Welcome Back + intimately knowing God

Hey friends! When I say it's been a long time, its been a l o n g time. Thank you for being so patient with me over the last 2 years of virtually no content. Thank you for your love and support even though I had nothing to say/what I thought I had to say wasn't "good enough."

The last blog I uploaded was the day before my mom became a burn survivor. What an intense and beautiful season of life that was! Since her accident, Mom has become a yoga instructor and has started a blog, which I'll link here!

The world also went through a crazy pandemic that ended my Freshman year of high school 2 months early. Now I'm a JUNIOR! How quickly has time passed! And how much we've grown and changed; that we became better, stronger followers of God.

I wanted to catch up with you all because this is my ministry. This is my little sphere of influence that I care about so deeply in my soul, but have overlooked in the chaos of life, and to that, I apologize.

You know, just the other day, I was sitting in a business meeting with a woman named Miss Linda. Miss Linda has her own marketing business, and this year some other students and myself have the opportunity to work with her in our community. Well, as I'm sitting there, she tells us in her passionate, no-nonsense way, "Sometimes, you will care more about someone's business than they do themselves."

"Sometimes, you will care more about someone's business than they do themselves."

I can still picture her saying that and feeling so convicted. How many times have I let this gift God's granted me gather dust as years have passed by? Her words were so timely, and I feel so compelled to act. To resurrect this little corner of the internet, and try again.

All that to say, welcome back. Welcome back to Teen Christian Living. And thank you for treating your hostess with such grace. I really don't deserve it. Thank you for caring when I didn't.

Of course, I don't want to leave you without an inspiring take away. So, going along with the theme of undeserving love, I want to tell you a story from my Bible study yesterday.

Kris Emerson is a preacher/podcaster that has made a huge difference in my faith. One thing he and some others are doing on Facebook is reading a one chapter of the Bible a day, and then discussing it together. I'm actually a little bit behind the group, but the concept still stands as a great idea.

Anyway, I found myself in the book of 1 John, the 4th chapter. Right before I started reading, I was praying and telling God that I was sorry. I had spent the last week busying myself with things that truly don't matter. It's a habit of mine that I really hate; when life becomes chaos, I tend to let my time with God lose priority.

I asked God that I might know Him and love Him more. That's a prayer I pray often, sometimes mindlessly, if I'm being quite honest. I caught the words falling out of my mouth and paused. I really want that, I thought to myself. I've said it to God countless times, but I mean it tonight. I want to know and love God more.

As I start in, verse 6 and 7 stand out to me. It reads,

" We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God." (ESV, emphasis added)

In those moments, I picture Christ as the groom and I, the church, as the bride. Long before a wedding is planned or maybe even considered, there is a date. A season of getting to know the other. It's slow and intentionally spent. To love someone requires knowing them intimately.

When I use the word "intimately," I don't mean in a physical way. The best definition I've heard for intimately is a breakdown of it- "into me you see." Into someone else we see their fears, hopes, struggles, and their heart. And despite what we might find, we make the conscious choice to love that person, warts and all.

Christ and his church are the same way: to have a deep, fulfilling relationship with Christ we must intimately know him.

However, before we commit to a lifetime of getting to know him, He knew us first. Verse 10 tells us that God loved us, not the other way around.

We are a people so afraid of rejection that we decide it's better to keep our dignity than to risk loving someone at all. Yet God pursues us with incomparable love, unashamed of His passion and plan to save us. We know that "the love of God was made manifest among us" (referring to Christ in verse 9). He didn't hide it, or give it to us with any hesitation.

We are a people so afraid of rejection that we decide it's better to keep our dignity than to risk loving someone at all. Yet God pursues us with incomparable love, unashamed of His passion and plan to save us.

God loved knowing I could never love Him to the same degree. We can meet with 100 faithful members of His church and our worship would never equate with his gift. Boost that number to one thousand, or even ten thousand, and it wouldn't be equivalent.

Human logic tells us He should leave the relationship because we aren't giving Him enough. But to Him, it's His greatest joy to see us genuinely trying.

I've grown up knowing that God loves me, and I hope you know that truth too. But what really stood out to me that night was that I don't know Him and love Him as much as I'd like to, yet He knows me so well that of all the passages planned for me to read, it would fall on a day in which I needed the most basic reminder out there. God loves me. He knows me intimately.

Thanks be to the greatest Groom out there, who chooses to know and love His bride even when she is too busy to notice His heartfelt gifts.

If God has felt far, I encourage you to read 1 John 4. Spend time getting to know God. If you are seeking to know Him, you will fall for Him, guaranteed.

All glory to God!

Elena ♡

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