-hard, never-enough spirit of despair and gives me His own righteousness to wear.

He shows up in my weakness. He takes away my fear, never growing weary of my need. He forgives me when I am wrong. He teaches me what I need to know, sometimes over and over again. He doesn’t give up on me.

He is compassion when I am hurting. He is peace in my heartbreak. He is joy even in my sorrow. He is light when all I see darkness.

When I was alone and broken, He saw His child that needed to be held close, restored, and not just put back together but made new.

Before I could choose to love Him, He chose to suffer so I can be made whole. He chose to die so I can live.

This is the love I know: Patient. Kind. Without envy. Not self-serving. Love that is not boastful, proud, or rude. Love that does not demand its own way, love that is not irritable. It keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

This love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. It never fails.

This is how He has loved me. This is how He loves you.

Stay in My love, He says. Abide here.

And go love everyone else like I have loved you.

*********
In the noise and the chaos of these days, in this time when darkness is pressing in — it’s my own heart where I have to begin asking questions, where I ask that my eyes will be opened until I see everything clearly in the light of His love.

Am I acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God?

Am I loving like I have been loved?

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