Friday, July 1, 2011

In progress...

There was a little girl named Leehi*. She loved her father very much. She loved to see him smile. His smile was warm and could be felt from miles away. She loved to hear his laugh. His laugh would fill the room with joy. She found great satisfaction in serving him. She would have given anything to make him happy and see him smile. Leehi and her father had an amazing relationship. She enjoyed talking with him. She told him everything. They would laugh and play. Leehi loved it when he picked her up and twirled her around. Nothing could separate them. The bond they had was strong.
As the years went on, Leehi began to grow older and made more friends. She still loved her father, but she loved her social life too. She wanted to explore the world. She was curious about what all life had to offer. She decided to pack her bag and set off on an adventure. She explored many countries of the world. She loved her new friends and all the fun things they introduced her to. She enjoyed staying out late and trying new things. Her friends led her to many new places. She began to try things she had never experienced before. Things that she knew her father wouldn't approve of. The kind of things she had been warned about by her father. She knew it was wrong, but she thought,
 "Oh, I'll just do it this once. It's not a big deal. What could it hurt anyway?" 
She soon learned how wrong she was to think that.  
She was quickly sucked in to these new, bad things. She found her self addicted and alone. Her friends left her. She had no one to turn to. 
So she hid. 
She thought back to her childhood. When she felt safe. 
When she was loved.
She remembered dancing with her father. 
She missed him.
Yes. She missed him more than words could describe.
"How could I ever go back?"
"I have messed up so bad." 
"I don't even look the same."
"I am dirty."
"I left him...even after he warned me... I still did all these things."
"He is disappointed in me."
"How could he not be disappointed in me?"
"Look what I have done..."
"Maybe he will give me one more chance... maybe..."
"I don't know if I even remember the way back home though..."
These are the thoughts that flooded her mind. Day after day. Finally she got up the nerve to try to journey back home to her father. Fearing that he might never love her again, she anxiously made her way back home. She knew that all she had to do was knock and her father would let her in... but would he love her? She decided that she would do whatever it took to make him love her again. 
When she saw her father, tears streamed down her face. 
He embraced her. 
He spun her around. 
He held her.
He wiped the tears from her cheeks.
He cleaned her up.
Gave her new clothes.
He smiled at her.

Would it last?
After she told him all the things she did, would he still smile at her?
Days went by. Leehi and her dad spent time together. He told her how much he missed her. How glad he was for her to be back. He told her he loved her.
She didn't believe it.
After all she had done, how could he love her?
So she began to work.
She labored day in and day out. She did everything she knew how to do plus more. 
She strived to make him happy. She wanted to give him the best she could.
She worked.
And worked.
And worked.
She tired herself out.
But kept working.
All the while her father just wanted her. He just wanted to be with her. He loved HER. Yes, her working was helpful, but that's not what he was pleased with. He may have had his daughter back... but he still missed her. He missed the times they had once shared. He missed her being delighted in him. He missed being able to just lavish his love on her. She wouldn't let him. He saw that she felt she was unworthy of his love. He knew the weight of the guilt she carried and it broke his heart. Wanting her to realize who she is, he wrote her a letter. When he was finished, he folded the letter and put it in an envelope and placed it on her pillow.

That night, as she lay down to sleep, she found the letter. She opened it and through tears she read...

You have been mine from the beginning. I have always loved you. 
I have seen you grow. I have seen you learn. Yes, you have made mistakes. But you are not the sum of your mistakes. 
You are beautiful. You are mine. I love you. 
I don't want your efforts. I don't want your work.
 I want you.
Don't you know who you belong to?
 Nothing can change that. 
You can do the most horrible things in the world and I will still love you. 
Nothing will change my love for you.
 Stop carrying the guilt. Stop trying to gain my approval.
Just rest. 
Take a break. 
Sit with me.
I miss you. 
Your name says it all. YOU ARE MINE. 
There is nothing you can do to change that. Stop trying to earn my love.
It is impossible for me to love you any more than I do right now.
I will never leave you. You don't have to strive to make me pleased with you... I am already absolutely in love with you. 
You please me more than life itself. 
You give me great joy.
I delight in you.
Stop working. Just be with me. 
I don't want your work.
I want you.
I love you. 

 That weight was lifted from her shoulders as she realized how much her father really did love her. She ran to him. She forgot about being tired. She knew that perfect rest was in her father's arms. She melted into his arms and wept. He held her close and whispered, "I love you just because you are mine."

*She is mine

How often do I try to prepare a gift for God when all he really wants is me? I am so guilty of trying to work for his approval. I don't understand why I think that his love can be earned. I know it can't, but I still find myself working for him rather than simply loving him.
Jesus, help me rest knowing that you love me because I am yours. Help me find a balance between serving and loving. You are not my soccer coach. You will not kick me off the team if I can't "get it right." You are not my employer. You are my husband. You just want me.

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