Only with love

Sometimes it is hard to see the real you, the eyes of someone else sees something different than your own eyes, either we can over criticize or we have over inflated view of ourselves. I do find that when we look at ourselves with the eyes of others we see a different person in ourselves, sometimes this other person’s eyes see us in such different eyes it can be painful to see their view point of you, and criticism often hurts more than it should.

Now what I say about myself is not to seek a contrasting opinion but is an honest appraisal of the me of a year ago and in fact, the me of the past decade.

I would not accept criticism by others, yet I was quick to criticize what I saw wrong in others. I had a broken heart and was constantly looking for the love of another to fill the empty space within, to mend the broken parts of me. I was proud, selfish, and incredibly negative, I would moan about the smallest thing, I was lazy, arrogant, and I just did not care about others outside of the people I deemed I should care about. I was incredibly self-righteous about things that just did not matter. Basically if I met myself of then, back then, I would have hated me, and in fact I probably did. I was supressing depression, anxiety, a sense of abandonment, a very low self-confidence, and had no trust for anyone or anything. I was preparing for the end of the world, and looking forwards to it because I hated my life so much.

The people who have met me more recently may not see these things about me, as the me of then has up and left the building. I have been given a new heart, and my broken one has been repaired, and allow to beat again. How has this happened? Is there a self-help course that fixed my life? Am I on drugs to make me better? The simple answer is no. The only thing that could have changed me, has changed me, the love God has for me.

Not so long ago I was feeling especially empty, and I thought that the God I knew of my late teens was so distant, I had walked away from Him, and I thought there no way back. When I walked away I ripped my heart in two and I didn’t even notice at the time. I spent many years with many women, who I wanted to fill that something inside of me, that loss, that emptiness. I hurt a lot of women, not physically, but I was nice to them, but would walk away when I knew I could not see what I was looking for. The three women who I thought might be able to fill that space, never did, but I did get more hurt, more in pain, to the point I was just numb

So when, I thought there was no hope for me finding the closeness, the companionship I knew I needed, I prayed. It was a simple prayer, it was Jesus, if you still want me, in any way, despite I walked away from you, despite I sinned so much, and despite the fact that I really am worthless, can you show me that you still want me? I felt I was praying into a massive empty space, and that salivation was lost to me, that relationship, that love, was all gone.

The next morning my girlfriend rings me in the early morning, on skype. She was sobbing, and I wanted to know what happened, was she alright? She goes on to say that we are finished, that she couldn’t explain it, that we just couldn’t be together, and that it was over. I was devastated. We had only been going out for 3 and a half years, it was a relationship that would be unlikely to have a happy ending. My girlfriend you see lived in South Africa. The term long distance relationship doesn’t really express it.

As I sit feeling sorry for myself, I look at Facebook. Someone I went to college with, had written a post about how these elders in America had been on a dating site, and how wrong of them to condemn gay marriage when they were being pervs. I was angered by the post, idk why I cared, but I did. I pointed out that there is nothing sinful about dating sites, that everyone should have the right to do as they wish, as long as it didn’t hurt someone else, including choose who they marry in their churches, and that elders does not mean priests. It turns out my old friend was an atheist. One person commented, that it was a shame to be human. The guy who wrote this had the same surname as my old college friend, but I didn’t know him. I was unsure if he was being sarcastic or not, so didn’t know how to react to him.

Then the guy adds me on Facebook, and I sit there looking at the request, and I think, he will probably just insult me for my Christian POV, I look up his page, and do not get a sense of the guy. Usually I just decline people who I do not know. I am just about to decline and, for some reason I could not understand, instead hit accept.

For a few moments I do not think much more of it, then he started messaging me, saying he doesn’t usually add people but something made him do so. We begin to chat. I explain to him that I wasn’t really a Christian, I believed in Christ, but that I had walked away from Him a long time ago, had thrown away my salvation, that I had become angry at God and lost a long time ago. He asked if I had spoken to other Christians about this? I told him that I hadn’t really spoken to a Christian, in years, not knowingly anyways. He told me that we cannot throw away our salvation, that God still loved me, he described my situation, as a desert. Instantly, what he said, how he said it, hit a note deep within me. I broke down and sobbed to God that I was sorry, I wanted forgiveness, I wanted Jesus in my life. This time, it did not feel like I was praying into an empty room, I knew he heard my prayers and answered them.

Unknowingly, this guy was supposed to go to an event with his church, but hadn’t felt up to it. He felt he had not reached out to someone in a while, and I had gotten him down, he had prayed to God to be given someone to help. His prayers were answered too. God really is good.

You will probably be wondering where my point is in all this, where I am going with all this. You may know some of this story already if you know me. This is not here to be my testimony but to explain love, at least how it has been applied to my life. If it seems a little disorganised, it is because I thought of this post whilst driving back from Kettering on Sunday evening whilst the rain was pelting down and I had to really focus whilst driving. I knew I just had to write this down. Someone needed to read it.

