Austria… a lot of my story in faith sprouts back to those early days that I somehow found myself blessed enough, lucky enough, loved enough to be living in that castle on a hill. I talk about it often because it’s where I truly met God, fell in love with him, and understood a tiny little bit of his love for me. It was where he he healed me, taught me about joy, showed me what community should look like, and made it so that every time I doubt myself, doubt him, doubt anything in my path I can look back on my time in that castle, and remember what God can do.
During one particular time when I was facing rejection, dealing with past rejection and aching with both anger, pain, sadness and a deep sense of failure. I began to talk to God. It was morning in early fall, with fog still hanging in the valley beneath me, and the chill in the air still crisp enough to need a fire in the kachelofen to warm the small room. I was working in the glasshouse, making key fobs with wood disks and a wood burner, It was a mind numbing job. Perfect for a person in need of soul searching.
I didn’t hear a voice, there wasn’t a visit from an angel, and there was no burning bush… but God spoke to me. Clearly. As I lamented my situation, vented my frustration, shared my hurt and anger and swore it would be the last time I let my heart get hurt… God said to me. You have done this a thousand times to me. You have rejected me repeatedly, you have hurt me, you have mocked me, you have abandoned my word, you have not loved me, you have not accepted my love… the list goes on. I sat back on my bench and I swear to you my mouth fell open. How I didn’t see this connection before I don’t know. It was true. Everything that I was experiencing and angry about, God had experienced and felt from me, only worse, for longer, and yet not once, not for a moment did he ever let go. He pursued me the way I had always longed to be pursued. He longed for me the way that I ached to be longed for, loved me the way I dreamed of being loved. Yet at every cross road he brought me to, I chose to walk away from him and pick the path that he wasn’t on. Putting my back to Him and choosing to leave Him behind for a better life, seeking a better love. What I had never seen, what I would have seen if I had turned around, was that He was behind me the whole time, I never left Him on those paths, instead, He picked up the pursuit again.
What astounded me, was that after all I had done, after all the ways I had hurt Him, refused him, rejected Him. He loved me enough to bring me to Austria, He loved me enough to suffer my rejections, he loved me enough to honour my choices… and he loved me enough to welcome me with open arms that day in the glass house when I was brought to humility and faced with the pain I had caused Him.
Knowing his great love for me, has led me to a different life. It’s taught me that nothing else matters. My identity of being loved for myself is secure, I am a woman worth loving, when I rest my dreams, my hopes, my desires, my heart into His hands I can rest. I no longer need to seek the love, the dream, the desires from anyone else because he’s fulfilled that need. I am loved. Knowing that, it’s enough.
I watched Kaleb playing today, and as I watched him I realized how free he is to just trust, to meet new people, to open his heart to new ideas, new people, new joys and dreams, because he knows he is loved by Tim and I. His identity as someone who is loved is secure. Therefore he can be fully himself. Is this not what God wants for us all? For us to look up and see His peaceful face, full of love, and have us know deep within our soul that we are loved, and then in that love, be able to live to our full potential as his children?