Create + Write + Inspire
Hello Again Love
by Jennifer Kelly on May 18th, 2015

"The wild, unrestricted love of God is not simply an inspiring idea" Brennan Manning
Most days, I have to pick myself up from the fog of living.
To try and move from the shadows, where guilt and selfishness loom, and evoke enough bravery to crawl into the light. I've learned that exaltation looks like bowing my worn-out, tired body and placing it inside the throne of prayer. 
I’m not good at this. Half-attempts, lazy setbacks, ill-willed intentions, false notions and whatever other interior motives exist, are usually enough to conquer me most days. Life can feel like thick, sticky, molten drudge with hardly any improvement of time and space.
It seems like more mornings than not, I fight this battle.
There are some good days and some bad days.
The days that I believe that God is love and that Jesus is resurrected and the Holy Spirit dwells deep within my bones are good days. The other days, where doubt and fear loom, where waters rise and the storm-winds refuse to cease, well, those are the bad days.
When you are living life, you end up with scars. And I'm learning what it actually means to believe that God loves (me, you, the world) with wounds attached. Wounds He could’ve prevented, but didn't. Those always rush in waves of doubt. Trusting in God suddenly becomes this thing. Hard and impossible.

You come to understand why faith is a battleground. Heaven’s curtains display courageous and brave souls in the hallway of faith and I feel like a million miles away. Literally, here on earth trying to get there. Fighting like hell to believe, and trust, and obey. To achieve the everyday kind of faith that allows God to give meaning to the shadows.
"Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame" Song of Solomon 7:6 (NLT).
Love does flash like fire. It is dangerous. Intense. All consuming.

I say "God is love" and most days I don't live like I believe it. And the other days, where I actually start the day believing that God loves me, can up and change anywhere in-between. What started so well can deviate, and then I find myself going through the rest of my day acting like I need to deserve God's love...

Or I change my mind altogether and decide that God’s love isn't enough for me today... 
Or I rely on my circumstances and figure I’m better off without remaining in God's love...
Or there's always things that I should stop doing in order to usher God’s love in more... 
And on-and-on it goes. 

My reasoning screws everything up. The 'acting' and 'deciding' and 'figuring' and 'shoulds' are all a part of my insane inability to accept love.

That's why children enter heaven. All of them. They know they are loved. They-just-know. Even when they do something wrong, they instinctively return to the arms of a loving parent. 

When I try and maneuver the origin, language and proximity of God’s love back on my presuppositions or ideas, then I'm taking away all of what God's love was designed to (be) and (do) and (give). I've twisted it around so that I might become this false Dr. who prescribes the stipulations and boundaries of how love exists, or lack thereof. I make a mockery of John 3:16 by turning what God did in perfect love to something I deem "underserving" by my own standards.

You see, when I try to undermine God’s love (or give it pre-qualifications), I distort it. It’s selfish. And selfish living usually looks like pride. And pride is thick like drudge. 
In Brennan Manning's book, The Furious Longing of God, he wrote, "The revolutionary thinking that God loves me as I am and not as I should be requires radical rethinking and profound emotional readjustment".
This should be some sort of mantra for me:
God loves me as I am - not as I should be.
God loves me as I am – just as He created me.
God loves me as I am – as I am.
On the good days, when I'm comfortable with this notion of love, I'm more at peace. I'm a better wife, mom, daughter, writer and friend. I'm a better Jennifer because I believe God is love and God loves me. The whole part of the story that entails evil and good, truth and lies, ugliness and beauty, and knows that the Gospel overcomes it all.
I believe in the resurrection of Christ. I believe that the Holy Spirit dwells deep within my bones. I believe that good overcomes evil and that love prevails in the end. And I can do nothing to attain it, absolutely nothing to usher it, nor can I shift, bend, or move love based on my actions.
It is sheer, magnificent, pure grace-in-motion.
Love is. And God is love.
There's a whole bunch of people that believe in God. Believe that He is mad. That He is unsatisfied. That He is disappointed. Or that He needs us to do something for Him.

And I get that.
But I also see the hearts and souls of humanity and know there is meaning in the madness. That love is stronger than the grave and Jesus lives. That hope lives and breathes and moves in the context of grace. Those ideas don't come from mankind. Those are God-breathed, God-ordained words from the beginning of time.

Those days when I get myself out of bed and on my knees, where I move from darkness to light and bend at His Words, His love, and His will, those are indeed good days. I'm learning to accept God’s love with who I am and place that in context of who He is and what He's sacrificed for me in this exact moment. And I'm telling you friends, that’s when heaven comes to earth.
Love beckoned Moses from a burning bush. Love was with Daniel in the fiery furnace. Love flashes like fire. It is dangerous. Intense. All consuming. I need to stop and place myself at Jesus' feet. I need to be reminded of the cross. Of a price paid. And that Love conquered the grave.
So today, I'm saying "Hello again, love". All clumsy and dirty. I'm climbing up into my Father's lap and staying there for a while. Timid and quiet. I'm reminding myself of who God is and who I am in relation to Him. I'm telling myself that God is love and that God loves me. Perfectly. Intimately. All consumingly. Like fire that flashes. Like the brightest kind of love that ever existed.
No more fog. No more all-consuming guilt. No more selfish living. 
Love takes all that away and welcomes me with open arms. All the time. Everyday.
Because love does not fail.
And God is love. 
And today, I believe that God loves me as I am - not as I should be.
And here I will remain.

*image by Fotolia:

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