After going through significant traumatic life events and a season of feeling abandoned by God, Christa Hesselink discovered that personal transformation is the pathway to the abundant life that Jesus invites us too. Whether in her writing, speaking or work with young leaders, Christa hopes that people will be awakened to the reality that God’s love is better than they ever imagined and that it changes everything. It’s a grace to welcome Christa to the farm’s front porch today…
I’ve never ever had trouble believing that God is creative or powerful or good.
As a child, my sense of awe for sunsets and stars was big and it hasn’t waned as I’ve gotten older.
Harvest moons and the sound of the ocean always feel like signs of God on display.
Knowing God is big and good? No, that’s not where my trouble lies.
I’ve never struggled to believe God has the power to shake the world or the creativity to captivate my gaze—my trouble has always been to feel His love.
Understanding that God is powerful is not the same as feeling His love.
Believing God is creative is not the same as feeling His love.
Knowing God is good is not the same as feeling His love.
A couple of years ago I realized I had two questions I needed to get answers for.
But they were the big ones—the kind of questions that could tumble and crumble it all.
Asking them felt like going somewhere where oxygen might disappear—daring the essence that sustained me to vanish.
But I knew it was time to ask them because the questions were burning black right through me.
Burning me out.
“God, do you really love me just the way I am?”
“Can I have a full life of love and joy now?”
These weren’t casual, fleeting questions.
These were the heart-stopping, curl-up-under-the-covers sorts of thoughts that were threatening to undo me.
I could no longer drown out the slippery and convincing voice urging me to go deep into the pit. I’d been living a long while wondering if I’d have to swallow down a hard “no” to these questions.
“No, you are not loved just the way you are. You are a mess.”
“No, an abundant life here and now is just an illusion—there’s too much pain for joy.”
It became clear that if I truly wanted a whole, rich, life that Jesus talks about, I would need to first discover and feel just how much God loved me.
I knew that feeling God’s love had the power to change everything.
So I asked God to point me in that very direction. And He did. He pointed me in exactly that direction.
“You want a big, bold, abundantly full life, Christa? Perfect. Let Me transform you. Transformation is the pathway to the treasure you are searching for.”
I had always seen the process of personal life change as a difficult activity that only mature, conscientious people strived for— some self-help program that was good for me, like vitamins or flossing, an obligation in personal discipline in order to be in God’s good books.
I thought that maybe God begrudged the business of transformation—that He had to fix me so He could love me more. As if the ultimate goal was for me to be perfect like Jesus so God could love me like He loved His own Son.
Without me being cleaned up, it would be impossible for God to love me—I was just too messed up.
But I started to wonder if I had it all wrong.
What if transformation wasn’t about God making me more perfect so He could love me more, but instead was about changing me so I could experience His love more perfectly?
It’s no wonder I have struggled for so long to feel God’s love: knowing I’m not perfect meant I always felt so aware of my inability to be good enough.
Deep down I knew that the equation (I need to change in order to be loved more) couldn’t be true, but something always seemed to block me from really trusting my instincts.
In our cheaply made, throw-it-away culture, we have a hard time wrapping our minds around the fact that God doesn’t assess our inherent worth based on our perfection (or lack of it).
He finds us completely worthy just because we are —because He made us.
God doesn’t love us any less because we’re broken. In fact, the care and time He takes to restore our lives is just another way He shows how much He loves us.
He wants us to flourish for our sake.
His desire is for us to have more of what is most important—more peace, more joy, more love.
God has gone (and still goes!) to great lengths to repair us because He wants us to experience this abundant life.
He is pursuing His creation with a relentless love and His method is not to retaliate, it’s to rescue.
That’s the reason why transformation happens.
When we stop to think about what God is really up to in this world, we get a sense of how His heart beats for us.
He has committed Himself to one grand plan: to conquer the dark and flood it with His light and radiance and love. His mission is a wild and loving pursuit.
What does this mean for you and me?
It means God won’t rest until we’ve been completely made new.
He is in the business of redeeming every part of our lives so that we will be made truly free, and He wants us to be open and surrender to this transformation.
As we say “yes” and partner with him, He will transform every part of lives; our fears and anxieties, jealous tendencies and the source of our sadness, our pettiness and pain— they will all be uncovered, excavated and healed.
God’s endgame is for you and me to be completely and utterly able to live in the most intimate, unencumbered union with Him.
This Kingdom economy of abundance is something to whole-heartedly embrace:
when I trust that I am loved, I know I am enough.
When I know I am enough, I feel secure.
When I feel secure, I am able to give and receive more love.
It’s a beautiful cycle. Peace begets more peace, joy begets more joy and love begets more love.
And the fullness of love is the fullness of life.
So let’s say “yes!” —
because “yes” really does change everything.
As an author, speaker, and advocate, Christa Hesselink has written a compelling personal account of God’s transformation in her life. Her new book, Life’s Great Dare: Risking It All for the Abundant Life is one woman’s story of saying yes to the dare in the midst of the most traumatic and devastating circumstances.