Lisa Appelo is a single mom to 7 and young widow. She's a speaker and blogger who shares soul-deep encouragement for the adventure of faith at LisaAppelo.com. She recently authored Countdown to Christmas: Unwrap the Christmas Story with Your Family in 15 Days.You can connect with Lisa on Instagram and Facebook.
Years ago, a girl gave her heart to a boy.
He’d first been a best friend. There’d been laughter and stories swapped on long youth trips, open school bus windows blowing in hot air and legs sticking against vinyl seats.
There’d been summer Sunday fellowships after church with games and swimming and school year lunches when the whole gang squeezed into the birthday booth at Burger King.
When the oldest in their circle got a license and family car, there were weekly day trips to find waves and she’d gone for the sun.
Somewhere in the laughter and bus rides and waves, she’d gotten to really know him and she fell hard.
Months were filled with double dates, flowers at the front door, letters and pictures and ticket stubs that slowly filled a shoebox in her closet.
One day, he wasn’t returning her smiles. He walked her to class but left without conversation. Nothing’s wrong, he said. But there was distance. And when she pressed, he said he’d been watching her give the smiles that used to be his to another. He’d noted the “harmless” time she spent with another.
It had been an imperceptible shift to her.
He wanted the first love.
Love only for him.
Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. (Revelation 2:4)
It’s almost undetectable, each day’s small move toward or away.
It comes from giving my attention to another.
From giving priority to another.
From “harmless” time with another.
It comes from falling in love with the gifts when it was the Giver who wooed us.
It comes from serving where He’s called but losing wonder of the Master.
God’s name is Jealous. (Exodus 34:14)
He will have nothing less than our single-minded heart.
After Dan died, emptied of so much that had been life and crushed for what life was now, I fell in love all over again.
The emptying and crushing times help us see that we need God so desperately. We can feel Him intensely in those times. We talk to him constantly and hear Him clearly.
We beg His wisdom for all the scary new and cling to His hope for the unknown ahead.
He is the deepest love at our weakest and darkest.
Oh, how I begged God to never take me from that place of deep love when my heart didn’t hurt so much and life looked brighter.
First love can flourish in the sunny days as much as the hard days.
How to keep first love flourishing?
1. First love thrives with reckless trust.
Am I trusting God to step out to places where I need Him desperately? To places where He is my hope?
2. First love flourishes when God’s voice is first.
Do I crave time in the Word with God? Do I fit the Word into the leftovers of life or fit life around the Word? Is God speaking to me more loudly anything else?
3. First love deepens when God is all.
Do I want what God wants? Is God enough or do I expect more? Is God my peace and satisfaction or am I looking for that somewhere else?
Today we will either move toward God or away but none of us will stay where we are.
“For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:2 NLT)
Today Lord, bring us back to our first Love. Our heart is Yours alone.
You are our only all.
This post appeared first at LisaAppelo.com. Lisa is a young widow and single mom to 7. She writes about faith in the hard, grief and hope. If you'd like encouragement in your inbox, subscribe here and you'll receive Lisa's free 100 Days with Christ Bible study and journal.