As I was scrolling through Instagram this afternoon this picture popped up on my memories from two years ago. It’s a picture of me, my two brothers and my mom that was taken somewhere around 1997. You see that cute little boy in the middle? Yeah. That one is me.
The first thing I noticed as I looked at this photo was the big, cheesin’ smile that I have on my face. A rush of emotions came over me as I thought about all of the things that I didn’t know up to this point. The things that I had yet to experience were such a distant reality. I wondered had I of known the hurt and the brokenness that I was going to have to face in the first 29 years of my life if my smile would have looked a little less radiant than it does in his picture.
I don’t run across many pictures of both of my brothers and I very often. So when I do it’s such a treasure to reminisce for a moment. My oldest brother passed away when I was 14 and my other brother passed when I was 19. Both of them battled with Cystic Fibrosis their whole lives and unfortunately my family lost both of them way too young.
As I just stared at this picture the Father began to allow me to see it through His eyes. He gave me just a small glimpse and taste of His love for me at this point in my life. Man did He love me. He really did. Even though He knew what was ahead of me, how I would handle it and how many times I was going to turn away from Him and run, His love was so much stronger for me than I could have ever imagined.
There was a time in your life just like this as well. A time when inexperience and ignorance of this world allowed joy to organically fill your soul. Brokenness and hurt hadn’t created the wounds that you walk around with today. Your childlike faith allowed you to trust and be vulnerable. There was a season in your young life where you didn’t smile to cover up the hurt or the pain, but you smiled because your heart was so pure and innocent.
I just want to be raw with you for a moment. Long before you were broken, long before you could imagine the hell you would have to fight through to get to where you are, the Father was looking at you through the same eyes that He sees you with now. His love for you has never wavered and it has never changed. It never will. He promises us that.
I get asked very often when I share the gospel with someone how I know that God is real. I think a majority of the time they are looking for a piece of evidence or historical fact that points to His existence. But I don’t have that to offer. All I can give is the hope that dwells inside of me.
I do know that God is real. If He wasn’t there’s no way that I would be okay. If God never touched the broken places of my life and brought restoration to the areas in my heart that seemed like they were going to crush me, I actually may have given up a really long time ago. I know that God is real because He has brought a supernatural freedom to the wounds that could never be healed by myself or human intervention alone. The reason I know that God is real is because the little boy in that picture finally has his smile back.
The time that I spent battling in the trenches for restoration is over. I have won that victory through the power of what Jesus did on the cross for me. I promise that there is restoration power for you as well. All of the hurt, the pain and the brokenness can be restored. I have so much hope for you because I have seen the Lord move mountains in my life that I never would have been able to touch on my own.
His love for you is so tremendous. He’s inviting you to trust Him. He wants to breathe life into the places of pain and sorrow that are immersed so deep in your soul. My simple prayer is that you’ll respond in faith to His goodness and pursue Him the same way that He is pursuing you. He’s never going to stop. He want’s to restore your heart to the place that it was long before it was broken. Will you let Him?
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