WordPress tells me this will be my 100th post. Woah! I guess I have a lot to say. (No comment from the
husband peanut gallery.)
100 seems like a monumental number. Like maybe I should celebrate somehow. I mean, it’s a pretty big deal if you live 100 years or throw a 100 mph fastball. I know, I know, those are actual feats. Writing 100 times and posting for 12 people to read isn’t exactly a noteworthy accomplishment.
Just the same, 100 didn’t seem like a number I could pass by lightly. And this is my blog, so I can do whatever I want, right?
I thought for a while about what I would post for this momentous occasion. 100 pics of the kids? 100 funny comments? (They’ve certainly been providing me with a lot of material lately.) 100 favorite family memories? Whatever it was going to be, it needed to be a celebration.
And then I read this blog post by Ann Voskamp. It’s titled “Why You Really Have to Keep Falling in Love.” (I’d encourage you to click the link and read this short post. Either now or later. It’s a very quick, very powerful read.) But in case you don’t, here is a summary: Ann writes about a conversation she has with a girl in her twenties who, after telling her to stay in love with Jesus, responds, “I don’t think I’ve ever loved Jesus. So I don’t know what it means to stay in love with Jesus. I thought Christianity was about getting into heaven, getting saved, getting good — No one ever told me that Christianity was about staying in love.” Ann’s post is a response to this conversation, where she writes some vitally important truths.
“Looking into the eyes of this hardly twenty-something girl, it’s about as crystal clear as it gets:
Our faith better be deeply connected to our senses and our heart, or a sensual world will destroy our faith and steal our heart.
If Jesus hasn’t passionately wooed you — the world eventually, definitely will.” ~ Ann Voskamp
As I read, my eyes welled up and spilled over. I’ve been that girl. I know her. I see her now in a thousand different faces. Maybe she’s in you?
Right around the time I read that post, our pastor challenged us to “Do yourselves a favor. Tell someone how great your God is.”
Also right around that time, my kids got sick, and I stayed home caring for them, which means being secluded from the outside world. I spent a lot of that time thinking. Thinking about an upcoming 4th birthday party (which has since come and gone) and what gift to give. Thinking about being a mom and how important that job is. Thinking about our pastor’s challenge and how little I really do that on a daily basis. Thinking about this 20-something girl who knows that Jesus saves – has saved her - but she doesn’t know what it’s like to be in love with him.
It all struck me so hard. What if my kids grow up and never know? I have to tell them, show them, or the world will tell them something different. Who am I kidding? The world is telling them something different right now. Everywhere they look, they get lies thrown at them as truth. They are already beginning to be inundated with a watered-down version of right and wrong and what it means to be a Christian, and they haven’t even reached double-digits yet.
Annalise and Jacob, listen to me very carefully: Jesus saves, yes. But it’s so much more than that. He isn’t just a way to get to Heaven. You have to seek him, spend time with him, fall in love. And you’ll realize how much more he is.
“Our faith better be deeply connected to our senses and our heart, or a sensual world will destroy our faith and steal our heart. If Jesus hasn’t passionately wooed you — the world eventually, definitely will.”
Those words keep ringing in my ears.
I can’t make them believe, make them feel. But I can tell them, and I can show them.
I can’t live in fear for them. So I will live on my knees for them.
I’ve spent time, as many women I know have, keeping record of things that bring me joy each day. (This is also spurred on from Ann Voskamp and her book 1000 gifts.) The lists are just a way to unwrap the gifts God has given, as a way to remind ourselves of His great love for us.
But with a sense of urgency for my kids, for the world that is constantly muddying the waters of truth until there is almost nothing left resembling actual Truth, I wanted to write this: 100 Reasons I’ve Fallen in Love with Jesus.
And so, I am writing to him. And I am writing to my children, to anyone who may not know, or to anyone who just needs a reminder of why they once fell in love with Jesus. Read a little of it or all of it. Or even if you stop reading here and the only one that sees this list is the One I’m writing about, just know that I’m writing it because my God is great. He is personal. He is more than just “a way to get heaven, to get saved, or how to get good.” And I wanted you all to know, He is the best reason – really the ONLY reason – to celebrate.
…And because I want to keep falling in love.
100 Reasons Why I Love My Great God
1. You are personal. You are not a distant God. I can come straight to you. There is no middle man that needs to do the work for me.
2. Despite you being perfect and holy and me being incredibly flawed (<— massive understatement), you are not repulsed by me. You do not turn away. In fact, “as I draw near to you, you draw near to me.”
3. You love me enough to die for me and pay the penalty for my sins so that I could come to you blameless and holy. My imperfections are washed away, and I can stand in your holy presence.
