I could very easily sum up today in one word: happy.
But that's not exactly enough details for a quality blog post, is it? Besides, I want to remember this feeling, what got me here, what it's made me think about.
The gift that I mentioned in this post finally got opened today, and the texts that I received as thank yous would be more than enough reason by themselves to be happy, although a lot more has added to it today. All I did was write The Vespers, Kyla, and Caitie, six people whom I adore, some letters. My words are the easiest way for me to express my gratitude, even as difficult as I found it to put into words the magnitude of change God has made in my life through them. I pray that hearing that people learn from knowing me never stops making me drop to my knees in humility.
I truly do thrive on encouraging other people. I'm definitely not shy when it comes to telling people how I feel about them, and I think I figured out why. (I'm fairly sure I've said this on here before, so sorry if this feels like old news.) I know what it's like to be the outcast, to be the one no one wants to hang out with, to really believe that no one would care if you just disappeared. Now that I have so many people in my life who prove that is not the case to me every second of every day, I want to make sure no one I care about feels that way, either. No one should ever feel that way, not even for a second.
Throughout the conversations I had with the band in reaction to their letters, and some other conversations I've had throughout the past few days, I noticed one thing coming back up again and again. For the first time in my life, I am absolutely positive that I have a select group of friends (meaning other than just Matt) who know the real me 100% and have no expectations of me changing. These people have taken me as I am, without judgment, without criticism, without manipulation and loved me for me. And as I sit here writing this out, I think of something I said to Taylor this afternoon, something that was in a completely different context but still fits here: This is just the beginning.
All of this, all of these people who love me, this knowledge that I am loved unconditionally by certain people that I have surrounded myself , all of it is nothing but a mere glimpse of the kind of love that God has for me, for each of us. Think about it. God wanted to protect us all from the ending we had in store that He sent His child to be humiliated and tortured and die on a cross in our place. As amazing and wonderful as my friends are, I can't say for certain which of them, if any, would die to protect me. God is the true epitome of unconditional love. Humans are caught up in human emotions; your friends will probably get mad if you hurt them, but God loves you, anyway. You are perfection in God's eyes because every time He looks at you, He sees Jesus Christ. He sees your worth to be far higher than this world and the enemy will tell you it is.
Going back to my post yesterday, knowing that there is that kind of love waiting for you in the arms of a Heavenly Father, how can you know that and not want to give him all the glory He deserves? How can you not want to live the life He asks you to when you know Jesus gave up everything for you? For me, at least, I can't say no to a love like that. I can't deny a love that died for me knowing that I, in all of my sinful wickedness, will avoid the painful end I deserve. I want to be radical as a thank you.
Friendship often has to be earned; at least that's something I've experienced in my past, and something I'd never been successful in achieving. This love, though, is there whether you want it or not. No matter what you do, even if you don't believe it exists, even if you feel like you're not good enough or don't deserve it, it's there and it's waiting. All you have to do is say yes.
"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40:8
There is a lot of love in this world to be found, no doubt. After all, I am the prime example of a person who always instinctively tries to find the good in people. But the danger lies in believing that the love of this world is enough. No matter how beautiful the people you know are, even the phenomenal people I am so blessed to know, the love they give is not sufficient. It never will be. A hard lesson I've had to learn as of late is that even the people who seem to be gifts from God are, in the end, just as sinful and broken and weak as everyone else. Putting them and their love up on a pedestal only lets them fall harder and farther. As good as their love feels in the moment and in this life, it will all disappear. Besides, you don't even know what's waiting for you.
"'No eyes has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." 1 Corinthians 2:9
So my suggestion: Surround yourself with people who love you as you are, yes, but make sure they're the people who will keep you focused on the perfect love that waits for you with God.
And always remember: no matter what, you are loved by the King.