Editor’s note: During 2022, we are focusing on the scriptures found in 2 Peter 1:3-11. These verses teach us about God’s divine nature. We pray that as we reflect on God’s nature, you will see all that He has created you to be! For the month of February, we are focusing on God’s characteristic of LOVE.
As a six year old little girl, my first memory was of fear and hate. My parents were alcoholics and Daddy was a mean drunk every weekend. Having an outhouse meant you used a coffee can after dark to relieve yourself. This was happening one night when my seven year old male cousin walked into the bedroom where I was. Daddy came in immediately after and whipped off his belt. He was so mad that I would “allow” a boy to come in while I was using the bathroom. The whipping didn’t stop until my shoes were filled with blood. That was when Daddy got worried that I would get an infection. He laid me on top of an ironing board and poured a bottle of rubbing alcohol on my back and legs. That was when I not only felt hatred toward me, but I felt hate toward another. This was how life continued until right before I turned fourteen.
I would spend most of the summer with my cousin in the country. We would hoe cotton to make money for school clothes. They were in the habit of going to church on Sunday mornings and I would go with them. One particular Sunday, there was a missionary conference and different missionaries would do the preaching. That Sunday evening the one preaching kept talking about how “Jesus loves you”. It seemed like I was the only person in the room.
Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
They are weak, but He is strong.
Those words resonated through my soul. I accepted Jesus as my Savior that evening. For the first time in my life I truly felt love. I knew that those words were true. Jesus loves me!!! I didn’t even know what the word love meant until then. Jesus was truly my first love.
The weekend drunken tirades didn’t stop, but there was something different now. I knew Jesus was with me and would never forsake me. 1 Chronicles 28:20 says that, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” I felt his presence and knew that I had a loving Father that would never harm me. Daddy could beat my body, but my soul belonged to my heavenly Father.
My Father continued to work in my life and I could feel the Lord nudging me toward forgiving Daddy. I wasn’t easy to persuade, but God never gave up on me. I eventually succumbed to the gentle nudges and forgave not only Daddy, but Mama as well for not sticking up for us. I started praying for them both, knowing that they were in the same place I was before I found the Lord. They didn’t understand love either.
My mother accepted the Lord first, then when Daddy was ninety years old, he came to know Jesus as his Savior as well. We have such a loving, merciful Father! Love is a Person!
I don’t know how I would have survived my childhood without having Jesus’ presence with me and I know I don’t ever want to live a single day without my first LOVE.
We would like to thank Naomi Jones for writing this blog post.