Love’s Price

Saved‘He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.’

Isaiah 53:3-6

In the last week, my husband and I have hosted and said goodbye to 10 people we love, we laughed with our children and cried when they left, we had fun with family and watched great hockey, we celebrated a life lost to those we love, we came together humbly with others to acknowledge Christ’s death on the cross for us, we rejoiced with others in the resurrection of Jesus and we grieved over the loss of a baby we had prayed for. These are just the major events. My heart is full and sad and my body is exhausted. I’m afraid that is the price of love. I’m delighted though about having people to love.

I love how Ann Voskamp said it in The Broken Way – ‘The art of living is believing there is enough love in you, that you are loved enough by Him, to be made into love to give.’

Loving is a sacrifice, it is a verb, an action word made to give away. God gave us the biggest give-away in Jesus. His life was ransomed and ours was redeemed. By His wounds, We are healed. As it says in Hebrews, we are the joy set before Him. It was His joy to live and die such a sacrificial love for us.

Yet He has been and is still rejected. God has been revealing to me lately how I have been filtering some experiences through rejection. Charles R Solomon said that rejection is the absence of meaningful love. I believe it is our deep-seated need to be accepted, valuable, worthy. As humans we miss the mark of filling those basic needs in others. When we seek to fill those needs in ways other than through God, our expectations and theirs could take us out. As Eric Johnson says, ‘Expectations are how you think it should go, Expectancy is a Posture.’

A rejection filter distorts the truth of who we are, it cracks the lens and darkens the reality of God in us. It magnifies the lies we have believed and opens our hearts to assault. Ironically it is also in these parts of pain that our flesh can die and as we know in Jesus, with death comes a resurrection.

As always our identity in Him comes in renewing the mind or as Lysa Terkeurst so aptly says in Uninvited. “People can’t fix from the outside a perspective that needs to be rewired on the inside. Only the Lord can do that.”

So as I wound around this rejection path, I couldn’t stop thinking of the words in Isaiah. He was despised and rejected by men and even so, He laid down His life for me on that cross and took up the hate and rejection so that I don’t have to. It is finished! Yet each time I pick it up, I am refusing to accept what He has already done.

Every time I don’t walk in the love He freely gives…

Every time I choose to be bitter instead of forgiving…

Every time I don’t repent when convicted of something…

Every time I judge someone and live from pride…

Every time I let rejection from people steal my joy…

Every time I let my feelings drive my behaviour instead of truth…

The truth is God accepts us, that covers over all kinds of rejection. The truth is that God is Love and Love covers a multitude of sins. The truth is the price of Love that Jesus paid is great and beyond our full comprehension. The truth is it is enough. There was a price for Love and it is paid in full. Love calls us to relationship and it is all God wants from us. Love sometimes makes us vulnerable to the rejection of others. Love is messy. Love is beautiful. Jesus redeems messy love making it beautiful. Love engages our heart and emotions. I’m afraid it is the price of love.

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All we need is…

loveapple-570965_6401Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

LOVE! There is nothing more telling to me that God’s ways and thoughts are higher than mine than seeing what He says about love, and watching how we all try to execute this. Our broken brand of this mission is tainted with our wounds, disappointments, rejections, shame, guilt, insecurities and lack. I failed in at least half of these directives about love just today and I haven’t even left my house yet.

But God…

He is love. He is the model of love. If we know Him, we are a demonstration of what His love did for us. He sent His only Son to die for us. Who does that? GOD did! And when we do choose Him, He gives us a new nature, one that is powered by the Holy Spirit to execute the kind of love that He showed us. Our mission is grand, to love the Lord with all of us and to love our neighbour as ourself, but it is not impossible with Him, despite our brokenness.

It keeps no record of wrongs…this is the portion that jumped out at me as I read this familiar love chapter from Corinthians today.  Ironically, I am co-leading a women’s bible study about the book Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst and it is all about rejection. Rejection hijacks our normal emotions and we absolutely keep a record of wrongs within all of the jabs of rejection that we have experienced if we don’t allow God to heal these wounds.

When our son was smaller he would often scrape his knees when he was playing. No sooner did one wound start healing and scabbing over, when another one would happen in the same place. The scabs showed the healings were happening but were insignificant as another owie ripped the scab off and irritated the sore. We had to watch that they didn’t get infected.

