AgapeLady’s Blog

March 25, 2010

You are SOOOOO loved!

As I was driving home yesterday, just enjoying the sunshine and the beginning of Spring weather, a song came on my Christian radio station – Natalie Grant’s “Held.” Although the song always touches my heart, it seemed to draw me in even more than usual. As I listened to its words, my heart began to ache and the tears welled within my eyes. “This is what it means to be held, how it feels when the sacred is torn from your life, and you survive.” Just repeating those words makes my heart break. And the chorus continues… “This is what it is to be loved. And to know that the promise was when everything fell, we’d be held.”

Oh, dear ones, this song tells the tale of such deep loss and sorrow. I think the first time I heard it was after 9/11… when so many of us felt our hearts would break, when so many of us yearned to reach out in some small way to the many who were hurting, to the many who felt the loss of lives on that horrible day.

Do you know the LOVE that holds you tightly and offers comfort even midst such a difficult time? Have you ever felt the arms of the Almighty holding you close as you sobbed over some loss that seemed simply unbearable? And indeed it was – if not for His power to hold you up.

I have. And I have to tell you that there is nothing – absolutely NOTHING – like that dear, sweet love. When all else fails, when all else is gone, it’s that unconditional love – God’s sweet agape – that makes the difference, that somehow – I don’t understand it – holds us together when our world is falling apart. Nothing, dear ones, NOTHING can separate us from that love (Romans 8:37-39). Nothing, that is, but ourselves.

My heart aches to think of those who have lost sight of that love – whether because they have never had the opportunity to know it or because they have been so hurt by the traumas of this world that they have been blinded – or whether they simply overlook, put off, or disregard the gift. For that is what it is. It’s God’s GIFT to us in the form of His Son. John 3:16 tells us that God sent His one and only Son to bear our sin so that we would not be forever lost… forever separated from that love – not because He wants it that way, but because we don’t accept His gift, His sacrifice!

There was a time when I did not understand that love. When I could not comprehend a God who could somehow condemn some to an eternity in hell. I still don’t comprehend it all. But this I know: God has created us to love Him. There have been times that I wished I had no free will – because I fail so frequently – but… He has also gifted us with the ability to choose. And the thing is, dear friends – LOVE HAS TO BE FREELY GIVEN TO BE LOVE! If God had made us so that we had no choice, we would have “loved” Him, but it would have been a counterfeit love. He didn’t, because He so love us… He soooo loves YOU that He wanted it to be your choice! Isn’t that amazing??? Almighty God – the Creator of the Universe – longs for a personal LOVE relationship with us so much that He has gifted us with the opportunity to reject Him! He has gifted us with a choice.

So… my heart breaks today because I know there are many who are not choosing to accept that love and to love Him in return. I have recently lost someone dear to me in death who did not believe. I can only pray that in those final moments, he had a conversation with my God and made the choice to accept the Gift that was offered.

My heart aches today as I think of all those who don’t know the agape love that holds them in the midst of a time that is so totally incomprehensible, so unbearable… a love that will not, cannot let them go.

My heart aches for the One who offers that love and who feels the rejection from so many… and who does not have the same comfort that He provides to us. How HIS heart must ache and break for those who reject Him and are forever lost… I can only imagine His scarred hands stretching across a void, reaching for His beloved children who are falling forever out of His grasp.

Why, you ask? Because while He is a God who unconditionally loves us, He is also a HOLY God who demands perfection – and He made a way to meet those demands through Jesus Christ. By accepting that gift, we meet His demand for perfection and holiness in Jesus… and avoid the judgment. So, you who are reading this… what will you do with this knowledge? Will you pray and seek His love in your life? Will you make Him LORD? Oh, I hope so.

If you have not… or will not… know this: He loves you still. I love you still. And I pray that somehow, some way, His love will reach you.

In His GRIP,

AgapeLady

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March 6, 2010

Any Day is Good for Love

I’ve heard news of several suicides recently, and my heart aches. I long for a day when I won’t hear of those who are in such emotional pain that they feel the need to end their lives. My heart aches because I’ve been there.

People who have never considered the idea of taking their own life do not conceive of the pain that drives a person to such negative thoughts. What could be worse than no life at all?! For those in emotional pain, it’s not so much that they don’t want to LIVE (indeed, I believe they do – they just seek a painless kind of living) as that they want the pain to stop. For some, cutting is intended to “drown” that pain, i.e., as they cut their wrists, they hope the physical pain of that can make them escape the emotional pain they’re experiencing.

