A couple of years ago I was asked to share about what God was doing in my life with my Celebrate Recovery group at church. The whole experience was a tremendous boost to my faith. It strengthened me to purposely pause and remember what God had done over the years.
I needed (and wanted) to share how my involvement in CR played into all of that, but my greatest desire was to somehow convey that, really, above all—it was Jesus. Jesus was the One to begin the work in me when I tried everything I could to get away from Him; when I spurned, mocked and despised His involvement in my life. He is the One who, ever since that time, continues to restore, forgive, and come looking for me when I wander—and much of my Christian life was spent tip-toeing to the other side of the fence, where the grass seemed just a little greener… till I got over to it.
In the weeks of prayer and preparation leading up to that night, I asked God for wisdom to know what to say, and just days before I was to share I happened to stumble upon this old note I’d tucked away in a file:
When my daughter was young, one of the biggest surprises and blessings she gave me was this little note. She listed all the family members she loved me more than; followed by cousins, friends and neighbours—and she even threw our dog, Hunter, in at the end.
I know my daughter loved everyone else, too. Truthfully, she always has been, and always will be ‘Daddy’s’ girl. But this note so beautifully portrayed just how I felt about Jesus. I love so many people and ministries God has brought into my life. I love church and meeting with other believers. I loved the ministry of Celebrate Recovery. I loved Divorce Care Recovery—they were both what I needed for very specific times in my life.
But I love Jesus MORE! I love Him more than church; more than any program; more than all the speakers and pastors I love so much to listen to—and I love to listen to a lot of them. I love Him more than all the amazing and wonderful people God blessed me with—more than my pets.
This morning, as I was watching the Introductory video for a new Beth Moore Bible study a group of us will be launching out on tomorrow (Beloved Disciple) it was good to hear her tell us we should sit under many teachers—that no one person should hold that position of trust in our lives. It reminded me of that note, again; that Jesus should be the One we love most.
The Apostle Paul had to tell the first believers not to be followers of men, too. Who is Paul? He asked. Who is Apollos? Only one who planted seeds and one who watered—but it was God who made them grow.
And here’s what I know to be true: once you have a real encounter with God’s Son—once you’ve tasted the love and freedom and life He offers–the love that makes everything else that much more amazing than it ever could be; but pale in comparison–you won’t have a hard time at all loving Him more.
I don’t know if you know this hymn, but it is among my favorites, and speaks so much to your wonderful post:
“I sought the Lord, and afterward I knew
he moved my soul to seek him, seeking me.
It was not I that found, O Savior true;
no, I was found of thee.
Thou didst reach forth Thy hand and mine enfold
I walked and sank not on the storm-vexed sea.
‘Twas not so much that I on thee took hold,
as thou, dear Lord, on me.
I find, I walk, I love, but oh, the whole
of love is but my answer, Lord, to thee!
For thou wert long beforehand with my soul;
always thou lovedst me.”
Indeed, we love because God first loved us.
That’s beautiful, Paula–no, I hadn’t heard this. When I look back now, I marvel at how God was able to bring me to a place of turning. And I am deeply grateful it didn’t depend on me.
Thanks for sharing that hymn.
As always a lovely, inspiring, heartfelt post from you. It moves me to recognize, yet again, that we are kindred spirits indeed.
Blessings upon you and yours today.
(P.S. I am flattered beyond words that you have added me to your blog roll!)
Oh, thank you so much, Erin. I’m thrilled this could resonate with you, too–and would love to know more about it. 🙂