Tuesdays with Sarah… Reckless, Door-Kicking Love

“Before anything else, above all else, beyond everything else, God loves us.  God loves us extravagantly, ridiculously, without limit or condition.  God is in love with us… God yearns for us.” – Roberta Bondi, American Educator and Writer

I have a daily flip calendar full of lovely, faith-filled quotes made by women.  It sits on my desk at work.  On February 28th, the quote above is what I read.  And I  knew when I read it that I needed to finally write this blog post that had been simmering in my heart for the past 3 weeks.

A few weeks ago, I took our church youth group to Gatlinburg, TN for the ENCOUNTER Winter Retreat hosted by the North Alabama United Methodist Church.  There are 4 sessions with a speaker and a praise band.  Typical youth retreat type of event.

We are friends with one of the leaders of the praise band that would be leading us at this year’s retreat (Asbury Worship Collective).  He had sent me a list of songs that they would probably do that weekend.  I like for the kids to get acclimated to the music before we go so it’s easier for them to enter into worship.

I created a playlist on Spotify so that I could listen to the songs as well.  On my way to church on February 14th, Valentines Day AND Ash Wednesday, the song Reckless Love by Cory Asbury came on.  It moved me so much, I even wrote the following social media post that evening after our Ash Imposition Service.  See below:

‘Sarah only’ selfies are not normally my thing. I’m usually with my girls or other children, making funny faces or big cheesy smiles. But today, I wanted to share a little God moment I had.

As most of you know, today is Valentine’s Day. But this year, it also happens to be Ash Wednesday. So on my way to church tonight for our Ash Wednesday service, I listened to the song ‘Reckless Love’ by @coryasbury . It touched my heart so much, and I honestly felt like God said, “Sarah, you are my Valentine. Don’t ever forget that.” It was such a sweet gift from the One who is Love. I had to share the lyrics below. And if you feel a bit unlovable this Valentine’s Day, please know these words aren’t just for me… they are for you and for all of humanity. You are indeed His Valentine. #recklesslove #ashwednesday

Reckless Love

Verse 1

Before I spoke a word,

You were singing over me

You have been so, so good to me

Before I took a breath,

You breathed Your life in me

You have been so, so kind to me


Oh, the overwhelming,


reckless love of God

Oh, it chases me down,

fights ‘til I’m found,

leaves the ninety-nine

I couldn’t earn it,

I don’t deserve it,

still You give Yourself away

Oh, the overwhelming,


reckless love of God

Verse 2

When I was Your foe,

still Your love fought for me

You have been so, so good to me

When I felt no worth,

You paid it all for me

You have been so, so kind to me


There’s no shadow You won’t light up

Mountain You won’t climb up

Coming after me

There’s no wall You won’t kick down

Lie You won’t tear down

Coming after me

My favorite part of the song that really spoke to me was the bridge, especially the line, “There’s no wall You won’t kick down… Coming after me”.  And I think it’s because I’ve actually seen that ‘wall-kicking’ type of love in action in my own life.

Back in early 2006, we were on another Gatlinburg trip with some of our best friends, Pat and Alice Worsham.  Our baby girl Zoe was about 18 months, and their baby girl Sydney was about 7 months.  We stayed at one of those older hotels in Gatlinburg that was right on the river.  It was the kind of place where there was a door in between 2 rooms so that you could go from one to the other if you wanted to.

Our dear friends, Pat and Alice Worsham, with Zoe and Sydney

They had one room and we had the other.  One evening, we had somehow all gathered together in our room.  While we were talking, Zoe and her sweet little baby-self toddled into their room, closing the door behind her.  The door locked automatically and could only be unlocked from the other side.  BUT… those keys to the other room were still in there, so baby Zoe was locked in there all by herself!

This still somewhat-new mom started flipping out!  We go outside and watch her from the window because the curtains just happened to be open.  Zoe was not crying or anything (she rarely ever cried – she was such a good, quiet baby!)

She just entertained herself and laughed at us through the window.

I don’t have a picture of Zoe from that Gatlinburg trip, but this was about the age she was during the door-kicking event!