4. You are the giver of all good and perfect things. Every. single. thing. that is good in my life is directly from you. Thank you? It just doesn’t seem like enough.
5. Your endless creativity. I mean really, I get a little overwhelmed just going in the produce section. (Starfruit? Kumquats??? Cherimoya for goodness sake!) And then I realize, over 7 BILLION PEOPLEin the world (not even counting all the people that came before us or all those yet to come), and each of them are unique. YOU are AMAZING.
6. My own special people. You made them, and they have filled my heart to the brim.
7. You saved me from total deadness. I am alive because of you.
8. You know exactly what I need, all the time. And you will give me nothing less than that.
9. You know exactly what everyone needs. ALL 7+ BILLION OF US. Not one of us is overlooked.
10. #9 doesn’t overwhelm you. Nothing overwhelms you.
11. When I am away from the ones I love most, you are not.
12. Your voice is never harsh when you pick me up from sin and despair. You are always gentle and loving. And you are always there to pick me up.
13. No matter how far I have or will run from you, I can never escape your hands.
14. You are patient. With me. With my faults. With this world. Oh so incredibly patient.
15. You are never too busy dealing with “the big stuff” to hear my prayers.
16. You chose to become a human and to come as a baby. You are God, yet you humbled yourself so.
17. You were fully tempted and yet without sin. I tend to gloss over that sometimes, but you could have sinned at any time. You were fully human, after all. And you are the only human who understands the full weight of temptation, since you are the only one who withstood it without ever giving in.
18. You went to Jerusalem, knowing your fate. You ate the Passover meal. You went to the garden, knowing they’d come. You went to the cross. You did not send legions of warrior angels to stop it all. You could have at any time. All you needed to do was speak the word. But you didn’t.
19. Judas. You loved even him. All along, you knew what he would do, and yet you loved him. So much that when the time came, no one knew who it was going to be that would betray you. You didn’t treat him differently than the others. (I can barely fake a smile to someone I think maybe doesn’t like me a little bit possibly. I clearly have a long way to go.)
20. You forgive. And you’ve forgiven me A LOT. (And as I’ve learned, those who are forgiven much, love much. Probably why I love you so much.)
21. When I struggle with forgiving others, I can give it to you.
22. You are just.
23. You are faithful to finish the good work you began in me.
24. I can trust that you will finish the good work you began in others, too. When I’m feeling skeptical of them, I know I can fully trust you.
25. You love children and see their pure faith.
26. You were purposeful in who you spent your time with as you walked this earth. It is so evident: You love all.
27. I love my children so much. I really really do. In fact, I can’t imagine much stronger a love. But I have to admit, when they are being naughty, I mean sooooo naughty it feels like they just gave me the middle finger, I don’t mind the thought of sending them to Grandma’s for a few
hours days weeks. Yet you have no desire to leave my presence. And when I am soooooooo very naughty, you reach out your hand and draw me to you.
28. You don’t condemn me, but you do correct. It’s an important part of love, and you do it lovingly.
29. You are merciful. Thanks for not giving me what I deserve.
30. Your endless grace, which is greater than all my sin.
31. You fill my heart with joy.
32. You are my only hope.
33. You always keep your promises.
34. Any battle I face, I know I will not face alone.
35. You acknowledge those who are poor in spirit, and give them hope of Heaven.
36. You have not forgotten those who weep, and you give them comfort.
37. You recognize the meek, and you’ve promised them reward.
38. You have promised to fill those who hunger and thirst for you.
39. You promise mercy to those who are merciful.
40. To the pure in heart, peacemakers, and those who have been persecuted because of righteousness, you give a promise none other can fulfill. You give eternal hope.
41. When I was in my weakest state, you held me tightest.
42. When I couldn’t pray and had no desire to go on, you interceded on my behalf. YOU prayed for ME.
43. You are compassionate to all.
44. You aren’t a wallflower or door mat…. when tables need turning, you do it.
45. When lepers had to call out to let others know “what” they were so they could stay far away, you came to them. You touched them. You showed them love that no one else ever would.
46. You have authority over all. You are the God of angel armies, dominions of this world and all else.
47. The wind and waves must obey you. Even death is under your rule.
48. Even in your full authority and power, you allow us to make our own decisions.
49. You love us enough to let us choose you.
50. In all circumstances, you know all. You know best and I know little.
51. You didn’t just go to the cross. You asked your Father to forgive those who put you there while you were there. And that includes me.
52. You defeated death and the grave. The battle has already been won for us all. We just have to claim it.
53. Seasons. You made them. I love them.
54. You are funny. How do I know? Because we are made in your image – including Matt – and Matt is definitely funny. And also, because of this guy:
The Tarsier. Funniest looking animal ever. Made by you.
