During the same small group time when we were discussing Ephesians 5 and about husbands and wives (mentioned in my previous post), I distinctly remember someone asking, "what does it feel like to be loved the way Christ loves the church? A love that purifies you?" Christ loved us (the church) so lavishly that He died for us. He died so that we could be together.
I was discussing with another friend at another time... and we were talking about what it feels like to love with passionate love... to love someone with passion... to love God with passion? I've loved Anderson with a passion... and it has helped me learn how to love God with a passion... but I really think that someone who has never loved a human being with passion can know what it feels like to love and be loved. The apostle Paul never got married. Maybe I just needed a little help along the way so God gave me Anderson to teach me how to love. I dunno.
What does it feel like to be loved? I watched our wedding video again just now. What did it feel like to be loved by Anderson? Honestly... I almost feel like I'm forgetting what it feels like to have a husband, to be loved by a husband... to love a husband. It makes me sad, in a way, that a certain part of me is being left behind...but I don't feel a lack of love... I don't feel unloved or that I have no one or nothing to love. I hope you never get tired of hearing me say that my heart belongs to God and that it's a wonderful and beautiful thing to be in love with Him.
One of my favorite songs right now is Be Thou My Vision:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,There's so much to say about love... I'll try writing about what it feels like to be the recipient of lavish love first.
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
Actually, when I first started writing day 98's post about Lavish Love, I had God in mind. Anderson's note made me think of the term, lavish love, but it was God who awed me by all He's done for me and it was the realization of God's love that pushed me to write about it. It was in the realization that everything in my life... every single circumstance, every turn, every situation... all was orchestrated masterfully out of love for me. Even bringing Anderson into my life, the good stuff, the bad stuff, the struggles, the suffering... was allowed out of love for me. I had 6 months of a wonderful marriage... to show me with high intensity the beauty of earthly love and whet my appetite for God's unfathomable love for me. It was like a bread crumb trail that I was intently following and I suddenly looked up and saw the feast from which the bread crumbs were falling from. It was breathtaking. I still can't fully put it into words.
Two things that I experience out of being the recipient of lavish love is... freedom and peace. I am confident in His love for me. I never have to look anywhere else... He is IT. He's the ONE. I have security in knowing that this love will never falter, this love will never fail, this love will never abandon me. Even in our wedding vows... it was for better or worse, in sickness in health... until death do us part. Death has parted me and Anderson for a while, but God's love for him and God's love for me enables us to see each other again in heaven one day. It is such a gift and blessing to know that God loves me and would even take care of my earthly love, Anderson, and me. All is taken care of. I have freedom and peace in that and I can go on living my life with full confidence that everything's taken care of.
Another thing is that God is all-powerful and all-knowing... and He loves me and wants the best for me. And the best for me is to be with Him and to do what He says. An earthly example... I'm not very aware of my surroundings. When Anderson and I were in Rio, he'd tell me to stay close to him and do what he said and don't ask questions. It was for my own safety because he noticed and he could see what was going on with the people around us, the little kids who look to pick pocket... the dangers on the street. He saw them and I didn't. He had my best interests in mind by telling me to listen to him and if he told me to do something to just do it and don't ask questions. I'd be stupid to think that I knew more than him and to question him. He was protecting me. It's kinda like that, except God sees and knows all across time and space. How can we question what we don't know or understand? He asks us to obey. OK. I trust Him.
It's not always easy though. I remember telling that friend who asked what it felt like to be loved with a love that purifies... that in order to be presented in white, without wrinkle, spot, or blemish... that you have to be cleaned and pressed. Cleaning and pressing is not a passive process...for the one who's cleaning. It takes water and soap, friction... and to be pressed... it takes intense heat and pressure. Might be stretching that image a bit, but that's kinda what it meant to me when I read it. You know what's funny about cleaning... you do it best when the object you're cleaning is passive and ready to receive it. Ever tried to change a diaper and wipe off gooey poo when the little guy is squirming around and wants to turn over and crawl away every 2 seconds? Ever tried to wash a dog that didn't want to be washed? The more you fight it, the longer the cleaning takes, the messier it is, the less efficient it is. Don't fight it. Receive it. Embrace it. It's kinda painful for a while, but the end result is very much worth the scrubbing.
OK, I'm so distracted I can't even finish this post right now. Might need a Part Trois (3) next time.