When is the last time you listened to How He Loves? This is the month our culture celebrates love, but our Papa lavishes his affections on us continually. Oh, that we would have an ability to see, discern, and experience all of His goodness He purposefully, relentlessly pours out (please see Psalm 34:8) in a pursuit to chase after our hearts, heal our wounds, and restore us to our legal, rightful position of sons and daughters of The King.
When is the last time you witnessed His love in a unique and significant way?
His desire is to H E A L all of your being. He wants to heal your intellect. Did someone shut down the stretching of your brain as a young child through criticism over academics? He wants to heal your heart. Did anyone make a promise to you and walk away, abandoning the plan to bring you treasures, joy, or beauty? He wants to heal your body. Have you experienced physical pain, deformity, or disease? He wants to heal your soul. Have you experienced darkness and the loss of communion with Holy Spirit?
I have found that many of God’s pursuits of my heart involve a long tapestry-stretching through years and even decades. May I share one such story with you? Honestly, it is difficult for me to choose just one because I have so many stories I have intently stored as a heart journal of all the good things (at least all of the times when I have taken a moment to take stock) He has done as a generous gesture of His deep, unending love. This month, I will share a wedding gift He gave my husband and me.
Michael and I discovered a love for one another as we discovered a deep love for God. Our youth group became alive in one particular season (or, at least alive with a new depth). That season, we began to date. As our youth group disintegrated, our relationship did as well. One of the gifts Michael gave me during that time was a wind chime. He braided friendship bracelet yarn in place of the string for the chime to hang. The yarn and the birds were colorful and vibrant. Ten years later, I still had that chime and it hung in my home. Unexpectedly, our friendship was rekindled despite living 300 miles apart. At some point during this re-budding friendship, I grew angry. I was frustrated. I was exasperated. I had always loved Michael. He had been in my heart for all of those years. I was upset with God for allowing this relationship to resurface. My life was predictable and steady. In a fit, or desperation, or a moment of devotion to God, I grabbed that chime down from my ceiling and promptly handed it to a friend. I told her about my predicament and gave her the item as if it was an old pair of shoes I could no longer fit. “God, I give you this relationship as I hand over this chime.” I had enjoyed that chime, but I felt I could no longer hold onto it.
It was between two and three years after I offered the chime up that I was in Michael’s grandmother’s home. God had given marriage as a gift to Michael and me. In Grandma Jerry’s home, I found myself staring at a replica of the chime that had been given to me more than a decade earlier. This bird chime did not have hand-braided friendship yarn or the colors of my previous one. It was completely white and beautiful. That wind chime was given to me and today it lovingly adorns a prominent spot in our living room.
How has God woven His reckless love story through your adventures? Through your everyday experiences? In this season, will you allow God’s love to wash over you and lavish you with His goodness, His kindness, and His gentle mercies? Will you accept and embrace His forgiveness? Will you rejoice in His offer of freedom?
This revised article was originally published in February’s 2021 edition of A Bundle of Thyme Online Magazine for Women. Jennifer authored her column, Chipped China, from April 2019 until November 2022.