Beloved.

beloved3

“My beloveds”
I address e-mails, letters, even text messages this way.

I want to wash over my dearest friends and family with the only word that can sum up their threading in the patchwork of my heart. They are my insides, my joy, my beloveds.

I will never casually throw that word out, or attach it to someone that doesn’t hold a piece of me. I hope that if I call you my beloved you can truly feel the love I have for you from your toes up to your eyelashes. I hope you warm at the knowledge that someone cherishes you.

I have so long and so oft struggled to believe God loves me.
Died for me? Yes. Concerned for me? Sure. Frustrated with me? Absolutely.

But loves me? ….errr, I don’t know.

As much as I go around flinging out the “L” word, and meaning it… I mostly shudder to accept it.

This last week locked doors opened and darkened hallways filled with the light of the truth of His character.
An invisible neon sign seemed to point to 4 glaring letters,
“L … O… V… E”

I could no more ignore the love of God than you can ignore a train wreck.
As a prayerful, answer-filled, frightening-in-a-good-way week wrapped up, my frenzied and frantic spirit shouted at Him. The history of provision didn’t seem enough for me to trust He would provide. The journal of resolutions didn’t seem to apply to new fears. I threw prayer after fastball prayer at the sky as I drove to work on Saturday night.
My veins themselves seemed to shake.
If only “trust” was a one-time decision that didn’t need made a hundred times a day.

The sunset-hued walls, the friendly faces, the pulsating Spanish guitar streaming through our restaurant didn’t do much to settle me on the inside, but as my weakness was replaced with His strength, I brightened.

Like a hug that lasts longer than you intended, even when your strongest squirming won’t make the other let go, God kept embracing my war-torn heart.

One of my best & dearest surprised me by driving an hour to dine and not only brought a thoughtful gift, but also lightened my soul with laughter and love.
Every table was fun and sweet and happy to be there. Boilermakers came in celebrating, champagne flutes were toasting, tips were abounding, and I was astonished.
My thoughts tripped along … wow… God really does hear the groans of our spirit when we can’t form the words…
I decided to stay on longer instead of accepting the offer to go home early.
I turned to see an empty table filled with four.
3 glammed out gigglers were curled, glossed, and accessorized to perfection and the gentleman with them seemed lucky indeed.

I connected instantly with this fun and fabulous crew, and somewhere in our conversing felt directed to somehow let them know I was a believer.
And what do you know?
So were they.

Drink in tattooed hand, they beamed to tell me of the love they had for their God and how they served Him. They weren’t surprised that God had used them at that moment to buoy my broken spirit, a seemingly knowing smile spread on the face of one of those darling girls as she simply stated that God knew what He was doing and brought us together with intent.

She directed her brother to display one of his tattoos, and he pulled his sweater up to reveal one word etched across the skin of his back…

“Beloved”

As much as I want to be noted for the unseen stamp on my personhood that says “This girl loves” what if I longed to share a different message…?
“This girl is loved.”

Even though she doesn’t deserve it, most days doesn’t know what to do with it and sometimes fails to even believe it, the King of the universe, omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent God of all loves her.

In an instant how desirous I was of this man’s acceptance that he was loved.
I need to get out of my own way, still the whirring that masks the doubt, chalk all the random happenstances up to more than just coincidence, and be warmed, be washed overbe loved.

 

 

 

 

 

***

“Beloved these are dangerous times…
because you are weightless like a leaf from the vine…
and the wind has blown you all over town…
because there is nothing holding you to the ground.

So now you would rather be…
a slave again than free from the law.

(chorus)
Beloved listen to me…
don’t believe all that you see…
and don’t you ever let anyone tell you …
that there’s anything that you need…
but Me.

Beloved these are perilous days…
when your culture is so set in it’s ways…
that you will listen to salesmen and thieves…
preaching other than the truth you’ve received.

Because they are telling lies…
for they cannot circumcise your hearts.

Beloved there is nothing more…
no more blessings and no more rewards…
than the treasure of my body and blood
given freely to all daughters and sons
.”

~Derek Webb

 

***

“May the beloved of the LORD dwell in security by Him, Who shields him all the day, And he dwells between His shoulders.” ~Deuteronomy 33:12

love

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