My Beloved

"My beloved is mine, and I am His."
[Song of Solomon 2:16]

To put it gently, high school wasn't actually the peak of my romantic relationships. At the time, however, I failed to realize that this was so much more of a blessing than a curse. I constantly complained about being alone, wishing I could feel "wanted" or "loved" just once, just for a moment. I failed to recognize the unmatched love my family and friends had for me, often casting them aside in search of something better. As my friends won more and more attention from guys, my self-esteem continued to wane. I guess there came a point when I was so emotionally exhausted from feeling so alone (again, completely ignoring the love of my family and friends) that I decided to turn my attention fully and completely towards Jesus. But I didn't even know where to begin. Fall in love with someone invisible? Eh, I'll pass on that one. It seemed too complex to even comprehend.

Overtime, God presented various examples in my life to show me what it means to love Him. I met Moriah Banas (my camp counselor in the summer of 2010), who has a more passionate love for Jesus than I have ever seen in any other human being. I met Sarah Berry (my theology teacher sophomore year), whose love for Jesus has given her a joy like no other. I met Danni Howard (one of my best friends from high school), whose love for Jesus has given her immense strength in the face of hardship.

As my high hopes for finding Prince Charming in high school became more and more unrealistic, I began to desire the love for Jesus I saw in Moriah, Ms. Berry, and Danni. I began to long for their passion, their joy, and their strength.

And now, all I want in this life is to fall in love with Jesus.

I don't care if I never have a boyfriend again. I honestly don't care if I never get married. If I have Jesus, I have everything I could ever desire. His love is what carries me through. When I am broken and weak, He lights up my world. Even when I make the worst of mistakes, even when I betray Him and directly deny Him, He is quick to cover me in compassion. He doesn't abuse me for my many daily mistakes; He loves me. His love is unending. Sometimes it's overwhelming - too much to even understand. But that right there is the beauty of His doesn't make sense. It's too great to ever be put into words.

Before I found His love, I failed to see my own worth. I constantly told myself I wasn't good enough, pretty enough, or smart enough for boys to actually like me. Yet when I turned to Jesus, all my worries were cast aside when with the mention of a single word: beloved.

"You are my beloved," He said to me. "You are my Beloved, and I am yours."

My challenge for you this week is to begin to fall in love with Jesus. One day, I want you to be so in love with Jesus that you are not focused on finding a boyfriend or girlfriend who may ultimately fail you, but on finding the treasure of His love that is directly before your weary eyes, your bruised soul. I challenge you to search for that love. Seek His love in Scripture. If you have a moment today or sometime this week, Read 1 John 4:7-21 (that's the letter 1 John, not the Gospel according to John). It speaks of God's love for us. "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them" (1 John 4:16). Seek His love in prayer. If you're finding it hard to fall in love with someone who is invisible, pray that the Lord will change your heart towards Him. Pray He will give you the eyes to see His love so prevalent all around us. Finally, (and perhaps most importantly) seek His love in the people around you. In your family, in your friends, in the strangers you meet...look for the love of Jesus in those people. Trust me, it's there. If you can't see it, you're not looking hard enough. Seek Him in Scripture, in prayer, and in other people. Seek Him; find Him; discover that His love is greater than any other.

When it comes down to it, all I really want to do in this life is fall in love with Jesus.

"His is a real love.
I know because never do I regret how I feel when I am around Him.
Never do I feel lost in His words.
Never do I fear Him leaving me but rather me leaving Him.
It is a perfect and unending love that can only be hindered by my own actions.
He longs for me.
He wants me.
He reaches for me.
He reaches with an out-stretched hand waiting for me...
As I lay my hand forward limp, unwilling to reach.
His is a real love."
Thank you to the person who left this beautiful message on my blog post a few weeks ago.

Song of the week: "Beloved" by Tenth Avenue North

Emma and Meredith, thank you for teaching me what a life of love and service really looks like. And oh, what a beautifully fulfilling thing a life of love really is :]


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