a love to receive

I’ve never felt the weight of what Jesus did on the cross for me until today.

It took two hip surgeries to get me here.

It took this long for me to understand what selfless love really is.

It took this long for me to learn how to simply receive.

Because this is my second hip surgery, that means it is my second year in a row hitting my out of pocket max with my health insurance – a reality I wasn’t quite financially prepared for, so when God stepped in and laid it on the hearts of some of His people to take care of my medical bills this time around, I was stunned. Unable to even process the magnitude of such a gift. 

I remember hearing the words, “We are going to pay for your surgery,” and I was left speechless.

How do you respond to such an extravagant, undeserved gift? “Thank you” feels too small, so inappropriate. 

And yet, it really happened and people who owe me absolutely nothing have come around me and given sacrificially to take away this financial burden I was going to have to carry by myself.

A gift of true selfless love that I did nothing to earn.

This is the second time in six months I have moved back in with my parents, taken over their bedroom, and asked them to become my caretakers. Keeping track of my meds, bringing me food, driving me to physical therapy, doing my laundry, massaging the muscles that hurt.

With no word of complaint, they stepped right into this role and have helped me when I was incapable of helping myself.

My friends and family have showered me with grace, treats, and words of encouragement. All things I would never expect, but feel so thankful for. 

When Crumbl cookies show up on my doorstep. When someone sends me dinner. When someone calls just to check in and see how I’m feeling. When someone gives me a gift or brings flowers. When someone offers to give me a ride. When someone takes me to dinner to get me out of the house. When someone offers to carry my bag for me. When someone listens to me vent my frustrations and disappointments. 

It’s one thing after another where I’m showered in something representative of undeserved love.

Earlier this afternoon I had a meltdown. I knew it was coming. I could feel it brewing this past week and today as I sat on the back porch with my mom, I broke and the flood of emotions came rushing.

I said, “I’m so tired of needing help from people when I can’t return the favor and help them. I feel like I’m only taking and not giving.”

My mom so kindly reminded me that it’s only for a season, and one day I will have the chance to give back, but for now I just need to accept the help. Nothing more.

No one expects me to repay them. They helped and gave because they wanted to. Because they loved me.

A few hours later, still emotionally overwhelmed and struggling to maintain composure, I showed up at church to be sure everything was ready to go for our Good Friday service happening that evening. I saw my boss and pulled him aside to ask him a question about next week and how he wanted me to handle a scheduling issue because of my current limitations.

Without asking for any sort of explanation from me, he told me to do what I needed. To give my body the rest it needed. To give my mind the space it needed. 

He assured me that my church cared far more about how I recovered than what I could offer them right now. 

When the conversation was over, I crutched my way back to my seat and the tears began to flow.

In an instant, I became so overwhelmed with the kindness, patience, and love that everyone was showing me in this season of life.

I sat and wept over the financial sacrifices people were making to free me of the financial burden of this surgery. I wept over the kindness and grace my coworkers and bosses were showing me. I wept over the way my village was stepping in to help me and shower me in love before I even asked for any of it.

In that moment, I was overcome with gratitude, but struggling with one thing – I have done nothing to deserve any of the love people are showing me.

And as I sat there, the weight of that truth rested heavily on my shoulders. 

I am a less effective employee right now, but my job is showering me in kindness and grace. I am a less intentional and helpful and fun friend right now, but my friends are continuing to show up for me. I am a helpless emotional wreck right now, but my family is caring for my needs each day.

None of the love they are showing me is deserved. It is all just pure selfless love.

And I get the gift of being able to receive that love. Nothing more is asked or expected of me.

And that is beautiful. And life-giving. And heart transforming.

As I sat and wept over this truth, Jesus stepped in and whispered something to me. He said, “Morgan, this – this pure selfless love –  is the story of the cross. You did nothing to deserve My sacrifice. You didn’t earn it. You didn’t have to work for it. I gave up My life for you because I love you. And you don’t have to repay Me. You don’t owe Me anything. It was My gift to you. Because I love you. Your job is simply to receive the love. That’s all.”

An hour later as we took communion during the service, I ate the cracker and drank the juice like I always do, but this time it was different.

This time I felt the weight of the gift of His sacrifice in a way I never had before.

You see, I’ve always been someone who wanted to give more in a relationship than receive. I’ve always wanted to “add” to someone’s life rather than “subtract” from it. 

But for the first time in my life, God has brought me to a place where I am incapable of giving in the way I am used to, and I have had to learn to receive. To receive help. Kindness. Grace. And love.

Pure selfless love from those around me.

And in experiencing what it feels like to be showered in undeserved love, Jesus finally helped me feel the weight of what He did on the cross for me.

I see it. I get it. I feel it.

I feel that love. A love I don’t have to earn, repay, or work for. A love I’m simply supposed to receive.

And the same goes for you.

Jesus died on the cross for you not because you earned it. Not because you deserve it. Simply because He loves you.

And He expects nothing in return. You aren’t expected to go serve at church to repay Him. You aren’t expected to tithe to repay Him. You aren’t expected to move to another country and become a missionary to repay Him. All of those things, serving Him and loving His people, are good things, but He is not sitting around waiting for you to make yourself worthy of His sacrifice.

You were found worthy of this gift because your Father saw you, chose you, and wants to spend eternity with you.

It was a gift of pure selfless love . A love you’re simply supposed to receive.