Just Me is a series that doesn't have any fancy pictures or adventures, just me and my thoughts. To read other Just Me posts, click here or here.
This past weekend my dog, Gracie, was a complete terror.
She woke me up early by whining. She chewed on my favorite hair clip. She ran down the street after she escaped outside. She hid under the bed when I tried to pick her up. She was bad.
We left Saturday afternoon for a wedding 3 hours away. We took Gracie in the car with us so we could drop her off at grandma's, halfway to our destination.
As if I wasn't already on edge, Gracie decided to freak out in the car, scratching my legs and pawing the window.
Me: "Oh my gosh! I just can't stand her!"
Trent: "I know she is being so annoying."
Me: "Ugh I just kind of hate her right now!"
Me: "Because! She has been nothing but rebellious today! She hasn't listened and she ran away and chewed on my stuff and I just kind of hate her!"
Most days I find a small reason to get irritated with my dog, but this particular day, I really did despise her.
Trent: "You shouldn't say you hate her. We aren't getting rid of her. It doesn't do you any good to say that."
It wasn't until after we dropped Gracie off at grandma's and continued our journey that I recognized the lesson that God was trying to teach me.
Gracie's behavior was SO bad. She made wrong choices and obviously wasn't sorry about them. At all.
....and Trent still loved her.
He loved her despite her bad choices.
This is EXACTLY the way God responds to us.
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." -Romans 8:38-39
While my emotions flailed, deciding that I hated my dog because she couldn't behave, Trent saw her as troubled, and loved her still.
God sees me, a troubled sinner who often lives selfishly, often makes wrong choices, often is lazy, often scratches the crap out of peoples' legs (oh wait, that's my dog)
...and loves me anyway. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus. (If you aren't sure what I'm talking about, read HERE)
"I have loved you with an everlasting love" -Jeremiah 31:3
It's far too frequent that I forget the character of Christ. I forget that you can never walk so far away from God that He won't take you back. I know I am not the only person who forgets this.
But because I have the freedom to make choices, doesn't mean I want to make the wrong ones. Because I have experienced God's forgiveness, I want to follow his example and do what's right. I want to walk by faith.
Today I am challenged to love like God loves. I want to love Trent like God loves Trent. I want to love my friends like God loves my friends. I want to love my pesky little pup the way God loves my pesky, hairy, ornery, terrible little pup.
"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13:1-9
God's love for us is beautiful.