Today, I had a little time to sit and ponder all the Lord did this past week. Dale and I travelled to Amarillo, TX to serve alongside an amazing, healthy, Spirit-filled church called The Church at Bushland. Monday night, Dale spoke to the men, Tuesday, I spoke to the women, and Wednesday, we spoke to the students. It was powerful! Then we headed to Glorietta, NM to speak for their Marriage GetAway.
Here’s why I believe it was so special and so impacting for everyone, including myself: the love of God. Plain and simple.
As I walked among the sea of people and marriages, I realized something: we all just want to be seen, known, heard, and understood. We want someone to stop and hear us…really hear us. Someone to understand, listen and sympathize. We want to know that we are known and loved. We want to know that we are not alone and that someone really does care. That describes the love of God. And we all need it, and we all need to give it away.
The first night of the marriage retreat, Dale and I walked into the dining hall and found a table to sit with a very special couple, who were sitting by themselves. We plopped down and as we began to talk, they shared that it was their first time, that they didn’t know anyone, and that they were very uncomfortable with us sitting with them! We apologized and I told them that I was glad I didn’t hug them, because most of the time, that is the first thing I do! When I said that, they both looked at each other and agreed that had I done that, they would have been freaked out!
We sat and intently listened to their struggles, their amazing servant’s hearts, and their desires for the weekend. As the weekend progressed, we just asked the Holy Spirit to guide our words and help us speak God‘s truth to every listening ear. We would see this couple and “pat” them and offer a smile throughout the weekend. We really asked the Holy Spirit to move us aside and empower us to love His people well. Time. Eye to eye. Face to face. Listening, praying, encouraging, LOVING.
Our flight was moved up, requiring us to speak, and then jet out of the room to catch our flight on time. We both were a bit sad to leave because we had been in the trenches with so many of them or had heard the depths of so many of their stories. Three couples told how our being with them in 2019 changed the trajectory of their marriages, ministries and lives. We were so humbly blessed. we rarely get to hear the fruit of our labor, but God so graciously moved in them to share with us. It was an indescribable encouragement and balm
to my soul. We deeply loved them, and we knew that they loved us, too. It sure was redeeming in so many ways for me.
Love…it’s the sweetest of all the fruits of the Spirit.
As we made our way to the back of the room to exit, the gentleman that we had had dinner with the first night, walked all the way across the room, in front of everyone, and gave me and Dale the biggest hug. He held on tightly and I could feel his love and appreciation to us without him ever saying a word. It meant the world to us. Nobody else knew what a big deal that was, but we sure did, and that act of love will stay with us forever.
Receiving the love of God….REALLY receiving His love in you, over you, covering you….and then giving that away, is the most fulfilling, rejuvenating, and life-giving experience ever. It is a fruit of the Spirit, not a fruit of your flesh. You abide in Jesus and you will bear much fruit. (John 15:5) Why? Because you are receiving Love in abundance and Love can’t help but pour out of you!!!
So I encourage you to receive God’s love in the deepest places of your soul. Let Him love you. Let His love cover those deep wounded places. Let Him into those things you think you can hide from Him. And then, out of the overflow, be there for others. Listen…really listen with spiritual ears. Let others know that they are not alone, that they are seen, heard, and understood. Pray for them. Right then, at that moment.
The best thing that is going to overcome the state of our world is not an it, but a WHO, and His name is Love. His name is Jesus.
You are so loved,
Join me November 12-13 at The Deeper Retreat and be loved well by the Father. Here’s how: https://www.jenaforehand.com/the-deeper-retreat