That’s one of the things that keeps me going each day – the thought that there was a time when I felt that kind of pain, that kind of loneliness… and the knowledge of what carried me through that… and continues to carry me through.

Back in my college days, I actually attempted suicide. Thank God, I did not succeed! It was then that my Great Redeemer drew me to Him and began to give me the knowledge of HIS great love for me. But, even then, dear ones – the thoughts of suicide were not entirely gone.

I know some who are Christians will gasp in unbelief – how could I? Well, the truth is that when one is experiencing such loneliness and emotional pain, they are experiencing a kind of insanity. What causes such emotional pain and loneliness?

I think, deep down, we all long to be loved – completely and unconditionally. When we FEEL love (ah, yes, those questioning emotions), then the emotional pains and struggles of life are a little easier to handle. Even as a Christian, though I had read and heard that God loved me so much that He sent His one and only son – Jesus – to die for my sins (John 3:16), I did not – at first – truly comprehend and grasp the knowledge of that love.

You know what I mean… getting that knowledge the few inches from my head to my HEART. What a distance that can be at times!

After studying God’s Word and beginning to understand that true unconditional love – agape – the kind that sends a son to die for another – is an ACTION, not a FEELING. As I began to understand that, I began to also understand that God’s agape was not dependent in the least upon how I was feeling or what I had done. Instead, it simply IS. In other words, I can never do any more – or less – for God’s love. He just loves me – totally and completely, unconditionally.

I can’t say for sure when that head knowledge became heart knowledge – or even if I completely “get it” today. But one thing I know – when things get dark, I know today that the God of the Universe loves me… and He has everything I’m going through under His control. NOTHING escapes Him. And He has never forgotten me. In fact, my name is written in the palm of His hand. He bears its scars. That heart knowledge, dear ones, is what keeps me from considering suicide anymore. That knowledge combats the emotional pain – by holding me and comforting me when the pain otherwise envelops me. And let’s face it: Life can be hard.

So what can we do for those who DON’T know that love? My goal is to show it as much as I possibly can… as God enables me. I pray that I will be able to reach those who are so hurt by Life’s struggles and pains and that they will come to know the One who is able to completely heal with His love. THAT IS MY MISSION AND MY PASSION. Lord willing, by reaching one at a time with His Agape on any given day, there will be no more occasion for suicide. I know – one day – there will be no pain or sorrow (Rev. 21:4). Will you join me?

If  you are one who is thinking sad thoughts of suicide – I pray with all my heart that my ache for YOU will touch you through the Internet… contact me via this site, dear one. I WILL respond – I love you and want to introduce you to my GREAT LOVER, Jesus Christ. Trust me, He CAN make the difference in your life, just as He did for me.

May God grant you with the heart knowledge of His love,

AgapeLady

October 2, 2009

Where DOES the Time Go?

Well, I admit to being in a state of information overload. I have had a zillion things to do – or at least it seems that way – and I have been struggling with tyranny of the urgent of late. (If you’ve not read that book, you ought to – it’s got some gems to ponder, let me tell you!)

Anyway, this morning I heard something on the radio that gave me pause… about the “old days” – things just seemed to take a little longer. And that made me wonder: If we live in an age where everything seems so instantaneous – fast food, instant messaging, microwaves, etc. – then why is it that we seem to have less time? What happened to long walks and long talks “just because.”

As I considered this, I happened to think that all of the fast pace really hasn’t helped us that much. Consider the heart attacks, the stress levels, the information overload… what are we in such an all-fired hurry for anyway?!

I’ve neglected doing many of the things lately that have to do with technology and social media. I’ve not kept up with all of my email (at least the ones that are not personal), twitter, facebook, myspace, etc. I have let them go by the wayside. And yes – I’ve even let this blog go. But the reason I’ve done that is because I’m trying to juggle so many of the “quick” items that seem to fill my time! Oh, don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I don’t enjoy writing this blog… or communicating with some of you who have commented on this site. (I appreciate your comments by the way). I DO enjoy writing. But I spend my days working a full-time job, running errands, trying to start my own biz at home and building relationships. Therein lies the problem, methinks. Those things are all important and time-consuming… building relationships is probably the most important one for me of all.
I read this quote by John Burroughs yesterday: “I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.” Boy, can I relate! And all those so-called “urgent” items can eat up my time so quickly.

