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Today’s Truth

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither 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.”

Romans 8:38-39

Friend to Friend

Most of us live in a world of performance-based acceptance. We make good grades and mommy is proud. We look pretty and daddy smiles. We do a good job at work and the boss is pleased. We serve at church and congregation thinks we are “good Christians.”

Unfortunately that same sense of having to perform well to be accepted by people can easily roll over into our relationship with God. We falsely believe that we must perform well to be loved and accepted by Him, when nothing could be further from the truth. As a result, we strive to obtain something that we already have…God’s unconditional love.

Anabel Gillham was a woman who loved God, but had trouble accepting that God could love her. Sure, she knew the Bible verses that talked of God’s unconditional love for her. And yet she knew herself and doubted a God who knew her innermost thoughts would approve of her.

Then God used a very special person to help Annabel understand the depths of His love for her – her second child, Mason David Gilham, who was extremely mentally challenged. Let’s let Anabel tell you her story.

I never doubted for a moment that Jesus loved that profoundly retarded little boy. It didn’t matter that he would never sit with the kids in the back of the church and on a certain special night walk down the aisle, take the pastor by the hand, and invite Jesus into his heart. It was entirely irrelevant that he could not quote a single verse of Scripture, that he would never go to high school, or that he would never be a dad. I knew that Jesus loved Mason.

What I could not comprehend, what I could not accept, was that Jesus could love Mason’s mother, Anabel. You see, I believed that in order for a person to accept me, to love me, I had to perform for him. My standard for getting love was performance-based, so I “performed” constantly, perfectly. In fact, I did not allow anyone to see me when I was not performing perfectly. I never had any close friends because I was convinced that if a person ever really got to know me, he wouldn’t like me.

Mason could never have performed for his parent’s love, or for anyone’s love, but oh, how they loved him. His condition deteriorated to such a degree—and so rapidly—that they had to place him in an institution when he was very young. His parents enrolled him in the Enid State School for Mentally Handicapped Children. They drove regularly 120 miles to see him but occasionally also brought him home for a visit.

On one particular visit, Mason had been with them since Thursday evening. On the following Saturday afternoon God painted a vivid picture of His great love for Anabel through Mason. She was standing at the kitchen sink, dreading what lay ahead. In just a few moments, she would be gathering Mason’s things together and taking him back to “his house.” She had done this many times before—and it was never easy—but today God had something in mind that would change her life forever.

“I stood up to the sink again,” she continued. “More dishes, more washing, more crying – and thoughts, foreign to my way of thinking, began filtering into my conscious awareness. I believe God spoke to me that day, and this is what He said: “Anabel, you don’t look at your son and turn away in disgust because he’s sitting there with saliva drooling out of his mouth; you don’t shake your head, repulsed because he has dinner all over his shirt or because he’s sitting in a dirty, smelly diaper when he ought to be able to take care of himself.

“Anabel, you don’t reject Mason because all of the dreams you had for him have been destroyed. You don’t reject him because he doesn’t perform for you. You love him, Anabel, just because he is yours. Mason doesn’t willfully reject your love, but you willfully reject Mine. I love you, Anabel, not because you’re neat or attractive, or because you do things well, not because you perform for Me but just because you’re Mine.

And friend, that’s exactly how God feels about you. He loves you just because you’re His.

Marinate in that love today.

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me unconditionally. You love me when I perform well, and when I fall flat on my face. Help me to love others the same.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

Now It’s Your Turn

Do you ever feel that God loves you more when you perform well?

I’m guessing you said, “yes.” So tell me, what is wrong with that way of thinking?

More from the Girlfriends

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6 Responses to “God Loves You No Matter What”

  1. Laura says:

    Before I sing, I pray that the Lord will receive it as the worship it is meant to be and that others will hear His voice. I pray that it would be pleasing to hear but if the words failed to come, that he would put something in there place. I do not need it to be perfect but instead, to be an offering. You see, I once thought that if it was not perfect, it would do neither. My offering would be unworthy somehow. I would lament on my limitations rather than on the one who gave me the gift. But praise God that He loves my brokenness and reminds me when I have thoughts as those that it is pride. That I am trying to put limits on His grace. Oh how I love Jesus, because He first loved me. Forgive me Lord when my thinking is all wrong. When I try to put limits on your love for me. I love you.

  2. Lisa says:

    I don’t know why my way of thinking has been that I am loved based on my performance. I’ve never been taught that, in fact, the contrary. Maybe because it’s my own self esteem, thoughts of failing, worthlessness. I am not worthy of unconditional love. His unconditional love. I have Ephesians 2:8 tattooed on my ankle: “saved by grace”. Each morning I sit and read the GIG devotional. Each morning God (through all of you) puts exactly what I need to hear for the day. Thank you for this. I will still strive toward doing my best for Him, but this reminder helps me know: no matter what, I am loved. Ty

  3. Kim says:

    I always believe that I have to come perfect before God that all of the crazy things I’ve done makes him not love me. Each day I attempt to tell myself that no matter I may say or do that he still loves me and that I am still his. I appreciate this devotional as I needed to be reminded of his unconditional love for me.

  4. Sierra says:

    Thank you Heavenly Daddy for loving me despite what I “chose” to beleive about myself. I mean after all you always surround me with those that remind me daily if not especially Saturdays how much of a Firstfruit I am to thee! The sweetest thing I heard yesterday (6/17) from a Pepsi truck driver was “you are wise beyond your years, Child of God”! I’ll take it.

    I like that!!!!!

  5. Marissa says:

    Wow! Thank you for this. I really needed to hear this today. I was really down on myself on how much I failed God. I got really hyper focused on my appearance was not acceptable in Gods eyes. I even told Him yesterday that it’s easy for me to believe He loves others deeply. But I have trouble believing that He feels the same way about me. I asked Him to show me and He did. Thank you ladies for the reminder. I too have a special needs child and my heart goes to Anabel. Thank you for sharing your story. God bless you and your wonderful son!

  6. Wren says:

    I am surrounded by friends who have what appears to be extraordinary relationships with God. They hear from Him personally, get great revelations, pray daily, and just seem to always be meditating on His word. I, on the other hand, pray when I think about it, read His word sporadically and do good to remember the verse I read this very morning. I am constantly battling a feeling of inferiority when I’m with these wonderful women, all of whom have their own battles and problems. Somehow, knowing that these women have their own issues, yet still manage to spend time with God, makes them seem more “valuable” than I could ever be. This is a lie. I am treasured, loved, cherished and valued just as highly as they are. My struggles do not make me less of a Christian. My walk with Christ is not related to theirs and should not be compared to theirs. As Jesus said to Peter about John, when Peter questioned how John would die: John 21:21 So when Peter saw him, he asked Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man [what is in his future]?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If I want him to stay alive until I come [again], what is that to you? You follow Me!”

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