I am alive. I had been struck down by the nasty old flu, but, I survived. I'm left with a nasty little cough that causes unpleasant things to happen to my body, but, I am not defeated. Just beat up a little, tiny bit.
I've been REreading "The Shack" over the past few weeks. Normally, a book that small will take me just a day or two. And it did, the first time. But, I am soaking it in this go round. As I read, I cry. The tears just fall from my eyes. It is certainly enlightening to say the least. I am getting so much more out of it this time. Something different. Part of it is because the information in this book can be quite overwhelming, but, the other part of it is that I am in such a different place in my spiritual life. I am able to pull tidbits out of this book and see things that I never could understand before. I recommend this book, but not as a replacement of the Bible. Just as an "interpretation" of some things, maybe a "clarification" of sorts.
I am not about to sit here and debate whether or not I believe that the events in this book took place exactly as the writer claims they did. Maybe they did, maybe they didn't. I personally believe that it's irrelevant. What strikes me as AWEsome is, once I am able to wrap my mind around this stuff, just how simple and simultaneously complex everything is.
Where before there was fear of "death" (mostly because of the separation from my loved ones on earth), there is now almost an excitement. Not that I am wanting to leave my husband and kids behind right now, but, I just feel comforted that IT is going to be worry free and duty free and care free. It will be a time of just love. Perfect love. Nothing and no one will get in the way to hinder it. Not even time.
I've also been given a glimpse into understanding some of the why's of this crazy life we are living here on earth. We humans tend to complicate things that really don't need to be.
I've struggled with the whole "being loved by God" thing all of my life. I've never counted myself significant enough to be loved by anyone, much less God. But then, I had children of my own. And I have experienced true unconditional love. There is nothing that my kids could ever do that would make me not love them. Sure, they could disappoint me. But, they could never make me stop loving them. I will always see the best in them. I will always see that which is lovable in them. I will always see their potential. I will always see their truth. So, if I can love them that way, why can't God love me at least that much? And not only love me, but, love us all. He loves those who disappoint Him, too. He sees the best in the thief and the liar. He sees that which is lovable in the abusive father and husband. He sees the potential of the drug addict. He sees the truth in the one who has been beat down into a position to murder. God's love is perfect. I know that here on earth I will never be able to love like that. But, I think God would want me to try.
The thing about God is that He wants us to love Him~ freely. Out of the truest and deepest and purest desire of our heart. He wants the real deal. That's it. (I am probably gonna get some opposition on this, but, here it is anyway.) I believe that He doesn't count the number of times we warm a pew. We don't need any religious ceremony or ritual. None of that really matters. He just wants us to LOVE Him. "The Church" or "The Bride of Christ" is not a religious denomination or sect. The Church is a gathering of people who come together to be in a love relationship with God! I am not opposed to going to church. As a matter of fact, I LOVE my church! I look forward to "warming a pew". I love being in a room with people who love God like I do. I love praising God with others. I love learning about how I can love God better. Again, I don't believe God is watching and counting the times we open our Bible, but I certainly believe that we can and should use the Bible for help and guidance and encouragement. He wants us to be in love with Him just as much as He is in love with us.
I could go on for days about any one aspect of God and His love. It is amazing that something so elementary could be so intricate at the same time. But it is. It's kind of like layers. As you go deeper into it, you can see more beauty and depth, but it is all still the same love. There are endless ways to love God and as we grow in our relationship with Him we are able to love Him better, deeper, more personally. But, we should not feel that we need to "do" anything to be lovable or loving. We just need to love. And that's enough.
"And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength." Deuteronomy 6:5
"Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love covers all offenses." Proverbs 10:12
"I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in His love. I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you." John 15:9-12