Why did I choose to call my blog “Changed By Love”? I used to be insecure and felt unloved. Because of this, I was very shy and reserved. I was afraid to risk rejection. I had a hard time even believing that my husband loved me.
There are some people in my life who have a way of making me feel like I’m less important and just somehow inferior to them. I was not getting any positive strokes from anybody in my life. I was not around the real “meanies” very often, but often enough to dampen any fire that might ignite in my soul to make me start to think that maybe I was okay. That feeling was always squashed real good before I could start to have a positive self-image. When I was in school, I got good grades. That made me feel good, but somehow nothing I did was ever good enough. Or it was the wrong thing to be good at. The things that make a person popular were always way out of my reach. And from the signals I was receiving from everybody around me, those were the things I needed to be good at if I wanted to be a worthwhile person.
Some of the things that happened during our dating years and first years of marriage reinforced my belief that I was unloved, and I felt like it was probably because I was unlovable. Outward beauty seemed to mean more to people than a kind, caring heart or intelligence or personality. I started to get the feeling that I would always be an outcast. I just didn’t fit in anywhere. Even with the person I loved the most, I didn’t really feel loved. I felt like he just asked me to marry him because I wouldn’t leave him alone about it.
I went through the years doing what needed to be done. I was happy with my babies but unfulfilled and always trying to prove that I was worth something. I tutored children and homeschooled other people’s kids. I did homeschool assessments for other homeschoolers. I had a few friends that I talked to on the phone. I joined a quartet right after I had my fourth baby. It kept me very busy. I experienced an attraction to a young guy that helped with the quartet because he looked me in the eye when he talked to me. I knew I had a problem at that point. Fortunately, my husband experienced an awakening at a Promise Keepers’ event at about that time. He came home and said that we needed to talk. We did, and I confessed to him how I had been feeling. He knew that it was partly his fault, and from that point, we started spending more time together and being very honest with each other. My husband got involved with the quartet, too. That helped me get over my infatuation with the young man. I started to feel more loved by my husband when he showed me that he cared enough to get involved with my music group that wasn’t even his style. Spending more time together was a wonderful thing for our marriage.
We started to pray together and become more unified after he lost his job in 2001. We became a team fighting the world’s system as we lived by faith, even though everything was set up against doing that in this society that we live in. He met a man from Nigeria who became his mentor who told him that he needed to pay more attention to his wife. He said that he needed to make sure that my needs were met before anybody else’s, even the kids. I liked what I was hearing from the few things Gary shared with me about what he was learning. I did start to feel a little more special and loved and worth loving.
At the same time, I had an experience with the Lord in which He told me that He delighted in me. I almost couldn’t believe it. I pondered that for a long time. I still think of it with awe and wonder. I started asking the Lord to show me how He really feels about me, what he thinks of me.
As a result of many dangerous prayers, the Lord had His way with us and removed us far from everything and everyone familiar. We told the Lord that we would only do what he told us to do and that we wanted to do what He put us here for. If we didn’t accomplish His purpose for our lives, what was the use of our living? I knew that Gary wanted to see the miraculous happen and that He wanted the power of God to operate through him. I also knew that God would have to take us through a baptism of fire to cleanse and purify us so that we could handle His power to do miracles and signs and wonders. So I prayed for a baptism of fire. Thus began our Journey of Fire.
We ended up in Kansas City at the International House of Prayer. The Lord let me know that I was supposed to do the Intro to IHOP internship although that seemed like a crazy, impossible thing for a woman with 8 children to do. As I went through the classes and spent time in the Prayer Room and the Prophecy Rooms, the Lord was working on my heart. Especially through the Prophecy Rooms, He let me know that He thinks I’m extra special, that I’m doing a good job with my children and that I’m more important and significant than I think I am. He repeated to me that He delights in me. I got that message in many ways during the time we spent at IHOP. We lived there for 3 years. There was a moment in time when I felt so loved by my husband and by God that I was overwhelmed. I almost couldn’t stand it. I felt like I was going to explode.
I have been a different person since then. I have been Changed by Love. I know that God loves me, not in an impersonal, corporate, “God loves everybody” kind of way. But I know that He loves me and knows my name and thinks I’m a delightful person that He wants to be with. I have tasted of the Divine Romance. I sometimes have to remind myself that I’m loved by my Beloved, but I have an overall attitude of feeling loved that I didn’t used to have before.
So when I thought about what to call my blog, the tune of the Amy Grant song, Saved By Love, came to me, but the words were, “Changed By Love”. That’s when I realized that I had been Changed By Love.