Once you fall in love, falling out is no where in the realm of possibility. I think it’s true that love can be blind and masks imperfections. But there are two types of love…fleeting and forever. My first true love is unlike any other. I say “is” because I still love him. I knew right from the beginning his love was forever. I cannot explain my heart. All I know to say is that there has been this ever present “knowing” in my life that I am part of a remarkable, unparalleled romance. This romance, this bond, is so unbreakable that it bleeds into every area of my life and has made my earthly romance with Ben a mirror image. My Creator was my first true love. I know that is the Christian “thing” to say, but I mean it. I accepted Jesus into my heart, over peanut butter and jelly when I was three years old. Immediately the Lord began talking to me and showing promises for my life. I grew up in a beautiful, God-centered home that nurtured my desire for truth and disciplined me to be a woman of the Word. Again, even reflecting, I cannot explain the wonder of this relationship. Even through my junior high days, this love existed as a romance. I was forever taken, and trusting God was as easy as breathing. I never had any reason to doubt or question. I took him at his word and considered it privilege that he actually spoke to me.
I remember a playground experience. One of my classmates was telling me that his parents were getting divorced. Growing up in a Christian community, with Christian friends, at a Christian school the news was astounding. Later that day a friend, who had also heard the news, asked me what I would do if my parents divorced. My answer was dripping with conviction, “My parents would never divorce.” My friend blew me off as naïve and told me it could happen to anyone. I don’t believe my stance was adolescent ignorance. I had seen the power of a Most High God at an early age and I knew my family was marked for greatness. We were not your average Christian family, we weren’t. My dad was an extremely devoted pastor and father. He would spend hours answering my many questions, from why God allowed pain to my musings on Revelation. Our Christianity had nothing to do with religion. Our relationship with the Father was alive and I knew in my heart no one(in their right mind) could ever walk away from it—thus my delusion in regards to divorce.
As the story goes, my parents did divorce. It was bizarre and messy, but unlike everyone else (family and friends) my world was never shattered. Don’t get me wrong, it was difficult, but my true love was my Savior. He sustained me and preserved me through what should have been a very difficult time in my life. Through all my years I never rebelled, experimented, or walked away. My conversion was pure, my heart gripped.
Ben and I dealt with infertility for a year on our own before we started getting concerned. The first year I was full of faith—just like every other life experience I had know, God always came through. He was always faithful, always true to his promises. When year two and three passed my heartache was unquenchable. I still believed God would hear my cry, but the daily struggle to walk in faith wavered. This past year, year four, marked the loss of my first true love. There’s a pounding in my heart, a screaming in my head to even write this truth. It contradicts everything I’m made of. I didn’t fall out of love, I walked away. Love always existed, he had been too good to erase lifetime faithfulness…it was the romance that died.
Lord, how did I ever get to this place in my life? Why did I forget? And the question I’ve been too afraid to ask, came out in worship yesterday…Lord, what have I done to your heart? Immediately I was full of shame and racked with guilt. My life flashed before my eyes and I could hardly stand in his presence. Lord, I have not been strong. I have not been faithful. There are no written words acceptable to offer as apology.
Before I could crumple myself into a heap on the floor, I heard the Lord speak one word to my heart…Grace. Thankfulness washed over me in never-ending waves [and again as I write]. Strange enough, I could not remember the definition of grace, but decided I would look it up later and revel in the re-found intimacy of my Savior. I did however go to 2 Corinthians 12:9 and drank in, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
I left worship with a healed heart. What I thought would be a long road to recovery was covered in one spoken word.
Grace. The freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.