By: Jana Greene
“For those who feel their lives are a grave disappointment to God, it requires enormous trust and reckless, raging confidence to accept that the love of Jesus Christ knows no shadow of alteration or change. When Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened,” He assumed we would grow weary, discouraged, and disheartened along the way. These words are a touching testimony to the genuine humanness of Jesus. He had no romantic notion of the cost of discipleship. He knew that following Him was as unsentimental as duty, as demanding as love.”
― Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out
From the very first minute I met my beloved husband, it was obvious that he was interested in me. He made is so clear! If ever there were a love at first sight, we totally nailed it.
But seemed to be such a good man, that I had this primal urge to warn him.
“You should probably know,” I said, while waited for a lunch table on our first date. “I’m an alcoholic in recovery.”
“And have two daughters, 10 and 13, who I raise by myself. And they are really handfuls.“ He only smiled at me, undeterred.
As that first date progressed, it was clear that this man was special, different. He was warm, attentive, interesting. I had butterflies, but in the most comfortable, natural way. As it turned out, that he had a 13-year-old daughter, too. In our first, long conversation, I kept having the oddest feeling that this was The One.
We saw each other every day after that. We simply couldn’t be apart.
In times of anxiety, I wanted to tell him, “RUN! I am not worth it!” and when he didn’t run, that dark place in my spirit that was born of so much rejection in the past, whispered, “He will one day abandon you, you know. He will figure it out.”
Even after such a brief courtship, it occurred to me that If he wanted to run, I would rather it be right away, before I fell any deeper in love with him. I felt like such a mess, with nothing to bring into this new relationship.
Nothing but me.
“I have medical issues,” I would say at otherwise intimate times. Or, “I struggle to pay my bills.”
I was sure that this sexy, compassionate, amazing man would not stick around, if only he knew the true me. But a strange thing happened … the more he came to know the true “me,” the more he just kept falling in love. The alcoholism recovery (which is a lifetime endeavor,) the single-parenting of teenaged girls, the health issues….none of these – or any of the other in the plethora of anxieties and insecurities – kept him from loving me.
Oh how many times I experience the same dynamic in my walk with God! From the very first moment I accepted Christ as my savior, it was obvious that he was head-over-heels with me.
From time to time I remind him: “I am small, insignificant. I battle anxiety, and fear abandonment, and have nothing to bring to the table. Only me.”
He is such a good God, it’s almost as if I feel I should warn Him.
Often, when I feel those butterflies that come from knowing the Living God has fallen in love with me, I still wonder “why?” I am in awe that the God of the universe is undeterred by my character defects, challenges, and not concerned about what I can “bring to the table.”
I’ve told God that – if he wants to run, I understand. I’m kind of a mess. Sometimes, when I am most anxious and depressed, when the old feelings of being a “mess” crash over me, I think about the early days when I tried to talk my Beloved husband out of loving me, and he just smiled. I was enough, he wanted me, just me – forever.
What kind of God would be crazy about me? The kind that cannot be talked out of it.
The kind who just wants to be with me, because when he created me, it was love at first sight.
And when he runs, it is only toward me.