Change Your Life by Choosing Love Every Day!
A few years ago, Stormie was reading 1 Corinthians 13. She had read this passage of scripture many times in the past and knew it was the chapter on love. Since she had walked with the Lord for decades, Stormie thought she understood a great deal about God’s love for us. “I believed I was a loving person because God had given me a deep love for other people, something I had never thought possible before I began walking with Him,” shares Stormie. As she was reading her Bible that day, she asked God to teach her things she had not yet seen before in this chapter. The Holy Spirit did what she asked and gave her great clarity and depth for the scriptures she was reading. She says, “It was breathtaking. It was convicting and humbling.” God revealed to her that her love fell short of what He wanted from her. She realized that the way God required her to show love to others was not something she could begin to do on her own. She needed the transformative power of His love working in her and enabling her. That meant she daily had to come to God in order to not only be infused with His love for her, but also to express her love for Him and then ask Him to help her show His love to others.
THREE SIMPLE CHOICES
Stormie says in order to choose love the way God wants us to, we must make the following three decisions everyday:
- Our first choice is to not only understand God’s love for us, but to actually open up and receive it. Stormie says receiving God’s love is a choice. It means getting close to Him, spending time in His presence, opening your heart to Him, seeking to know Him, and desiring to become more like Him.
- Our second choice is to deliberately choose to express our love for God in response to His love for us. Stormie says one of the most powerful ways we can express our love for God is by worshipping Him. The focus is on Him and not on us. God imparts His love to us when we demonstrate our love for Him.
- Our third choice is to love others in a way that pleases God. We can only choose to love others when we choose to love God and He pours Himself into us. Stormie says you can do this by spending time with God each day and developing His heart of love for others. She says this is how she first saw God’s love – through the love of believing friends and their pastor.
Stormie says, “God has blessings for your life you cannot even imagine, but He may be waiting for you to be perfected in love. God often waits to bless us until we bless others in the way He wants us to – by showing love to them that comes from His heart to ours.” Not long ago, Stormie decided to help a friend who needed her assistance in moving to a new place. Although she knew it would take hours and be exhausting, Stormie volunteered to help her friend. The Holy Spirit impressed upon her heart that helping her friend, despite her prior commitments, would be the loving thing to do despite the inconvenience. Stormie asked God for strength, stamina, and clarity on how this project
could be done quickly and efficiently. Four hours later Stormie and her friend finished what needed to be done. “I had chosen to show love according to His leading, and I felt His presence in greater measure than I had ever felt it before,” shares Stormie. She says God enables us to do things we could never do without Him when we choose to do them in love – the love He puts in our heart for others.
OVERCOMING LIFE'S OBSTACLES
Stormie was raised by a mentally ill mother who was very abusive and kept her locked in a closet for much of her childhood. Her father was gone a lot working long hours and was passive when he was at home. She did not feel like he was a protector from her mother. As a result, she grew up with a lot of depression, fear, loneliness, and hopelessness. Stormie thought she was worthless and would never amount to anything.
In high school, she compensated for her personal insecurities by being active in school activities and getting good grades. She went to UCLA and studied music. She began to work in Hollywood on several TV variety shows, like The Dean Martin Show, The Glen Campbell Show, and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. She was also a backup singer for Glen Campbell, Cher, Ray Charles, and Neil Diamond. By the time she was in her twenties, Stormie was trying to medicate the pain from her childhood with alcohol, drugs, eastern religions, and unhealthy relationships. Nothing worked. These things only offered her temporary relief from the emotional pain. At twenty eight years old, when Stormie could not take the pain any longer she decided to kill herself with sleeping pills. At the same time, Stormie's friend, Terry, with whom she had been singing on television and doing recordings, invited her to come meet her pastor. A few days later, Stormie met with Terry’s pastor, Jack Hayford, the pastor of The Church on the Way at a restaurant. Pastor Jack told Stormie about Jesus and said God had a plan and purpose for her life. He gave her three books to read. The following week, Stormie met with Pastor Jack again and accepted Jesus as her personal savior. She bought a Bible and started attending The Church on the Way. “I felt love, joy, and hope for the first time. I also had a growing sense of purpose, and I began to see a future for my life,” shares Stormie. Today her goal is to help others find that same freedom, healing, restoration, and purpose that she found.