HOW HE LOVES

I was originally going to call this entry, “IF GOD LOVES LIKE A HURRICANE, WHY DO I SOMETIMES FEEL LIKE A CONCRETE BUNKER INSTEAD OF A TREE?” but… it was a tad bit long and intimidating in all it’s capitalized letteredness.

I am always in awe when one song, when simply read in lyric form makes me want to weep. Then I hear the music added and a voice sing it with honesty and belief that the words are true, I am swept away by it.

This is one of those songs. It was written by John Mark McMillan and sung by David Crowder*Band. It’s called, “How He Loves,” and if you haven’t heard it, you should take a listen. If you’re not a music fan, read along:

He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane
I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy

When all of a sudden
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
And I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me

And oh, how He loves us so
Oh how He loves us
How He loves us all
Yeah, He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves us
Oh how He loves

And we are His portion and
He is our prize
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes
If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking
And Heaven meets Earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest

I don’t have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about, the way…

It’s the time of year when I typically retreat inward (okay, it’s more like a person would hunker down for a hurricane if I’m honest with myself) to protect myself from the minefield of the holidays and Suckuary. It’s a season when I wrestle inwardly with all that lurks in the cracks of my concrete bunker. If you only knew how often I don’t want to sleep because I am scared to close my eyes and relinquish control for those few hours and the nightmares I still sometimes have.

This song overwhelms me in a way that’s difficult to describe. The first time I heard, “He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,” I was stunned by the notion that God is jealous for me and having lived through a major hurricane, God loving me with that much power.

Eventually, even Geraldo and Jim Cantore took shelter from the force of the hurricane winds. I remember how nearly every tree in my apartment complex (and Houston) was affected by the powerful winds of Hurricane Ike. I walked past trees shattered into pieces and found myself running my hands over the bark of trees that were able to bend and not break. This spring, those hearty trees were green with leaves again.

I protect myself because I’m afraid I’m going to shatter into splinters instead of bending beneath the weight of God’s wind and mercy. My life is a hurricane already. I need more hurricane like I need more months like Suckuary. I’d rather go inside, wait out the storm, and protect myself. The thing I’ve realized, however, is that I emerge from my concrete bunker unchanged. I’m the same as when I went in, except I managed not to hurt as much, or rather, feel much at all.

I hate that I still wrestle with this, but I do. I was harshly reminded just a short time ago of all my damage and all my struggles and how it’s just too heavy for some to even think about dealing with. I felt so ashamed that I couldn’t be “normal” enough for this person for even five minutes. I felt like I’d been slapped so hard my face changed shape permanently. It was an awful feeling I hadn’t experienced in years and I had spent a great amount of energy trying to make sure I didn’t feel that again. All wasted.

As I sat there, overwhelmed and broken, confronted with all that I am not once again (through a certain lens anyway) I wondered how I would ever get over this hump (mountain).

I’m so grateful that God loves like a hurricane and how he loves me through the people he’s brought into my life. When I was having that lowest of low moment, I was surrounded by a swarm of prayers and hugs, and there was no shortage of the Word or reminders of how much God loves me, relentlessly.

I am so thankful for my friends, especially my Bro Onions (and the Shallot) and their lovely ladies, who simply refuse to let me return to the bunker. They fight for me in ways I cannot fathom, because they see me, really see me, and though that scares the hell out of me, I’m relieved to know that “normal” isn’t everything when it comes to being loved.

So, as it comes down to the season I wrestle with most, I will embrace it outside the concrete bunker. May I learn to bend and experience the overwhelming, strong and fierce love of God in all new ways.

This may involve a new form of uber-spiritual Yoga yet univented. My life is never dull.

If His grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking…

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