Hands raised to the sky in prayer position

Edges and Soul

John Legend sings a beautiful ballad, “All of me, loves all of you.” Listening to this song can be a spiritual experience. The piano cords are otherworldly. The vocals are simple, yet exquisite, and the words speak of a love that encircles every imperfection and yet, still chooses to love. 

Have you ever known a love like that? 

A love that stays constant while recognizing and accepting “all your curves and all your edges”? Ya’ll, I’ve got some edges. And the only One I know that loves like that is Jesus. #neveralone

I’m in a season of change and untethering. I have no idea what the future holds. The only stability in my life is God himself. Living in the unknown presses my edges to the surface. I’m far from perfect, but I am holding tight to the only One that has a clue what is coming down the road. So this song has become a worship experience for me. Maybe it’s crazy, but when I hear this song, I can feel the Holy Spirit singing some of the lyrics over me. 

“Even when I lose, I’m winning.”  Sometimes freedom is borne out of loss. There is an unlearning of the old and a consciousness of being open to the new. 

Part of “The New” is a conscious slowing down. Being slower to speak, and listening more. In my bible reading today I was asked to intentionally observe Hebrews 4:12. 

The Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and intents of the heart. 

I’ve heard this verse since I was a little girl in AWANA’s (a Bible Memory Club). But instead of grasping previous learning about this verse, I took some time to ruminate. To be “a noticer”. And what caught my attention was the concept that God’s word “penetrates between soul and spirit.” 

Soul is one of those religiously loaded words. It’s thrown around a lot, but who can quantify what it really means? In The Orthodox Jewish Bible soul is “nephesh” (in the original Hebrew). This means: “the inner being, the very essence of a person.” Soul includes our thoughts, desires, our heart, our inner appetites (what we long for). Soul is the very essence of WHO we are. The same Hebrew word, Nephesh, is used in Deuteronomy 6:5 (which Jesus quotes in Luke 10:27). 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength. 

This command is the opening lines of the Sh’ma, a daily prayer devout Hebrews recite when they wake, and again before they go to bed. This verse was intended to help God’s people focus ALL of who they are on God.  The complete Jewish Bible puts Deuteronomy 6:5 this way: 

Love Adonai with all your heart, and all your being, 

and all your resources.” 

 This includes how we think, feel, talk, act, relate to others (and ourselves)– even our self awareness. Yet, in order to really love God like that, we need to connect to His love for us. 

Have you ever encountered God’s unconditional and complete love?  

I have. Years ago, when I was left alone with two young boys that both had medical diagnoses and sensory issues.  I had no idea how to cope with being a geographically single mom (in a new city) and I was devastated to find myself as the wife of a chaplain who had turned away from God.  Due to his emotional volatility, I was considering leaving. This was not the acceptable thing to do in Christian culture. I was feeling heartbroken, guilty, and very, very afraid.   I found myself on my face before God, crying out for help. And then….

   As I wept and prayed, I was filled with an incomparable peace. I felt Light and Love, and I experienced complete and total acceptance of who I was, and where I was. There was no judgement. Only unconditional love. I had the sense that no matter what I chose, God would love me and carry me through. 

That, my friends, is grace freely given. We don’t have to earn it. There is nothing you or I could do to disqualify us from the all covering grace of God. 

This encounter changed how I saw my Father God… and how I saw myself in relation to Him. My circumstances were still deeply painful, but I understood for the first time in my life that I was truly accepted, no matter what happened to me, and regardless of my own decisions and short comings. 

Now, I find myself in another unexpected season of change. And I am reminded over and over of God’s unconditional love and acceptance. His love transforms how I see my current situation. When I remember that encounter, I reconnect to His overwhelming peace. I understand that no matter what I am going through, I am fully accepted where I am, as I am. 

God will love me through this season, too. And as I connect with Love that covers all, I find that it comes natural to love Adonai with all my being.  This kind of soul love does take some work. I have to take my focus off of how others have mistreated or misunderstood me. I have to turn away from the lies of the enemy, and embrace unending, all covering grace. 

Do you find yourself having overcome or re-frame something in yourself in order to nestle deeply into God’s love?  

Me too. But I find that as I lay down my insecurities, I am able to find His wholeness covering my broken places, filling them in and filling me up… as I open myself up to his His unconditional love. 

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