Do you remember your first crush?
I sure do.
His name was Donald. (I remember his last name to this day – but I'm respecting his privacy!)
It was in kindergarten.
I used to think about him all the time. I dreamed of someday marrying him. (Yeah, buddy – I'M the one that got away…) I even got up my nerve one day and kissed him on the cheek (can a five-year-old be a wanton hussy??) Of course, then I ran away and couldn't even say hi to him for like 80 weeks.
I still have our class picture from kindergarten. There I am in the front row – all chubby-cheeked and innocent. There he is in the back row – tall, blond, and handsome. Ah, sweet puppy love…
Obviously, destiny pulled us in opposite directions. But I still remember him…
I’ve been "in like" – "in infatuation" – "in lust" – and "in love" many times since. (Well, not many, but enough…) I've had some powerful feelings that overwhelmed me at times. And, I'm so fortunate to be married now to my true love, and my best friend (cue the *awww's* here).
But, there was something about Donald. About that very young girl's heart – and that very sweet boy – and that pure, innocent first love that I can still remember.
It was precious.
You know, a long time ago I fell in love with another guy.
I thought he was the most wonderful person in the whole world. I thought about him all the time. I dreamed about marrying him. If I could have, I would have run up to him and kissed him on the cheek…
There was something about the first time I met Him, the first time I fell in love with Him that was powerful and overwhelming.
I can recall that very young girl's heart – and that very sweet Jesus – and that pure, innocent first love that I can still remember.
Do I love Him the same way now?
For a long, long time I didn't. Oh, I loved Him, sure enough. But other people, other priorities, other worries and concerns had crowded into my life and replaced Him. He stood quietly in the background for a long time. If I happened to glance in His direction, He would look at me with such longing in His eyes, and He would put His arms out to me…
Sometimes, I'd smile and say, "I'll be right there" – as life whisked me off in other directions. Sometimes, I'm sad to say, I just downright ignored Him. And once, I intentionally turned my back on Him to follow after the siren call of sinful desires.
I just know I made Him cry.
The One who used to fill up my whole heart.
But, you know, a funny thing happened along the way. I found out that "in like" was pretty shallow. "In infatuation" was fleeting. "In lust" was pretty seductive. And "in love" was mind-consuming. But, none of it lasted – none of it fulfilled the empty hole in my heart.
There was nothing that could replace that first love – the pure love between a very small, very young little girl and her very precious, dear Jesus.
Jesus had a message to the church in Ephesus – it's found in Revelation 2:
"But I have this complaint against you. You don't love me…as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen!"
Does that just bring tears to your eyes like it does to mine?
So, a few years ago, I returned to my first love and I found a miracle. Jesus had never ever wandered away from me. He had never ever left me. He had never ever stopped waiting for me.
And when I began to walk back to Him, He started running to me.
At the age of 54, I became chubby-cheeked and innocent again. I became totally overwhelmed with love for my Savior. I became full with the fulfilling and complete Love of the One…
Sometimes I don't understand how He works (or doesn't) in my life. Sometimes I don't understand my trials and difficulties. Sometimes He seems a little silent and distant.
Sometimes I struggle to trust Him.
But, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't hear Him asking me in the depths of my soul, just like He asked Peter so very long ago…
"Sharon, do you love Me?"
And there isn't a day that goes by that I don’t answer Him from the depths of my soul…
"Oh Lord, you know that I love You."
His love brings tears to my eyes, even now as I sit writing this.
Yes, my love has been shaded by years of living life – but it has never been extinguished. In so many ways, it burns brighter than ever.
And with every ounce of this very small, very young little girl's heart, I adore Him.
When is the last time you sat down and really, really thought about how much you love Jesus?
Is today the day to return to your first love?
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"