Straight from the Cherished Heart
By Lisa Elliott
Everybody loves a great love story don’t they? Come on! You can admit it! I know I do. I especially love the classic The Sound of Music, in particular the scene where Georg, played by Christopher Plummer, declares his love for Maria, played by Julie Andrews. “Well, you can’t marry someone when you’re in love with someone else… can you?” Agh! It gets me every time!
But all of Hollywood aside, I still believe that the best love story of all time is my own!
I’ll never forget the first time I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was loved beyond measure—the moment when I realized the Lover of my soul only had eyes for me. In fact, in His love letter to me, His written Word, the Bible, He tells me that I am the apple of His eye (Psalm 17:8). Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had me in mind, had settled on me as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. (Eph 1:4, The Message)
He moved into my heart with such passion and such flare that it physically brought me to my knees. He whispered sweet nothings into my ear, meant for my heart alone, assuring me that if I was the only person on the face of the earth, He would have died and risen for me to give me the love He had to offer. I had never felt so cherished.
So great was the love between us that it was almost too good to be true. I asked Him to prove that what we had going on between us was, in fact, real. So He did. However, it wasn’t in the way that I had expected. For the next year, I began to question my faith in Him and the reality of His love for me. It was an intense time of soul-searching. But, looking back now was necessary in order to solidify my relationship with Him. Thankfully, at the end of that year, after pouring over the Psalms, contained in His love letter to me, I was assured that there was no love like it. What I had found in Him was completely authentic and unquestionably real!
My love for Him grew and grew over the next few years. He led me to Bible college where He introduced me to my life partner. He wooed my husband and me into full-time pastoral ministry. And I kept falling in love with Him. To the degree that I eventually grew more in love with ministry than in the One whom I was ministering to. That’s when He emphatically warned me not to leave my first love (Rev. 2:4). I have come to recognize that a part of His love is through discipline. He disciplines those He loves, for our good, to train us so that we may share His holiness and eventually produce the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Heb. 12:10-11). He has proven faithful when I have been faithless. He has been the anchor through tumultuous storms. Interestingly enough, my love for Him has strengthened the most as I’ve faced life’s challenges. There have been times when I’ve questioned His love for me, when I’ve questioned His calling in my life, and when my love for Him has been put to the test, but His faithfulness has prevailed.
He has lavished His love upon me over and over and over again (1 John 3:1)! And in response, I can’t keep from, in the words of the hymnist of long ago, “falling in love with Him over and over and over and over again.”
The following passage of Scripture is my heartfelt prayer for all of you. It is not simply straight from my heart, but rather straight from the heart of God. Straight from the same love letter that was written to all of us in those ancient words.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:14-19, NIV)
I would encourage you to take time today to watch or listen to this video. Close your eyes and immerse yourself in God’s love while you do. And “See [for yourself] what great love the Father has lavished on us…! (1 John 3:1 – NIV) (parenthesis mine).
Can’t get enough of Straight from the Heart? Lisa is touring Ontario with Dancing in the Rain! Catch her at any of these events:
Saturday, February 21 – Emmanuel Bible Church Ladies Conference Simcoe, ON
Saturday, March 7 – Chapters/Indigo Book signing 86 Fanshawe Park Road East
London, ON (519) 672-6781
Thursday, March 19 – Grandview Baptist Church, Kitchener, ON – Joy Fellowship
Saturday, March 21 – Temple Baptist Church Ladies Conference – Sarnia, ON
Saturday, March 28 – Creation Christian Book Store Book Signing 900 Oxford Street East #12, London, ON N5Y 5A1 (519) 659-2610
About this Contributor:
Lisa Elliott is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of The Ben Ripple and Dancing in the Rain. Additionally, she has written articles for Just Between Us Magazine and devotionals for theStory. She and her pastor-husband, David, have four children (3 on earth, 1 in heaven) and serve the Lord together in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
To book Lisa for a weekend retreat or day conference contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org