Another year is ours. Even though a new word has appeared in 2020; Corona Virus with its uncertainty and fear, we have an opportunity to make it the best year ever. Let’s decide together to purposely recognize it as a new beginning. To start our turbulent year, the subject of love is one we all need to feel.
We all hear about and maybe have experienced ‘first love’. I remember when I saw my first love. It was my first day in college having enrolled as a freshman at a large university in Southern Illinois. The day was one mass of confusion since I was lost most of the time.
After sitting in a classroom for over twenty minutes listening to a subject that didn’t sound like my business major, I left it and discovered I was on the wrong campus. My class was twenty minutes away. By the time I arrived by bus with the guidance of another student, my nerves were frazzled.
I waited in line with other frazzled students when I noticed a tall, dark-haired young man smiling broadly at me across the room. I was in no mood to be flirted with and ignored him not knowing he would one day be my husband. We dated and I fell totally in love and we married after college. It was the happiest time I had ever been in my life.
We had two children, a hazel-eyed little boy, and a tender, blue-eyed little girl and upon cradling each of them in my arms after their births, I experienced another type of first love… the consuming love for a child. When I held them close to my heart and smelled their innocence, I felt another erupting emotion of abandoned love and protection. It was a feeling I never had before. I knew I would protect them above all else. They were a part of me forever.
We can experience these thrilling emotions for those we love, but there is even a greater FIRST LOVE I want to share. It is the love we receive when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. His is the ultimate love we can feel because He is LOVE. He loves us more than we can imagine.
I remember when I accepted Him many years ago at a meeting of a well-known evangelist. He spoke about how Jesus can give us a new heart. I was desperate that night with trials of so many in my family dying, a horrendous childhood, and desperately needed and longed for peace in my soul. Having had thoughts of suicide before I went to the meeting, I unabashedly cried and practically ran to the front of the auditorium when the invitation was given to accept Jesus as my Savior.
Crying so hard with tears streaming down my face and nose, I could hardly speak. The words I did manage to express came out so jumbled, the people around me thought I was from another country and couldn’t speak English. I remember kneeling down on the hard, cool floor and praying out loud “Lord, I accept You as my Savior and Lord, please save me and give me a new heart. I am so desperate and need You so much.” I also said to myself, if you don’t do this, I guess I will have to do what I’ve been thinking of doing. He did and I didn’t. A feeling of relief and peace came to me that night and I never thought of suicide again. He was and is with me forever.
That began my journey to experience my longed for peace and a love I had never experienced before.
This love reached into my aching soul with comfort, peace, and hope. I devoured a small bible and wrote scriptures all over the pages until the black cover fell off. I told others how they also could accept Jesus in their heart and experience His love.
Over the years the journey with my first loves of my husband and my now-grown children has continued with the ups and downs of strained relationships at times but returning to the core of love for each other. The journey with my Lord has also had strained times of my not understanding why a prayer took so long to be answered or not answered as I had hoped. But, other prayers turned out in wonderfully surprising ways beyond what I prayed. The core of His love within me always remained.
The spiritual growth to receive and understand my relationship with Him has been rich and fulfilling. But, also, there have been times I felt I ‘blew it’ having a hard time forgiving myself and didn’t know why He could love me. I felt humbled when I experienced His ‘amazing grace’ of love and forgiveness at those times. He has been so patient with my attempt to trust Him and showed me how to forgive myself and others. I never felt scolded, or rejected… just the opposite. I have and still do feel His acceptance and Love.
Jesus became my Shepherd.* He leads me to peace, provision, and restores my soul. Repeatedly exhorting me to fear not and be comforted giving me the assurance I will be with Him forever, I trust Him.
Even though there may be some of us who have not experienced the first love of a spouse or first love of a child, we all can experience the best of all FIRST LOVE. We ALL can accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. He died to be our Lord, Savior, and Shepherd to give us peace, provision, restoration and waits for all to come to Him. Knowing where we all are and what we have done, He willingly gave His life dying a cruel death on a cross to enable us to be with Him forever.
What LOVE, what FIRST LOVE. It’s yours! It’s mine! It’s ours!
* Psalms 23
Featured Image by Jackson Hendry