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Leaning Into Love


By Deacon Tammy Devine

ELCA Wellness Manager
November 2018

“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation…” 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

I have been wrestling with God for most of this past year. Overcome with fatigue, frustration, and impatience, I have longed to be released, to be able to forgive and let go of a painful situation. Yet as much as I willed myself to move on, I kept slipping back into the darkness. The image of Jacob wrestling took on new meaning as I tried to recognize myself in his story — finding the strength to persevere even when I was exhausted and just wanted to give up. In time, I had to remember that forgiveness was not my own doing. It required leaning into God’s all-encompassing love.

Forgiveness is a process. It can’t be obtained by our own strength, or by our willing it to happen. It only comes when we dwell in God’s deep, abiding love. Slowly, slowly, that love opens us, nudging us to let go of the pain and burden of our past. It was in tending to my relationship with God, asking for strength, peace, openness, and patience, that I was finally able to forgive. What a gift!

Sometimes in our sinfulness we forget that the cross gives us access to the depth of God’s love. Forgiveness doesn’t mean we forget the painful situation, or that responsibility for a hurtful act goes away. It means release of resentment. This is where our faith empowers us: By claiming that through the waters of baptism we live as a new creation in Christ, we are reminded daily of the redemptive power of the cross. And we can experience that power as God enables us to let go of resentment and be filled with Christ’s healing.

Beloved child of God, may you find the strength to wrestle with whatever has a hold on you. And may you persevere like Jacob, changed by God’s deep, abiding love.

Tammy Devine's monthly reflection invites you to consider how your faith and health are intertwined. She shares her personal journey to help support you in new ways as you strive to live well in Christ — for the sake of ministry in God’s world. ELCA organizations, feel free to print or link to Tammy’s reflections in your publications.

Since joining Portico in 2004, Tammy has provided whole-person health promotion, education, and inspiration to ELCA rostered leaders and lay employees. Contact Tammy Devine at

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