i’m finally back.

I can’t believe it’s been almost 3 1/2 months since my “seven day fast”!   I never expected to take this much time off! {i am sooo sorry!}  Going into that fast, I knew I needed a lot of rejuvenation to feel like myself again. {because it’s been quite a looonnngg year…} I thought that a week away from social media, a summer of rest and some quality family time would “cure” me and after a week or so I would be back at it, pouring myself out to this blog and my future.  I was just so extremely wrong!

This summer was so tough.  To explain it best, it was as if I had a cloud looming over me all the time, with a giant fog over my eyes that stopped me from fully experiencing emotion and life. {has anyone else ever felt like that?} I had a long battle with insomnia and anxiety, not falling asleep until dawn most nights because I could not stop worrying about life. {needless to say, i now know every “trick” to fall asleep.  well…every “trick” that doesn’t actually work.} Every single day I would pray that the cloud over me would be removed and the fog over my eyes would fade away so I could be filled with life again.  Each day though I felt more hopeless than the last.  I tried to put on a happy face, masquerade my depression and just keep truckin’ on. {don’t we all try and do that??} But the anxiety and depression still remained.

When I started seminary {such a blessing in itself!!} I met an incredible lady {and a complete God send!} who invited me to her church for a retreat for women. I accepted the invitation. {mostly because I was drawn to the word, retreat} Now, I’ve been to my fair share of retreats, conferences, camps, etc, and to be honest, I have had very few that I walk away feeling completely refreshed. {just being honest!}  So while I was excited about this retreat, I was hesitant to believe that this weekend would change anything for me.

The weekend came, and on Saturday morning we started with the usual; worship and an inspirational speaker. {also named Laura}  As Laura spoke about God’s love for us, she said something that hit me harder than anything has ever hit me before.  She had been a Christian her entire life and followed God with all of her heart. {something that I can completely relate to.}  In the midst of some struggles, she said that God spoke to her very clearly. He said, “Laura, you let me save you, but you have never let me love you.” That hit straight. to. my. heart.  She went on to ask, “do you honestly believe that God delights in you?”  

In that moment, everything clicked.  {I’m not kidding}  Literally, the gray cloud over me was gone!  It was in that moment that I realized something huge.  My entire life I had loved God and tried to live as a good Christian girl.  But while doing so, I held myself to the highest standards that didn’t allow any single mistake or failure. {can you say, recovering perfectionist?}  Even though I had given my life to God, subconsciously, I was still holding my mistakes, failures, worries and decisions over my own head.  I allowed God to save me, but I never let him simply love me.  I had never let God’s grace wash over me, I had never allowed his mercy to set me free from my own mistakes.  I could never believe that God would actually delight in me, someone who had been a Christian her entire lifetime and still made so many mistakes. But, He does.

So the past 3 and a half months accumulated to a life changing lesson found in one single morning.

God doesn’t just want to save us.  He wants to love us…because he delights in us.  He also wants us to let him love us.  That truth was something that was so hard for me to grasp, and that truth {literally} set me free when my heart finally grabbed hold of it.

I want to encourage you today.  Because you may be where I was.  God loves you. He loves you deep and fierce.  Not because of what you do, not because of who you are, but simply because you are his.  It took me 23 years to finally understand that love, and it took me 1 day to accept it completely. I hope today you can accept it too.

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8 thoughts on “i’m finally back.

  1. Great post Laura! I can also relate. I struggle with all the same things, or struggled. Sometimes it is hard to allow our selves to be loved period, especially when it comes to God. I know in my own walk with Christ there were times that I felt not worthy of his grace, I feel that this kept me from allowing God to love me.

    I struggled with anxiety so much that it consumed me as well. I didn’t sleep well at all. But one day I was studying Philippians, and came across this verse.

    Philippians 4:6-8
    New International Version (NIV)

    6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

    8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

    A light bulb went off in my head, and I realized that I need to give my worry to God. I know he will take care of us no matter what, without a shadow of a doubt. So anytime you feel anxiety, read this over and over! :)

    Sometimes I feel like we go through depression and other trials so that we stregthen our relationship with God. There is a reason for everything!

    Follow hard!

    Heather

    • Heather,
      You are sooo right! There is a reason for each season of our life! I think that being a Christian my whole life has been such a blessing, but at times I weigh myself down with the expectation that I have no excuse to “mess up” because I have always known better! I am learning that God does not hold me to those same expectations, only I do. I have to let myself become okay with not being perfect! {something that I am working on each and every day!} I am embracing God’s pure and unconditional love for me and each day feeling more and more joyful than the last. I feel like my eyes have been opened! {just in time for the great fall scenery! haha} After 23 years of hearing that God loves me, I’m finally realizing that its believing that truth that makes all the difference!!

  2. I feel like in a sense we have lived similar lives. I grew up in church as well, although I wouldn’t consider my self a TRUE Christian until November of Last year, after my 22nd Birthday. Its amazing what a year can do, especially with your relationship with God.

    When you said that you had your expectations so high and were scared to mess up, that’s how I used to feel. I’d go through a cycle of rededicating my life to God, and quitting when I slipped up and didn’t do something that was 100% Christ like. The churches I grew up in demanded us to be perfect, it was very strict and I always felt guilt over stupid things. Now at 23, and truly dedicating my life to God, I realize it is all a learning process! If we didn’t fall, we would never learn to get back up and trust in God to help us.

    • Wow. All I can say is Amen!!

      I grew up in a church that also demanded the same standards. I thought I could live up to them, and until my freshman year of college I lived an extremely pure, conservative Christian life. I look back and realize that I lived mostly out of guilt and worked to be perfect so that I wouldn’t be condemned. I “accepted” God’s love because I thought I deserved it because I had never “sinned” {or just did anything really rebellious}. When I finally made some “mistakes” and had some bad choices, it was soooo incredibly hard for me to accept that I was in fact, a sinner. Now, I am actually so grateful for those mistakes, because it opened my eyes and opened my heart to experience true grace and mercy. I am humbled by God’s forgiveness and his immense love for every single person on this earth, including little ol’ me. Just as you said, I am learning to let God help me get back up and letting God’s forgiveness penetrate my heart. It’s a process each and everyday to know and accept God’s love, and become more and more like him!

  3. What perfect timing to reD your words. We just stArted our small group Bible study. It is the hardest thing ever for me even though i know we are to do it. Satan really has a hayday in my head afterward if i do not remember it’s God’s work. Not mine. Thank you laura.

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