Summer of Love – Part I

“Arise, SHINE, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” Isaiah 60:1
Hmmm. Where do I begin? I must say even before I being to tell the story of my summer, that the Lord is good. His mercies are new every day and His righteousness shines like the sun. He is Jehovah-Tsidkenu, the Lord our Righteousness. As I have learned to be faithful and wait on the Lord, He has been faithful to show up. Part of being in a right relationship with God is believing and trusting in Him and although I am a fallible human being, the Holy Spirit has the power to produce true righteousness in my life as a believer. I have encountered the love of God in such amazing ways this summer and am so excited to share it with you! I cannot help but want to write down everything that He has done and tell everyone about it.

I guess I should start by telling you about my feelings going into the summer. I was alone. And scared. And hungry. I knew that God was up there somewhere and that He said He loves me, but I wanted to feel it. I wanted to feel His love in my life. I wanted to have a personal experience and I was begging God for that. I saw a lot of the other summer staff at JH Ranch that had had encounters with God, and I could see it in them and on their faces and hear it in their voices. I have to admit that I was jealous and even angry about it sometimes. I didn’t understand why God wouldn’t just do something and show up.

That all began to change one night in the Big Top a few weeks into my time there. I sat in the back of the tent after listening to the dating talk and just broke down. I asked God to tell me that He loves me. I opened my Bible and the Lord immediately showed me Psalm 63. The verse (3) that says “because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you” just really got to me. I sat there reading it over and over again. My heavenly Father spoke so clearly to my heart that I could not deny His voice. He also told me that it was OK to be hungry and thirsty and to need help from Him, and He promised me that He would show up.

“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my sould thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you in the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. They who seek to destroy my life will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth. They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals. But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God’s name will praise him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced.”
-Psalm 63

I realized that the love toward other people that Bruce had talked about was impossible without the Love of God. I came to the realization that I couldn’t love others if I didn’t let God love me. Oh, but it gets better! As I walked back to my girls staff house that night, I was so overcome by emotion. I had only sobbed like this maybe once or twice in my life! Truth be told, I was actually quite glad that I was alone on that walk home. There is a wooden one-lane bridge that I had to cross to get home and it marks the end of the long driveway into the ranch. As I crossed over it, still sobbing, something made me look up at the night sky between the trees. I saw millions of glittering stars. I looked back down and walked a little ways. Again something made me look up at the stars and I saw the majestic ribbon of the Milky Way clearer than I had ever seen it before and I laughed a little. As I kept walking and looking, the Father of all creation in His infinite love spoke to my heart and told me that He loved me. He wrote me a love note in the stars and said, “See all of these stars? They may seem small and insignificant, but I want you to know that I love you. And even though I may not have spoken to you through visions and angels like some, I am going to reveal my love to you ways that are special for just you and me.”

Now, at this point I had reached the beginning of the driveway and was laughing and crying at the same time. I had heard Him! He was personal and gentle, yet His love was so powerful and strong. Eventually I went inside my house and began to read again and He showed me Psalm 45:11.
“The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.” -Psalm 45:11

He was promising to show me His love in little ways that I would not expect, and even in big ways that would blow my expectations away.

-Look for Part II coming soon!-

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