I recently shared a condensed version of my testimony in a moment of rare courage. You know, the one that doesn’t avoid or minimize and doesn’t embellish or put on a show. It was raw, real, and gut-wrenching. And part of the wise and gracious response was this:
“Your story is a good reminder that no matter where we feel we are, God is with us. He stays with us no matter what. Hebrews 13:5 says, ‘…I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ I pray that your heart will be comforted as you see that He is right there…right by your side”.
Even now, to read the response brings me to tears, brings me to my knees. It came right to the heart of a deep insecurity that I have carried, patched up, hidden, told myself to get over. I spent so many years of my life being left behind or abandoned. I learned to quit others first and thought this would protect me. I spent many years rejecting God, running from Him. I can’t even tally the frequency with which I grieved the Holy Spirit and those who prayed for me. I really did try to dump God. If I’m honest, the loss of my husband has echoed this theme. I find myself wondering how many times have I felt given up on? How many times have I given up on others? He simply didn’t let go or give up on me.
In a very recent conversation, the idea of being discounted came up. To discount is to disregard, overlook, dismiss or ignore. The conversation explored how often we experience being discounted by others and how it often becomes a core belief about ourselves and affects how we treat others. We wondered out loud together what life might look like if we could let go of such a powerful internalized message. What might change if we no longer accepted being discounted? How might ministry be impacted if we stopped discounting ourselves?
No matter where I have been or what I have done, God loves me. And, this is the big one, He will never leave me. He will never abandon me, reject me, disown or quit me. God has never discounted me. He has done everything to show me my value, my worth, my gifts and responsibilities. He has loved me with and unrelenting passion and pursuit. He has seen me through every season of this life. He is already up ahead preparing a way through whatever comes next.
Moving forward, I want to genuinely wrestle with my fear of abandonment and learn to stand firm on the truth of God’s love and fidelity. I desire to respond with obedience and allegiance. I pray for constancy that I am incapable of. There is no greater love than the Father’s. God loves me. Jesus died for me. The Holy Spirit makes me his home. I am never discounted, forgotten, abandoned, or left behind. His love is not based on my behavior or performance. I truly do not understand a love like this, but I want to flourish in it.
“Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.” Psalm 23:6
“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19