How does one who was sheltered in the arms of a loving family, taught of God as she is taught to walk, surrounded by faith as by an embryonic fluid — how does one such as I not know that God loves her?
In a crisis of overwhelming fears, I came to sudden clarity that I did not really trust Him, and this was rooted in not truly believing that He loves me. Yes, I believed He loved the world, in a general, beneficent Creator sort of way. But what interest did He have in me? I knew I had been sheltered and protected, and for that I was grateful. But I did not believe that He treasured me, and I did not believe that I should even expect that kind of attention. I should be thankful for what I have and be content. But there was a yearning in me I could not name.
I did not realize that thankfulness would unlock the greatest surprise of my life: a God, on the edge of His seat, a catch in His throat, His muscles taut as He restrained Himself to honor my free will, and waited…waited…waited for me, His beloved. A God who longed for me and fought for me and craved an intimate relationship with me. I never imagined a God like that, His Words a-quiver with life, a startlingly real God of visions and dreams and singing a new song.
During this season of growing thankfulness came the songs. Suddenly, like rain showers, words and music began to fall into my mind. I never knew when the next song would come. I did not deliberately try to write them; they would arrive out of the clear blue, while I was jogging or in the shower or at the kitchen sink. They arrived while I was sleep deprived and desperately juggling the needs of two young children while drowning in the mire of household tasks. I simply opened up and received.
This was shocking and delightful to me. I had never written a song in my life, and it had never occurred to me to try. Still, I had always loved the feel and tang of words, and found joy in music, paying very close attention to the songs which moved me. The mystery of music called to me.
Could it be that God…knew me? Cared about me? He knew that, when I was lost in the worship of thankfulness that January morning, my spirit suddenly stretched out long toward Him… I wanted to sing. I wanted my own words to sing. But I could not ask for such a thing. You aren’t deserving of that. And if you want it too badly, you will not get it. You will be disappointed. But somehow grace was stronger than fear, and He heard my faintest soul whisper, the deepest desire of my heart, what I did not even know was hidden in me. He gave me what I was afraid to ask for.
This was a God who knew that the hurts incurred on my journey through the world had shaken me and battered me. I had put away my poetic nature, my creativity, and my sensitivity because they did nothing to protect me from the blows. I became jaded and suspicious, because innocence made me a target. I closed the door on dreams because they weren’t practical or responsible. But He knew who He had created me to be. And He was calling out to that girl. For the first time in my life, I heard Him.
He has answered my deepest questions and my deepest longings by His love for me. I see His hands all over the events of my life, weaving the joy and pain together into something new, always something new. Fear and disappointment cannot withstand the astonishing tenderness and mercy of my Father’s relentless pursuit of me; the creator and caretaker of all that exists is also the Lover of my soul.