Destiny In Bloom

Can you just love me?

Can you just love me?

posted on August 30th, 2010 / by Marissa Star / 41 Comments

Do you love someone who isn’t “walking with the Lord” like you think they should? Maybe they haven’t even “asked Jesus into their heart” and it saddens you because they’re not living the life that’s possible for them?  I think we ALL have people in our lives we love that can fall into these two categories.

When we think about these loved ones we have legitimate concerns and then we have our opinions. I used equations in the phrases above because they fall into the vocabulary of Christianeze, (words we use in the Church that don’t necessarily translate the same outside of it.) For the sake of the people who fall in these categories I need to recognize that those words may not express their heart and can be offensive if our hearts behind them are expressed in any judgment at all. I have lived on both sides of those phrases and I love people in my life on both sides. I identify with the distaste of those phrases and yet they are now life to me, as I desire to live my life completely in partnership with the Holy Spirit because of what Jesus has done for us all. Bear with me as I challenge some words we can unintentionally use that can cause the very ones we want to love to Jesus to run from us. I want to build your faith in prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit to bring about miracles in peoples hearts that may not be seen immediately.  I want to encourage you that the more you build your house next to someone and let them watch you live, and authentically love them with no spiritual strings attached, I believe we will earn the voice to speak into their lives when they ask for it. We need to understand how we run and how we fall is equally an example. People need to see Christian people fall/mess up, then get up and not try to hide it! And they need to see us do this with as little preaching as possible. Let me share some stories with you that I hope will bring what I’m talking about to life.

PRAYER CHANGES CIRCUMSTANCES. PRAYER CHANGES THE ENVIROMENT. PRAYER CHANGES HEARTS. PRAYER CHANGES US.

This is my testimony on the “sinner’s side” of a relentlessly praying woman’s prayers. That woman is my Grandmother, also preferably known by her grandchildren as Nana. I don’t know how many desperate calls my Grandma probably received from my Mother crying as she realized the innocent little girl she raised was slipping away into a world of drugs and rebellion. Now that I’m a mother I can’t imagine what I put her through and what it felt like to have her heart broken as she saw her daughter make horrible and dangerous choices. But I am forever grateful my grandma took all those bad reports and laid them at the Savior’s feet in prayer. That woman prayed, she cried, she declared, she travailed and she held onto the promises God gave her for my life. There was a particular Sunday evening when I was seventeen when I physically felt those prayers. A traveling preacher-man came to our church, he had preached at the Sunday morning service and he was going to speak again at the evening service (which we never went too). I was already irritated he had ran over thirty minutes in the morning service messing with my plans to meet up with my friends. I decided to wait in the car steaming the whole time, how dare this man interrupt my life with his long-windedness! What I didn’t know is why it took so long for my family to come out to the car. This preacher was operating in the prophetic (Well, heck I didn’t even know what that was), but now I know he was speaking words from God’s heart straight to the people giving them hope, bringing healing and deeply encouraging the people inside. My Mom came out so excited! She said we were going back that night. Steam turned into fire, I was so angry. I didn’t ever want to see that man who talked too much again! I remember my Mother telling me if I didn’t go she was going to ground me and I thought, “Seriously? No Way!” That night came and she wasn’t kidding. When we got there, the man spoke for just a few minutes and then went straight into ministry time. After he had encouraging words for some of the people he did something that really irked me as I sat there with my arms crossed drawing stick figures on the church bulletin, he said, “There is a young woman in here addicted to drugs and if you will let Him, God wants to set you free tonight.” I knew it was me. It made me so angry I stood up and walked out of there. I B-lined it straight to the restroom to escape his voice and the spiritual tension I was feeling inside. To my surprise they installed speakers so you could hear the sermon in the restroom for the people that didn’t want to skip a beat (that wasn’t me). That set me over the edge, there was no escaping the confrontation of this spiritual battle. I remember the intense anger I felt, I tried to put lip liner on in the mirror and my hand wouldn’t stop shaking. Then I punched the bathroom stall door and started yelling at God, “I’m not ready to give up control! I’m not ready to live for you! Whatever that means! I’M NOT READY!” It felt like my skin was crawling and I was starting to freak out. There was a battle for my life in spiritual realms I couldn’t see but that night I could feel it. I knew my grandma was praying and she needed to stop. I ran to the payphone (that just dated this story) on the side of the church and called my grandma’s house to tell her she needed to stop praying. I was crying hysterically when my Grandpa answered the phone, he asked me if I was all right and I just told him I needed to talk to Nana now! He told me she wasn’t there; she was at her weekly woman’s prayer meeting. It was a group of woman calling down heaven until it touched earth, they weren’t concerned with what they saw today because they spoke to my future and declared it good in Jesus name!

