I grew up going to church every time the doors were open. I went to Awanas and memorized all the verses. I won the Bible drills, every time. I spent time with Jesus “first thing in the morning” because that’s what you were supposed to do. I did the whole read the Bible through in a year, every year. Sunday’s were days to rest. But really they were spent going to church, leader’s meetings, choir, Bible study, and then church again. All good things. The smell of that old building, the clanking of the air conditioner, it felt like home. It was home. I grew up there.
I met Jesus there and for that I am eternally thankful. But I wish someone would’ve told me sooner that Jesus didn’t need for me to go to church, memorize scripture, or lead Bible studies. Jesus didn’t need anything from me.
Even though I knew I didn’t have to work for His love, I didn’t believe it.
I came to a point in my life when my whole world fell apart. My mom was very sick and I was certain she wouldn’t live to see another spring. With every phone call I would brace myself, just in case. A three year journey of infertility treatments, negative pregnancy tests, surgeries, and hormones left me with lots of questions about the God I had grown up knowing. I obviously didn’t serve Him well enough for my life to be in complete shambles.
And then one of those mornings, when I saw that lonely pink line for the hundredth time, He met me on the bathroom floor. All of the working, all of the striving, all of the trying to be enough, was just too much. My heart was so broken and so tired I couldn’t even pick up my Bible. There were days I didn’t know how to talk to Him, so I just sat with Him and He kept meeting me there.
I quit doing and just started being with Him.
He slowly began to take the truths I had grown up knowing, and lacing them with grace. All good things. All true. All of Him. But those things didn’t make Him love me. He started unveiling my eyes to look into His, to see what He sees back in me. I started learning that He wasn’t a god who was untouchable and unquestionable. He started meeting me at my dining room table and in the car and on the bathroom floor. I began to see a God I had only known in black in white, in brilliant color. I started crawling up onto His lap. I was able to lay my broken heart against His and listen to the cadence of His heart beating for me. He was near, so near I could almost feel His Daddy arms wrap around my broken body and weary heart.
I was free. Finally free.
My circumstances did not change. In fact, they got much worse before I was able to look back and see His faithfulness. But I was walking in freedom for the first time in my life, and those days, living in that newfound freedom with Him, were the absolute sweetest days of my life. After years of being bound to rules and begging Him to love me, I knew that His love for me was indescribable and there was nothing I could do to change it. Our journey together deepened. Our relationship of Him being God and me being servant changed. He called me friend. And I called Him lover.
The other night I left two screaming children with my husband. My house was a disaster, like you couldn’t see the floor. I forgot to bring him home dinner. I didn’t pick up the baby’s prescription before I left, and kept feeling that nothing I was doing was enough. As I started driving home from dinner with friends, the voice of failure was screaming out every fault. Those extra pounds I gained from vacation weren’t fitting in my jeans. I saw an Instagram post and compared my ministry to hers. And it wasn’t even close. This whole “staying at home” thing is new for me, and I was completely failing at this new job. With every passing mile, that voice grew and grew. I started making mental lists. Things I could do. Ways I could change. Years later being freed from those chains, they sometimes still try to entangle me. I stepped into the shower, holy ground, and just as the water washed away the day, the Spirit flooded over my heart.
I had forgotten who I was. I had forgotten who He was.
How arrogant of me to think I could do these things alone? I had forgotten that I wasn’t enough. I will never be enough. I can never do enough. There’s nothing enough about me.
He’s enough. He’s already done the work on the cross so I don’t have to do anymore, I can just be. Loving Him isn’t hard. He doesn’t require anything of me in return, just my love.
Friend, I want so badly to cup your face in my hands, look straight into the eyes of your soul, and to tell you to stop doing, just be. You are enough. You don’t have to try hard or work hard or strive hard. You are already enough because of Him living in you.
Oh sister, He smiles on you. He adores you. He sings and delights over you. He loves every sweet thing about you. He likes you. He is so very proud of you. You’re His favorite, His daughter. So whatever voices you’re hearing right now, turn them down until they’re all the way off. And all that you hear is His.
Listen to the music of His love for you and dance.
Because you are free.
Photos by Rachel Ackerman Photography