Love Always Protects

With 2022 being already half-way over, I hope you are learning how to love yourself the way God intended through the articles I have been writing. What does being protected mean to you? Webster’s Dictionary defines protection as: “To cover or shield from exposure, injury, damage or destruction.” How are you shielding yourself? How do you protect yourself from exposure to hateful thoughts, harmful feelings? By filling yourself with the true love of God, you will be able to protect your heart.

We learn from a very young age how to protect ourselves from physical pain. Our parents teach us that if we touch a hot stove we will get burned. If we ride our bikes too fast down a hill, we will fall and scrape our knees. As we get older, we may begin to “test” our physical limits. We may drive a little too fast, knowing that a car wreck can cause great pain. We may indulge in too much alcohol or for that same matter, too much chocolate cake; knowing full well the bellyache that will follow. As adults, we learn to walk the fine line between protection for our physical bodies and things that can cause us pain. We have learned to navigate the world.

Most of us, however, aren’t as equipped to protect our hearts from pain. One of the greatest lies we are told as children is “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” As I think back over my 41 years on earth, I can count on one hand the number of times I fell off my bike, or scraped my knee, or cut myself…but words others have spoken to me still cut my heart to this day. Most of them concerned my always being heavier than the other children around me growing up. That feeling of not being good enough or as worthy as someone else just because of my physical appearance has been an internal battle for my entire life.

God makes us all equals in Christ. So why in my deepest parts am I still that 8-year-old little girl being told I was just “too big” and being forced on a diet. The feeling of failure, the feeling of not being able to measure up to expectations when the number on the scale went up 3 pounds instead of going down. It is a battle I fight every day. This deep dive into 1 Corinthians has forced me to come face-to-face with demons I have buried deep in my heart, and I am hopeful that the next 40 years of my life will be filled with the happiness and peace we are promised in Christ.

God’s soothing words of wisdom are like a sweet oil for my soul. They are slowly healing the deep scars that were formed so many years ago. Proverbs 4 so beautifully describes how wisdom you gain from God will hold and protect your soul. “Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.” Proverbs 4:4-6

By reading God’s word and praying for strength and wisdom, we begin to build a protective barrier around our delicate heart. God’s love becomes our love for ourselves, and we learn how to protect our very precious soul. God desires us to be filled with joy. He wants us to stand out from the crowd as a light on a hill. It is a very difficult task to let your light shine if you haven’t learned how to protect your soul.

There is a beautiful song by Keith Green that so eloquently puts into words how our old faith can be made new by God’s beautiful love. It is called, My Eyes Are Dry. There have been so many occasions when I came to a point where no more tears were able to flow from my eyes. I had to learn how to love myself again and learn how to use God’s word and the Spirit to heal me.

My Eyes Are Dry

My eyes are dry

My faith is old

My heart is hard

My prayers are cold

And I know how I ought to be

Alive to You and dead to me

But what can be done

For an old heart like mine

Soften it up

With Oil and Wine

The Oil is you, Your Spirit of Love

Please wash me anew

With the wine of Your Blood.

It is such a beautifully simple song that holds so much truth. Use God’s word to learn how to protect your soul. They teach us how to love ourselves and how to use that love as protection for the soul He holds so dear.

This week’s recipe is a super yummy casserole that uses one of my favorite summer vegetables, squash. I love yellow squash, I love zucchini, I love all things squash. If you know anyone who has a garden, I am sure that they have given you plenty of zucchini or squash. I know we have a fridge full right now. It is a delicious way to make sure none of this delicious vegetable goes to waste. This particular recipe has pasta in it, but we leave it out most of the time. And as always, be sure to make this recipe one your family will love. Feel free to replace the ground beef with chicken or turkey. We usually use cheddar cheese, but feel free to use Monetary jack, mozzarella, or whatever your favorite cheese may be. I hope you love this casserole as much as we do!

“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” Psalms 5:11