(The Tarsier is actually tied for funniest with that monkey you made… the one with
dark fur everywhere except it’s pink inflamed rear. That is, tied for first except to boys
within the age range of 4-39. Then naked butt-monkey wins every time.)
55. You made funny people. Like my kids. They crack me up on a daily basis.
56. You are the source of all joy.
57. You have created breathtaking views, many of which I’m blessed to see in this county.
58. Pleasure was your idea. YOU created it. But may I not settle for pitiful pleasures that lead to emptiness.
59. You came that I may have abundant life – life to the full.
60. I have lost a great deal, but I know because of you, my loss is only temporary. I will get to see my girls again someday.
61. You are good. Always and only.
62. You don’t ask me to do anything you haven’t already done. Obey? Love? Live selflessly? Yep, you’re an expert at it. You lived it every second.
63. Chocolate and coffee. ‘Nuff said.
64. You know a woman’s heart. I love that when Mary found out she was going to have you – a miracle baby – she ran to her old cousin Elizabeth, who was also going to have a miracle baby. You knew she needed someone to share in her miracle. She would not feel alone. (And – maybe also somewhat conveniently – you kept Zachariah from speaking during this time. They could share without interruption. Like I said, you know a woman’s heart.)
65. You will never leave me nor forsake me. Ever. Not even for a second. Not even when I’m tired, grumpy, or really angry at you and throwing a massive tantrum. In my head, obviously. Because I’d never do such a childish thing out loud. Um…
66. Have I mentioned you’re funny? Not just because of the hilarious creatures you’ve created, but because you created man and woman. And then ask them to join together in holy matrimony. And it’s all very hysterical, when you really think about it. Because we couldn’t be more different.
67. Music. While the world does their best to corrupt it, you invented it. It’s powerful, moving, beautiful, and I love it. Especially when I get the privilege of using it to worship you.
68. You rejoice over me with singing. What??? YOU rejoice over ME with singing!!
69. When I am anxious, worn, weary, or riled up, you quiet me with your love.
70. You have promised me victory over sin. It does not have dominion over me. For I am under your grace, and I am a new creation.
71. You desire reconciliation and restored relationships. And you give us all the tools to do it. We are a stubborn, prideful people.
72. Your countless wonders, deeds, and miracles. They are not fairy tales.
73. You give strength to those whose hearts are fully committed to you.
74. Even though there are times I think I have a better way, your ways are always higher than mine. And your thoughts are higher than mine. Thank GOD.
75. You do not want me to live in fear. You take hold of my hand and say to me, “Do not fear; I will help you.”
76. You are a shield about me.
77. You only speak truth. You cannot lie. I can fully trust you.
78. Day AND night. You made them both. I love them both. Sometimes one more than the other. Like day, when the littlest people in the house fill the air with laughter and singing. And like night, when the littlest people in the house are finally quiet.
79. You are my refuge.
80. You have plans for me and my life. Plans to prosper me, not harm me. Plans to give me hope and a future.
81. I give you my requests/prayers/wishes. They are not all granted, for you are not a genie. Yet, you do immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine. And your plans are always better than mine.
82. You do not change. Yet you change everything. (And it is always for good.)
83. When I abide in you, I can bear much fruit. You change me.
84. You are slow to anger but rich in love.
85. Others will fail me, break promises, hurt me, put themselves before me, make me feel unloved. But you never will. You cannot.
86. You made a day for rest. You knew we’d need it. It is my favorite day.
87. You want me to have fun. You do not want me to be bored or boring. You created fun, you gave me the desire for fun, and you are the source of joy.
88. I love your creations. The scenery, the animals, the plants, the people… Just not the bugs. I could do without the bugs.
89. You have defeated Satan. He is on a short leash, but he has not authority over me.
90. One day, you will permanently strip Satan of all power and throw him into the abyss. I long for this day. Until then, you have a greater purpose in mind, and you love all enough that you want no one to perish.
91. You do not become tired or weary.
92. You have made me your treasure. And you treat me as such.
93. You are everywhere at all times. Nothing is out of your reach or beyond your view.
94. You are holy. Perfect.
95. You are a father to the fatherless.
96. You have made yourself available to dwell in anyone who chooses to accept you.
97. While you were still God, you humbled yourself to become a man. You came to be an example for us, to point us to the father, and to save us. You have rescued me.
98. You look beyond the external and judge the heart.
99. You were God with skin, and you prayed to God the Father. You were the perfect example of what a prayer life should look like. You lived fully dependent on God the Father.
100. You loved me first and forever. Before I was born. When I was dead. When I denied you.
Now and forevermore.