I Am the Love He Died for
January 1994 came at perfect timing. God is never too late.
My husband and I had been pastoring a church an hour north of Toronto. We were the first plant out of TACF in 1990. We started in 1989 in a living room as a cell group and after a year, we jumped off the diving board to become a church, and God filled the pool after the leap. We went from six to over three hundred pretty quickly. So it seemed like it was really happening, and I thought we all liked each other. There were lots of growing pains; and as we had learned years before, “Blessed are the flexible, as they will be stretched.”
I didn’t realize that the good, the bad and the ugly shows up when God is in the house. Lots of issues were being brought to the forefront just before the outpouring. I wasn’t even going to church that first month. I did come down with Peter on the third day. Possibly this was a clue to the state of my heart.
Peter was called up to testify. It was a bust. He just laughed. I was glad for him but I was just so sad.
Then these amazing people marinated my crusty edges with His love. Night after night, I came with Pete. He’d get inside the Dixie Road location and just hit the floor laughing. Then a person like Ian Ross or Shirley Smith would just sit beside me and quietly pray. I know if those unsung heroes of selfless love hadn’t been there for me, I would have missed the whole deal.
It was all about what Jesus did.
When you’re hurt, you are guarded; it’s all about you. When I couldn’t stop looking back, these ordinary friends took off my old stinky robes so that I could look forward at Him. Introspection isn’t very pretty, and yet nothing was too much for these friends. I was amazed at how they demonstrated value, dignity and honor, not for anything I could do, give or say. It was all about what Jesus did. He gave it all with death on a cross.
After about a month, I was blown away at this revival for ordinary people. They were "nobodies from nowhere”, people who simply knew whose they were and lived in His amazing love. I guess you could say that everyone they loved on was “Sonkissed.”
As the revival continued, I couldn’t believe our cool, cutting edge church was splitting. Rather than endure it, we turned our church over to another pastor and joined staff with John and Carol at TACF to start a dream that we had talked about a couple of years before. The School of Ministry (SOM) started in 1997.
We started travelling full time as itinerant ministers and have had the privilege since that time of seeing many people come into relationship with God as Father. Although, because you have had some revelation, it doesn’t mean there is an arrival point. So from 1997 to 2007 there were lots of opportunities to walk in some of what we have learned and experience lots of fresh encounters with Him.
In 2007, through a series of circumstances, I was made aware of so much more of God. This is how I learned the value of the renewal. Easter Sunday 2007, my dad died suddenly, and my brother and sister and I became caregivers for my mom struggling with Alzheimer’s disease. My sister slipped into a depression; and she couldn’t be there much. So we moved house. Then my retired brother had a heart attack the day after we moved. Now Peter and I had lots of juggling and stress, and I couldn’t feel anything until that Christmas.
God is love, period!
But instead of asking, “Why did this all happen?” I needed to ask only, “How do I walk through this Lord?” Every day I am so blessed to have a Father that is there, regardless of what I do and don’t feel. The Bible became so much more alive to me through this process. Both Peter and I started a journey asking ourselves the question, “Are we actually believing believers?” The unbelief that was in my family surfaced and I saw God’s grace at work in them.
Peter always said we are to live from His approval, not work for His approval. I am the love He died for! So is Peter and all the members of my “pre-Christian family.” We are all without a compass when we become Christians. I can’t be spiritual enough or fake it till I make it.
God is love, period! Fifteen years on, I am just starting to actually live in the truth of such amazing real love. I am so grateful for the most generous heavenly Dad who leads us, fills us and strengthens us! When He saved me in 1978, and then led us through lots of changes, moves, failures and even successes, I have learned that nothing can ever beat the love I am living today in 2009 because of the River of God’s love.