So, let me ask you – how do YOU make the choices in your day? Do you make wise ones as you seek to go through the day and accomplish everything on your “to do” list? What’s most important to you? For me, I think that my personal relationships are far more important to me than anything else but… so many “urgent” items eat my time. We all have the same hours in the day. Certainly, time management is one key factor in keeping our sanity midst the fast-paced demands of this century, but I think there’s a little more to it.

As I think and pray on this issue, I think that I have to keep my priorities in focus. And let some of those seemingly “urgent” items go by the wayside.

Ephesians 5:15 tells me to be careful how I walk – not as someone who is unwise, but someone who is wise. That is, living with a sense of meaning and purpose. And Colossians 4:5 tells me to “Walk in wisdom toward them who are without, redeeming the time.” My understanding of that is that I need to treat those outside the faith with wisdom… making good use of my time with them. For me, that means building relationships because for many, I have to earn the “right” to share my faith. Hmmm… thoughts to ponder.

As we consider the day and the many demands on our time, perhaps the best questions to ask might be: “Is this activity something of meaning? Does it bring me closer to living my purpose for God?” If it is, then it’s something worth doing, something that is “redeeming the time.” But if not, maybe it’s better left undone. Just a thought, dear ones.

I’m praying for you as you read this… may you draw one step closer to whatever God is leading you to do as a result of reading my heart’s ponderings.

Love & blessings,
AgapeLady

May 8, 2009

Amazing Love

Filed under: Encouragement,God's Love,Love,Religion,Struggle — agapelady @ 5:52 AM
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I was sitting last night, just thinking. Thinking of how I’ve been so crazy busy at work and at home that I’ve nearly had no time to think quietly… or sit and just spend time with my God. Oooooh, now that’s just TOO busy! So I spent some time in prayer and asked God to give me a bit more wisdom about the ways I spend my time… and the ways I don’t.

Then I pulled out a favorite little book, “Outrageous Love” by Sheila Walsh. Reading that I could just about cry. There’s so many gems of inspiration in there! I’ve met Sheila and her heart is true – what a caring person! And her stories are so heartfelt.

I read the story of how she ended up in an institution to deal with her depression. And God met her there… in her pain… on the floor. Wow.

Isn’t that so like God? To meet us where we are? Even if we’re in the muck and mire, He’s there. It amazes me. Truly. Maybe cuz I know some of the places I’ve been. How wonderful it is to know a God who loves me (and you) just as we are – yet loves us enough to work with us, to mold us, and to make us all we can be. Amazing.

Life’s been full of craziness lately, but the fact is that my God has never moved. He’s been right here beside me all the time. And He is continually teaching me. I know, I KNOW that He is doing something wonderful, something “magical,” something beautiful in me. As tough as things can be sometimes, it’s fun to think about that. It’s a joy to realize that His love is so encompassing, so huge, that He can reach me in the very depths… and in the very heights. He can meet me in the sorrow and in the joy. It doesn’t matter. He’s right HERE.

I love this quote: “If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” Well, Lord, where are You taking me cuz I’m obviously on a stone path to somewhere!

My prayer for you today (on the National Day of Prayer) is that you will come to know this amazing love… may you feel it in the depths of your being and washing over you completely. Amazing. May you understand the love on a heart level – not just an understanding of the head. That’s my prayer – Lord, get it to the hearts of those who read this… Amen!

February 26, 2009

Ever Have One of Those Days?

Filed under: Encouragement,Religion,Struggle,Uncategorized — agapelady @ 5:40 AM

Well, yesterday was one of them for me. On Monday, I took my husband to the doctor for a procedure and it was quite difficult for him (and me). When I went into work, I had an unpleasant situation crop up. I also discovered I have osteopenia, a precursor to osteoporosis. And that’s only a few of the things going on that seemed to accumulate and overwhelm me (can I get a witness for my pity party?).

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m SO thankful the osteopenia was caught early and that I can take measures to rebuild bone before there’s too much problem or before I break a bone badly. And I’m thankful my husband went through the procedure safely and appears to be feeling much better today. And I really am grateful for a job in a time when finding a job is difficult (or impossible) for some. I even enjoy my coworkers… but as problems accumulated… I began feeling overwhelmed with a capital “O.”

After getting ready to send out engraved invitations to my pity party and deciding no one else would come, I began looking for God’s encouragement… and there it was! God is soooo good to me!

