Written by Holly Madden, LeadHer Local Director. Connect with Holly on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

4 Years ago this week, I tried to take my own life. I was exhausted from living a superficial life and found myself believing the lie that I had no purpose. The path I was headed down was destructive but God’s love reached me during a moment when I needed no one else but Him. While I was speeding down country roads at over 100mph, He pulled my car over to the side of the road and met me at my weakest point. It was there in that car that I truly opened up my heart to Him and prayed. I asked one simple thing, “God if you can see me, please do something.”

I will never forget that day, or the day to follow. A friend had felt God leading her to reach out to me and invite me to a LeadHer meeting. Out of sheer desperation, I agreed.

I had grown up in the church surrounded by Christians. My parents have always loved the Lord, and my sister and I were memorizing Scripture from the moment we could talk. It was never a lack of knowledge in God that pushed me away, it was my inability to believe in and experience a God that was good in a world that was so evil. I knew of God, but I never gave God the chance to get to know Him.

There is nothing that pushes us further from our Savior than pain. Whether it be the pain we cause by our own decisions, or the pain inflicted on us by others, pain often becomes the catalyst for our retreat. Yet, pain is also the very thing that draws us closer to God because it is in our pain that we recognize just how much we need our Heavenly Father, and just how much He loves us enough to forgive our mistakes, tend to our pain, and give us a second chance. At 21 I looked at my raped, addicted, rebellious, and broken life and I convinced myself that God saw me as unforgivable and unloveable.

But what I discovered 4 years ago was that God was not an almighty deity sitting on his throne demanding our perfection, but a Father longing for His beloved sons and daughters to come home. He was never waiting for me to get it all together, He was simply waiting for me to surrender.

The love of God is something we can’t truly describe to anyone. We recite Bible verses and sing about it in worship songs, but the love of our Daddy God is something we can’t understand till we experience it.

For me, I first felt the love of God sitting in my car at rock bottom. He met me in a place where I was surrounded by so much darkness and brokenness but for the first time in years, it was the place that I finally gave up fighting Him. I remember that feeling in my car like I had something small to hang on to. At the time, I couldn’t tell you what it was, but today, I know that that feeling is hope.

And then I walked into my first LeadHer meeting. I was sitting in a room surrounded by a dozen women of different ages, denominations, and backgrounds, and while I shared the most tender broken parts of my heart, I found only compassion, kindness, and love. Through this room full of women, I continued to experienced the love of Jesus.

I am a firm believer that a kind word and a hug can change a life. I believe that when Jesus walked through the streets of Nazareth, that His touch gave people hope and that His words connected them to purpose. Why do we think that we need to do more than that? Jesus loved with action through the way He met the physical needs of the hurting, extended hope to the hopeless, and called the outcasts to follow Him.

The love of God is something we can’t truly describe to anyone. But we can show it when we choose to love those around us. God’s love is real, it is forgiving, renewing, and life-giving. His love saves.

Never put it past God to use you to save a life. Extend your arms, open up your heart, and love recklessly that world that you have been called to love. Whether it be through your LeadHer Chapter, your church, your family, or in your community, my challenge to you today is simply this, to love.