I have a friend who I know just through online conversations. Over the past while, we've become friends by sharing about our own home businesses, bouncing ideas off of each other, and helping each other grow. We have mailed pieces of encouragement to each other.
On Sunday, we were messaging and talking through some ways that we were growing personally and spiritually. She said that she wanted to mail me something for Valentine's Day, but she didn't tell me what it was, and I didn't ask.
Fast forward to Tuesday, the day that I go to bible study. This women's bible study gets deep into my soul. It doesn't push rules on how to live life, no "do's and don'ts on how to be a good Christian." We just look at who the bible says Jesus is, and how that translates to our lives today. At the heart of it, it's a discussion of these truths versus the ideas and untruths that some well-meaning Christ-followers, formalized religion, as well as society and the enemy (Satan) have set in place since God created the world.
It's inspiring, just simply going back to the bible for truth, and share honest fellowship with women who are broken like me, who love Jesus and who can speak wisdom into each other's lives. Every time that I leave there, I am filled up, renewed, encouraged, and loved.
So, this Tuesday, in our small group of women, we got kind of off-topic in our discussion, and someone mentioned a book that got my attention. After talking about it for a bit, I decided that I definitely needed to read it, and wrote the title down in my notes. Luckily, one of the ladies in my group owns a copy that she will bring for me next week.
So, bible study was over. I got into my vehicle, and felt a little nudge of God & intuition in my heart. I had an inkling of what was about to go down.
I headed home, and when I got there, grabbed the mail. I saw the package that my friend had mailed. It was a normal-looking package without any distinguishing marks, but I already knew.
I could already feel God speaking to my soul, and telling me how much He loves me. And He loves me so much, that he was about to show me, with something I could actually hold.
Of all of the millions of gifts that my friend could have thought of to order & mail to me for a Valentine's Day gift... what do you think she chose?
The messaging between she and I that day had nothing to do with what I was about to receive. I prayed as I cut the package open. I cried louder and longer than I'd cried in a long time, when I saw what was inside. I was holding in my hands a literal gift from God, which I was physically able to open and feel.
Within one hour of having decided to read that book, I had it in my hands as a gift. God had begun the gifting two days earlier, and I didn't even know it. And He didn't do it so that I would read the book. The book itself wasn't even His point. He did it with an obvious connection of something tangible & current to me, so that I would remember how much He loves me.
His love for me (for all of us!) is fierce! It is personalized to each of our own hearts, souls and needs. He knows us deeply, because He made us.
And how can I so easily forget?
And what can't He provide in me, that I need?
And why do I think that I can fill my heart's hurts & needs better than He can?
And why might I have a hole in my soul that needs filling?
And what if I try by my own will to fill it... but He is the only thing that will fit in a hole shaped like that?
Laura Story sings truth, "What if my greatest disappointment or the aching of this life is a revealing of the greater things this world can't satisfy?"
What if He lets me get to the complete end, the total rock bottom of me, so that I can see all of this clearly, and so that I have to (finally!) reach up for him to pull me out of the deep.
It sounds crazy, but that's a whole lot of love.
It's a joyful look at all of the areas of my life where I automatically flip over to self-preservation mode, before running to the truths that I already know - which will fit perfectly in whatever Jesus-shaped hole that needs filling at the moment.
For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. - Isiah 43:19
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. - Psalm 52:12
And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. - 1 Peter 5:10