“Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (HCSB)
I reach for a blank notecard from the stack by my bed in the early morning light. I scrawl strength across the middle and write below it these words: God is the strength of my heart (Psalm 73:26). I think of the busy day ahead and silently pray, “Yes, God, please be my strength today.”
I’ve begun collecting names of God — Strength, Friend, Refuge, Savior, Comforter. I first started this in a document on my laptop, but it has now spilled onto these notecards too. I’m a woman obsessed.
And I need to be because this is not what comes naturally to me. I am a striver, not a lover, by nature. I spent years stressing out for God, trying to prove my worth and earn His love. But I have come to understand there is a deeper, better way.
The other morning I could feel my heart racing and my to-do list growing before my feet ever even hit the floor. I paused and prayed, “God, I don’t want to be Your employee. I want to be in love with You.”
I imagine many of you would say the same. And perhaps, like me, it can be a struggle to know what loving God means in the ordinary day-to-day. Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
And here’s the secret I’m slowly discovering: We can serve a stranger, but we can only deeply love someone we intimately know.
For me, that means the notecards by the bed, one name written down each morning. For you, it might be walks outside looking at the creation of the Maker who made you. It might mean finding more of God in front of the stove or on a platform at the front of a stadium. We can know Him anywhere and everywhere.
We can simply ask, “God, I want to know more of who You are. Will You show me?” This also means laying down our ideas of who we want Him to be and surrendering to who He is. We look to Scripture first to tell us and then we find His character and heart reflected everywhere around us.
Loving God also means believing He really does love us. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). As I share in You’re Loved No Matter What, “God is for you. God is with you. God loves you beyond all you can imagine. Right here. Right now. As you are.”
If you’re struggling to love God it may be time to ask, “Do I really believe He loves me?” It’s okay if the answer is “not really.” We all experience this as part of being human. That just means it’s time to figure out what’s standing in the way — shame, guilt, fear, lies — and find healing in those places.
Love is not a task list. It’s not about productivity or perfection. It’s about simply this: intimacy and connection. Our great God is not asking for our resume. He’s inviting us into relationship — every single morning, every single moment.
This post was originally written by Holley Gerth in June 2017.
How can we pray for you today?
Here at (in)courage one of our greatest privileges is turning to God together in prayer. Let’s ask God to show us more of Him in prayer as we bring our requests and those of our community before Him. Leave a prayer request in the comments and then pray for the person who commented before you.
Come, Lord, and hear our prayers.
Join me in praying for others over at (in)courage, where sisters come together to lift each other up! Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
So true that we can only deeply love someone that we intimately know. I have discovered that the way I have gotten to know God intimately is to have gone through periods or seasons of suffering. It sounds counter intuitive, but it’s true. It’s in the pain of the crucible that I have found God to be most present as my comforter, my strength, as the God who stays when everyone else goes. Praying for all my sisters, here, who are struggling with trials, may you find God’s deep and unfathomable love to be your strength and comfort. You are seen and you are loved.
So true, Bev! I, too have found I’m most intimate with God through my own periods of suffering. I think it takes us that ” hit the bottom ” moment at times for us to find and feel his everlasting strength and unfailing love. I call these little reminders.
I pray that you have a blessed week. Remember, you are loved, just as you are.
I’ve been going through therapy lately and it’s somewhat a relief and some moments of-discovery can be tough. Please pray that I just remember that God is for me, not against me and stop doubting myself! Also, please pray for my health and my family.
Thank you all ❤️
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
The hard work of self-discovery can be tough. I will certainly pray that God will work the Truth – that He is ALWAYS for you deep into your heart and soul where it would “stick”!! I guess you could call me a member of self-doubters anonymous. I do think that the enemy knows when that is our Achilles heel and goes after us with a vengeance. Romans 8:1 was a verse I had to claim – “Therefore, there is now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Also repeated was “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” …and “If God is for me, who can be against me?” If the thoughts you have about yourself don’t match up with the Truth that scripture speaks about who you are, then it’s all lies from the enemy and you need to kick the enemy and his lies to the curb. Oh how I’ve practiced with this!! Praying also for your health and for your family. Have a blessed Sabbath sweet sister…
Rosetta Reeves says
I have found this to be true in my life also. My hardest seasons bring me my deepest connections with God and grow my faith the most.
