Called, loved, kept

Call, love, kept.  All four letter words, all with profound meaning.  I have for a long time understood that God “called” me for a purpose.  I have understood with my mind that I am deeply loved by God.  The idea of being “kept” by God is one I am just beginning to grasp.   I feel these are not just words but concepts that need to be not just “brain” knowledge but “heart” knowledge as well.   When it becomes “heart” knowledge that is the moment when it becomes an ingrained truth.

As I said I know I have been called by God for a purpose, a “calling” in my life.  I have limited that to my vocation or what I do with my time.  I have frequently missed the first and most important part of this calling.   Jude chapter 1 verse 1 is addressed to all who are called, loved, and kept by God.  I don’t believe the ordering of the words is random.  I am of the belief that calling is listed first because in order to know we are loved and kept by God we must first enter into relationship with him.

I have always known God loves me, but it was merely something I knew in my mind, not something that had taken root in my heart.  I didn’t think I was worth loving by anybody much less the God of the universe.  I didn’t love myself, how could anybody else love me?  Something has happened though. As I have entered more and more into relationship with God, and the more I have learned to love myself, the more I KNOW God loves me.  I don’t just understand it, I KNOW it.  I don’t doubt it.  Whatever I do, no matter how I might fail or how I might succeed God LOVES me.   Just like God loves you too.  No matter what, God loves you too.

What does being “kept” by God mean?  I think about the crown jewels of England. They are kept under protection and constant surveillance.  This is what being kept by God means.  We are never out of his sight, never out of the realm of his protection.  This doesn’t mean bad things will never happen.  I’m sure the crown jewels have been dropped a few times, and needed repairs.  So it is with us. Life happens, we get dropped, and we need repairs.  God makes a way for healing to happen. That doesn’t mean we are any less protected by God.  He sees us, he knows us, and we are always, always in his loving care.

It is my earnest prayer that first and foremost you would answer the call to enter into relationship with God.  I won’t sugar coat it and tell you it will fix everything, and life will be rainbows and roses from now on. It won’t.  But, I can promise you will be loved. And I pray that you will begin to know how deeply loved by God you are.  That you won’t just understand it as a concept in your mind, but that your heart will grasp it and you will know beyond all doubt, you are loved.  Lastly, I pray you will know that you are kept in God’s care.  Even when you are damaged, get hurt, and need repairs, you are always in God’s sight, never out of the reach of his hand.

Click here to listen to the sermon, “Someone’s Calling” by Pastor Jan

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June 6, 2014. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Love Wanted and Needed

          I   have had two great loves in my life, the one I wanted and the one I needed. To prevent confusion I will call them Mr. Want and Mr. Need.

          Mr. Want entered my life in the eighth grade.  He chased me, and I still remember the first time he kissed me.  He knew I would be making a visit to the nurse for my asthma med, and he waited on the stairs. Just so he could kiss me.  I let him kiss me but I didn’t let him catch me.  I still don’t know why, but I didn’t.  He moved away which made communication difficult.  In those days we didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, E-mail, cell phones, or Skype.   Each time he came to Muncie, however, he would contact me and we would see each other.   Mr. Want was tall, liquid blue eyes, and a voice smooth like honey.   The summer between our sophomore and junior year we made a pact to marry in seven years, and go to prom together.  We didn’t go to prom together.  Mr. Want blew in my life again the summer after we graduated.  He blew right back out like a hurricane. I was left heartbroken and confused.  I thought for sure he was the one for me.  I couldn’t understand why he had said he felt the same and then left me.  I thought our story was over, finished, but it wasn’t.  Mr. Want came back five years later.   I remember everything about those few days.  All the old feelings came rushing back, but it still wasn’t meant to be.  He left again, where I don’t remember, and for ten years not a word.    He came back around in 2009, and by this time I was living in Florida and had met Mr. Need.   Mr. Want tried to talk me into coming home to Indiana and being with him.  Did my heart skip a beat when I heard his voice? Did all those maddening feelings come back?  Absolutely. But by then I knew a relationship with Mr. Want had always been and would always be like a roller coaster; a fun wild ride that would always come to a thudding heart wrenching stop.  And it was time for me to get out of line, and not ride anymore.  So I chose to stay with Mr. Need.

   I never expected Mr. Need.   He was nothing like Mr. Want or anything I wanted at all. He wasn’t over six feet tall, didn’t wear Levi’s, had a quirky sense of humor, and was divorced and had a daughter.  He was calm, crazy about me, and our relationship wasn’t at all like a roller coaster. It was more constant like the waves of the ocean coming in.  I remember our first kiss, our first date, and what he said to me on our first date.  He bought me flowers just because, for my birthday, Valentine’s day and even Christmas.   No matter what came our way he stood by me. I saw him fight for me, and fight to be with me.   For the first time in my life, I was unabashedly adored.  For the first time in my life I was in a healthy relationship.  There was some drama, of course, but nothing that we couldn’t work through or get over.  Mr. Need was the love I needed and never knew I wanted.  It was gentle yet tough when it needed to be, constant and sure.  I married Mr. Need.

            The lesson I learned in all this is love comes in many forms, and what is wanted isn’t always what is needed.    Mr. Need makes me a better person, still unabashedly adores me and brings me flowers.  Our love is still constant, secure, and sure.  We have been to hell and back and have managed to emerge stronger.  I am so happy I married the love I needed and never knew I wanted.  

    I don’t know why I decided to write this today, maybe because Valentine’s Day was just the other day or maybe because I have just been thinking about the difference between want and need.  It might be because Mr. Want recently contacted me via social media.  I don’t really know.  I just know, for whatever reason, I am reassured that Mr. Need was and still is the perfect choice for me.

February 19, 2014. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.