Day two – fully known AND fully loved.

Shortly after I moved here I thought it might finally be time to write the letter. A letter that I’ve talked about writing for close to six years now, but a letter that has somehow always managed to escape me, many times despite my best and concrete intentions. Call it what you will – I’ve had a lot going on, denial, I’m just not ready yet… but regardless, I still have yet to write this letter.

It will be six years in January.

Six years since my heart broke in a way that a human heart was never designed to break.

Six years since whatever goodbye I previously had was suddenly painfully staring me in the face.

Six years since the night I heard the news, since so many things were forever ingrained in my memory – holding tight onto people we both knew, holding on for dear life. Shaking. Hoping. Wondering how on earth I would get through life knowing that you wouldn’t be there if I ever needed you.

It’s been almost six years, Jillian. Some days I still can’t believe it. Because even though you were just my therapist? Off the record, between the lines… you were so much more than that. And sitting here, in Virginia, a world away from all of the times and things we did share… I still miss you so much it hurts like hell.

God did not design our hearts for permanent goodbyes.

He did not design us for death.

I think it’s so incredibly vital to remember that scripture tells us to not grieve as those without hope… it doesn’t say “do not grieve”. But that’s another post, another story, another lesson.

Why do I bring up Jillian for this post? Why do I start it with such a painful memory?

Today’s gift is the gift of being fully known AND fully loved. And in all of my journaling and soul searching earlier this year, I came to the realization that Jillian left me with such a beautiful gift. She was the first person with whom I felt genuinely and truly fully known and fully loved. It was in a human way and not in a supernatural Godly way, but it still happened. I still felt it, quite possibly for the first time in my life. And though I didn’t realize it at the time, that lesson and gift she left with me would start paving the way for the most important lesson and gift I could experience… See, when we are fully known and fully loved by our Creator God? We can rest assured in that love because that love is unconditional. It comes with a promise. And on top of all of that? Scripture tells us that God knows us better than we know ourselves.

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me! …Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether…. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.” Psalm 139:1,4,15

These are just a few selected verses from Psalm 139, but they speak to how God knows every single part of us – both the good and the bad.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

Here we turn to Romans, to the first verse of arguably one of the most beloved chapters in the entire Bible. Romans 8 is all about, well, exactly what this verse says… there is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

I know that so many of us in church have heard this verse so many times. But I want you to read it again, and to really ponder it.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Okay… now I’m going to ask you to read it one more time with me (don’t worry, I need to hear it over and over and over myself!). But this time, think about it in the context that Christ Jesus, the one with whom we have no condemnation? Think about it knowing that it’s the same God that David spoke of in Psalm 139, the same God that knows every little detail about us.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Wow. I mean, when we find those people in life that can demonstrate fully known and fully loved to us in human form… it’s a gift, truly. And for some, it’s even a first time gift that helps a person to see that they DO have worth, even if they’re unable to see it until years after the person is no longer in their life.

But when we can see it in the context of a God who still chooses to love us, every day, perfectly, despite knowing all of the horrible human things about us?

That, my friends, is a priceless treasure. One that I want nothing more than to share with the world.

And it’s a gift so valuable that we still celebrate it’s arrival every single year, now over 2000 years later.

Merry Christmas, my dearly loved friends. May you know just how much you are perfectly known and yet desperately loved in this new year.

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