The Father's Heart
By Guest Blogger: Graeson Shirley -
The heart of God is a wild, mysterious thing. Since I was a little girl, I have always thought I understood the love of God. How could I not? The first song I ever sang proclaimed, “Jesus loves me, this I know.” I grew up KNOWING about the love of God, but what I began to realize was that I had developed some misconceptions about His heart. I hadn’t truly felt and grasped how much He really truly loved me.
I first began to see I had a wrong view of God as I grew up and had to start making some big girl decisions on my own. When I was a little girl, my dad would play this game with me where he would put a piece of chewing gum in one of his hands. He’d put his hands together and shift the gum back and forth between them. After he had shuffled the gum enough, he would hold out both fists and ask me to choose the “right” one. If I guessed the right hand the gum was mine, hurrah! If I chose wrong, I felt the disappointment and regret as he revealed an empty palm. Even as I write this, I feel the anxiety I used to feel as a child trying to make the right decision to get the prize.
As fun as this game was for me as a little girl, it became all too real when I began to feel like God was playing the same game with me. I had all these decisions to make as an adult, and it began to feel oddly similar except the stakes were a lot higher. I had a Heavenly Father who had the right answer in His hands, and it was up to me to pick the right one. If I chose wrong, then too bad, that’s it, missed out. I was crippled with fear because the odds at stake were way bigger than missing out on a piece of chewing gum.
Looking back on those years, I see how much I was not truly walking in the freedom and life Jesus died for me to have. I wasn’t encountering the heart of God. Jesus actually says in John 10:10, “I have come to give you life, life to the FULL.” When I would read this I would feel encouraged in my Spirit, but when I looked at my life, I wouldn’t describe it as FULL...at least not of good things and abundance. Full of fear? Sure. Full of anxiety on taking the wrong step or making the wrong decision? Absolutely. But abundant life to the full? That was foreign to me. I felt crippled at the thought of having to make every decision correctly in order to please God. I wanted to do whatever I could do to make Him love me more.
I am so thankful that two years ago God broke me of this mindset. I was visiting Israel and sitting in the Garden of Gethsemane and had irrational fear about something going on back home. I got my Bible and journal out and just poured my heart out to Him. He spoke back to me and said…. “My precious daughter, I love you. I have such good plans for you. I have a life full of goodness and promises for you. I am so pleased with you. You are my precious daughter. I want to show you a new way of seeing my heart. One without fear.” God opened my eyes that day. Those words He spoke over me changed me forever.
Still to this day I am amazed at the heart of God. How the Creator of this universe speaks over me that He loves me and that He pours out His blessings over me. This promise that David wrote in Psalm 84:11 became a weapon for me I held in my back pocket when the enemy wanted to daunt the lie in front of me that God’s heart for me was trying to hold out on me.
"For the Lord is a sun and shield; for the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11
My heart for anyone reading this is that you would experience the heart of the Father for you. I encourage you to take some time and ask God what He thinks about you. I promise you won’t regret it :)
This message is so very timely as we are a day away from the one day a year we celebrate love. And shouldn't it be our goal daily, as Graeson points out, to allow our Heavenly Father to show us a new way of seeing His heart and this way being one without fear? Such a powerful invitation we are asked into, to say yes to our Father, to allow Him to reveal His heart to us!
Thank you Graeson for sharing your heart with us and for extending this powerful invitation; to experience the Father's love and to ask Him what He thinks of each one of us!
"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love." 1 John 4:18
~ The H2O Team