Know that you are loved by God. You are His child. He first loved us and He gave His only begotten Son so we may have life, life abundantly. He heals the broken-hearted, comforts grieving and in need, gives strength to the weak, provides where there is a need, protects in love, and heals the wounded souls and hearts of all, We must ask Him into our lives. God is. Be blessed and be encouraged.
Thank you for this. I am in a place where my faith is being tested like never before. Like I’ve never struggled with the question, “ do you really believe God is real,” I pray daily to be intimately in love with Jesus. I desire to hear Him speak so I won’t be misled or judge wrongly. Please pray for me as this struggle is so real and hard right now. Especially when you’re watching a child have seizures daily or another child struggle with learning.
I cannot fathom the pain of watching your children suffer. My sincere prayer is that God works great miracles in your life.
I would love prayer for my struggle with worthy, self-doubt and the resulting overthinking. It is unrelenting and exhausting. I understand the origin, how it began and continued to grow in my life. At 54, I have been unable to rid myself if this struggle. I have all of the outward signs of a highly successful life, but the everyday inward existence is a battle.
I have to center myself every single day on God’s word to be able to function. I’ve often wondered if this is my thorn, and it is what keeps me close to God, so it just isn’t going to go away.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I struggled with a lot of self doubt and was continually overthinking things. I would get stuck on thoughts and would be unable to let them go. I lived with a lot of inner anxiety even though, on the outside, I appeared to have my act together. I hope you don’t mind my asking if you’ve ever sought medical advice? After years of struggling, I was finally diagnosed with having OCD – an anxiety disorder that is characterized with self doubt, overthinking, and obsessing. It goes far beyond those who continually wash or organize things. For me, it is the thorn in my side that has kept me in continual communion, reliance, and dependence upon the Lord. I am lifting you up in prayer right now for wisdom and insight and hopefully healing. (I do have to take medicine that GREATLY helps the overthinking and obsessive thinking). I just wanted to throw that out there…praying…
Thank you for your wonderful reminder. It spread a beacon of hope into my darkness.
My MIL has been diagnosed with breast cancer since March. Need prayer support for her complete healing and providence for home care.
Also two years ago I lost my job in the insurance sector and have been unable to secure a job ever since.Need deliverance in this job arena not only for myself but for my younger brother Justin .
I can empathize with your struggles. I’m a single momma who (in the midst of caring for her 21 month old) works as a consumer wellness educator and virtual personal assistant. My company is expanding and offering $500 bonuses this month. I don’t know if something like this is for you, but feel free to reach out. Regardless, I pray that God will open the doors to opportunities you and your brother need.
My mother is an 18 year cancer survivor. Your MIL will kick this!
In My Prayers,
Beth Williams says
Sweet sister praying God leads you to a good job. May God guide your next steps in this trial. I know He has great great plans for you…plans to prosper & not harm you. Also May God send His healing touch on MIL. Praying she can make it through treatment & HH. I volunteer with Relay for Life (ACS) Carter County, TN. Trying to raise money & awareness of all types of cancer.
Such a beautiful post. My prayer request is that I will lift my eyes up to God and learn how to truly love Him. That the fears and worries I have about my life and all my anxious thoughts will quiet down and that I will truly trust Him.
Beth Williams says
The way for me to know God intimately is to focus on what He did at Calvary. Try to feel the pain & anguish He went through for me. It is then that I almost fall to my knees thanking Him for loving little me so much that He would die a cruel death for me. Going through trials & coming out the other side has given me more trusting ability in Jesus. For each new trial that comes I readily trust Him for the answers. I thank Him often for ALL the great gifts He gives: sunrises Sunsets & beautiful mountains. He takes the darkness of this world away. Praying for everyone here today. For those with financial issues may He provide for your needs. Those going through medical issues may He bring healing. Those facing other trials may He guide your steps & help bring answers quickly.
You are our ALL in ALL, our rock & redeemer. You make us new each day. You provide for us so generously. Coming to you today to pray for all the women here. Some need to know you better. Others are facing job losses, financial issues, medical problems, divorce, family problems, etc. You alone know their needs. Asking you to provide for them & see them through to the other side. Be with them & make your presence known & felt. Send love, hugs, & great mercy to those in need. In Jesus Name AMEN!!