I didn’t give my heart to Jesus that night but I did learn that prayer is powerful. That prayer can create a crisis of faith and spiritual tension that makes God very real to the person regardless if they yield to Him. I am constantly reminded of this moment when I’m crying out for people to come to know Him and His incredible love for them that can change their lives. I declare this scripture over them:

Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him.” 2 Samuel 14:14

Because God had devised a plan that I would not remain estranged from Him, my experience in that church bathroom and the call that followed were a part of that plan. That night He made Himself and the power of prayer known to me, but lacking truth and revelation I didn’t understand it … yet.

PREACH THE GOSPEL. USE WORDS IF NECESSARY.

My husband and I each have our own story of how a family took us in and loved us just like they found us. When you truly take someone in as family you allow them to see the real you. It’s risky, because they quickly learn you’re not perfect, it may be a surprise to many but it’s simply the human condition. Real love takes risks. Like in my case, the risk my Aunt made when she came to see me graduate high school, she saw a misdirected young woman throwing her life away and invited me to come stay with them for the summer.  She could have judged me while feeling sorry for my Mom but instead she drew near to me with kindness. My Aunt and Uncle took the risk of bringing in a rebellious young lady who recently (like in the previous 24 hours) had made bad choices into their home and around their small children. Loving like Jesus loves is risky. I look at my husband and small children and with gratefulness in my heart I praise God they took that risk. I went on to spill my heart out to Jesus and confess all my sin to God in their bathroom while they were at work (you can read that testimony here.). They never lead me in the sinner’s prayer or walked me down the Roman’s road (I’m not saying those are bad), they just opened up their lives to me and let me watch them live for God. I watched them get frustrated with each other and walk out of the room and I watched them make up (butt grabbing was usually involved!) I wasn’t sold a Christian walk without troubles and like the poem they had framed in their house called “footsteps” I realized we will have troubles, but it He (Jesus) is the one who carries us through them all.

My husband’s story is one of a hippie pot-smokin’ surfer guy in Hawaii who showed up at church the morning after he had contemplated not wanting to live anymore. The Youth Pastor at that church asked him if he could play the guitar, which he could, and then asked him to play the guitar for worship. After church the Worship Pastor invited him to lunch. That lunch turned into years of being invited to their house and being with his family and watching it grow. The stories he shares with me of how this Worship Pastor befriended him and taught him how to be a man with out ever telling him how to be one still makes me cry.  The more he saw this man live for the Lord, love his wife and children the more he wanted to be like him. Look like him, play music like him, love God like him. I praise God that Pastor took the risk to love this longhaired surfer-guy and make critical investments of time and friendship in his life that ultimately shaped my husband’s future and now mine.

These people lives lived out God’s heart to love the wandering and recover them through kindness. Because God clearly show us, it is not His judgment but His kindness that lead us all to repentance.

“Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” Romans 2:4

IT’S TIME TO PAY IT FORWARD. IT’S TIME TO PAY IT IN PRAYER. IT’S TIME TO PAY IT IN LOVE.

At the core of all of us, we all want to be loved. We want to be known and understood. Not categorized. Not judged. LOVED.

What Jesus did and provided for us on the cross was the ultimate gift of love. He paid full price for our sin and us. He bought me and He owns my sin. He actually wants it, what He did for me demands it. That He would love me like that makes me want to love others the same.

