It happened in the middle of a set of praise songs.
As I sang words about sacrifice and victory and amazing love.
And familiar, frequently sung words suddenly took on new meaning.
I can't really explain it. It was like my head and my heart suddenly converged (for once) and I finally knew. Deep inside of me I knew that He loved me. I believed that He loves me.
I have been open about my trudging and questioning and seeking this past year. And how painful this season has been as I unearth some struggles that were buried deep.
And I knew that when it was time to choose a "one word 365" for 2014 that the Lord had already been prodding me in this area of value and acceptance and love.
So perhaps God has been creaking my heart open like a heavy door to let some Light shine into a place I had cordoned off. An area built on lies I used to define myself.
So I'm singing of how the blood of Jesus saved my life and I experience this warm knowing. And the tears threatened to overtake me.
I've been on a journey to understand what Love is and why it sometimes hurts me. And I have questioned whether pain can exist in love or whether I have just been blind. Relationships that I relied on and put all of myself into became a catalyst to see how unhealthy I've been.
But that morning, out of my mouth come these words and it was like the first time I ever heard them.
There was this verse: O what love/no greater love/Grace, how can it be/That in my sin/yes, even then/He shed His blood for me.
And this one: And wonder how He could love me/a sinner condemned, unclean/how marvelous/how wonderful/and my song shall ever be:/how marvelous/how wonderful/is my Savior's love for me!
I have wondered how He could love me. Doubted it even.
But with Him there are no strings attached. No questionable agenda. No disappointed expectations.
I have tried so hard to be all. Do all. I have suffered under the immense pressure of what I think I'm supposed to do. Who I think I'm supposed to be.
And in this Holy Spirit moment He opens my eyes to believe this truth for the first time. I mean really believe it.
I am loved.
Then this from my Pastor, Tony Taylor: "It's not enough to believe in God. You must believe Him."
I sigh because I just wrote about believing and faith and getting rid of labels. And it's time this overwhelming, hard to believe, grace-filled Truth washes over me.
"There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15:13
So I sing and I cry and I celebrate that this Amazing Love is mine and yours. And there's no way to lose it or ruin it or earn it.
Only to accept it, appreciate it, and —
Holley Gerth (Coffee for Your Heart)