A month and a half ago I went to the beach for a few days to let God heal me.
One of the things He did was show me a vision of Jesus on the cross. It was messy and bloody, and He was exhausted from pain and the effort of breathing. I was standing there transfixed by the enormity of the whole scene, and Jesus looked down at me and said, "Jenni."
It has always been a huge block for me to feel loved personally by God. I have watched Him individually move in the lives of so many people I know; I have seen the wonderful effects of His love, and I have always believed in it. But it has always been very difficult to believe in it for me. I suppose it is my own shame, my own need to be perfect, my own tendency to listen to the words of accusation that so easily play themselves over and over again in my head.
But in my vision (without my conjuring it up or expecting it), on the cross, Jesus said my name. His words cost Him a great deal there because breathing took so much concentration. And He noticed me. And He said my name. And it made all the difference in the world.
It's hard for me to write things when I am afraid that people won't get them (I so want to be relevant), and this is one of those things that people on both sides of the coin (Christians and non) might not be able to grasp - just because its occurrence and its effect were both so incredibly personal. But its meaning to me has been profound, and that one moment did and has continued to change me.
God is Love. The rest, when you really come down to it (and I too rarely do), is just rubbish.