There are times the Holy Spirit asks us to open up our mouths and share with people, so please hear me I’m not saying not to do that, that is not the message of this article. I am saying there is power in genuine love; He has equipped us with this powerful tool to change lives. Awhile back my brother had told me a young girl crossed the street to where he was on a street corner and asked him if he knew Jesus. He didn’t know who she was, it was completely random, she wasn’t with a church group, she simply was following the Holy Spirit’s lead. He was telling me about how he kept thinking about it. All the while I’m thinking, “Do you know how hard it was for her to do that? That young girl obeyed God! I know grown ups that might not of crossed the street. I don’t know that girl but I love her! I want to obey God like her.” As the Holy Spirit leads us let’s be the love of Jesus. Let’s walk across the street. Let’s take risks. We can be apart of partnering with God to change someone’s future.

Today I don’t know where my brother is, but this is what I’d say to him: I love how crazy talented and creative you are! Man, I love how hilarious you are! What a loyal friend you are. How you love and take care of the ones you love. I’ve never stopped believing in the great purpose for your life we’ve talked about since you were eight. Wherever you are, I love you to infinity and beyond!!! To the moon and back again! You are so incredibly special and valuable to me and my family!

Life is too short not to tell the ones in our lives how much we love them! We don’t have to agree with what we see, because we have the amazing opportunity to partner with God in prayer and change the future. It’s time to be Jesus with skin on to the people that are in our lives, they stand in front of us, not wanting to hear another “do you want to ask Jesus in your heart?” sermon from us, but asking the heart question … “Can you just LOVE me?”

Now, let’s pray for the ones the Holy Spirit has put on your heart!

Lord,

I believe you are devising a plan for _________ not to remain estranged from you. Show me Holy Spirit how to pray when I don’t know how to pray. Show me how to love the way you’ve loved me. I want to dress myself up in You and be the difference I want to see in __________ life. Empower me with strategic wisdom to show love in practical ways that will bless them without my words. Let who I am and how I love you be the light that pushes darkness back. Help me to be quick to repent when I offend or fall so even in my weakness I declare your strength. I want my life to be a witness of true life in You! I thank you for the gift of _________ to the world, surprise them with your love and then conquer every part of their heart with it!!!! In JESUS name! AMEN! So be it!

41 Responses to “Can you just love me?”

  1. The Lord always has perfect timing. I appreciate your writtings and your obedience. Here it is 4 in the morning and I'm awaken because my newborn has spit up multiple times, on multiple pillows and has peed through his clothes and blanket. I thought to myself well I'm awake so I might as well check my email, which led me to this writting. Thank you for your obedience to write and share your experiences. God is truly doing a great thing through you which encourages me that he can and will do the same in my life.

  2. I love this and I love the prayer. You know who I love and I want to love her like Jesus wants me to and live a life that can magnify who He is without preaching.

  3. what a powerful testimony! Prayer does change thing! I prayed for my sister everyday for a year and she came to faith… God is so faithful!

    Thank you!

  4. [...] my post is an article on Destiny in Bloom called, Can You Just Love Me? This one is super near and dear to my heart because there is nothing like being loved when your [...]

  5. Beautiful. To say I knew then and to read this is to say I have seen the hand of God at work. Amen and amen for the power of your grandmother's faithful prayers that would not be shaken because she believed that despite ourselves, there is Jesus. Period.

  6. Rebecca, I love how you highlighted Yuri's story with the worship team. It got me to thinking, "Yeah! How many would actually ask someone onto a worship team when they are obviously not walking with Jesus?" Oh, that all churches would have the room for people to be a part when they aren't a "part of the Christian fold". How many of us would even make that person feel comfortable being a part? Good food for thought, R.

  7. This is so good. I was just teaching on God's Love in bible study to the ladies and I shared on some of the same things. If I would have only known…I could have read them your beautiful testimony! What a blessing you are Marissa.! You always touch my heart.

