38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Ten years ago, that scripture?Romans 8:38-39?became like a lifeline of hope for me. I’d heard it many times since I became a Christian at age nine, but I never felt it in my heart until I earnestly began seeking a deeper and closer relationship with Jesus.
I was brought up in church; we went every Sunday, and even several times during the week. I actually accepted Jesus into my heart when I was nine, but I always felt like I wasn’t good enough for Him to love me just as I was.
I always felt like God was angry with me for one reason or another. I imagined that He was in heaven looking down on me with scorn at every bad thing I’d done. Every time I sinned, I felt God would not and could not love me, so I stayed away from Him. My shame kept me from fully coming to Him for forgiveness.
I also felt like I had to do something to win God's favor. I felt I had to be perfect?I tried so hard to be 'perfect' and 'good', but I always failed miserably. My failures would send me into spiraling depression, and further and further from the God who loved me.
All the time, I would feel the Lord wooing me back and telling me how much He really loved me, but I could never fully accept His love. I thought that if I sinned, God turned His back on me and remain angry at me. I wanted so much to feel His love, but I didn't feel I was worthy of it.
One night I had a dream. I was in Heaven and I could literally feel the love of God in every cell of my body. It was unlike anything I'd ever experienced. I felt so loved, and it was so deep that it literally seemed to pour out and into me. I was standing in a field of grass, and every field of grass radiated the love of God. There was a tiny insect on one of the blades of grass, and even that tiny insect was loved. While I was standing there, I heard a voice say, 'Perfect love casts out all fear'. I reflected on that dream for a long time and realized that I was afraid to let God get into the deep, ugly crags of my heart. I felt that it was too ugly for even God to love, but that's what He wanted. He wanted to get into my heart and heal my broken heart.
Soon after, I began attending a women's small group in my church. We did a study on grace. Through that study, I learned that God's grace covers me. At some point during that study, we read Romans 8. When I got to verses 38 and 39, it was as if a light came on in my spirit! I realized that God loves me with such an abiding love. There is nothing that can take His love away from me. There is nothing I can do to make Him love me more, and there's nothing I can do to make Him love me less.
It took awhile, but I began to allow God into my brokenness. It was very hard, but eventually God healed me of the low self esteem that I had. I really understood grace in a way that I'd never understood before. I learned that no matter what, nothing?not hell, not demons, nor men nor even my brokenness could keep me from the love that is in Christ Jesus.