It was a Friday night. Winter 2017. I was visiting QHOP with a group of girls for a mini-conference. My friend Angela was giving a message. I sat on the floor of the prayer room, trying to listen.
Midway through her sermon, I was struck with a panic attack. My body turned stiff. My brain felt like it was in another galaxy. My Bible was in my lap, but I couldn’t read what it said. I couldn’t speak or ask for help. I was utterly powerless.
Time to Worship
As she finished her message, Angela announced that we were going to have a time of private prayer and worship. The girls around me spread throughout the room. One of them brought out her guitar and played soft music while others danced, read their Bibles, prayed, or simply listened for their Father’s voice.
I could do none of these things. I wanted to worship, but I couldn’t move, couldn’t read, couldn’t pray. I had nothing to give God. I didn’t even feel like I had any love left in my heart, just emptiness. I began to cry.
God, I don’t have anything to give you. I can’t give you a song. I can’t think clearly enough to pray. I don’t even feel any love for you right now.
Will you still love me if I can’t love you back?
I cried harder, harder than ever before. I felt totally inadequate and empty before God.
And yet, I knew he loved me.
God Loved Me First
For the first time in my life, I understood that God loved me, not because of what I had to offer him, but because that is who he is. He loved me before I had a heart to love. He didn’t need my worship. He didn’t need my gifts. He was ready to embrace me with his love regardless of whether I was capable of reflecting that love back to him. He loved me.
That night, I worshipped God with my tears. They were all I had to give.
Later, when my friends asked me why I was crying, I sheepishly answered, “God told me that he loved me even when I couldn’t love him back.” They gave me blank, confused looks. I knew exactly what they were thinking.
Well, duh. Of course God loves you.
But this was something my heart needed to learn. God’s love for me wasn’t dependant on my worship. He didn’t need my songs or my prayers. His love was there for me before I ever had a prayer to give him. He loved me first.