This is often what happens with unhealed rejection in our lives. Escalated emotions during an incident of rejection is a good indicator of past unhealed hurt. An antidote for this is acceptance. As Lysa Terkeurst says,”Acceptance is like an antibiotic that prevents past rejections from turning into present day infections. The need for belonging runs deep.” She also says that, “No amount of outside achievement fixes inside hurts. Those hurts have to be soothed by replacing the lies with truth.”

Rejection changes what you believe about yourself and so if you don’t inject God’s truth in those places, it can be a festering wound waiting for the next scraping. Belonging comes from God. His love is like a balm to the soul. His truth goes deep to our roots.

The word tells us in Colossians 3:14. “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” Love is something we do, not something we feel. It is a choice. Love is something God does for us, He brings fullness to our empty places. Lysa says,” I can choose to bring my emptiness or God’s fullness into any situation I face. It saves us from begging for scraps of love.”

Love in its fullness is…heart-598048_640

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:18, 19

“Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” Proverbs 10:12

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” 1 John 4:20

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. Psalm 103:8

I think you get the idea. In the New International version of the bible, love is mentioned 551 times. I think God was trying to tell us something significant about putting on who He is. As you know from the start of this post, walking in love is not an easy thing to do but we are called to do it. We need to practice walking in love. It not only is an antidote for rejection but for all of the hurts that may be contained in our hearts. He is not finished with us yet and the more we act like Him by being loving, the more we resemble His heart to others that don’t know Him yet.

How does your love reflect God’s heart? What parts of your heart do you need Him to bring healing and correction with truth? How are you bringing God’s fullness to situations? How have your hurts broken the mission of leading others to know Him? What will you do to seek the healing God longs to give you?

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Highly Favoured

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.” Luke 1:28

Recently as an exercise to hone my writing skills, I was to ask a handful of close friends a few questions about how they see me and what kind of influence I could have. The purpose of receiving this kind of feedback was to make the message I have more clear. To help me see how I can best inspire people with the tools I already have. And perhaps shed some light on areas that I may think are obvious but are amazing to others.

First of all, the fact that they were so willing to respond blew my mind. I am blessed by so many incredible women in my life, it was actually hard to pick just 5.  Second, their responses brought some tears. Third, this is a very humbling exercise to perform. Owning the truths that were spoken from their perspectives would have been very difficult to do even a year ago.

God has been teaching me this last year to receive. Receive His truths and let those reconstruct what my identity is in Him. Not in what others tried to tell me, not in the lies I believed, not in the performing so hard for love it almost destroyed me kind of way. But in renewing my mind and believing regardless of what I feel to standing in the promises of God.

Lysa Terkeurst said, “In between progress and perfection is the sweet spot of authenticity.” This statement makes me want to pause and say ahhhhhhh, releasing the places that have been wound tight in me trying to become someone I was not. butterflies-843298_640You see my heart is to be authentic, in all I speak, say, write and do. I am unique, my story has been woven in such a way as to distinctively influence those that God has placed in my path. There are some things I can speak because of my experiences that will resonate with the hearts of those I encounter. This truth is the same for you.

The space between progress and perfection can only be accomplished with supernatural favour. Joyce Meyer once said, ‘Natural favour has to be earned and once it is you need to maintain or keep working for that favour. Supernatural favour is a gift from God. You receive this just by being His child.’

Natural favour is very difficult to sustain. Performance is a vicious cycle. The only antidote to this is knowing in your heart of hearts that you are deeply loved and favoured by God and Nothing you do or don’t do will change that.heart-1213481_640

One way I have been renewing my mind with God’s truth is by speaking that I am highly favoured by the Lord. My travelling companions to St. Louis as of late probably thought I was a little silly proclaiming this phrase everywhere I went. Little did they know I was renewing the way I thought of myself in relationship to how God sees me.

You see,  I know that the only one in the Bible that was given this title was Mary, the mother of Jesus. She was chosen by God to carry the Messiah, His precious Son because she was highly favoured by Him. And this favour carried over into Jesus as we see further down in Luke 2:52, ‘And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men.’

As a believer though, one who has chosen Christ as Saviour, I also have the incredible privilege of carrying Jesus. Not in the physical, pregnant sense as Mary did, but in my spirit. He is with me everywhere I go and because of this I am highly favoured by the Lord. Because of this I get to extend His Favour to others.

Choose an area where you have not been believing God’s truth about you. Now find the truth and start to declare it. Is it in the area of not believing you are worthy and have to perform for or earn God’s love? Say it with me now, I am highly favoured by the Lord. I am the apple of His eye. I am His beloved child. Start there. Don’t stop until your heart believes it. Your freedom depends on it. woman-591576_640