Written by Anne Fleetwood
My doorbell rang. It was him, holding a single white rose. “Anne, this is how I see you—spotless, pure and beautiful—despite your past.”
I heard Jesus’ voice that day—though He looked a lot like my boyfriend Sean.
The night before, I’d decided to risk coming clean about my past. Would Sean stick around once I’d unloaded a dump truck’s worth of hurts, failures, and heart-junk?
As I held that white rose and blinked back tears, I realized once again that Jesus, the Lover-of-My-Soul, sees me as spotless, pure, beautiful, and that my junk doesn’t faze him or cause distance between us. I also realized that Sean might just be a keeper.
Ah, I hear my lover coming!
He is leaping over the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My lover is like a swift gazelle
or a young stag.
Look, there he is behind the wall,
looking through the window,
peering into the room.
My lover said to me,
“Rise up, my darling!
Come away with me, my fair one!
Look, the winter is past,
and the rains are over and gone.
The flowers are springing up,
the season of singing birds has come,
and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air” (Song of Songs 2:8-12 NLT).
In all great love stories, there are moments of uncertainty, risk, and pain. Our love story with Christ is no different. One minute He’s leaping, bounding over the mountains in reckless pursuit of us and then bam! He hits a wall.
What’s this? Christ, excitedly scaling a multitude of obstacles to get into our deepest heart spaces, intent on engulfing us with his love, yet we prevent deeper intimacy. He’s left outside the fence wondering how to break in.
What reason do we have to keep Him at bay? Things like shame, past hurts, unattended disappointment, fear, unaddressed anger, self-condemnation, and unforgiveness all conspire to erect a wall that tells the world, and our God, that we don’t want them any closer. “Too risky,” we feel.
Despite that, He calls to us, “Look, the winter is past and the rains are over and gone.” It’s time to look beyond our past winter seasons to the springtime of our soul. It’s time to rise up and allow Him in. Risk letting Him, and others, see the truth about the walls that remain in our lives.
I didn’t know I needed it, yet this is exactly what God had been asking of me over the last nine months. For though He loves me as I am, He loves me too much to leave me that way.
His relational love is an overwhelming, all-encompassing pursuit of us that knows no bounds or barriers too difficult to overcome. His love risks everything, heartbreak hanging in the balance, as He asks to be invited into deeper intimacy with us.
For me, the risk of opening up old hurts to new seasons of growth was always fraught with vulnerability and shaky-legged-fear. Yet it was through those moments that I experienced the depth of His love in such profound ways that I swear all the birds started singing.
Might you have a wall of heart-junk that prevents the fullness of His spring-like love from blossoming over you? Try these steps to begin the demolition process in your life:
- Ask God what needs to change.
- Forgive those whose words or actions that caused these barriers to solidify. Ask God’s forgiveness for what you’ve been holding onto, and forgive yourself for letting these walls remain for so long.
- Choose to trust that He will cause the winter seasons of your soul to burst into new life.
Every year, in May, I stroll through my father’s garden marvelling at the delicate new growth that fought and overcame a Canadian winter just to exist. This year, I think I’ll take Sean. Together we’ll remember what God has done as we stop and smell the roses.
Anne Fleetwood is an artist, life coach, and passionate Jesus follower. She teaches leadership and spiritual development to youth and young adults at camps, conferences, churches, etc., through her work with LAUNCH Youth Unlimited. She loves inspiring and equipping young people to walk in their God-given potential and take a next-step in their relationship with Him.