Our daughter turned 13 this year. The days of being a mom to a teenage daughter have always seemed so far off in the distant future that I've found myself quite unprepared for the actuality of the far, distant future now suddenly being the present. Hannah Joy is a gift. For many reasons she is a gift, but today the enormity of the gift I have been given in her by God is overwhelming. He has entrusted her to me to help mold her into the young lady that He's created her to be. Despite my own failures both past and present. Despite my shortcomings. He gave her to me. And so I know that not a shred of what God has brought me through can be squandered. I know that my brokenness is of value when it is Christ who has lovingly put me back together.
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, so that the extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us." (2 Corinthians 4:7)
When Hannah was little, she pursued me. What little girl doesn't want to be where her mom is, doing what her mom is doing? I think in my naivety as a young mom, I often took this forgranted. Not thinking ahead toward a day when she wouldn't be so close on my heels, as near as my next breath every time I turned. That day is here, and I am finding that it is my turn to pursue her. To be the one seeking her out on the days when she feels unlovable, recognizing the odds are that I am at times no longer her natural choice to seek out on those days. To be engaged enough in the matters of her heart to know whether it is Christ that has captured her heart, or something else entirely.
"Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you."
(2 Timothy 1:14)
It would have been easy (and preferred) for me to leave this post as only pertaining to my relationship with Hannah. My pursuit of Hannah, instead has been the motivation to allow God to pry even deeper to the most unreachable and ugly areas of my heart that until today, I thought no longer existed. Not for the purposes of leaving me broken and exposed, but to continue to reveal to me the extent of His own pursuit of me.
As many girls do, I struggled with insecurities growing up. Unfortunately, sometimes those insecurities led me to make unwise or harmful choices. While my deepest heart's desire was to feel loved, accepted and known, it was at times those very choices that caused me to feel the opposite. Unlovable, rejected and not worth being known.
It was in this state that my future husband would find me. Why God sent him to me when He did, and why He allowed Matt to see beyond what I had become, to the woman I could be, I may never know. What I do know, is that Matt has been and is still an integral part of God's plan to rescue me.
For too long I spent myself pursuing and never being able to lay hold of the acceptance I craved. My pursuits instead left me feeling ashamed, ugly and ruined. It was these feelings in fact that overwhelmed my mind today and caused me to really acknowledge whether I have fully allowed God to wipe clean the record of wrongs I've built up against myself. Or have I simply buried them deep, giving lies the authority to still define me in my weaker moments?
I question God at times, wondering why He would allow me to make such choices in my ignorance that would leave me broken and require the relentless pursuit of a husband who longs for me to see what he sees. I don't have the answers to any of those questions today. I simply feel the need to acknowledge the amazing blessing of the man that God sent to me, who waited for me, while still pursuing me with all his heart, hoping to capture mine. I find it astounding that he still endeavors to pursue me in the same way nearly 15 years later and frustrate myself at the inadequacies that cause me to fall short of the wife he needs or deserves. But I guess thats the point...God too has loved me at my most unlovable, for no other reason than He chose to love me. I have nothing to offer Him and have done nothing to deserve His sacrifice on my part. God continues to give me a tangible picture of this, as so often Matt sacrifices his own desires for mine.
"This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." (1 John 4:9-10)
It is God's patience with me and His pursuit of me that show me He has created in me something of value. I think the weight I felt on my heart today was the desire for any who needed reminding of their value to know that there IS a God out there who is in relentless pursuit of His children and longs for us to see the worth He has created in us.
"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
"What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off." (Matthew 18:12-13)
Prayer for Hannah
To always know fully every inch of you is loved
That the same One who formed you, also scattered the stars above
Your special purpose, you'll surely find as you whole-heartedly seek
To know the One who'll be strong when you feel so weak
Always remember you're the chosen daughter of a heavenly King
Live like the princess you are, never settling for a lesser thing
Life can be hard, sometimes the path becomes dim
Hunger for the Word, may your light be found in Him
His light in you will always be the beauty others see
The same beauty I pray you will always find in me
The prodigal's road for so long was my empty heart's choice
Seldom stopping to listen for the truth only found in my Father's voice
Pursue the passion He's given you deep within
There's a place in your heart that can only be filled by Him
Don't go it on your own thinking there must be a way
Don't fall for the lies that took me so far astray
There's only One who proved to you with a costly sacrifice
That your life to Him was more than worth the price
I pray that the good promised to come from my forgiven past
Will be your choice to love FIRST, the One who will last.
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)