I've always liked the story of how my grandparents met. My grandma, a teacher from Michigan, receives an advertisement in the mail about UVA's summer school. UVA is still an all-boys school, but women are allowed in for summer classes. Grandma isn't sure how she was put on UVA's mailing list, but she is looking for something to do with her summer, so why not?
After Grandma arrives at UVA, she hears a lot about the red-headed boy working in the library. When she goes to the library, Grandpa, the red-headed boy, is working behind the stacks. Grandpa sees Grandma. He asks her to play a match stick game. Later, he walks her back to her room. That night, Grandma tells her roommate she's met the man she's going to marry.
Grandpa is finished at UVA, but after meeting Grandma, he stays a day or two longer. When he leaves, they write to each other. A year or so later, they begin their 62 years of marriage together.
For some people, it works that way. You meet, and somehow you know! For others it is quite different. When you meet, you are certain this is not the person for you.
Well, I knew that God was not for me. God loved the church, yes, but He only loved this rather insignificant, very unfit member of the church in a generic kind of way. It's just kind of habitual for Him, nothing special. The focus of this general love for me was what I could contribute to the church. He "loved me" for my work. He gave me His forgiveness so that I could try again to do all the good things I'd failed to do before. However if I didn't perform, I'd be cut from the team. I spent all my energy trying to please Him so I could stay in His favor.
In spite of my best efforts, I knew that if God really investigated me my failures would outweigh my successes. God's forgiveness had failed in me. I wasn't good enough.
Please understand, it wasn't that I hadn't been told about God's love for me. I could quote Scripture and tell myself that my perspective was wrong. I tried to believe He loved me. However, no matter how many times I tried to tell myself the truth, my heart still didn't believe it. I only knew it with the hearing of the ears. I needed the seeing of the eyes. I didn't need knowledge about God's love; I needed experience of God's love.
As I looked at my life and my heart one day three years ago, I told my husband, "I am such a failure." Then while I sat and nursed my fourth-born and saw all the chaos that was my house, I turned to God and said, "I am such a failure." God did not wait for me to finish those words. While I was still praying, a thought interrupted me, "I don't see that."
I was very surprised. I remember looking around and thinking something along the lines of, "Well, duh! Just look around You. You can't miss it." But since I thought saying something like that to God was a bit dangerous (Would a bolt of lightning strike me?), I asked, "What DO you see?" I heard a voice of infinite tenderness say, "Daughter!"
Right then, this was more than I could believe. I thought, "I must be making this up." I basically covered my spiritual ears and refused to listen to another word. But my hungry heart heard and clung to the word He had already spoken, "He doesn't see failure ! He sees Daughter !"
My first objection to a love relationship between God and me was wrong. He was interested in me, not in my work. He wasn't even looking at my work or lack thereof. He was gazing at me! And His eyes were full of infinite tenderness.