I was giving Olivia breakfast the other day when I heard Charlie in the other room. He had taken it upon himself to go into the mud room where we keep the dogs food, and feed the dog. I am not sure what prompted him to do that, but I was amazed at his desire to help without me asking. There may have been some food that spilled out of the dog’s bowl, but as he walked by me to go play I said to him, “Charlie, I am so proud of you.” His face lit up in pure joy, and he threw his arms around me in the biggest hug. I didn’t expect that reaction, but I welcomed it with open arms. Love that instilled joy.
Love instills joy.
I bought a Bible for someone recently, and as time went on she gradually began to love it. She said one day as she held it “this belongs to me”. Those words hit me hard, because oh how sweet the love of Jesus is, that He would care about us enough to give us the gift of His truth and His love in our hands. Indeed it is a truth that does belong to us. His Word, His Truth, His Love. The love that instills joy.
I remember the first time I felt God’s love. It came in the form of His forgiveness. I had turned my back on Him for so long, and had been carrying the guilt around like a 200 lb weight. I didn’t have my act together, far from it actually. Not only did I not have my act together, but I was pretty undeserving of His love. Yet, I remember the night I cried out to Him for forgiveness for the way I had lived my life. I remember Him gently letting me know that is was okay, and that it was okay because He forgave me because He loved me. It was this act of love that transformed my life. His simple truth that shifted everything. It was His grace that has allowed me to turn my eyes on Him, and live out of His love for me. Grace so amazing, and love so indescribable had saturated my life.
Life. It can be complicated, and I have to constantly remind myself to go back to the basics of amazing grace. Amazing grace that is so simple, yet can feel so complicated. Jesus came to rescue us all through the ultimate act of sacrificial love, by dying on a cross, but then rising from the dead. Scars that that tell the beautiful story that love overcomes death in the resurrection from the grave. This love that instills everlasting joy. I have to constantly approach this truth with childlike faith, because so many times I can over complicate this truth with the thoughts of “What if’s?”, “How’s?”, and “I am so unworthy.”
“How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed”
I ran into an old friend in the parking lot of a grocery store back in the Fall. She was so excited to see me, as I hadn’t seen her in quite awhile (years). She told me that she was learning about Jesus, and that everyday she asks Jesus to show her that He loves her, and today I was the answer to that prayer. “He really loves me,” she said. I knew that He did, so I replied “I know.” This was a big deal that I glossed over because of years of knowing His love. This love that felt so sweet the first time I truly experienced it, yet I had forgotten the immensity of that love. She was like “NO, He REALLY loves me!” Yes, this is a big deal. How sweet the love of Jesus feels, that she would have so much joy in knowing that basic truth. Oh, if I could live out of the joy each day.
God created us out of love, and out of love He gave us the choice to follow Him. With that love comes a deep joy that can’t be contained once you experience it. It is a joy that trampled death, and rose from the grave so the world would know His love. May we always come back to the basics of amazing grace, and embrace that love as if it was the hour that we first believed. May we always gaze at Him with eyes of awe for all that He is, and for the love that is undeserving, and yet freely given.
Take some time to listen to this beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace, and reflect on the first time you felt His undeniable love for the first time. May you never forget…