Recently, we had a listener reach out to Rebecca through email asking us a question that we all face at some point or another. This is what she said:
“Thanks so much for sharing your words of wisdom to your children with me (and on Facebook). I had heard you share it on KCBI in the past, but this time I really wanted a copy to give to a friend with a elementary school age daughter. She really loved it, too. It is so beautiful! I wish my parents had such wisdom to share with me when I was a child (both were abusive).
I love your wisdom on KCBI and I listen every day on my way to work. We have some things in common, like living in Kansas (Parsons, Salina, and Topeka for me) and being bulimic. I have one question I hope you can answer, as I wonder if you also dealt with this during your recovery. I am a believer, but in the past few years I struggle with knowing if God loves me. I know on some level He does, because Christ died for me, but when I read the Bible I feel the words don’t apply to me, I don’t feel His love. I know I have a distorted view of God based on my father. But I don’t know what my problem is and how to get over it? I was hoping you might have some ideas. Am I just lacking faith to believe it? I don’t know how to overcome.”
This was Rebecca’s response:
I’m so sorry that you were raised in an abusive home. Those wounds run deep. And those wounds are most likely why you have a hard time moving the knowledge of God’s love from your head to your heart, don’t you think? Even if your parents told you they loved you, their behavior made it difficult to believe. Our parents are the closest thing we have to a God figure when we are growing up, and if, during your formative years, your parents hurt you, you will unconsciously transfer that fear to God. The good news (that you already know, of course) is that God loves us with a love that can’t be changed. We did nothing to earn or deserve it, therefore we can do nothing to lose it. Your worst behavior on your worst day does nothing to dampen God’s love for you, and your best behavior on your best day does nothing to add to it. Why? Because your behavior is not the determining factor of how much God loves you. God is the determining factor of how much he loves you and he already loves you to the fullest capacity.
You are familiar with John 3:16—“For God so love the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him…”. The New Living Translation actually best captures how we are to understand this verse. It says, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son.”
Jesus is God’s living, breathing love encased in skin. When you doubt God’s love, look at the cross. Insert your name into John 3:16, for God desires that we would take that verse personally. “For this is how God showed ________ that he loved them: by giving them Jesus, his one and only Son.”
You are not alone in the way you feel. I’ve gone through those dry spells, too. I call it the desert. When you are in the desert, all there is, for as far as the eye can see, is sand. Very little vegetation. Very little (if any) water. That means you have to rely on your reserves. If you are traveling through the desert you bring food, water, and a pop-up tent that can easily fit on your camel, right? When you are going through a spiritual desert you have to live on what you know, not what you feel. This is how we walk by faith. Paul said, “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). I think we can apply this to our experience by saying, “We walk by faith, not by feelings.”
One of the reasons I am passionate about encouraging women to read the Bible daily is because, while you may not get any lightening bolt revelations, you are packing the word into your heart, and you will draw on it when you enter the desert.
I hope this helps you, my friend. Thank you for listening to KCBI and for writing to me. I am saying a prayer for you today, that God would allow you to FEEL his love for you. It is not feeble and faulty, like your parents’. It is deep and wide and high and long (Eph. 3:17-19). It’s rich and good and pure. It’s also everlasting and never-failing. God bless you!
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