Kathy Shan says
Praying for A deeper intimacy with and love of God as you go the trials, Bev.. i also pray that God gives you a special refereshing when the trials are not so prevalent. Father, i pray a double portion of the fruits of the Spirit upon Bev, as she journies with you. I pray this for all my sisters in Christ. May His love, peace, patience, joy, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, and self control cover you and be evident in your life. Thank you Father, for all Your blesses as we walk with you, for all our days.
I feel like my request each week is the same. I left an abusive relationship over a year ago with my daughter’s father who continues to abuse me through the court process. He saw our daughter for the first time in 7.5 months yesterday with a court appointed supervisor. According to the supervisor, “things went really well.” I, of course, am glad that my daughter is safe, and I know that I should be happy that she had a good visit with her father, but I can’t help but feel like he was putting on an act with trial getting so close. I don’t want the judge to be duped. He has made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t care about her. I’m just so ready for the resolution of all of these, and I want to move closer to my family and away from him.
Kelly G says
God bless you for your kind words of encouragement to others! And in your ongoing struggle with your ex. The verse that comes to mind is Eph. 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” which would be daunting if not followed by the gift of God’s armor. I also love Colossians 2:15 “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” I’m still learning what that means practically speaking, but praying these verses and putting on God’s armor helps change my focus and expose lies (worst case scenarios that so easily form in my mind). It is work, and I get tired of having to do it (forgive me, Lord, for whining instead of being grateful for your provision :-/) but I guess it’s a like exercise that way–discomfort making us stronger.
Praying you have a good week!
Heidi Roesli says
Thank you Bev for your prayers. Yes, it is in my struggles that I often find more intimacy with Christ… as my comforter and strength but also as my hope. Today I am thinking of God on my side no matter what. My Daughter-in-Law is 28 weeks pregnant with my twin granddaughters. Everyday the doctors evaluate whether to deliver them because they are not growing like they should be. God knows. He knows my Granddaughters, my family and me. He knows the story and he knows our hearts. So in this trial, He is my strength, my hope and comfort. No matter what He has a plan. Thank you Holley for sharing insightful words this morning.
Pray that my husband I will have children. Pray that I stop living in fear and worry, and just be mentally sound.
Rosetta Reeves says
I’m asking for healing for myself to be able to fully grasp the love of christ for me. I am also asking for prayers for my adult children Randy and Rodney. Thank you and may God bless you in some great way today.
Mildred Morris says
Please pray for me. I struggle with this scripture what it really means to love God with all my heart. I also struggle with feeling of not being loved.
A. Roller says
You are very much loved! Imagine God Almighty doting and ga-ga-ing over you like a grandparent over a new grandbaby. He rejoices and sings over you (Zeph. 3:17). Rest in His love. People around you will fail in the loving department. God never will.
I need prayers to help me put God first…..through prayer or his word or my thoughts. My brain seems so full of everyday fami,y stuff and stresses and craziness.
Praying for you! ❤️
Please pray for me to be filled with the peace of God and for my thoughts to be filled with His peace and love. Thank you so much! ❤️
Please pray for victory in my life over lack of self control and to focus on Christ and His love
My marriage has reached the place of implosion. We need prayer for miraculous healing. I also need physical healing. I’m dealing with a horrendously botched muscle biopsy by a heartless, uncaring surgeon. My leg looks terrible and feels infected and like it may never look or feel normal again.
The enemy seems to be working overtime in my life. Please pray for healing, deliverance and protection. Thank you.
As I continue to deal with life changes following hearing I am not loved by my common law spouse and prevent his happiness following catching him with another woman and lying about it, being legally bound to the house that we both own and desperately wanting and needing to move from a place that is awkward, uncomfortable and scary at time with a person who has difficulty controlling their anger…I seek that I will be blessed and God’s promises. I prepare my heart and ask for peace and strength, guidance and His loving touch. I request prayer and encouragement if that is ok and send prayers for you as well. Thank you for your words and inspiration. xo
Bernice Bowers says
Praying for all of us struggling between closeness with God and busying ourselves with service. Service to others and to church do not produce closeness with God, but instead should be a result of intimacy with God. It’s so hard to see that fine line, because our hearts are in the right place. This devotion came just as I realized that it’s been some time since I have sat down and just poured out my heart to God. I seek Him daily in devotion, study, and prayer, but not as intimately as I need to. Lord, help me take time for just the two of us to meet!