Blog to Daughters Chapter 1: Why we love Jesus.
Dear Daughters– You are loved Relentlessly. More than you can ever know.
It was Spring 2010. Aunnica you weren’t even a month old. You were really struggling to have regular bowel movements of any kind. You’d skip for days on end and be so cranky. Cute, adorable- but CRANKY.
Sitting in the bouncer chair peacefully drifting off to sleep next to me at the dining room table of our small two bedroom apartment on campus in Ashland, little did I know my life was about to change. I was crazy– trying to handwrite thank you cards for all the adorable outfits you’d been given— when IT HAPPENED. The moment that changed me forever.
In the midst of the calm and quiet ever so suddenly this LOUD and clearly undeniable sound came resounding from your tiny being. You let it loose: A fully loaded diaper. AND I immediately started jumping with joy. LIKE OUT OF MY SEAT. I was so EXCITED. That’s when it hit me — I was literally thankful for crap. And I laughed as I changed your diaper. Love. It didn’t matter the disaster diaper that was upon me; I was just thankful you weren’t in pain. This love– this love of a parent to a child is but a small example of the relentless love that Jesus has for you.
We struggled on what to name this first chapter. Our lessons we want to share with you dear daughters. But more than ANYTHING else in this world- you must know… how deep and truly LOVED you are. And this love isn’t’ just from us– no, it’s a perfect love from Jesus. It’s why we choose to love Him.
We don’t want some weird pressure put on you. It’s not a religious guilt trip. A get out of hell card. No. This is a survival kind of love. We need you to know this honest truth.
LIFE IS HARD. People will fail you. We will mess up. There will be days when you are beyond exasperated with us, your awesome parents. But through it all– JESUS is there. In the midst of the hard. IN THE CRAP. He is there. He is faithful with His love. If you are looking– you will see Jesus everywhere.
Your dad wrote these thoughts as he stood by a river in the fall. Colorful leaves fell into the stream as he enjoyed the calm surroundings. The birds and crickets– the serene and peaceful outdoor beauty reminded him of Colossians 1:15-17. It says that all of this was made by God through Jesus. He made it all. The noise, the quiet, the lovely fall smell– all the beauty…. All of it is from Him and for Him. We get to enjoy this. We love Jesus because not only did He love us first but because of his evident blessings. Family, business, times of rest like this one being in nature – He knows what we need and provides it. Let me be clear- it doesn’t mean life will be easy. NO! But, when we choose instead to turn our focus onto Him… we can take the next step. For your dad, pausing and reflecting on what Jesus has done happens best in nature. For you it may be something else.
In the Gospels, Jesus often got away to pray and be alone with God. I wonder often if this is what Jesus experienced when He was alone to be with his father: Peace. Love. Knowing God to bless others. Strength to take the next step. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Spend time with Jesus. It’s how you get through the day.
People tend to screw this up. They add pressure, unnecessary rules and regulations– baggage if you will. Don’t pick that up. SPEND time with JESUS. We belong to God and when you understand that, you will understand your purpose.
Mark 12:29-31 is Jesus’ reply and makes our life’s purpose pretty straight forward: “You are to love the Lord Yahweh, your God, with a passionate heart, from the depths of your soul, with your every thought, and with all your strength. This is the great and supreme commandment. And the second is this: ‘You must love your neighbor in the same way you love yourself.’ You will never find a greater commandment than these.””
So, how do we love Jesus?
1: Get to Know Jesus– By reading HIS words. READ THE BIBLE
There’s no substitute for the real thing. You can’t know Jesus if you don’t spend the time. Currently this is what your dad likes to do:
- Look at the table of Contents and Pray. Ask Jesus to highlight a book– then read that book
- Before starting, ask Jesus to show you what to see and learn as you read
- Read one chapter a day. Or maybe just a paragraph. Or even just ONE verse.
- Journal. Write your questions. Write your observations. Maybe write a summary. Note whatever stands out.
And you guessed it, it can take months to read Books of the Bible this way. This slow, purposeful method of reading Jesus’ words enables focus. It creates a deeper connection, an understanding of this love of Jesus.
2: Deepen your Love for Jesus
- Listen to worship music
- Watch videos of scholars explaining scriptures or short sermons
- Do a Discover Bible Study (Basically follow the method above with a group of friends!)
3: Love People
- If you ask different people this question; you’ll get different answers. But John 13:34 says to Love Jesus by loving people. You were not created to live alone– so don’t try! Let people in– and love people with the same kind of relentless love Jesus has for you!
When you learn to love Jesus, you find your purpose. Every person struggles with purpose. Who do I want to become, where am I going, what direction should I travel and so forth. It can get really overwhelming. THIS. This is why we Love Jesus! Our purpose becomes clear and understanding becomes deeper, but that still doesn’t mean life gets easier.
In fact, as we have gotten older the concepts and ideas become challenging but we must revisit these truths. As Doug Stowe (author of The Wisdom of our Hands) said: “You can deviate from any choice you make but return and return again to your principles.” Knowing what Jesus has done for me and keeps doing for me, I want my life to be shaped to honor and glorify Him. The Gospel of Jesus is so essential to life and it is something you need to experience. Grace, God’s wonderful grace, will take you deeper and deeper into an experience that is hard to describe. It isn’t a semi-conscious state or utter peace, but it is a calmness knowing your sins are forgiven and you are in right standing with God. That means His love for you exists before, during and after you sin. It means that nothing can separate you from His love, no matter how bad you are. It means that Jesus’ death and resurrection trumps any action or struggle or doubt you have.You can be mad at God, you can love God, you can run from God, you can serve God you can doubt God- AND guess what, He still loves you.
Always. Jesus loves you always.
SO in this closing thought, dear daughters–remember NOTHING you do can stop this relentless love. Just as we will always love you, you must know in the depths of your soul, that you are LOVED simply for you who are right in this moment. When you let that truth sink in… it changes you.
You are Loved Relentlessly.