Friday, October 8, 2010

unfailing love

Have you ever gone through a 'bad friend' phase with someone? You totally didn't mean to, but for whatever reason you just let life happen and you found yourself looking back over the past few weeks and thinking, "Man... I've been such a bad friend." You forgot to return a phone call... didn't respond to a text... haven't made time to see them or talk to them... have no idea what's been going in their life or what they've been going through lately? 

I've been there. And when I get in those times, I have a big tendency to feel really shameful about it and almost want to hide. The next time I do see them or talk to them, I just want to crawl in a hole. I have no idea what to say. I have no legit reason for being a bad friend. It's awkward, it makes me feel awful, and in that moment I wonder how in the world I ever let it go that long.

My relationship with my friends aren't the only ones that take this hit. It happens with Marty, with my family, with the students in my ministry... and all too often, with God. I know I am not alone in this struggle, so I hope my transparency won't make you think any less of me. But lately, I have all but neglected my relationship with Jesus. Sure, I've been very busy working for him and serving him... teaching classes, speaking, leading bible studies, discipline girls, counseling, etc. Oh, I've been working hard. But I haven't been praying hard. I haven't been loving him the way I should. I haven't been seeking him with all my heart. I've let life and my "work" consume me and distract me.

I woke up this morning with the feeling of my soul literally just longing. I wasn't necessarily depressed, but I wasn't "okay." I was broken. I was joyless. I was lonely. I needed something, and I knew exactly what it was. I needed to restore my fellowship with my Father. I needed to pray. I needed to be still in his presence. I needed him.

I wasn't sure how to start that prayer. Wasn't sure what to say. Wasn't sure where to open my bible to. I literally just felt lost and desperate. I just sat in silence and let him soften my heart for a while, then I just started writing to him. I wrote out a prayer that was so full of honesty. I told him exactly where I am, how I feel. It was a sweet time for me. I have missed that over the last couple of weeks. After writing for a while, I just prayed, "Lord... just show me what you want me to know right now."

 I'm not normally a "open to a random page" bible reader. But today I was seriously just so desperate and so confused as to where to start, I just prayed this exact sentence, "Lord... just show me whatever it is you want to remind me of right now. Whatever truth I need to be restored to my heart today... please just open your word to this and let it rest in my heart."

I sat in silence for a few more seconds and then just let my fingers softly run up the closed pages of my bible until I just felt a tug in my heart to stop. I opened it, and this is what the Lord spoke to my heart:

How sweet is that? He didn't rebuke me-- though he had every right to. He didn't remind me of my shame. He simply reminded me of his unfailing love. His love that is steadfast, even when mine is not. This was so inviting to me. I just sat there and prayed for a long time thanking him for this love that I DO NOT deserve. I then sat for another hour and a half and just continued reading, and the Lord just continued speaking.

I'm so thankful I didn't let my shame and awkwardness and feelings of "I have no idea where to start" keep me from this time with him today. I needed this. I feel so filled up. So refreshed. So ready to continue living in his fellowship the way I am supposed to. 

Let's face it-- we ALL have these times. Don't let anything keep you from coming back. He's not there to scorn you or look at you in disgust. He's welcoming. And He wants to remind you of this love.



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