I was away this weekend at a church Women's Retreat, which meant that Doug was on Hurley duty. They did alright together, but Hurley made it clear that he really prefers me. When I got home and played with him, he seemed happy to see me and let me scratch his belly and chin for a long time. Too cute - I like him so much!
The retreat was every bit as wonderful as I'd hoped it would be. It was nice to just get away from everything, of course, and I loved all the time that I got to spend with the friends who also went. The speaker (Cheryl Fletcher) was wonderful and God really worked through her to teach me and refresh me and build my confidence in Him. I also cherished the time that I got to spend alone and uninterruped, just praying and meditating and reading my current book (Pride and Prejudice).
There is so much that I learned and I'm still processing a lot of it. I think I will share it with all of you in little chunks over the next several days. The simplest way will probably be to post exactly what I wrote in my journal and then expand or clarify as needed. Forgive me if things seem a bit disjointed - it made sense to me at the time. Here are my notes from the first session - on the topic of Love:
Grace is the foundation of what it means to be Christian. Am I fully convinced that "Jesus loves me, this I know?" All of us, at some point, wrestle with this question. Love changes us. Am I waiting for God to convince me He loves me? "If you loved me, you'd give me _____." God is not a wizard. Jesus' love is filled with grace and truth. Only God can take what is ugly and make it beautiful. There is not a thing you can hide from Christ, and He is crazy about you! John 3:16 - "God loved us so much that He gave..." Have you ever had a relationship where you couldn't convince the person that you loved them?
He loves you because you are his. "The disciple whom Jesus loved" [referring to John, the writer of the gospel of John - this was how he referred to himself in his writing] - most important thing about himself - not that he loved Jesus, but that Jesus loved him. John lived with Jesus and saw Him for who He was, and was blown away that this man loved him. If you are not convinced of the love of Christ, then there is no hope of overcoming sin. I am made for more than this world. When we are convinced of the love of Christ, we can love without manipulation. Romans 8:35 - "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?"