Linda Oelze joined us for Morning Carelink this week. She came to share context and story around the idea of God's love for us and where we look to find worth in ourselves. Linda is on staff at First MB Church, has three semi-grown children and her husband is the Executive Pastor at First MB.
"We focus on our circumstances to figure out if we're loved."
This happens in our earthly relationships and we often think this way when it comes to our relationship with our Heavenly Father. "He loves me. He loves me not. He loves me. He loves me not." Ever taken a flower and plucked the petals? We graduate from this type of love-evaluation to "My son hasn't spoken to me in two days. He loves me not. My husband has been so kind and helpful today. He loves me." And the storyline continues on into the way we view God's love. If life is good and problems are minimal and manageable, then we can more easily believe that God loves us. But when the waters rise and the winds blow, we often think God is angry with us or is withdrawing His love. Or we wonder what we have done to lose His favor.
Linda shared the example of the movie Pretty Woman. The redeemed prostitute. Shame and guilt are consequences of her actions and others' actions towards her. Julia is mistreated at the fancy clothing stores and when Gere discovers what happened, he stands up for her. Demands honor and respect for her. He redeems. He advocates.
God does the same for us - regardless of our past choices or sin perpetrated against us by others. God sees the good and rejoices in us - no matter what our past entails. Our true worth is not based on how we look. On what we do. On what we think or say. Love from God is not based on US. He loved us FIRST - no matter how we're living our lives or what's in our pasts.
1 John 3:1
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
17 And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Linda wrapped up her time with us by answering a few questions on a ministry & book titled, "Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse". Click the link to read more about the book written by Dan Allender at www.ChristianBook.com. If you would like to meet with Linda or get into a group or simply have some questions to ask her, go to the First MB website and email her or call the church office and ask to speak with her.