I Love You!
Through my journey to open emotional doors locked away for many years, I have stumbled on a host of lost and forgotten doors.
It’s the holiday season, and I wanted to write about a season of love that took place in the summer of 2005. It’s not a love like you are thinking about but a new love that I was shown. Love is not something you say but something you do. That’s the whole point of this story.
Now would be a good time to explain the doors of emotions that have evolved over the past few years. They are all labeled in my mind. Some are locked, some are doubled locked, and each door is painted a color, green, yellow, and red. You have guessed it right; green is go, open, and explore; yellow is cautiously go but be ready to back out if needed; and red is no, not now, do not enter. I can walk by each door visually in my mind and my soul, spirit, and human emotion can let me know how to explore each of these safely.
The door we are cracking today has a backstory that is totally red, but the front story is green, so I feel safe in opening this very positive door. It’s the point and time I learned to say to another human, “I love you!”
I’ve always told my wife, my girls, and some family members that I love them, and I meant it; I truly loved them. Something happened in the summer of 2005 that would change me and prepare me for the next event that is behind a red door that happened in the summer of 2006. That door is labeled, “Silence, Do Not Enter!” Just writing this makes me want to explore that door, but I know I’m not ready even after seventeen years have passed. So, I’m going to stay on track with this open green door, which is life changing for me. It has been screaming at me for weeks now to say it’s time to write, “I love you.”
I woke up this morning at about 2:30 am, and the story was coming together. In 2005, I traveled to St. Louis to meet up with a team of people who were changing America. I remember walking into the office and asking to speak with my contact, Pastor Jami. She greeted me at the door, and we sat and talked for what seemed like hours. We discussed joining together to meet the needs of the lost and forgotten people of this world. My mission was to bring people hope, comfort, and peace and to bring them to a knowledge of Jesus and His wonderful grace. I then got to meet with her husband, Pastor Jeff. We sat and talked even more. I left with the hope that we could work together in the future.
I’m not really sure how it came to be, but I got a phone call from Jami, and she said she thought we could work together for a ministry event in the summer of 2005. I was so excited about this. This story is not about the event that would soon take place but about the people involved with the event.
It’s not relevant what the ministry was but that we changed the lives of those we ministered to in a unique way. We can call it bringing Jesus to the water with love. This is safe for me, staying away from that red door we just mentioned.
I flew back to St Louis to plan for the event, and I had checked into the motel. Jami called to tell me they would pick me up from the motel, and she invited me to stay with them for the duration of my trip. I was resistant, as I really didn’t know them that well, but it seemed like I had known them for years. I arrived at their mountaintop house and was treated like the rest of the family. I felt the love just pouring out of them. Jeff asked if I liked steak, and of course, I said, “Yes.” He said that we were going to make some fantastic ones. He salted the steaks, and it looked like it snowed on top of them. They led me to the room I would be staying in for the next few days. This home was so beautiful. They were a family of love and compassion, and hope just poured out of them. That’s what I remember the most.
The steaks were delicious, and the meal was outstanding. Jami said, “Get ready, because Lost is coming on, and we don’t want to miss that.” So, we all went downstairs and sat on the couch and comfy chairs and watched Lost. I had never seen it, but I was instantly a fan.
The next day, I explored the inner city with their ministry. The goal for that day was if you see a need then do everything in your power to meet that need. Whatever it was, meet the need. I had never seen anything like that, ever.
Jeff and I were walking near his office and gunshots rang out. I asked if we were okay, and he assured me we were safe. This is the start of my experience of what love is and how it would change me.
Later that evening, people were milling around the campus for a ministry event. A very nice man walked up to Jeff and asked him for money. Jeff’s reply changed me forever. He said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but I have the love of Christ. Would you like that instead?”
The man replied, “Yes, of course!” He then looked at me and said, “George, share Jesus with this man.” It sounds like a story from the Bible, but I promise you I said, "Would you like to know Jesus as your savior?” And he said, “Yes.” So, I led him to Jesus.
This is how it was with Jeff and Jami. They seemed to bring love with them wherever they went. I was blessed to hear Jeff preach a powerful message on the power of the Holy Spirit that evening. I even went up front and grabbed some anointing oil, which I still have today, and it never seems to run out. I have used it often in tough times and in times of need.
I would be remiss to leave out the most important part of my journey. We returned to their home that evening, and I got on my knees to pray in my room. It wasn’t long into my prayer that the robe of Jesus passed right by my eyes, and I met the Holy Spirit of God in that place. I met the Spirit in a way that truly changed me forever. Love had a new meaning, but I wasn’t sure what was happening in that moment. It was well with my soul.
Later that week, I visited another ministry and heard Jeff give his personal testimony of how God saved him from a life of drugs and a life of destruction. I could not believe my ears. God is truly greater than I could ever imagine. I felt like I was walking around with Paul of the Bible. During one of our conversations, Jeff told me I had put God in a tiny box. "He is much bigger than that, George,” he said. I totally agreed!
It was time for me to go home, and they took me to the airport to drop me off. We sat out in the parking lot of the airport, and they wanted to pray with me. I leaned forward from the back seat, and they laid hands on my head and started praying for me. This was all new to me; I felt something so new, so full of love, and so beautiful. After the prayer, we got out of the car, and it happened. Jeff grabbed my shoulders, looked me in the eyes, and said, “I love you, friend.” Then Jami came around from the left, went under my arm, and gave me the biggest hug ever and said, “I love you!” I must say, I felt a bit uneasy. Telling people I loved them seemed strange to me.
On the long plane ride home, I had the urge to tell people I met and made eye contact with that I loved them. Thanks to Jeff and Jami, I learned that I loved them, and I loved people, regardless of their position in life. Love trumps all things. That’s what they taught me, along with the Holy Spirt of God, to love all people. All I have to give is the Love of Christ.
Seventeen years ago, I met some amazing people who taught me to love humans without a lens and without a filter. This season, don’t judge, love. Love unconditionally; love where the spirit leads you; love where your faith leads you; and love deeper than you ever have. Love is not something you just say, but something you do.