Crying at IHOP

A couple days ago I sat in IHOP crying with my friend, Lindsay Nelson.  In the south, it’s the only decent brunch place open on a Sunday. I can’t say I was too embarrassed because crying in public places has become somewhat normal for me lately.

Lindsay lives in San Francisco and I’m in Georgia…we couldn’t be farther apart.  But our souls are knit together and that Sunday morning, we laughed and cried over an average cup of coffee and bomb pancakes.

I’ve known her almost two years now and she has completely changed my life. Through my friendship with her, I have learned so much more about the extravagant love in God’s heart for me.

April 17th I wrote this in my journal,

“I’m trying to think why Lindsay activates me and makes me come alive more than anyone else. I think it’s because she just loves so well.  Her love for me makes me come alive. And she truly believes in me. Even when I mess up or don’t live out who I am – she still believes in me, and it makes me want to be better. It puts a demand on me like nothing else can. Real Love.”

When I only get to see her twice a year, I easily forget this. And my tears in IHOP were once again caused by her love and thoughtfulness that is ultimately inspired by the unfathomable love of God.

Ever since I have known her, she has preferred me.  She gives me the front seat.  She gives me the bottom bunk. She lets me go first. She gives me the booth while she takes the chair. She takes out my silverware and covers my coffee with the napkin to keep it warm. She is so thoughtful and she serves me because she loves me. She enjoys it and she says, “It’s so easy!”

Then I started to think about God.

He has been reaffirming me lately that I am lovable because of who I am and not what I can do. He had been speaking so much the last week about how he loves that I teach and that I’m prophetic, but that’s not why he loves me and it’s not who I am. He was telling me again that he loves me because he loves me. And I am lovable because he chooses to love me.

As I sat with Lindsay at brunch, God began to tell me that, like Lindsay, he loves to prefer me and he wants to serve me.  In our friendship, he wants to put me first. He can’t help but serve me because he loves me and it actually brings him joy. I wept as I sat in the goodness of God’s love and kindness. I was humbled beyond words. That he would go out of his way to make my day. That he would do whatever it takes to show me love, even the little things that so often go unnoticed. He is consistent in them. He is not driven by obligation or need but only by desire.

And I couldn’t help but give back my love to such an amazing God. That Sunday morning, I worshipped God, not in church but in the middle of IHOP. Crying and all.

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adventure

I found some great notecards in the dollar spot at Michael’s one day.  On the front there was a picture of an old vintage-looking suitcase and beneath it was the word, ADVENTURE.

I ended up giving the notecards to my roommate, but kept one for my journal.  I was finishing up this journal and needed something to end it well.  I have a belief that my journals often represent seasons in my life, so when I end one or start a new one, I like to find the symbolism in the season.

I took an ADVENTURE notecard and decided to write whatever the Lord would speak to me about the closing out of that season.  This was around the end of June.  I pasted it on the last page, closed the journal, and moved onto a new one.

Tonight I felt compelled to pick up this old journal and read that little note from God.  I had forgotten that I had even done that…(I might have terrible short term memory).  What he had told me blew me away.  And spoke to me more now then it did then.  This is what he said:

bethany,

never lose sight of the adventure, the risks, the things that make life full and exciting.  from this season, take with you courage.  take with you character.  i’m doing a new thing and you can only afford to bring the essentials.  do not carry what you don’t need.  don’t pack what only adds weight, but sort out the treasures birthed in this last season. dig deep to find them and bring them with you. don’t move on without them; you will need them. squeeze every ounce out of this season, but when it’s time to leave – be ready to say goodbye. and follow me into the wind.

~your beloved