love sacrifices

“I tried breathing but water filled my lungs. sinking, helpless, I blacked out. You dived in, your robes flowing behind you. pushed water aside with each swimming stride, you sank to my depth, got wet, wrapped your arms around my limp body and picked me off the watery floor. though others would say she’s a goner, won’t last much longer, You said it is finished and died in my place. You gave me air. and a hug. the deepest parts of me—seen and loved. If not for you, Jesus, I’d be cold flesh decaying on the ocean bed.”

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

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reflect

my green eyes searched the rectangular reflection hanging on the back of my parent’s bedroom door.  from hair to heel, I ripped myself apart like a leopard does prey, comparing myself to asparagus thin, pristine women on glossy magazine covers from the grocery store. that 2D woman, posed alluringly with little clothing, told me how to look. her motionless, plump, red lips spoke to me an ideal and an only—that I could look like her, or be ugly. my acne, pointy nose, fat on my thighs, drew the conclusion: I was not good enough. no matter how much foundation I caked on, or how long I spent frying my hair with a straight iron, I couldn’t cross the chasm of beauty. I saw what i wasn’t. steady corrosion eroded me into a thin blanket of apologies. I collapsed.

waking up in a thicket of emerald ferns feathering a forest floor…was not what I expected. roots poked out of the earth like half bridge knobs. ancient bark soared tall, seen it all—laughter and tears, death and love. people who pined, searching their lifetime, the world over, for peace. that sometimes dull, sometimes screaming desire. starving, pain. universal earth ache. throbbing to be noticed, asking “do you love me?”

the dancing leaves and towering trees spoke testament: cosmic turmoil contained in every flesh tent. I knew it well. craving but never relieved. burning for more; born with flames tickling my  heart. a “do you love me?” echoed through the forest, through my lifetime. men came and went. one stayed for life. still I hungered. I searched—under clouds and stones, behind trunks and waterfalls, in human hands. nothing. who could whole this furious, yearning hole?!

a mere shadow of life, I crumpled under the tree canopy.

a crimson droplet cascaded through the leaves, dripped on my nose, drew my eyes up. life rain, love reigning. God sacrificed Himself, bloodied, beaten, killed by those He formed and desired. life for life. this God took my place, created a way for my wayward heart to be welcomed home! oh what LOVE! how could it be? tentative and aware of my stains, I timidly crouched under a fern. hiding. wishing. wondering. he beckoned me. me?? incredulous, i stayed hidden. already seen, fully known, yet totally loved. how?! such outrageous love seemed unreal.

yet, the love soaked me, sang my missing note, completed my puzzle. i was inside out, upside down, undone in the presence of soul saturating desire so passionate and sacrificing. I knew: I am LOVED. drawn out of hiding, led into light. that second of rapturous delight transformed me. forever clean. thank you Jesus.

woke up new on the shag carpet bedroom floor. once puddle but now sunrise, I beamed. a cross hammered hand reached down for me. set me free, loved me from scalding burns and tornado turns to healing and a whole heart.

looking into that same mirror, I reflect the forest. the soft ferns and gentle breeze found in my hair and graceful nose. Love found me.