teedbits long overdue – having a whole Sunday indoors means time to revert to an introvert and reflect like mad; thank you Jesus for the storm, thank you Father for your warmth amidst the cold:
one day of back-sliding and I am reduced to tears. My chest does not heave; I do not sob; Jesus is merciful to me as I blink at the pages in front of me and let saline drip down my cheeks. “[…] is not the problem; you are,” Jesus says to me. “But what am I doing wrong??” I cry out to the Lord. I have tried and tried and tried, over and over again to do everything right, and still, still, it is not enough?
What do you want from me, Father?
I want you.
With those three words, He reveals to me what is wrong at the root of my heart.
“Before you give me anything else, I want you, first. I don’t want your talents, I don’t want your service, I don’t want your worship. All of it is worthless unless I have you. A father does not have a son to have him work for him. A father does not have a daughter to have her sing and dance for him. A parent does not have a child for that child to do anything for the parent. What does the parent lack? Nothing but the child. I am your Father. I simply want you. I made you purely because I love you. So why are you trying so hard to get everything right? Why are you trying so hard to win my affection? You already have it. Can you just believe that I love you? Can you just trust that Christ in you is enough? I want nothing more than your love and affection for me because out of that heart everything else will flow. You will get things wrong but I have grace for you. I love you, my child. So stop living like an orphan. Stop trying to get everything right. Stop trying to serve me. Just love me. Just believe me. Just trust me.”
I really thought that I loved the Lord but perhaps I had just wanted His affections.
I hesitate over the decision of whether to wear glasses or contacts out in the snow (I absolutely despise wearing glasses when there’s any kind of precipitation outside as it makes seeing very inconvenient) and Maria tells me to go with the contacts so “she can see my beautiful face.” I grimace in response and involuntarily shudder; “I don’t have a beautiful face.”
“Darling. You know God made you in His image,” she replies immediately and I wave it off whilst reluctantly putting in my contacts. I study my face in the mirror. Eh, skin is behaving and hair is clean; I look presentable. I pull on my floppy, obnoxious, orange colored hat and give myself the once over. I look ridiculous – good. Perhaps that will cover the plainness of my face.
I watch Michelle in awe as she shares what she has learned from her past relationship. The words coming out of her mouth are liquid gold and I lap them up silently, greedily, as she teaches me about worth and beauty.
“I don’t want to rely on another person to tell me I’m beautiful and affirm me in my worth. I want to know it for myself. And, I don’t ever want my identity to be rooted in another person…besides Christ.”
I mull over her words and realize that I am guilty of seeking such a relationship; to be loved, to be affirmed, to be called beautiful. It grates on my nerves and I carefully examine the insides of my heart to come to the conclusion that I seek such a person to tell me my worth because I cannot see it myself. And so the Lord berates me, “If you’re seeking him for such a purpose, you will never be satisfied. You are worthy – and if you can’t see it yourself, then no amount of him telling you will make you see it.”
You are beautiful, my child, exactly as I have made you. No other man will love you as I do.
[white] I see the snow flurries outside and squeal in excitement; I walk under the gentle barrage of white and watch the cotton flakes stick to my clothes. Redemption, I think over and over again to myself. Wash me clean, white as snow. I’m still terribly afraid, still shaking and quivering in the aftermath of last year’s bitter cold but I look at the white around me and decide that it doesn’t matter. The wounds, the scars, the bloodstains; Jesus covers it all. I will be quite okay.
My saving grace is here and I will rejoice.