I was sitting cozily on the couch in my best friend's living room. We were deep in conversation about life and God, when her husband chimed in with, "Have you ever read Crazy Love by Francis Chan? You gotta read it, Val. It's life-changing."
I don't know about you, but that statement definitely piqued my interest. Life-changing? Really??
So I bit. I agreed to borrow the book and had no idea what was to come. I had no idea that I would soon learn about a God whose love for me was so immeasurably great that it was practically mind blowing. Crazy, even.
In the past, my perception of God was that He was more of a distant entity to be revered. Yes, distant. Not close. Not involved in my everyday. And not because He wasn't interested, but rather because he was just so....I don't know....holy and grand and busy and answering much larger and more important prayers than mine. I guess you could say that I had a hard time wrapping my head around having a relationship with Him. Or that He would even want that.
In his introduction, Chan writes, "I get nervous when I think of how we’ve missed who we are supposed to be, and sad when I think about how we’re missing out on all that God wants for the people He loved enough to die for. I haven’t always felt this way. I grew up believing in God without having a clue what He is like. I called myself a Christian, was pretty involved in church, and tried to stay away from all of the things that “good Christians” avoid—drinking, drugs, sex, swearing. Christianity was simple: Fight your desires in order to please God. Whenever I failed (which was often), I’d walk around feeling guilty and distant from God. In hindsight, I don’t think my church’s teachings were incorrect, just incomplete. My view of God was narrow and small."
You know what resonated with me the most? I grew up believing in God without having a clue what He is like.
Yup. Very accurate description of me. So that's what this book did. It sparked a desire to learn about who God really is. What are His interests? What does He long for? What are His stories? What does He want to teach me? And most importantly, is this extravagant LOVE that He has for me for real?? And how exactly do I follow his command to love Him back with all my heart, soul, and strength? How do I respond to this crazy feeling that He has for me? Because really, that is what is most important in life. I've come to learn that His desire for closeness to me, and my willingness and openness to connecting to Him, are what make all the difference. Nowadays, I'm able to actually notice and see His chase in such tangible ways, that my heart explodes with wild gratitude for this incredible relationship we now have.
Valerie admires truth-seekers, yearns to learn more about God and herself through life's circumstances, and believes that good food plus good wine plus good company equals happiness. She and her husband are high school sweethearts, and they have the privilege of raising two beautiful daughters. She is not a huge fan of talking on the phone, but would much rather catch up with someone in person. Most days, you'll find her in yoga pants and a ponytail.