By Leah Gilbert
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:6 - 8
The beginning is a hard place to start - so let's start with truth. The truth is: I am enough. I am on purpose. God has a plan for my life. The truth is also that I did not understand those truths for many years. Now that I am walking closer with the Holy Spirit, I am seeing things from an eternal perspective where the identity He speaks over me is greater than meets the eye. There is a lot of freedom in understanding God's love for me, all of me. God is love, and His love never fails.
Here's my story:
I was born with Cerebral Palsy. My parents were Christians and they believed God could heal me. They took me to over 100 healing services in my life. They stood on their faith and still today believe God is going to heal me. My whole life, several people have stopped me and prayed a prayer of healing over me. I was told one time that “God must heal the inside of me before he heals the outside”. I think that’s the only thing they could come up with to say why I haven’t been healed. I appreciated their faith, but their focus on healing made me feel that I must not be enough in my current condition. It was as if I couldn't be whole without my physical healing. No one ever stopped and asked me what are the desires of your heart? What do you want? What do you need?
What I needed is to know that I was loved by God, disability and all. I needed to be shown love. My whole life, I have searched for love in all the wrong places. I subconsciously believed that I wasn’t good enough despite the fact that I went to College and Graduate School, became a teacher, and found my calling. I got caught up in unhealthy patterns of behavior trying to prove my worth to others and myself. I've spent a lot of my life feeling broken, damaged, not good enough.
As a child, no one ever spoke TRUTH over me. However, as an adult, I found the truth through His word and through my church family: I am made in the image of God on purpose for a purpose. I was created OUT of his love. He died on the cross for ME. He wants a Relationship with me!! Yes, I grew up in church, but never knew the truth that God loved me, valued me, and had a very special and unique plan for my life.
In case you are wondering, I believe God will heal me. I believe I will dance with Jesus one day. It's been a desire of my heart for so long, and one day, I'll get to trade all of the hard days and temporary brokenness for an eternity of fellowship with the one who loved us enough to give up His life on the cross.
If you struggle with knowing that you are loved by God or others, I encourage you to do three things.
Journal- It helps bring the core beliefs about ourselves to light.
Read God’s Word. The Bible is full of the truth of who God is, who we are in Christ, what we mean to God, and how deeply and unconditionally he loves us. The Truth really does set you free from believing that you are worthless and unlovable or not good enough.
Get Connected. Sadly, there are churches out there that don’t speak the truth, but there are many that do. The Holy Spirit dwells in these churches and in the souls of the people. I am so grateful for The Ridge Assembly Park Hill family. I am eternally grateful that Pastor Jeremy and my church family spoke life into my heart and soul! God loves me unconditionally. That truth totally changed my life and the direction I was headed!
I'm not sure what struggles you have faced or will face, but I know God's love is for you and never fails.