Psalm 52:8 “But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love.”
My all-time favorite author is Karen Kingsbury. Her writings have inspired me to catch glimpses of who God is in what I pen. I have recently finished her latest series of novels, the Bailey Flanigan Series. Who knew, as I entered the contest and won an advanced readers copy of Leaving (first book in the series), that I would not only be on my own journey of Leaving…but that God would use Karen’s books to speak to my heart so deeply!
Karen’s first book, Leaving, came out when my daughter was getting ready to go to college. As I read through the story of Bailey leaving her family to pursue her God-given dreams of dancing on Broadway…I was reminded of the God-given dreams that my own children would pursue one day. The message within the pages I read, and Bailey’s relationship with the Lord caused me to pray deeply for my own daughter who was many miles away. Little did I know the “leaving” that would soon take place in my own family would be harder than anything I had to bear.
Her second book, Learning, was no different. In this book we walked across the pages watching Bailey’s story continue to unfold as she learned so much more about love, hope, and her faith in the Lord. This book came out during a season in my life when I was also having to learn where my faith stood….learning to lean not on my own understanding…but to learn to trust God with it all! Shortly after, my husband made the decision to “Leave” me.
Karen’s third book in the series was Longing. I was at a place in my life, after being separated from my husband that I longed so desperately for God to work a miracle. I longed to see God move mightily. As I tore through the pages, tears could not stop streaming down my face as Bailey let go of certain relationships and allowed God to grow her in ways that she needed growing. Karen has such a way with her writings that drew me closer to my God, my Savior during this difficult time in my life.
Lastly…and this was the whole point for this post…comes her final book in the Bailey Flanigan Series, Loving. It’s not hard to read through Karen’s books within a few short days…once you pick it up, you can’t stop reading! I drank of the words that were printed on the pages as I read of a forever love. Through out the book, I often asked God, “Will I ever be loved the way Bailey is loved by….” (Don’t want to give it away!!) I long to be loved with a forever kind of love…a kind of love that will last through any storm. A love that will pursue me like a man in the desert looking for water (one of the sayings Bailey’s mom spoke often). As I soaked in the love that flowed within the pages of the book, God spoke to my heart. He said, “Yes, my love….I have loved you like a man in a desert searching for water.”
I could finally breathe.
He is all I need. My entire life I had searched for the kind of love that was a forever love…and I had it all along! That kind of forever love isn’t wrapped up in a human…it never can be. Forever love is wrapped in the loving arms of a Savior who laid down His life for us. It was wrapped in burial clothes, hidden for three days. It’s wrapped in brilliance and splendorous light as He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. That kind of Forever Love is wrapped in JESUS…who did not leave us here without the help of the Holy Spirit!
I do not yet know the fullness of this Forever Love….however, I will pursue it every day. I will allow it to change me, to guide me, to walk with me, to capture my being, to take my breath away. Just as Bailey married…..(sorry, no spoilers!) I will give myself to my Savior as His bride. I will write out my vows to Him…and I will allow Him to be my Forever Love until I draw my final breath.
There are times in our lives when a “Leaving” takes place because a “Learning” is coming. Often times it is followed by a “Longing” and then God fills us with His “Loving”
This verse in Psalm 52:8 “But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love.”, We can only thrive where this Forever Love lives…it lives on the inside of us. It’s wrapped up in our Savior and Bridegroom….Jesus.
For more info about Karen Kingsbury and her wonderful books please visit her website: http://www.karenkingsbury.com/
With all my love,