Wednesday, February 19, 2014

God's Redeeming Love {Day 19}: Let Me Love You {A Testimony}

I'm so excited about today's testimony, I'm tempted to skip right to it.  But, I want to take a minute to talk about my friend, Meredith at Life at 7000 Feet.

I feel like we were separated at birth.  That sounds so cliche' but what I mean is that I relate so much to her.  Having said that, the fact that both of us blog about the crazy, yet mundane details of our days makes me laugh.  Meredith is a little further along in her parenting journey than me, yet I often read her words and nod my head in agreement. Yep, "that's my life", I think.

She's another one I have to believe I'll be able to meet face-to-face one day.  I think we'd make great neighbors :)  She makes me feel justified ... like I'm okay feeling the way I do when I'm happy, frustrated, tired or just want to gather my family under our roof and lock out the rest of the world. Meredith gets that.  She loves her family so well!

You will LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her testimony and no doubt, nod your head in agreement, too.  

Enjoy ... 

About ten years ago at an Advent retreat I heard the Lord speak these words to my heart:  Let me LOVE you.

Those four little words were beautiful to hear but very hard to take in. My husband and I had just barely emerged from a particularly painful season of pastoral ministry. I was dealing with a lot of hurt and anger and dare I say, depression? And I was feeling very much like a disappointment and failure to God. Basically I was a wreck—emotionally and spiritually. I wondered if I was really lovable, but over and over that weekend I heard the Lord repeat that phrase to me. Slowly and tentatively during that retreat I began to surrender to God’s tender call to rest in His deep love for me.

Before leaving the retreat, the speaker gave each of us a clear glass ornament and a paint pen with instructions to write something on the ornament--a word, a phrase, a scripture--that we could take home from the weekend. The ornament would hang on our Christmas tree as a reminder of the work the Lord was doing in our hearts. That was a no brainer for me. I carefully penned: “Let Me LOVE You”.

Once home, I carefully unwrapped my ornament and moved toward my Christmas tree to hang it but I tripped and fell and watched that ornament shatter into dozens of tiny pieces. I felt like my heart broke into a dozen pieces as well.

As I cleaned up the shards of glass I realized that if I were going to really and truly let God love me, then I was going to have to fight for that. I was going to have to battle my mind and the self-talk which kept a running list of all the reasons I felt unlovable. I was also going to have to fight my tendency to try to earn God’s love. And I was definitely going to have to resist the one who comes to steal, kill, and destroy the work that God desired to do in my life. Because that shattered ornament? It didn’t feel like an accident. It felt intentional against my surrender to let God love me.

At the beginning of this series, Deidre touched on the importance of scripture being rooted deeply in her heart in order for her mind to be transformed. I set out on a similar quest. If I came across a verse in my Bible about God’s love, then you better believe I highlighted it or wrote it out on a card.

She also talked about letting God re-name her. I did that as well and I would say without a doubt that was the biggest revelation to me and set me on my path to knowing how deeply loved I am by God.

At the urging of a Godly woman in my life, I began to ask God this question: “How do you see me, Lord? I mean, how do you really see me?” And I began to really listen for His answer. I haven’t shared this with very many people but as I prayed about what to write here, I felt God nudging me to tell you the name he gave me from that question I brought before him. He said: Diamond. Meredith, you are my diamond. You are radiant. You reflect Me and shine My light on others. You are beautiful and precious and rare. You are my treasure.

Even now as I type this I know deep in my soul that those words were from Him and that is how He sees me and what He wants me to rest in. Some days that is an easy task; some days it’s something I want so badly to believe, yet my flesh tells me that I am more like a lump of black coal than a diamond. I have to fight to see myself the way God sees me. Even after almost ten years, I have to battle my flesh and my mind and the one who wants me to stay in that place of feeling like coal but the truth is this: God loves me. God rejoices over me. God delights in me. God thinks I’m beautiful. God pursues me. God calls me His friend. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am His treasure. Even when I blow it, God is crazy about me. PERIOD.

In the early days of hearing God “name” me, I went out and bought a pair of diamond studs. Well, not real diamonds but the biggest CZs I could find and I wore them daily. As weird as it may seem, I think it helped me live into the name God had given me. It was a reminder to rest in the deep, deep love He has for me. These days, I no longer wear those gaudy earrings but I do see them from time to time in my jewelry drawer and smile.

Have you ever asked God how he really and truly sees you? Ever asked him to give you a new name? I’m certain He’d love to tell you.


I love that Meredith! Since reading this testimony, I can't stop thinking about it.  Though God pursues us, He never forces us to choose Him.  He gives us free will, so accepting His love is a choice.  We have to allow Him to change our hearts.  

I also catch myself looking for 'diamonds' :) What a perfect visual reminder!

Meredith reminded me to watch this video again, and I agree, it's very fitting for this series.  I love anything written by Brennan Manning.  As Meredith says, this video, especially the voice over at the end, reminds us we are loved as we are, not as we should be.


petrii said...

What a beautiful testimony!! I have struggled to feel loved, not struggled to know that I'm loved, but struggled to feel that love. And since I know that I am NOT to go on how I feel, I trust. I trust that love. I know that the Father loves me, and I trust that, even when I don't because of my frailties, feel it. I am thankful that HIs love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me.

Such a beautiful testimony Meredith. Beautiful.

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

Thanks for letting me share here, Deidre! May we all rest in God's deep love for us today.

Betsy Maddox said...

I love that testimony so much...just like I love Meredith. And I think it is something most women can relate to. What a wonderful word of encouragement today. Thank you Diedre and Meredith. Love y'all both!! :)

Katherine said...

Deidre when you started these devotions I think I was living under the misconception that I was the only one struggling with how God sees me. The testimonies you have included have left me speechless every time I read one. This series has been the perfect way for me to understand the struggle so many of us have. I am not alone! I can't tell you what that means for me.

Thank you a million times for writing this series and for having your friends to share. What a blessing it has been in my life. I'm never going to be the same. Ever.

Anonymous said...

I'm quite sure I'm going out tomorrow to find me a big, big pair of diamonds. CZs or not they are a beautiful reminder of God's love. Thank you, Meredith. Your heart is beautiful. Thank you for being real to us.


Piper said...

Thank you for sharing your testimony! As someone that struggles with things way too much. I find comfort knowing that I am not the only one.
Thank you!!

Christy said...

Beautiful testimony, Meredith!

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