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An Honest Account of Love, Grief and Walking With God
Finding God's Goodness in Life's Disappointments

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Are You Wearing Your Life Jacket?

Posted: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 6:04 pm | Updated: 6:05 pm, Wed Jul 6, 2011.
You are never a failure unless you fail to see God's love for you. That sentence was the topic of my last article, and I want to continue to expound on it.
Living in the Bible belt, we frequently hear "God loves you." I encounter many people, though, who don't live like they believe it. I must confess I've lived most of my life as a Christian who did not really believe the fact that God really loved me dearly.
I will never forget the evening about 20 years ago when my late husband and I finished leading a Bible study on trusting God.
In our study, the statement was made that a person could not really trust God fully if they did not really believe he loved them. I broke down and confessed to my husband and to another couple that I struggled with trusting God and really believing he loved me. I had plenty of head knowledge but needed that which moved to my heart.
It was a humbling moment for me as a Bible study teacher to confess that, but it was true. My problem was that I looked at my circumstances and things I had been through and had doubted God's love. My confession and honesty opened the door for God to forever erase those doubts.

I asked him for a revelation of his love. I know he loved the day I offered up that prayer and my journey began in experiencing God's love. One day, one of my students brought me a valentine that had a scripture on it. I knew God was speaking through that little girl's gift.
The scripture was Jeremiah 31:3, which says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with loving-kindness."
It quickly became a treasured scripture because it is a constant reminder that God's love is unending for me. His love will never cease. Everlasting means now and always. I also love it because it also shows me that God is tenderly drawing me to himself. His kindness is birthed out of a heart of love for me.
Not long after, God took me to a scripture found in Deuteronomy 33:12.
It says, "Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders."
I remember when I was little and sat on someone's shoulders. I felt on top of the world because I was suddenly bigger than everything. I felt special. Things that once looked big to me suddenly were not that big.
God's heart is for his kids to rest and to know they are loved. When we climb up on his shoulders, resting in his love, then we can see our lives from his perspective.
God's viewpoint is always better than mine. He issues us an invitation to rest and come up higher.
When we have an understanding that God really loves us and is for us, we can rest in the middle of any storm in life. It is easy to focus on the storm or the problem, but when I focus on the fact that I am dearly loved, his beloved, his love acts as my life jacket. It helps me ride the waves. The life jacket of his love allows me to rest and not fight the waves and to quit trying in my own strength.
When I wear the life jacket of his love, prepared for whatever storm may arise, I stay above the waves of what is coming against me. God has provided for our safety because he is good. We have a choice to wear it or not.
About four years ago, I was taking my nephew, Taylor, out for a special fun day. My sister and her husband waited a long time for Taylor, and he was not only very special to them but to me, as I don't have grandchildren - yet.
He is a child who wakes up each day full of energy and excitement. Each day he is ready to enjoy and conquer life.
Taylor was in the back seat of the Jeep and was singing and enjoying his day with Aunt Kathleen. As we drove, I felt the Holy Spirit invade the Jeep and I began to weep. I felt God speak that Taylor was free to enjoy each day because he knew he was dearly loved by his parents as well as me.
Taylor knows we will take care of everything that concerns him, protect him, and he knows that we enjoy him as a person.
Then I felt God say, "Kathleen, I want you to live as my much-loved child."
I have felt so much more freedom from stress and anxiety as I have been learning to live as a much-loved child. When we really believe God is a loving father and will take care of everything that concerns us, we are free to enjoy every situation we encounter.
I am learning that when I am stressed or anxious, I just need a greater revelation of his love for me.
I John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."
Who am I? I am a much-loved child of God.
Who are you? YOU ARE A MUCH-LOVED AND WANTED CHILD, and you are never a failure unless you fail to see God's love for you

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