There was a time before Rob when I had another love.
For many years, I would slip from my bed in the early morning, away from the distractions of other people, to be alone with my love. Behind a closed door in some hidden room, on a staircase in a hotel, on the wooden dock over a lake. Lingering over coffee at the breakfast table.
I longed for those morning hours. I did not time them or cut them short--sometimes they were over an hour and kept me from the other, busy things of my day. It was unhurried time. I was jealous for it.
I generally cringe when people talk about a love for God like a romantic love, and here I am doing just that. For the love I met with was found in God's Word. To anyone who might have seen me during those morning moments, I would have been a girl with a Bible, notebook, and pen. I would have seemed alone, yet I was far from it.
My reticence to speak of it this way comes more from the paltry references to love elsewhere in the world that fall so short. I roll my eyes sometimes at Christian radio. I refuse to watch most romantic movies. Love is not simply a feeling, and generally is not portrayed fully in a bumper sticker or on a theater screen.
But for a gritty, no-holds barred, R-rated love, you can look in the pages of the Bible. Ezekiel 16, for starters--one of my favorite all-time passages displaying God's holy and awesome love for His people. There is nothing cheesy or paltry about it. We are His bride, called beautiful and made more so by His love. We are pursued by Him, even after we desert Him and love the gifts more than the Giver. The love of God is rich, and the Bible speaks of it toward us in many ways: it is a sacrificial love, a Fatherly love, a fiery and consuming love.
So it is right for me to speak of love in my quiet mornings with God's Word.
Before I even understood God's love, I saw girls at a camp rising before the waking bell. They went down to the lake with their Bibles to "meet with God." This seemed both ridiculous and...lovely. I felt a strange stirring to know what that meant, to know what about sitting in the morning dew with an old book would be enough to forgo sleep.
I began to search for it, reading the pages of that book and writing down verses that were pretty. That's how I would have described them, I think--not meaningful or full of wisdom.
For years, I met with God through His Word in the mornings. And then...a gradual slipping. That's usually how it goes, not with a bang but with a fading sigh.
My beliefs did not change, nor the foundation of my life. But the intimacy and closeness and the guarding of that morning time with God was lost, or at least, harder to find. A stirring has grown lately, the calling of God's voice grown louder for me to return. I rejoice in the desire, and I groan with the effort to regain those stolen moments in the crashingly loud and busy world of motherhood. I am re-discovering my first love.
Whatever it is that you believe, whatever truths undergird your daily living, have you looked in the pages of the Bible?
When I first began to read, it was as a girl who loved the idea of reincarnation because it meant I could screw it all up and begin again. I shied away from church because there seemed an awful lot of shouting from the pulpit. I felt lost, but did not know if I wanted to be found. Who, I wondered, would even be searching for me? I was not a believer in absolute truth, not a particularly kind person. I had no idea if Jesus had been a real person in history, or if that whole Easter story really happened. I did not really care either way.
That's who I was when I first opened the Bible. Sometimes I would go outside and let the wind blow the pages and read wherever it landed. There was no purpose, no plan, no seminary degree or belief that the Bible was true or God was real. You don't need any of those things--you simply need to make the time.
God will show up.
The question is will I? Will you?