The following post is from a good friend of mine, Summerlin. Enjoy.
I had a dream years ago where I was standing on a branch that jutted out horizontally from a tree. The branch was thicker where it was attached to the trunk but the further it went out, the narrower that branch got. And as I walked, I heard the Lord walking right beside me on the ground. Somehow he was right beside me, even though the ground was far, far below us.
“Summerlin, I’m right here,” he said, “You aren’t going to fall. I have you,” he said.
Some time passed and I moved to Melbourne, Australia and there I became a pretty girl. It took all year to figure out and it will take the rest of my life to perfect, but the actual pivot towards pretty happened in June 2011. I can tell you the day. I can tell you the moment.
We were on mid-year retreat in Cairns and Ron flew in to facilitate the retreat for us. I remember thinking he must have really important things to say to fly all the way from New York. When we sat in a circle and he announced, “Today I want to talk to you about God’s love,” I thought that he was quite irresponsible to have flown all the way across the world and then forgotten to prepare something worthwhile to discuss.
“What does it feel like to experience God’s love?” he asked, and I felt anger welling. Even now I can’t say why. I wanted to say something sarcastic, but the Lord in his grace put His holy hand over my mouth and willed me to listen to my teammates’ responses. I will remember the way Jessamyn’s answer softened my heart for the rest of my life. She spoke about feeling weak and yet inexplicably safe. Of God’s arms enclosing her. Of Him defending her like a true father. I wanted to roll my eyes at her words. Instead, tears fell out of them.
Have you ever read How the Grinch Stole Christmas? Listening to Jessamyn talk made me realize my heart was two sizes too small.
And so I went home to Melbourne and I poured over Scripture. I looked up verses about God’s love and wrote them down on index cards, because writing them helped me understand that they were real. I found the famous ones: John 3:16 and the end of Romans 8. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Amen. I found the one from Psalms: one thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. Every verse, I marveled that I wasn’t making it up. God’s great love for me was not an exaggeration, not out of context. It was real. Actually, it was quite the main idea. Maybe you are marveling that a missionary didn’t understand these things. I knew them intellectually, but I didn’t know them in my shrunken, broken, two-sizes-too-small heart.
But when I found Zephaniah 3:17, my heart swelled and snapped the Grinch’s gold measuring device. It has never gone back. Lord willing, it never will.
He will quiet you with his love.
The next dream I wasn’t in a tree. I saw myself with Him, having a Citizen Kane meltdown, flailing and screaming beyond anything I have ever actually done past the age of five. He picked me up like a child and held me to his chest.
“Shhhh. Summerlin, I’m right here. I have you,” he said.
I have you, he said.
Summerlin is an aspiring author who is pretty. Follow her journeys at her blog.