  8. Marissa, Wow. It is almost out of fashion it seems, these days, the idea from the bible we call discipleship, but you were able to pen it in a way that was practical and do-able. I love the way when you write, the RAW of life seems to make it onto the page and put at ease, all the real life livers. You are the daughter of my heart, and my heart was moved and touched and encouraged to go deeper, move in greater love, so Jesus can be seen. Thank you, Love, Carin

  9. Absolutely beautiful. And dead-on, sistah!

  10. So well written! I wish I would've read this years ago when I claimed to love Christ but thought others were wrong because they didn't love Him the way I did!! I I have so many difficult people in my life who need love & kindness more then my opinions and Christianese!! I've learned that Praying for them helps me to have a heart for them like Christ does. Thanks for the encouragement… I Love you Ris!!

  11. This is great Marissa and something the Lord has been speaking to me about over the past year! I keep hearing Him say "Just love them as they are Stephanie" and it brings so much peace to an otherwise uncomfortable situation. I saw my unsaved brother for the first time in 2 years yesterday and just loved on him. Of course after he left I kept second guessing myself and wondering if I should have forced Jesus on him again but you are so right on. Thanks girl!!

  12. What a great reminder!! Taking that verse to heart! I needed to hear that He has mighty and GOOD plans for those I love and that I need to get back on my knees in prayer for those plans and their hearts. Thank you for the reminder to love them like Jesus loves them.

  13. Marissa,
    Thank you for putting into very loving words my very heart on discipleship. We so often miss the magnitude of effect the little things that we do and their significance to others. Honestly, it's not even the doing but the heart behind the doing. More and more I am convinced that it's our relationships and connections both to the holy spirit and to each other that make the body work, both for those in the body and for drawing those to the body. Thank you for sharing "a part of who you and Yuri are" for us to see God's amazing workings and love for us!

  14. Marissa,
    I love the story of your life!! How you express the love of Jesus by just being you!! This is the greatest call on our lives and you do it so beautifully!! Thank you for sharing your heart!

    Love Love Love You!!!
    ~Maree

  15. Hey Sweetie. I sure am glad you were willing to take this guitar playing ex-hippie ex-pot-smokin’ surfer guy as your husband (ok…maybe just a little hippie still left in me and not as much surfer as I'd like). I love living this life with you and I love being loved by you.

    Yuri

  16. Bethany,
    Something about family and familiarity that can make the journey sometimes difficult … but you are RIGHT His grace covers us as we extend it to them:) Thank you so much for sharing your heart with me … it's an honor to hear it and share in your journey! Love on girl!

    with Great Love! ~Ris

  17. Lisa,

    I love how the Lord lead you here in wee morning to speak to your heart … it so blesses me! I have four boys all about a year and a half apart and I remember the fog, spit-up and sleepless night like it was yesterday. Enjoy that sweet baby and thank you for sharing your heart with me … it encourages me as well!

    Great Love! ~Ris

  18. You are a great example of this Sarah … you are an amazing loyal friend and I know one day we are gonna have ourselves a little Jesus victory party when "her" comes to get lost in His LOVE! :)

    LOve you Princess! ~Ris

  19. Praising God with you for your sister!!!!! He is faithful! Thank you so much for your comment!

  20. Girl borrow away!!!! I don't know if I'm at liberty to lend though;) I always love your heart felt comments and how you share your heart thank you and um thank you for being so faithful to walk with many not just myself through this journey of expressing God through writing.

    You are a real gem and I pray this fall has more run-ins and latte's for us … we need to get purposeful in that!

    Great Love! ~Ris

  21. Maybe one day I'll finish that story in another article;) I love that you know all my stories! And yet I sense Yuri's was a little fresh … I do praise God for men and women that follow the Holy Spirit … were able to position Yuri for his destiny … I'm so blessed I get to share in it!

    Love you friend! ~Ris

  22. I LOVE you know me from yesteryear;) People who know where I've come from first hand hold special place in my heart because it makes us both aware of just what miracles look like! I love when you come out and comment!!! Thank you friend!!!

