Cherished

Cherished

Cherished

Somewhere deep inside of us is a longing to be earnestly searched for and found by somebody wonderful. We may try to deny it. Outrun it. Numb it. We may try to keep this longing hidden. We may try to keep it wrapped up or hidden away. But sometimes when we least expect it, this longing has a way of coming to the surface. This longing to be deeply loved, cherished, is embedded in our nature.

You were on God’s mind from the beginning of time. “Long before He laid down the earth’s foundations, he had us in mind.” Ephesians 1:4  You are God’s beloved, his precious child, He cherishes you. When you hear the word cherish, do images come to mind – like the song, “Cherish is the word I use to describe…” Or the movie line from the Princess Bride – wuv, twoo wuv? Okay maybe not so much – so here’s a definition of cherish from good ole Webster: “Cherish means to treat with tenderness, affection, to nurture with care, to foster, to protect, to hold dear, to embrace with interest, to indulge, encourage, to foster” Wow.

God made us with a need to be loved. The deep need he put in us is only met when we allow ourselves to be loved by Him by entering into a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.

That is the Father’s passion. God,

I am the first born of four children, my dad always called me princess. I was the apple of his eye. I remember when he taught me how to ride a bike, “Be careful, sweetie,” my dad’s strong voice cautioned me to avoid the object in the road. He’d just removed the training wheels on my Schwinn; so even though I was seated securely on the banana seat, both hands on the handlebars, the front tire still wobbled a little. I focused intently on the path ahead, “Yes, Father,” I said. I veered to the left just a little and swerved to avoid the obstacle.”

Maybe you cannot relate to God as a caring, tender and involved dad, such as this. You’ve been disappointed by your dad. Even people you know have felt dismissed by their own biological fathers. This is an epidemic an America. According to a recent study, ’15 million American children — one in three — live without a father.  This results a less than average academic achievement, teenage pregnancy, drug use and crime. America’s social problems must be understood as we notice the absence of fathers in homes.The condition is called ‘spiritual fatherlessness’ Our current social problems are a direct result of the fatherless home.

‘Spiritual fatherlessness’ causes a disconnect, a breach between the natural father, spiritual father and heavenly father. The devil destroys harmony between our most valued relationships.  This is not necessarily a physical breach, but a spiritual battle waging war against those that mean the most to us. This is why many, myself included, have suffered with ‘spiritual fatherlessness.’

During my junior high years, dad and I exchanged harsh words, disagreement and disconnection. Unfortunately, I was clueless to the enemy tactics to divide our family. I was rebellious, un-submissive and could not respond to my father’s attempts to show me his love. At seventeen, I was careening deep into drug addiction. I stayed high as much as possible, trying to fill the emptiness in my life with the highest high or the cutest guy while my need for affection only increased. I couldn’t wait to move out of my parents’ home. My family pulled strings to get me a volunteer summer job at a Christian camp. The camp staff assigned me lists of chores, such as washing hundreds of dishes in the mess hall, raking piles of pine needles around the campgrounds, and even moving logs around the outdoor campfire ring.

Whenever I complained or threw fits over doing my chores or smoked cigarettes and dope, the camp staff said, “Love covers over a multitude of sins.”)” display=”(I Peter 4:8 [NIV])”] Their words, repeated over and over, immersed me for two weeks. The words rang in my ears, I couldn’t get the five-word phrase off my mind. The staff didn’t tell me to change anything about my appearance, attitude, or addictions. Instead, they showed me what the invitation of love looked like. They were kind; they offered the true love of God without forcing me to accept it.

After two weeks of experiencing how “Love covers a multitude of sins,” I embraced it. Submitting to the overwhelming love of God, I allowed His abundant love to cover my multitude of sins. One night in my cabin, I submitted to the overwhelming love of Father God. His abundant love did cover my multitude of sins. I accepted the invitation to live a new life.

The Father’s passion for us is for us to accept God as our perfect Father. Once I communicated with God as my Perfect Father, I had to accept that the breach in my relationship with God could only be restored through the Son.

drugs and alcohol, lying and stealing, promiscuity and drug dealing. It was finally clear: I didn’t need to clean up my act before coming to God; He loved me passionately just the way I was. I began to learn about my identity in Christ. When I understood God’s unconditional love for me, absolute acceptance of me, that He didn’t hold my past against me. In spite of my horrible mistakes, He has an important plan for me, I could accept myself. I let go of the guilt, shame and blame of my drug addiction, promiscuity and illegal acts. No longer did I have to punish myself for my wrong doing, Jesus paid the the price for my sin by shedding His blood on the cross. I could rest in the truth of who God says I am. His child, in whom He delights.

God adopted me into his family. “He decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ.” Eph. 1:5 When God adopted me, some versions say, I was grafted into the family of God. He not only covered my sins, be provided His grace and mercy. I could live guilt-free, shamless, flawless in His eyes. God chose me, accepts me, includes me in His plans.

The Father’s protection is offered to us.

I was searching for meaning, purpose and identity in things and people that could never fill my God-shaped void. In God there is no lack. Our gaping wounds can be healed by turning away from my earthly and my Heavenly Father’s will. In Christ God will show us how to release every disappointment that had been imagined or feared and to put my trust in Him.

We cannot go back and re-write history but we can get to the place where we allow God to heal us. This takes trust and transparency.“He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved son.” Eph1:6

Brene Brown said “Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending…to rise strong, recognize our story and rumble with the truth until we get to the place where we think, yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. I will choose how this story ends.”

As we submit to God through faith in Christ, He will rewrite the ending. It’s our choice to turn the pen over to Him. His version of our story is a much better ending than ours could ever be. He wants to cherish us. He wants us to rest in the truth of who we really are. His child in whom He delights. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11