Words have power, the power of life and death. “I love you” I tell my husband, but I cry because it doesn’t seem enough. These words tenderize the heart and bring comfort, but are hardly significant in expressing the level of commitment and depth of devotion I hold for him. That is why I strive to love him in deed and truth. (1 John 3:18)
This is how I long to love Abba.
In May of 2013, I wrote in my journal about an experience I had during a “praise and worship” night at my church. Earlier that morning, I journaled, “It’s all about Jesus! Make it that way. NOTHING else will do. HE is the center of it ALL!” I went on to pray, “Jesus, it is all about You.” It was later that evening when I was lost in praise that I heard four clear and gentle words, “Mean what you say.”
Mean what you say.
These words would lovingly grab my attention when I spoke in the future. Was I truly, in my heart meaning what I was saying? Less than a year later, I was saying such things as,
“Come, interfere in my life.”
“Take me deeper than my feet could EVER wander, that my faith would be made stronger.”
“Yes God. I say yes to whatever it is that YOU have for me. Your will be done. Not my own. I am Yours, and I say YES, without even knowing what it is.”
“I surrender all.”
There was a dramatic point that I would have an opportunity to love my Father in deed and in truth by meaning what I said. Everything I was asking for, I received.
I had been quietly treasuring this new love that had developed in my life. I had made vows before God to love this man as his wife, but only two people in my life knew about him. My brother who introduced us, and my best friend Melissa. I was happily in love, secretly. I wanted to share my joy, not hide it. My love had not yet cast out all fear. There was fear of what I would face and what I might lose.
I was able to have a glimpse into my fear during lunch in the break room one evening at work. The room held two men and four women, including myself. Three of us were self-proclaimed Christians. Conversation turned to prison and prisoners. Some of the things I heard were, “They should all be put on the front line”, “I can’t believe they get three meals a day”, and “I’m so mad that I have all this college debt and they get free education.”
The shallow, ignorant hatred pierced and confirmed the fear I held.
I sat quietly, not revealing my secret love affair with a man known more by his DIN than his name. We faced a world who cared more about his charge than his story.
Interference had arrived. I was walking so deep, I had no choice but to rest and trust in God, walking in sheer faith. He reminded me again that saying yes to His plan meant leaving behind my goals, my dreams, my plans, my fears, my family, my friends. Nothing was off-limits. Did I love Him or the world? Him or my reputation? Him or fear?
In other words, “Daughter, did you really mean you surrender ALL?”
Though it meant loss, persecution, pain, tremendous amounts of tears and sacrifice, I meant what I said when I said, “Yes, I am Yours, everything I am and everything I have.” I knew the gain would be much greater than the loss. I chose eternal over temporary.
Our perfect love has cast out all fear, and I am unashamed.
On a later occasion at work one of those same persons from the break room, a “Christian”, stopped me as “a friend” and wanted to make me aware of the “rumors” going around about me. They went on to say that the rumors were that I was “married to a prisoner, charged with murder, who was black.”
After an internal laugh, I drew slightly closer, and proudly answered, “I’m married to a prisoner, who was charged with murder, and he’s black. Well, half black”, I corrected.
My invitation for interference came. I chose to be radically obedient. I chose to not only KNOW the heart of Jesus, but to LIVE IT! (Matthew 25:31-46, Hebrew 13:3) I will share the grace I have been given. (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13, Matthew 6:14) I will LOVE ALL people (John 13:35), the ignorant and the imprisoned. I will die daily (1 Corinthians 15:31), pick up my cross, and I will follow Jesus. (Luke 9:23)
Saying “Yes!” has been the most rewarding, though painful, beautiful choice I’ve ever made. I have never known such love, and held such STRONG faith. Praise is continually on my lips!