Getting Started

Nearly five years ago, I had the chance to attend a women’s conference led by my one of my “spiritual heroes.” As a first year in college, I was so excited to spend a weekend with a woman who had challenged and encouraged my faith with her books, Bible studies, and teachings. I couldn’t wait for this incredible opportunity!

Her following mainly consists of forty-fifty year old moms and many times through her studies I’ve been asked to pray to love my children or work on serving my husband, but nonetheless, God has used her words and her teachings to speak to my heart. My sister Laura and I were by far the youngest girls at the conference and we didn’t exactly fit in, but I was just delighted to be there. Several of the moms and grandmothers would ask us how we felt about arranged marriages, because they had a son we just HAD to meet…doesn’t everyone have a son, or a grandson, or a husband’s cousin’s friend that you just HAVE to meet?!? (On a side note, my older sister is now married because of someone’s “friend’s son,” so you might want to think twice before rejecting a blind date)

Towards the end of the conference there was a question and answer session with the speaker—this was my chance to ask her anything I wanted! I thought for the whole conference about what I was going to ask her. I slowly stepped up to the microphone and asked, “If there was once piece of advice you could give to younger women, what would that be?”

She replied, “What I’m going to tell you is something that I would tell anyone: Pray every single day of your life to love the Lord your God more than you pray to breathe your next breath. And if you earnestly pray that prayer for six months and don’t see a radically, transformed life, than you should walk away…and I’ll walk away with you, because it’s just not possible. The scripture is very clear, ‘We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.’ (Romans 8:28) But that verse is a conditional verse—not just for everyone’s good, but for those who love him.”

Five years later, those words have never left me. I’ve told that story to many of my friends to encourage them to seek after loving the Lord, I’ve prayed that prayer multiple times through the years, but I’ve never truly accepted the challenge. I think the longest I’ve gone consecutively praying the prayer was about 20 days, but never a month, never two months, and certainly never for six months. Recently, I asked myself, how different would my life look like if I truly prayed every day of my life to love the Lord my God more than I pray to breathe? Would God really radically transform my life? Am I really up for the challenge?

Sometimes as young women, we’re so set on trying to figure everything out. We want immediate answers to all of life’s questions—Where should I go to college? What should I major in? Where should I live? Who should I marry? What’s my purpose in life? At the same time as trying to figure out every detail of our lives, we can also become consumed with trying to figure out how to be/appear like the “perfect Christian”—Did I have my quiet time today? How do I love my neighbor? Why do I have to obey my parents? Are my actions holy and pure? Am I taming my tongue? Am I tithing enough money? How am I involved at church? Am I glorifying the Lord?

While there is nothing wrong with these questions, it is so easy to get caught up in our futures and trying to live the “Christian life”, when God has so much more for us! In our pursuit to figure out the answers to everything, we forget to listen to the words of Jesus when he says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your souls and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 23:37) More than anything else, we just need to love Him.

I have decided that the time has come to stop talking about some nice words a woman told me five years ago, and to begin living them out. To say every day, “Lord more than my life, my job, my future, I just want to love you!”

I’ve also been thinking about how incredible it would be if a group of girls accepted this challenge together. I know I can’t do this on my own…it’s taken me five years to even think about doing this, and three months to send this e-mail. This is something I’ve been thinking about and praying about for several months and this morning I felt God say, “Stop thinking about it and do it.”

I wish I could tell you I know exactly what this is going to look like, to be honest I haven’t gotten that far. I also wish I could tell you that I have a verse about loving the Lord to share with you every day from now until August—that’s a long time! I think the forty days of Lent is a great place to start and then I say we take it one day at a time. The last thing I want is to get so caught up with everything that I become consumed with finishing “the challenge” and miss out on truly learning what it means to love the Lord. Whether it’s forty days, six months, or a lifetime, I know that if we’re seeking to love Him with all of hearts, we’re going to find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).

I’m excited and expectant to see how God is going to move as young women begin to pray daily for hearts wholly devoted to loving God. The rich, abundant blessings that God has in store for those who love Him is far beyond anything that we could ever ask for or imagine. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Lord for six months, may I seek to learn what it means to love you. I want to love your word, your voice, your presence, your laws, your discipline, your power—I want to love and cherish every part of who you are. Lord, may I wait expectantly as you begin to transform my life by my willingness to wholeheartedly seek to love you with an unabandoned love.