I feel like at the close of every year, when I’m dreaming about the year ahead and making resolutions and whatnot, there has always been this small portion of my mind that I don’t allow to wander at the turn of the year. I kept it harnessed because for years I let it wander and it always hurt me when it came back. It was the part of my head that would form thoughts like, “I wonder if this is the year that I’ll find love; if this is the year that someone will find me worthy of keeping forever and loving extravagantly.” That ember of wonder got stomped out throughout the years, but this year fanned that flame back to life.
I did find love this year. And it wasn’t even close to the love I used to dream about. Every expectation I had in mind was like a small box that this love exploded and hovered over. It is greater, and stronger and sweeter, and more faithful than I anything I tried to conjure up in my head. All my ideas of love got blown out the window this year. And behind all of it, has been Love Himself; constantly whispering to me, “THIS is who I say you are, Beloved. THIS is what I say you are worth, and what I say you are deserving of. THIS is how you deserve to be honored and valued and pursued and cherished and thought of and spoken to. THIS is the love that I have for you. I have molded this man, Cale Hake, in the perfect family and the perfect environment to grow up to learn how to love extravagantly so that when he loved you someday, he would be loving you in the way that keeps pointing you to me and showing you how I really feel about you. Its good, isn’t it?”
I can’t wrap my mind around it and I can’t understand the fullness of God’s heart for me in its entirety, but He has given me a tangible glimpse into more of the depths of his heart for me through Cale Hake, and because of it, this year has been marked for me with healing through real love. Not just love. Because now I know the difference. Real love.
Real love not only heals, but brings back to life places that have died in our hearts. Only real love can do that; love that is linked to the Father’s heart. Love that is tied to the Father’s mouth and hands. Love that does, not for selfish ambition, but for selfless, pure desire to see the other thrive and find joy. That’s real love. It holds power. And I’ve experienced that power this year.
I have dreams and hopes for this next year, like always. But it’s different now. I no longer dream and hope for myself, but for us. I conjure up plans and adventures for us now, not just me. And that has made 2014 a year of whimsical adventure that I can hardly wait to endeavor upon.
Sinking your body into a soft spot of grass. Wrapping your jacket around you in the cool of the night. Gazing up at an endlessly stretching canopy of star spangled skies. Being taken by shooting stars.
Have you experienced it before?
Standing on the shore of the sea. Letting the foamy waves glide over your feet. Gazing out at the watery horizon into the perfection of a sunset with colors so vibrant that words fail to describe it fully.
Have you ever experienced it?
Staring deeply into the eyes of the one your heart has been captured by. Being so overwhelmed with love that you desperately want to somehow consume that person wholly, and be wholly consumed by that person.
Do you know that feeling?
The pain of beauty?
These deeply embedded emotions surface in these moments that don’t have a known source or accurate description. It’s this irony that such immeasurable beauty could produce within us this deep and almost painful, aching desire that wells up somewhere in between your heart and your stomach.
We get these small glimpses of perfection—of heaven— and we become restless and unsatisfied until we are immersed in it and filled with it unceasingly. We desire those moments to last forever; to never go away.
Those moments are what we live for. Because they are what we are MADE for. They draw our beings out so forcefully because they are where we feel the most complete. The most satisfied and content.
It’s the expectation of life here on earth, dear friends. “We believers groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we LONG for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We wait with eager hope for the day when God gives us our full rights as His adopted children, including the new bodies He has promised us.” Romans 8:23
Its restless anticipation. And we will never feel whole and full until we are where we were made to belong.
If arithmetic is numbers, and if algebra is numbers and letters, then grace is numbers, letters, sounds, and tears, feelings and dreams. Grace is smashing the calculator, and using all the broken buttons and pieces to make a mosaic.
Grace isn’t about having a second chance; grace is having so many chances that you could use them through all eternity and never come up empty. It’s when you finally realize that the other shoe isn’t going to drop, ever. It’s the moment you feel as precious and handmade as every star, when you feel, finally, at home for the very first time.
Grace is when you finally stop keeping score and when you realize that God never was, that his game is a different one entirely. Grace is when the silence is so complete that you can hear your own heartbeat, and right within your ribs, God’s beating heart, too. Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet (via hollowtowers)
Grow in something today. Make goals and achieve them. And remember you are LIVING for something!