One of the ways we can learn to live as you and me is through understanding how deeply the Lord loves us, and how He accepts us as the people we are. We don’t have to put on a mask when we come to Him, or try to be good enough to earn His love. We need to really, deeply, and truly understand His heart for us.
She practically skipped into the room, bubbling over with laughter and smiles for everyone. The moment I met Connie, I thought, “Wow, she is an exceptionally happy person!” The afternoon she took me around Houghton College, I was impressed and excited by her dreams and passion for loving others. She told me that she was planning to begin a monthly small group at Houghton called “Damaged Goods.” This group would be a place where people could share their testimonies and struggles as far as relationships were concerned. So much for a SMALL group: Her first meeting had over 70 attendees! A psychology major with art and youth ministry minors, Connie is a senior at Houghton College, where she is an assistant residence hall director. It is my pleasure for you to meet this joyful, passionate, and motivated woman of God: Connie Foster.
Favorite color: blue
Favorite food: my family calls it “loafmeal,” it’s basically a stromboli with spinach, sausage and mozarella cheese inside. so good!
Describe yourself/life in 3 words: crazy caring passionate
What you want to do with your life: I want to advocate for the victimized
One interesting fact about you: I make jewelry for fun
Most dangerous thing you’ve ever done: I jumped off a 30 foot waterfall in Honduras
Favorite quote: The Prayer of St Francis: “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy; O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
Favorite Bible verse: Romans 16:20 ~ “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet”
What is one secret to living life as a woman of God in today’s world? Honesty and vulnerability. It is so important to be real with God and with his people.
“Jesus’ love” by Connie Foster
Jesus loves me. I’m supposed to know this. I’ve sung it since I was able to sing, and yet it is still the hardest part of my faith to grasp. He loves me. Jesus loves me.
I know in my head that Jesus’ love is unconditional and undeserved. But when I look at my actions, my thoughts, and my attitudes, I see that I still think I need to earn his love. Now, I wouldn’t say that. I would say something more like “I need to do my part,” “I need to come part way,” “I don’t need to be perfect, but I need to be better than I am right now” but these are all lies. Jesus loves me right now just the way I am, and it’s not the distant love that I tend to think of it as. Maybe you’re different, but I tend to imagine God’s love as the love of a long-distant father: I know that he loves me, and I talk to him once in a while, but I can’t feel his love.
I was reading from The Shack a couple nights ago (I haven’t finished it, so don’t spoil it for me) and got to the part where Mack is star-gazing with Jesus (for those of you who have not read it, Mack, a middle-aged man who has gone through something awful, gets to spend a weekend with God) and it made me cry. It struck a cord deep within me, the desire for that sort of a relationship with Jesus; a relationship where we can just hang out and where I can roll over and find myself wrapped in His arms, safe and loved.
And then this morning I was in chapel and the mime team did “the Everything Skit.” It is a mime set to music which begins with a girl dancing with Jesus. She dances with Him and is then lured away from this dance to dance with a man, and from there she is faced with a plethora of other temptations: good grades, drinking, smoking, having the perfect body, cutting, and eventually suicide. She is about to kill herself when she remembers that she is loved and she struggles to return to Jesus. She fights through all the people who represent these temptations she has gone though and she still can’t get to Jesus until He spreads His arms and holds the tempters back, protecting the one he loves. He stands there with all the temptations grasping at her from behind Him and then He flings them off, defeating them, and hugs the girl and they dance again. It is quite a beautiful skit. I have seen it before, but it is such a great reminder to see Jesus watching the girl the whole time and longing for her to return to Him. Seeing Him hug her at the end stirred up that same desire in me again—to be loved like that.
The love of Jesus is unlike the love of any other person in your or my life. Some relationships might come close, but none of them are as pure and unconditional as this one. I am reminded of Jars of Clay’s song “No One Loves Me Like You.” We compare Jesus’ love to the love of a parent or a husband, but only because those are the closest examples we can understand. Some of us have parents who model God’s love for us rather well and we understand that we are loved no matter what. But so many of us have parents who do not model God’s love well, and none of us have parents who model it perfectly. Don’t blame them for that– They can’t. And how many of us have husbands, or boyfriends, or even friends who love us entirely unconditionally?
When I try to fill this desire for perfect relationship with a human relationship I am disappointed. I feel like I fall short in my relationship with my parents, like I am overwhelming in my relationship with my boyfriend, and like the only reason my relationship with my best friend works is because we are hardly ever completely real with each other.
But the good news is that I can never be “too much” or “not enough” for Jesus. He already knows everything that I am and everything that I am dealing with… and he loves me. He loves me! He loves me in a pick-me-up-and-spin-me-around-kind-of-way; in a hold-me-close-while-I-cry-kind-of-way; in a “I-love-you-no-matter-what”-kind-of-way.
To continue on to Devo #4 (by Karyn Raney), click here!