Today I’m reminded of how it all first started, this love affair that took over my heart and hijacked my life. Today I’m reminded that I need to remember the first words, the first glance, the first moment I realized I was going to be ruined forever.
Today I’m reminded that remembrance brings forth gratitude, and gratitude brings forth faith. This faith keeps the fire of this love affair burning within my soul and my eyes locked in on the prize that so spurred me on in the early days. But today, in the middle of being “busy” for You and Your Kingdom, I realize I have forgotten why I live for You. So here I am, trying to remember how it all first started.
It was eight summers ago when I first encountered Your burning eyes of love, Your tender words of mercy, and Your embrace that felt like coming home for a sojourning girl. I remember how eager I was to embark on my own adventure. I was ambitious and driven, yet stripped of all my accolades, talents, and friends, who was I really? I was hungry for a new start, yet frightened with the reality that I had no idea who I was or Whom I was living for.
I remember how You met me so gently, so full of mercy and loving kindness. It may have seemed like “just another retreat” to the average Christian, but it was the sacred place where I encountered Your deep love for me. It was in this sacred moment that I realized how I needed to say “yes” to Your leadership every single day in order to truly be Your child and disciple.
My bones were burning up with Your truth and Your love. I was so desperate to share this new-found freedom with all those around me. I served, I loved, I prayed, and I wept, experiencing many moments of sharpening but also many moments of growing in maturity.
Then I did what started to slowly quench the fire in my heart. In the midst of all my “doing” for You I forgot that what You love most is my simply “being” before You. I grew weary and discouraged, letting immaturity get the best of me. Up and down we skipped over mountains and tumbled through the valleys.
Through all the change, all the stagnancy, all the silence…You never left me. You never forgot how it all started even though I did. You never lose sight of who I will one day be before You, even though I sometimes daily doubt I will amount to anything when I stand before You on that glorious day.
So…here I am, starting another season of leading the same retreat where I first encountered You as a living Person of love. Today, I’m a little different than the girl who was swept away by Your love eight summers ago. My heart is a little more weathered, but it’s made it more tender. My body has wrestled with complacency, but it’s made it stronger. My mind has fought the battle, the constant onslaught of accusation, but it’s made it wiser.
I still have a long way to go, and I’m sure there will be more ups and downs and skipping over mountains and tumbling through the valleys. But today, I’m reminded of how it all first started, and it gives me the hope to trust that You are the perfect Father, the best Leader, and the sweetest Friend today and for every day that is to come.