Posted By RichC on June 10, 2016
We recently returned from the high school graduation of my niece Sarah Gerber who has fought and lived with childhood cancer her entire life. She continues to defy the odds with an inoperable brain tumor and her story is truly encouraging for all who face similar medical challenges. Sarahs' 18 years are ones of courage, strength, "faith, hope and love" … "but the greatest of these is love." -- 1 Corinthians 13:13.
I'll let her tell the "love" part below with a speech she gave just before graduating high school. Her older sister Jessica sent me the transcript (below) so I could archive it with family items and the graduation video (above) -- although the 30 minute video will primarily be enjoyed by family and friends (great job Jess. You did a lot of work).
Loving yourself is easier for some of us more than others. This isn’t going to be a self-help speech or prompt you to continue those New Year’s resolutions. We all probably have some though: stay in touch with friends more, read more books, get a gym membership, drink more water, save money, lose weight, stop stressing, and the list goes on… These all are great things to do for you, but how do we love ourselves?
We already talked about loving God. And I would like to remind us of the immeasurable amount of love God has for you before I continue. There’s a lot so keep up:
Genesis 1:27, Psalm 8:3-6, Psalm 23:6
Psalm 36:5-7 “How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”
Jeremiah 31:3-4 “I have loved you with an everlasting love: I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt. You will go out to dance with the joyful.”
Luke 12:6-7, John 3:16, Romans 3:23-24
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
1 John 4:16 “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
1 John 4:19 “We love because he first loved us.”
These verses are just a few of the many regarding God’s love for us. In order to love ourselves, we need to believe whole-heartedly in what God says about us. Loving yourself isn’t the same as acquiring love for yourself. If you felt yourself pushing back, and thinking “but how can He love me if” or “but why would He love me when” while listening to this Scripture, you don’t believe whole-heartedly in what God says about you. When we think “but”, we automatically create a void in our lives and as humans, we try to fill this void by acquiring love for ourselves.
Maybe it’s getting that perfect BAE to like you, or fulfilling your resolutions you set (a month ago). You are filling this void in your life with all the wrong things. In my life, my void was a diagnosis of a brain tumor when I was 4. At the time, I didn’t understand the gravity of my situation at all but growing up going through brain surgery and with chemotherapy treatments and constant MRIs and visits to countless different doctors gradually expanded my void. I can’t do a lot of things like driving because the brain tumor is on my optic nerve and inhibits my vision. I began to let the things I couldn’t do continue to expand my void and inhibit it from being filled back up. My void was so big, that without myself even realizing it, I distanced myself from people, and I pushed away from those who helped me through the most difficult times of my life. Through this whole time I kept a smile on my face, but those around me could see the void; I didn’t let them help fill it; I was accustomed to my void.
Reading through the Scriptures, I find myself thinking “but” a lot. Your “but” may be different than my “but”. But all of our “buts” create the same void that can only be filled with the same thing.
1 Corinthians 2:12 says “What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.” God’s love; it’s freely given to you but you have to be willing to receive it from Him. You need to open up your void and let God’s love rush in. All of our voids are going to take different amounts of time to fill as well. Mine is still being filled and every now and then, I let it get bigger. However long it takes, please continue reading through these verses until you believe whole-heartedly that they are true and there is no “but” because “but” was killed a long time ago on the cross and an immeasurable, unexplainable Love for you never died, but just to be clear, it was resurrected three days later.
My parents told me about a time after chemotherapy treatment a long time ago. I was skipping down the hall way singing. My parents were perplexed because how could I be singing in a hospital after a long day of treatment? My mom told me it reminded her of Psalm 59:17 that says: “You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.” As a little girl, God knew I had a void, and He gave me a song to sing to fill to fill that void to remind me of His love for me.
Loving yourself isn’t the same as acquiring love for yourself, loving ourselves is believing in what God says about us is true.
And I leave you this this: Ephesians 3:17-19 “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”