    Great LOve! ~Ris

  23. Thank you so much! I believe the Lord will continue to show you what to pray:)

  24. Shelly … I know He will continue to show us how to love wider and greater!!!

    Here's to loving and being loved! ~Ris

  25. Love every time we run into each other Nancy! You are such a precious heart and I enjoy the Holy Spirit kindredness we share! :)

  26. Girl I am so excited to pray like this together this fall!!! I get all stirred up … we are going to be like those women … I'm prepared to see some heaven touchin' earth for the glory of God! Glad we are on this God adventure together!

    Great Love! ~Ris

  27. Kristi it's so true! Even in loving a stranger … we spread a lil' Jesus! Praying God's love her way!

    Thanks for sharing your story and commenting … this is often my favorite part … connecting with others life stories:)

    Great Love! ~Ris

  28. This was a real sweet kiss from the Lord! In so many ways He pours His love into my life by who you are to me … you love me higher into God. It's priceless … you make my life rich!

    I love LOVE you! ~Ris

  29. Thanks Crista … my sistah … lovin life and laughin' friend! ~Ris

  30. I know some of your stories and I KNOW you are loving some peeps into the kingdom! I love how you love the Lord and are going after Him … you are such a loving and truly caring friend!

    LOve you! ~Ris

  31. Steph,

    I just love how the Lord brought confirmation to you that you choose the better way! Umm … tears … really keep loving … he will know who to call when it's time:)

    Great love! ~Ris

  32. Michelle,

    Thanks for sharing with me and I know your prayers will make a difference! Great Love! ~Ris

  33. Nancy,

    I've watched you love and mentor so many … this IS your life message and I know you get the precious privilege of being apart of some many great futures by the grace of Jesus!!!

    Thank you so much for your words … they and you bless me!

    Great Love! ~Ris

  34. Renee ….

    I love that I KNOW you love so many this way and you understand because you were loved the same … I love that we share that kind of testimony!

    I love you friend! ~Ris

  35. I love how we are two miracles that He choose to put together and we have the opportunity to pay it forward because of the rich deposit in us to love like we were loved. I love that you get me and how greatly you love the ones God has entrusted you with! The way you give freely inspires me!

    You are kind of still a hippie at heart … I like it;)
    Love~
    Your Ris

  36. Marissa~ THANK YOU! This has been what God has been stirring in my heart. I see others badgering people trying to get them to "see" and it makes me sad. This was me. "If ONLY they would open their eyes, and WAKE UP! " However, it just pushes people further away. Now that the Lord has redirected my heart and brought revelation, it's changed and continues to change my outlook. People are simply tired of being judged and condemned…they just want someone to take them as they are and love them….THAT sounds JUST like our Lord! :0) Let's do it!

  37. Marissa, Wow! this is powerful from the first word through the prayer. For those of us "raised in church" you made some very valid thought provoking points. You have challenged me to "love" with my spiritual eyes open. You aand Yuri are both "paying it forward" like a tidal wave. I am blessed to know you. Hugs, Jean

  38. Moving words…filled with awesomeness..just like you. ((HUG))

  39. never will forget the first night j and shared dinner with you and yuri at esparza's and you both and we shared our true hearts…all was bared that night and we had/have life long friends. love the authenticity in which you and yuri live…..it leads, it woos, it encourages, it loves, it inspires…..all towards our precious saviour….b

  40. Awesomely beautiful-you blessed me today with this. Thank you. Keep those beautiful heart-felt articles coming. I love the prayer you shared and I will use it! Nadelle

  41. Seemingly endless-your ability to stretch, challenge and grow in your love for humanity and the mess we are as people. I never tire of hearing about your Nana who wouldn't stop praying, and it blesses me every time I see your momma and how she loves you and all of your boys. Thank you again for leading us as women (and Bob)-on a mission to share the Gospel, build the Kingdom, and love relentlessly those who come into our lives. So blessed to walk with you ~xoxoxo m