Scott, aka Papa Bear, called the hotel manager. Since this was somewhat of a ‘mom and pop’ establishment, he didn’t stay there all the time.  He was off-site and wouldn’t be there until the next day.  Scott asked how he was supposed to get her out.  The guy didn’t offer any help, but just said we would have to pay for any damages.  So Papa took things into his own hands.

He had Alice and I call Zoe over to the window to try and keep her attention.  He then went all Chuck Norris on the door and kicked it in!  There was nothing that was going to keep him away from his little girl.  Not wooden doors, hotel managers, or fines.  He was coming after her.

When that line in the song came across the speakers in my car, “There’s no wall You won’t kick down…”, I couldn’t help but remember that trip from Gatlinburg from so long ago.  And it made me think:  Why did Scott do that?  Why did he come after Zoe, knowing there was a chance of property damage, physical damage, and monetary damage?  The answer is simple.  He loved her.

God is the same way with us.  He ‘chases me down, fights ‘til I’m found, leaves the 99’… just because He loves us.   And what is incredibly amazing and humbling and overwhelming is that we have done absolutely NOTHING to deserve it.  Just like our sweet Zoe.

Zoe was only 18 months old at the time of the door-kicking event.  She had not accomplished much in those months except saying ‘momma’ and ‘papa’, eating solid food, and drinking out of a sippy cup!  She wasn’t some star athlete, student, dancer, musician.  She was just ours.  And that was enough.  Because of that one fact, her Papa came barreling through that door and with one swift scoop, he had his baby girl in his arms.

Zoe and Papa blowing duck calls 🙂

Zoe and Papa – her first Easter – 2005

Zoe and Papa – her 1st Birthday

Zoe and Papa 4-wheeling in the snow!

Zoe and Papa – Sunglasses Selfie!

God loves us that very same way! Just like Zoe hadn’t done really anything to deserve our love, we haven’t done much to deserve God’s love.  Most of us barely even acknowledge Him on a daily basis.  From the worst of all sinners to the most devout of all Christians, none of us deserve the priceless love of God.  But He loves us anyway.  And He loves us all the same.

“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” – Ephesians 2:4-5

Thank goodness His love isn’t anything we have to earn, because it isn’t possible.  We are imperfectly human and He is perfectly God.  We would/will always fall short. But He loves us without prerequisites.  He doesn’t say we have to do this or that or be this or that before He loves us.  He just plainly, simply, extravagantly, and recklessly loves us.

There is one more piece to this beautiful rescue story.  And it’s actually something that you have to do… which might sound confusing since I just told you there is nothing you can do to earn God’s love.  And that is true.  He’s loving you no matter what.  But you do have to RECEIVE it.  He can love you all day long, but if you don’t receive or accept it, you will stay in that state of needing a rescue.

As most of you know, the great Reverend Billy Graham passed away a few weeks ago.  I found this quote from him regarding God’s love:

“The love of God that reaches to wherever a man is, can be entirely rejected.  God will not force Himself upon anyone against his will.  It is your part to believe.  It is your part to receive.  Nobody else can do that for you.”

Using the story of Zoe, what if Scott kicked that door in, and then Zoe crossed her arms and said, “I don’t want to leave this room.  I want to stay in this room alone without your help, without your love.”  (which seems funny thinking of an 18-month-old using grown up words!)  Or she could have just laid on the floor and pitched an ungodly fit.  Basically, she could have chosen to not receive the love her father was giving her.

Applying that to our grown-up lives who are locked up in hypothetical hotel rooms, imagine that God kicks that door in to rescue us and love us, and we cross our arms and say, “No, I’m content in this room, comfortable in my own pity party.”  Or we throw ourselves on the ground and throw an ungodly fit because we just don’t want to change.  Or the saddest one to me, we say we don’t want to be rescued because we feel like we aren’t worthy enough to be rescued and loved.

Zoe let her Papa rescue her and love her.  And we must let our Father God rescue us and love us.  Sometimes that rescuing is a daily occurrence.  Not sure about you, but I pretty much need some type of saving every day!

Zoe and Papa 🙂

Once we finally recognize our Rescuer and accept the gift of His love, then our only appropriate response is to live a life of gratitude, praise, and service to others.  Thanking Him for kicking down doors, praising Him for His reckless love, and sharing His love with others so that they too might get out of their locked hotel room.

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