by Debbie Stovall
(A recently updated blog post that we all need to hear.)
Flashback with me to summer… Grilled burgers. Watermelon. Homemade strawberry ice cream from my Mom’s 50-year-old secret family recipe. It was a typical summer holiday cookout – yummy and very laid back with just the fam.
So after sleeping in late and then a day full of old movies, Nertz, and being totally lazy with just my husband and the kids (who are actually young adults now), it was wonderful to have a couple of friends that we hadn’t seen in a while drop by in response to our Facebook post about the homemade ice cream. We enjoyed the frozen goodness and had a wonderful conversation, ranging from light-hearted catching up, to corny inside jokes, to deep gut-level honest sharing that you only do with REAL friends and family.
It was 30 minutes after they left – probably 7:00 p.m. or so – that I went to the bathroom and noticed myself in a mirror… Yikes! I had not combed my hair after I got up that morning! All day long I had gone around with bed head and never even passed a mirror to notice. What must my “guests” have thought?! But then… I smiled as I realized how wonderful it was to have people I could be REAL with! They didn’t care. They loved me anyway.
Don’t we all long for that?! We want to know and be known at a deep, gut level, and to be so comfortable with friends or family, someone, anyone, that we can smile, relax, and not sweat and fret and fear what they’ll think. We don’t want those insecurities to rise to the surface. We want to be accepted for who we are, the way we look, and the mistakes we make. Not for who people want us to be. Not for who they think we are because we are keeping up pretenses and hiding the REAL us every time we are around them. We long to be accepted… loved… just as we REALLY are.
Some of us will have the rare pleasure of experiencing that with a few select friends or a parent or sibling, but for many of us even family seems to be unable to know us, accept us, and love us as we long to be loved.
But there is Great News! There is Hope! We have a Heavenly Father, our Abba, who knows us intimately, accepts us totally, pursues a relationship with us relentlessly, and loves us unconditionally! Psalm 139 reminds us “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely…. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb…. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be…. Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.”
Let’s take off the mask and come out of hiding. The enemy of our souls seeks to separate us, to isolate us, to cut us off from the flock. Why? To weaken us, discourage us, and stir up all sorts of negative thoughts that are contrary to the truth of God’s Word. Remember, Satan comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy. I believe that much of the vitriol and hate we see boiling over in society today stems from that inner fear that we are alone, unknown, uncared for, unaccepted, and forgotten. That is a lie from the pit of hell.
You and I have a loving Father, Our Creator, who knows us. Intimately. More intimately than we wish even. Scripture tells us that we look at the world as if we are seeing a dim reflection in a mirror, but that when we meet God face to face we will “know fully, even as [we] have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) And guess what! Even though He fully knows you, “warts and all,” He doesn’t reject you. God sees you! In all the chaos, fear, or failure that surrounds you. He knows you – the REAL you! And you know what? In spite of all your self-condemnation, fears, hiding, and not loving yourself – God loves you! He REALLY loves you! Come to Him. Just as you are.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” Jeremiah 31:3
Enjoy the songs below and allow the Lord to minister to your heart as you listen.