So here I am a brand new person, in Christ. But that did not mean that I was fully fixed, and still to this point would not count myself as fully fixed but there is some journey to talk about.

I went to the church I went to as a teenager, and found it full of people I did not know, and I just did not sense Gods presence. I thought this was just me, because I had spent so much time away from God. I did not find fellowship. In all this time whilst I went through all kinds of things, including panic attacks which I had not have for years before hand. I was under attack but did not understand it. The guy from Facebook continued to be an ancher to me, holding me down, in a good way. He prayed for me, talked me down when I was freaking out. In time I began to allow God more into the situation, but I wasn’t ready to truly trust Him as I should. I was taking tiny baby steps whilst Satan was taking raging blows against me trying to stop me from continuing from my journey. I wasn’t strong enough to protect myself, but God was more than up for the task, whenever I rested in Him the storms would abate. Meanwhile the guy from Facebook, kept supporting me, even at crazy times of the night. We shall call him Peacemaker to make things easier.

Peacemaker kept supporting me as I tried to understand why I did not feel Gods presence at the old church, as I tried to persevere. I met a customer, who told me that she found the same issue at this church and suggested a brand new fellowship meeting, she took my number and passed it to the guy who was holding the meetings. He called me when I had lost my voice, so when he rang me, I could barely answer, so I took down the directions. When I arrived I found something different. The Holy Spirit was moving there. Someone got a word that we must all hug. This was kinda weird but I really needed those hugs that day. My first trip up to meet Peacemaker and his church is elsewhere on the blog, however I will say that I instantly found home, in that first trip, and family over the next visits.

After each trip I would get home and be confronted by an issue, that had been haunting me since I was a child, firstly a feeling of abandonment, He opened my eyes to it, and through my tears, healed me. The next time, a brother had a word about trust. I had no idea it was aimed at me, till I got home, and once again, my eyes were opened, and through sobs of tears, was healed of it. As I drove home this time, knowing that I would soon be moving in with this new and radically loving family, and I got an image of a heart, covered of scars, that was slowly being healed, but also that God was removing all of the scars from the heart. I also knew I had to talk about where I had come from, and that I had to make an honest appraisal of where I was without God, and where I am right now.

So here is my appraisal of myself now. It is hard to say nice things about oneself but I don’t hate myself anymore so I can actually be honest. Firstly I am not perfect, I am like Christian in a Pilgrims Progress, I have reached the foot of the cross. Still a long journey to go, but many things to be left in the past. Nothing holding onto me from my past dragging me down, my pack on my back has been dropped. I am in love with God, I love my brothers, my sisters in Christ, I love my neighbour, I do not see anyone as my enemy, but the less friendly are still my neighbour to my mind, even if they live the other side of the world. I have a warm heart instead of a lump of scared stone in my chest. I am often humble, can take criticism. I am positive, on the whole, find little to complain about, but much to be thankful for. I am at peace. I am a sinner, and I thank God for cleansing me, healing me, and for removing those scars from my heart.

A month ago I was in an Anglican service in the evening, my mum has volunteered to come which was a shock to me, as she has been against how much God means to me. Still she had come, the service was beautiful, small, touching, I was praying fervently for God to open my mum’s heart and that she might be saved. Then suddenly, He spoke directly to me. He said I love you. I was startled, I’ve never heard him like this. Before I could question anything, again came the words, I love you. Then again came I love you, and instantly I said I am not worthy. Then came I love you. I knew instantly that I was holding back somewhat because I did not feel worthwhile. Then came a word / image, that I took applied to my mum, it was of a hard ground, I felt sad, despite the elation of being told that I was loved by God, because I really would love to see both my parents to be saved. But then He showed me that he was watering the ground. I knew from this that whilst the ground was hard, he was softening it, that It might take time to soften it, but to trust fully in Him.

So finally I can say the most important thing about me. I am loved, by God, and I am saved by Jesus. What else do you need to know about me?

Am I perfect? Absolutely not, I pray for the day I might reach that, but I am made perfect by the blood of Christ.

If you do not feel loved by God, then I can promise you that He does, in fact love you, you are worthy, you are so worthy, that He came to earth, as His son Jesus Christ, who then died, to absolve your sins, then arose 3 days later so that you may have eternal life. He did this for me, and he did that for you. He is waiting for you to invite Him into your life. I know this because I have experienced a radical change of who I am, and what I am worth. Before I was worthless in my eyes, I needed exterior validation to see anything positive about me. Now I am worth everything, purely because He says I am worth the sacrifice. Everything else is dross and drops away. So I pray, if you read this, and are not covered by Jesus’ blood, do not see His love in your life that you can open yourself to let him in and see what happens to you.

Many Blessings

J