My last post ended with me asking you to envision this scene:
I want you to take a minute, just pause and let this phrase, “Beloved Little Soul” wrap around your heart and bring you peace. Take a deep breath and let this settle on your heart; imagine I am sitting with you holding both your hands (please forgive my clammy hands!) and looking you directly in the eye and I want you to hear, really hear and listen with your heart what I am about to say to you. “YOU are God’s Beloved. YOU are a Beloved Little Soul! Yes, you! Don’t give me that look–I am talking about YOU. YOU are SO VERY LOVED. Now please, I am begging you–stop believing the lies and trust–yes, I know it is so hard to do so, but trust that YOU are the Beloved–with whom God is well pleased.”
Okay, are you ready now? Or do you need to go back and reread and reimagine that scene? Because I really want to get this through to you, I want these words to pierce your broken, bruised and weary heart. I want them to settle into those dark and dangerous places that hold you captive and make you believe the lies that attack and break you down. So, go back, meditate on those words for a little bit longer. Let them roll around your mind, wrap around your heart and make you all fuzzy and warm–and let yourself trust them and then let yourself really believe in them. As you do this I am going to offer a prayer.
Holy Spirit come. I have heard these words lay upon my heart for so long, I have felt the healing powers they offer as they have wrapped around my bruised, broken and weary heart and I have felt the reassurance they bring when the lies become so easy to believe. I want to share them with all of your beautiful children. Give me the words to share, the words that will offer some healing, the words that will bring about the peace that surpasses all understanding and the words that will point to you. May this bring glory to you. Please give me strength and give me the words that need to be heard (well technically written). My friends, I pray for each one of you as you read these words. Much of this post has been inspired and comes from some of our beautiful brothers and sisters in our family that have offered me comfort. Some words, God willing, will come from my own heart. Most of all I just pray that you hear and feel the presence of God and begin to believe that you are so truly loved.
I have struggled with insecurities my whole life. I, like so many others, have let society and people who I love tell me I am not enough, that I must make myself smaller, be less this and more of that, I need to look like this and I need to act like that in order to be worthy of love and to be enough but not too much. I have talked about this so much, in fact nearly two years ago I wrote a post for a dear friend who needed to hear that she was God’s good creation, it is entitled Precious Ones and was published in July 2015.
Two years ago I began a journey to learn to love myself, to love who I was and to allow myself to become who God was calling me to be. Honestly, the biggest step in that direction was choosing to go to Scotland–Scotland gave me a place and a community of people who allowed me to be exactly who I was and safe space to learn who I am meant to be. I hope and pray that you find a place and a community where you can breathe. I pray that God brings people into your life who simply let you be unapologetically yourself. My journey to Scotland led me to realize so many healing things about myself. I learned who I thought I always was isn’t who I am and I learned to let go. Now, after returning to the US, I have begun to realize that I am a complex creature. Multi-dimensional and I cannot and will not perfectly mesh together like a jigsaw puzzle and that is beautiful and exactly how God intended me and YOU to be. We aren’t suppose to really make any sense. I find this summed up so well in a scene from the book, The Shack. The main character, Mack works in a garden with Sarayu (the Holy Spirit):
“‘I didn’t do that much, really,’ he said apologetically. ‘I mean, look at this mess.’ His gaze moved over the garden that surrounded them. ‘But it really is beautiful, and full of you, Sarayu. Even though it seems like lots of work still needs to be done, I feel strangely at home and comfortable here.’ The two looked at each other and grinned. Sarayu stepped toward him until she had invaded his personal space. ‘And well you should, Mackenzie, because this garden is your soul. This mess is you! Together, you and I, we have been working with a purpose in your heart. And it is wild and beautiful and perfectly in process. To you it seems like a mess, but I see a perfect pattern emerging and growing and alive–a living fractal.'” (WM. Paul Young, The Shack, pp. 144-145).
I don’t know about you but that scene sends shivers all over my body. WOW! I am a mess but a beautiful one. YOU are a mess but an incredibly BEAUTIFUL and INTENTIONAL one! I love the line, “Together, you and I, we have been been working with a purpose in your heart.” Isn’t that simply lovely? That we are working together with God for a purpose.
Lately, I have witnessed an immense amount of hurt. I have seen the fatal consequences of believing in the lies this world feeds us. Maybe that is another reason I feel so called to write about God’s love for all of God’s children (AKA all the children in world). Haven’t we heard that we aren’t enough too many times, isn’t it time that we simply hear the truth–that God loves us and accepts us exactly as we come.
Recently, I have come to really love the words messy and broken. I think that it is amongst the mess that is our lives and within the brokenness of hearts and selves that God truly shows up and does God’s best work. A few weeks ago I wrote a post entitled Saved where I talked about how God loves me back to life over and over again. Just this past week I have been loved back to life, back to myself and back to God by God–through the loving acceptance of wonderful friends and God’s grace. Last week I believed in all the lies society tells me to believe. I sobbed on the phone to my dear friend about how I didn’t believe I was worthy of love, how I truly believed I was too much for anyone to actually ever love and all those horrible thoughts made me feel so ashamed. How had I fallen so far from where I was? I am so thankful for my dear friends, and as my friend listened she offered me reassurance that I was indeed loved and I was not too much.
Community is so important. God designed us to be relational creatures. And when I forget that I am not of this world (John 15:19) I have friends to remind me of who I am and more importantly whose I am. I believe, and in fact have been told by someone dear to me, that I was created to love–I think that is my call in this world, to love, defend love and to tell of God’s love for us all. That is why I am writing. Maybe you don’t have a supportive community to reassure you that you are loved, but my loves, you have me to reassure you and to (physically or figuratively) hold your hand when it feels like the world will destroy you.
I want to leave this post with something that I think is utterly beautiful and something that you most likely need to hear. This scene comes from a book that changed my life, Hearing the Call: Stories of Young Vocation; yes, I know I say this all the time, but I really mean it! In the final pages of the book there is a beautiful interaction between an older monk, known to be able to read people’s hearts, and a young man seeking his call in life. I think we all need to let the wisdom that is shared from the older monk to the young man sink into our hearts and bring us peace.
“‘…Your problem is, you don’t know who you are. Let me tell you who you are. You are a ray of God’s own light.’ ‘Sounds a bit silly,’ the young man thought to himself. But he was intrigued, so he said, ‘What do you mean?’ ‘You say you seek God, but a ray of light doesn’t seek the sun; it’s coming from the sun. You are a branch on the vine of God. A branch doesn’t seek the vine; it’s already part of the vine. A wave doesn’t look for the ocean; it’s already full of ocean. Because you don’t know that who you are is one with God, you believe all these labels about yourself; I’m a sinner, I’m a saint, I’m a wretch, I’m a worm and no man, I’m a monk, I’m a nurse. These are labels, clothing. They serve a purpose, but they are not who you are. To the extent that you believe these labels, you believe a lie, and you add anguish upon anguish…'” (Jonathan Lawson and Gordon Muriel, Hearing the Call: Stories of Young Vocation, p. 108).
You, my dear and lovely friend, you intentional and beautiful mess, “You are a ray of God’s own light.“ And please don’t ever forget it.
May the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
Peace, Joy, Blessings and All My Love,