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Having spent the weekend with a bunch of other pastors’ wives at a retreat, listening to Beth Moore study about God’s love and loving others, love was on my mind more than usual this week.  I learned so much and got plenty of things to ponder out of watching the messages and talking with the other ladies.

One of the things Beth shared that stuck with me is that God’s love doesn’t change with His mood like ours does.  Sometimes the love we show is based on an emotion or feeling, but God IS love.  The love we feel and experience is an expression of who He is at the core, through and through.  We only love because He loved us first.  He cannot NOT love.  What an awesome, mind-boggling thought!  I will never fully understand it.  I have been trying to unlearn for years the idea that I have to perform well for God to really love me and accept the notion that He just loves me.  Why would he do that?

The other day I was sitting out in the sun during my lunch hour at a local outdoor mall food court.  It’s my favorite place to be during the work week at lunch time.  It’s beautiful and out in the open but still has plenty of spaces to sit and feel like you’re alone.  I got to thinking about the upcoming changes for our family.  John, Krissy (our youngest) and I will be moving out west most likely, probably in June or July.  Kimmi and Kaitlin (the older two) will remain here.  They have jobs for the summer and an apartment lined up, for which we’re so thankful, but it’s a big step into a new frontier for all of us.  It will be the first time John and I move and start pastoring at a church without all three girls.  It will be the first time the older girls will be at school and so far from us.  No weekend meetings at the mall on Saturdays or quick trips home to visit or get things.  It’s the first time the girls will be on their own, in their own apartment, buying groceries, paying utilities, working and doing their thing.  Kaitlin reminded me that her birthday is in August and I’ll probably be gone.  It will be the first birthday of any of my girls when we won’t be together.  As I thought of that I got a big lump in my throat.  I have so many mixed emotions about it all – the love I have for my girls is overwhelming.  An ache swelled up in my heart at the thought of it all and then I think I heard God speak to me.  I’m pretty sure He said, “See how much you love her and ache at the thought of being apart from her?  That’s not even a drop in the bucket compared to the love I have for you, and have always had for you.”  My heart felt peaceful and comforted but also bewildered.

Jesus said that if we, as sinful people, are able to love our kids and give them good things, how much immeasurably more is God able to love us and give us good things?  (Matt. 7:11)  How much more does He enjoy taking care of us and making sure we have what we need?  Why do I think it’s a chore for Him to care for me, to look out for me, to lead me?  Why do I sometimes picture him rolling his eyes or sighing in frustration at the interruption of my neediness?  Could it be He loves loving me and doing all those things?  If so, what a beautiful, uplifting, and astonishing thought!   How would that change the way I live my life everyday if I was secure in the knowledge of God’s love for me – if I believed without a doubt that He loves me that much?   Beth Moore told us that in order for us to love others well we have to know without a doubt that we are well-loved.  I pray God will show me and you that more and more every day, starting today.

Our LORD and Ruler, your name is wonderful everywhere on earth!

You let your glory be seen in the heavens above….

I often think of the heavens your hands have made,

and of the moon and stars you put in place.

Then I ask, “Why do you care about us humans?

Why are you concerned for us weaklings?”

You made us a little lower than you yourself,

and you have crowned us with glory and honor.   Psalm 8  CEV

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  I John 3:1  NIV