My very first time writing a blog! Our writing team has expanded and from now on I, together with others, will write a blog once in a while. I studied journalism and work as a communications officer, so I must be good at writing, according to one of my colleagues. That’s what I thought too, but what a challenge this feels like. What I write in the safety of my office will soon be on the internet for everyone to read. Anyone can respond. What if people disagree? Does this blog contribute anything? Why should I write this? In essence: will I get the approval I’m looking for? Opening of the day On Wednesday morning we start our day at Royal Mission with worship. We sit in a cozy room and Theo leads us in an intimate moment with God. I often have wonderful encounters with God here and I start my day with encouragement. A colleague shared something with us on one of these mornings. She said: “I always whisper to my children before they go to sleep, ‘Do you know how much I love you?’ And I think that’s what God wants to say to us this morning. Do you know how much I love you? And you don’t have to do anything for it.” This little comment suddenly came to my mind. Do I know that? Do I know how much God loves me? I’ve heard it so many times. I’ve been told it so many times. Yet I often don’t live as if I know this. Often I find myself working so hard for approval from friends, co-workers, church members, and so on. But perhaps I work most for God’s approval. The love of God. Youth work I am involved in my church’s youth ministry. I am partly responsible for organizing services where such cool things happen. And man, do I love doing that. I see so many young people who are fervent, want to follow Jesus and are an example for me. It is so inspiring to get a glimpse into their lives this way. And I really enjoy being able to play a role in this. That I can facilitate these moments for them. Even though I enjoy this immensely, I find that enjoying it and doing well is not always my only motivation. Sometimes I secretly work very hard to earn approval, acceptance, and love. If I really go back to basics. If no one, not even God, knew I was doing this, would I still be running so fast? Am I really sure that I will be as valuable to God if I no longer do this task? God’s love If I really had to answer these questions honestly, I would say: no, I don’t always believe that. Sometimes lies creep back into my head. Sometimes I don’t believe that I am valuable without working, without doing, without performing. Then I need to hear that I am loved for who I am. That God’s grace has already washed me completely clean. That I don’t have to earn grace, but that I can just come, with my flaws. And if you also need to hear this, I want to encourage you with this text: 1 John 4: “ 9 And in this the love of God has been manifested to us, that God sent his only Son into the world, that through him we might to live. 10 The essence of love is not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to make atonement for our sins.” Jesus came for you. God loves you. And whether this blog contributes something to you or not at all, it doesn’t matter to me. I may live in freedom from grace. In His presence, that’s where I belong.