I love the quote I read in one of my devotional calendars Bless Your Heart – “I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I wish to be. I am not even what I hope to be. But by God’s grace and Christ’s love I am not what I was.” Can I hear an AMEN?! And then I read II Chronicles 20:15 “Do not be afraid or discouraged… for the battle is not yours but God’s.” Oh, what a relief cuz I was sure beginning to think it was mine! 🙂

Today, too, God was making sure I paid attention to His encouragement- my special verses in Isaiah were today’s devotional reading when I flipped the page this morning! Wow… it’s so nice to know God cares and is in control!

Are you having “one of those days”? If so, take it from me – having a pity party and crying may work for a moment, but it doesn’t seem to change a whole lot. In fact, it might even make you feel worse. Instead, consider your health – are you tired? hungry? feeling sick? If you are, address those needs pronto! If it’s not physical, but purely emotional, choose to look for the encouragement that exists for you… something special that God sends your way that is meant to uplift your spirits. It will be there. It may be just a little thing, but sometimes that’s all you need to hang on during a day like that. Also, don’t forget that calling on a sister or a brother in those down times is an important part of the process – get that prayer cover working! If you take positive action, you’ll soon find the clouds disappearing somewhat… maybe even enough to see the Son shine. 😉

Love & Blessings
AgapeLady

February 18, 2009

His Grace IS Sufficient

Filed under: Divorce,Encouragement,God's Love,Grace,Love,Rape,Religion,Struggle — agapelady @ 8:33 AM

I remember a lady who shared her testimony early in my faith… she shared of war experiences and how she was raped by a soldier. It floored me. Here was a woman who loved the Lord, who was brutalized in what many women believe is the worst manner and she was still praising God! Wow. I couldn’t imagine being that strong in my faith. And I am quite sure that on her own, she wasn’t. But God has a wonderful way of meeting us in our need – no matter what it is – and carrying us through… supernaturally buoyed by His love and strength.

Many years ago I was raped in college. I remember the horror, the shame, the fears, the sorrow, the guilt… all of the emotions that run through a woman’s heart.  And I remember a verse that came to mind: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” (II Corinthians 12:6)

Even as I began to walk through the valley of resuming life after the rape… as I sought the answers why… God comforted me. His grace was indeed sufficient. And my faith grew.

Many years later, I got married. To make the story short, I’ll just say it was turbulent. I sought counseling to weather the abusive storms but after 11 years, the marriage ended in divorce. God had not healed my marriage even though I’d begged him, even though I’d trusted Him… and I didn’t know what to do. I had two young sons (3 & 6) to raise. I remember thinking, “Will Your grace be sufficient, Lord? Will it?” To be honest, I wasn’t sure.

I asked many questions of God as to why again, but He simply answered with His love. And, yet again, He carried me through. After years of very little to no child support and raising two young men, He still carried me. Even today, in the midst of trials and struggles, His grace continues to be sufficient… the realization finally hit me: “My grace IS sufficient.” His grace is sufficient (present tense).

When I think about some of the things God has carried me through, I don’t see how I made it. That’s because if I look back and think about the past – it seems so miraculous, so overwhelming that I survived… and I know if not for the Lord, I wouldn’t have. When I first heard that woman share her story, I thought then that I could never go through anything like that. But dear friend… His grace IS sufficient. The verse doesn’t say “His grace WAS sufficient.” It doesn’t say “His grace WILL BE sufficient.” It says “His grace IS sufficient.” Present tense. Happening now.

Oh, dear one, I don’t know what God has carried you through. I don’t know what He has in store for you. But I do know this:  His grace is sufficient for whatever it is! That strength, all you need, is available at the time you need it. Not before. Not necessarily after. But DURING. Just ask, dear one, just ask. That’s not to say it will be “easy” – ask anyone who has been through struggle – but it does mean you will once again see the sunshine on the other side of that sorrow. Hang on, dear one, hang on!

You can expect this life to have some troubles – we were warned and told not to be discouraged (John 16:33). My Bible says “Take heart!” May I encourage you just a moment? May I share that I know His grace is there for you when you need it too? If you’re going through something now, it’s ready for the asking. If there’s something down the road, it will be ready then. If there’s something in your past, He can heal it. His love covers all and makes us whole.

My prayer for YOU reading this is that you will know His love. Not just in your head – but in your heart. I pray you will feel His love because that love is strong enough, wide enough, deep enough to carry you, to hold you tightly in the darkest of nights and to never, ever let you go.

Love and blessings,

AgapeLady


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