#30 Love Believes(22/06/02)

By Carol Schuller Milner

Today my message, Love Believes, continues on in the series about love that my father and brother are sharing, taken from 1 Corinthians 13. We are offering a beautiful tea set on which all the attributes of love are printed on the bottom of each piece...
"the greatest of these is love"... "love endures"... "love rejoices"... "love never fails"... "love is patient"... "love is kind"... and "love believes!"

1 John 4:8 tells us that "God is love." IF... God is Love and IF... Love believes... then what does God believe? He believes in me and He believes in you. Since God is love, that means that love believes in you and love has marked you and identified you.

I was never a great country music fan, but one day I was with my family in the middle of the Rocky Mountains looking for a radio station. The only station that came in was country... and the Dixie Chicks were singing "Wide Open Spaces."... I liked this song. Now I have a country station programmed into my car radio! I really like Jessica Andrews. She sings a song, "Who I Am." That hit me as I realized, I know who I am! Love has marked me because love believes in me. God believes in me.

Eight years after my motorcycle accident, which resulted in the loss of my left leg, I said, "I do" to the most incredible man. He is really good looking. I thought, "Whew-ew! I won!" He has a heart of gold. We have now been married for 16 years. Only six months after we were married I thought I might be pregnant. I was so disappointed - we had had a short engagement and a short courtship, and I thought, "But I don't want to share him yet. It's not fair." I was depressed and I didn't want to go to the doctor and find out that I was pregnant. My husband had a landscaping business and I wanted to be with him all the time so I would go with him to his jobs and help him. One day I was sitting in his truck, feeling depressed and not wanting to help when all of a sudden the Lord spoke to my heart with a passage from Isaiah 40:11: "I gently lead those who are with young."

That spoke to my heart as I realized God's heart for children and for being a mom and dad. And I realized, "Oh, how can I not embrace that?" I went to the doctor for tests and was ready to hear the news... only to find out I wasn't pregnant. Now I was so disappointed. My husband was confused and said, "I don't get it. You were scared to be pregnant and now you are bummed that you're not?" I just replied, "But I want to now." It wasn't too many months later when our daughter, Rebecca, was conceived. She is going to be 15 in a few weeks. Now we have four children! After my fourth child my mother told me something which she had never spoken of before... when I had my motorcycle accident there had been so many internal injuries they did not know whether or not I would be able to have children. God was good to me... I have learned so much about the heart of God through being a parent.

Eric Ericson who is the father of much of our modern psychological thought and theories said something very interesting. He said, "A baby does not nurse because it trusts its mother. No, it is sheer need that drives a baby to nurse. Out of that need and having that need filled, and from the mother responding with coos, loves and strokes, that is when the intimacy and the bonding and trusting and identifying who they are takes place." That is so pictorial of who we are with God... that our need should drive us to his bosom.

Psalm 22:9-10 says:
"But you are he who took me out of the womb; You made me trust when I was on my mother's breasts. I was cast upon You from birth. From my mother's womb you have been my God."

If there is one thing that I have learned in life is that out of my need, I am driven to God's bosom. There I am stroked and I am lulled. It says in Webster's Dictionary that "lull" means to "calm, as during a storm." And that "lull is the root word for lullaby." Isn't that interesting? I love to write poetry and one of my favorites speaks of this very thing. This is what I have sensed from the Lord when He has lulled me. It says:

"He strokes my mind.
He whispers kindnesses to me.
He lifts my head
And words are said.
They're my retreat,
The very bread of my soul.
(And then the prose cries out to Him)
'Adorn my solitude.'" c C.S. Milner 2000

When I was 13 I had the motorcycle accident. I was thrown from the bike 86 feet and was laying in the ditch 30 minutes before the ambulance came to me. Knowing my parents were very far away in Korea, I sensed the Lord's presence come near to me. I won't say it was an audible voice, but it was something that washed over me and it was the words from the 23rd Psalm:

"Even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, fear no evil."

Those words lulled me. Out of our need we are driven straight to God's bosom. That was my first experience at that special place. When I was there, He came and He lulled me.

Silently, so gingerly,
He passed o'er me
and in hope's key
sang breathy notes that
quieted the dirge. c C.S. Milner 2000

That is what He will do because love believes in lullabies. Love calms... love croons... love whispers our name... "Beloved"... "Baby"... "Mine." In those moments our identity is established. We learn who we are because lullabies define who we are. They define the baby and they define us as children of God.

When I was in the ditch, the lullaby that came over me was not, "Dr. Schuller is your father, you shall not want." That wouldn't have done it! No! "The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want."

Who I am in my human identity is tenuous, it's shifting. One day dawns and I am a little girl... another dawns and I'm a teenager with nice, pretty, smooth skin and no wrinkles... another day dawns and I'm a young mama... another day dawns and my youngest is seven and I've got a young teen... another day dawns and I'll be a grandma... another day will dawn and I will be the beloved called home. Who I am in my humanity is shifting at best.

Many of you know that in 1991 my father had a serious brain injury and went through months of recovery. Many of you did not see him in those early days, when he was at home. He wasn't the man we know, let alone the man that you knew. Who he was... his identity here, was not there at that time. He could not rest on that identity. One day I went over and decided I was going to pray for him and have some time alone with him. I went back into his bedroom and he was just lying in bed. I stroked his forehead and I said, "Hey, Dad. I want to sing over you." And I sang, "On Christ, this solid Rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand." I just prayed over him because... Love Believes in Lullabies.

Don Neuen, our wonderful choir director, recently lost his wife. I hope he doesn't mind me sharing this story, but the time came when she was going to go home to be with the Lord. Don said to the doctors, "Just let me have the last hours with her. I don't want any machines. I don't want any nurses. I don't want anything. I just want to be with her." You know what he did? He went in there and he sang over her.

The point I want you to understand today, is that God does that to us. He sings over us. The Bible says that He rejoices over us with singing and He quiets us with His love. Just think that the God of the entire universe - the Creator of everything - comes and sings over us.
If that doesn't stir your heart, I don't know what will. It breaks my heart, and it makes me know who I am.

I am Carol - I am Carol Lynn - I am Carol Lynn Schuller... I am Carol Lynn Schuller Milner -I am wife - mother - daughter - sister - lover. These are my many names, but these are not who I am. I am homemaker - caregiver - writer - poet - skier. These are my many functions, but these are not who I am.

The Bible tells us of our identity as God sees us.

I am... "inscribed you on the palms of [His] hands"! (Isaiah 49:16)
I am... "fearfully and wonderfully made"! (Psalm 139:14)
I am... "hidden in the shadow of His wings"! (Psalm 37:7)

When out of need we are forced to the bosom of God, we learn that we will be stroked because Love believes in Dreams Forgotten. We will be lulled because God sings over us... Love believes in Lullabies! And we will be identified because... Love Believes in us! Love, God, believes in me and He believes in you and when we realize that, then nothing will ever change who we are!
Prayer: Lord, we invite You now to come and let us know again the branding on our hearts... that we are marked by Your finger. When our identity here on earth gets shaken, Lord, we ask that You would let us know again who we are... that we are Your beloved. Lord, I ask that our ears be opened now to Your lullabies and we will hear You sing over us. In Jesus' name. Amen.

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