And so we sat in the car with lingering smiles and laughter that had overwhelmed the night…the music faded and the corny singing quieted; it was dark, and rainy, but the lingering goodness lit some kind of perfect, peaceful moment where we were in the middle of this awesomeness and I saw it good and bright, right there. Glory.
and so I asked him, “what’s God been saying to you lately?” I do that, anymore I don’t think he’s surprised when I do. Not surprised, just real. And he said “love.” and I was moved and inspired, proud, and he’s right. God’s speaking it to me too. And I’m finding it deep within the souls of whom I love….this beauty, oh the immeasurable greatness of His Love in each of us……..
I’m in the middle of a “seven cities in seven weeks” journey…oh, and I’m in grad school. and somehow it all seems crazy and stupid and too much soooo much planned, but it’s me. And it’s starting to become more and more of my contentment, a rather special kind of fulfillment. A real chance to take in the love, to do all the love, to be a really unique kind of Love…
City 1: Mercersburg, PA
….and these folks.
It’s been a while since I threw my sleeping bag on a bunk, a while since I ate cafeteria food, and too long since 2am talks about life and God and lessons and brokenness and wholeness. It’d been too long since the hugs that spoke saying, “Your support over the last six years has meant everything to me…” Too long since prayers that worshipped a God with my kids. Friends, they’re still mine.
I received the most awesome compliment, “Nicole, I look at you and see you with them, and I KNOW you love them like they were your own..” She’s right. I loved them before I knew them…and six years later, our last retreat together… Loving them more than I ever thought was possible….. My pride and joy right here peeps! Can they really be seniors? Are they really grown-ups now? And why was I so dang lucky for God to let me love them?! ps. six years ago I was taller then all of them!
That’s my thing in this perfection of immeasurable love: I’m noticing all sorts of things in my peeps. There’s this beauty I’m finding within… and I’m reminded of God’s glory that shines through them. This glimpse of perfect Love that we are so not worthy of but get because of Him. And it’s unreal. I never thought it was possible…that. much. LOVE. But He’s showing me this one thing, the beauty of His children….
I look at these kids and I can’t help but see this genuine and pure beauty that runs deeper than the everyday life of golf, and boy scouts, and college planning, and etsy work. It’s like God has opened my eyes to bigger things that matter…they matter, so. much. more.
Those smiles. It’s painful in the best sort of way that has me crying mercy, MERCY, we are Yours…
City 2: Avis, PA
“Let Your glory fall as you respond to us…Spirit rain, flood into our thirsty hearts again….”
And here we are. Speak to us that fierce and victorious glory, Your immeasurable Love.
It was easy. It was us together with them. It was the time away. and it had me begging for more. This break in my own everyday life to be with him and with them and in the relationships that have truly been life changing. Waiting upon the Lord for a time to breathe through the school moments that overlapped with my “them” moments. But in the silence, a contentment that was all I needed…an assurance that my life is exactly how it should be. A happiness that I don’t want rattled, just shared.
Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark but actually find him. He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote; he’s near. We live and move in him, can’t get away from him!
-Acts 17:28 (The Message)
And He came. We talked and I listened and once again saw a beauty that I’m just so unworthy to know. To see their family intimately. To know them so deeply. To hold a precious child tightly with a buried head in the fold where neck meets collar bone. To play legos while wearing heels….To laugh until the tears crept up in all the immeasurable Love that’s been gifted.
We played with nerf guns and wiped boogers and drank wine and gross beer and heard wisdom from a great marriage and stories from devoted friends. Somewhere around the Mario-kart that I just could not master, we reminisced. We worshipped. We laughed, oh the laughter. It wins me over. They win me over with that immeasurable love that radiates like some sort of bright Glory drawing me further in…
“Eyes be opened, Christ is revealed…”
I can’t stop smiling. I’m seeing, finding Him more through these intimate connections I have with others…re-realizing that nothing, absolutely nothing came into being without Him. And here He is blessing us through the exhilaration of being with one another. Here He is amongst those life changing relationships that are defining me…speaking to my heart. Here He is, sweeping over my life with them, the most beautiful extensions of His heart. Unworthy of this beauty am I… Beholding His beauty in them and these spirits, I AM.
I’m lost in the most passionate execution of worship as I adore who He is, how He loves me, and most importantly, how He’s given me so much love for these people in my life. He’s here, revealed in this immeasurable love, showing me not just how to love, but who to love…
and life is just oh so Him in us. He is near; Him and that immeasurable Love.