The trip was a culmination of nearly a year of learning about the boys and the ministry. The story of the lives of each boy transformed from a two-dimensional list of factoids into a multi-dimensional spectra-colour person. The stories became alive and real, as if I had walked into my favorite novel and was able to interact with all my favorite characters. Actually, that is exactly what my first night felt like. As we walked into the Micah house and could take in the view, not limited by the border of a photo, and hear the boys talking and joking, I kept thinking - "This is so surreal! It's real, it's all real. The boys are real." The boys are indeed very real, and have made a significantly real impact in my life which can be summed up with one word - love.
Through their friendship my understanding of what it is to love one another has greatly expanded. But it reaches much further than that, my heart knowledge of the Father's love is so much richer for knowing these boys. Somehow in the process of learning to love the Micah boys simply because I am choosing to, I understanding in a new way how God loves me just because He wants to. It's a simple truth that has finally found its way from my head to my heart. And it has been so liberating.
God loves me just because He wants to. It isn't any inherent value of my own, not because of my potential and how I could be used, my accomplishments are not the reason; quite the contrary. If I were to be judged according to my own disposition and actions for my worthiness to be loved by the Sovereign God I would fall horribly short. For on my own I am rebellious and selfish, doing things the Lord despises. That is why God's love is so amazing! That while I was rebellious, He loved me. He loved me to the point of death so that my sins were atoned for and I would no longer be an enemy of God. Because of His love, I have worth. "But Christ did not die for us because we are valuable; we are valuable because Christ died for us. It is not for us to say to one another, "Worthy are you!"—which is the mantra of a great deal of modern psychology. Instead, we turn to God and say, "Worthy are you, O Lord our God!" (Rev. 4:11)."1 I am not worthy, and never will be, I can set aside all striving and insecurity.
I'm discovering a beautiful cycle, that as I know God's love more, I love Him all the more, and as the love between me and my God grows, my love for Micah grows, and the more I love Micah, the more I love God. Over the past couple months I feel like the Grinch at the end of the story whose heart grew three sizes. My heart is growing and expanding, coming alive. Even on the hard days, when I say "no" to my own wants so that I can say "yes" to things related to the boys. Or when they run away and my heart aches, it grows larger still as I see myself in their rebellion, addictions, and poor choices and know that I love them still, as God loves me when I continue to sin.
I am learning that love is a many splendored thing!
"I have loved until it aches, and found that the love consumes the ache, so there is only love---much more love" Ann Voskamp
1Love Needs No Reason by Mark Galli