I kissed my third-grader Sommer on her forehead, tucked her in snugly, and turned to call it a day. “Good night, sweetheart! See you in the morning.”
“Mommy!” Sommer’s voice cracked with emotion, calling me back to her side. I knew something was up.
“What is it, baby doll?” I asked while calmly brushing her golden locks from her tear-stained face.
“I. . . have . . . something . . . to tell . . . you.” Sommer’s sobbing caused her to sputter out her words.
“Okay. I’m listening.”
“I’m afraid!” Sommer’s body shook as she continued to sob uncontrollably.
“Honey, it’s okay. I’m here. You don’t have anything to be afraid of.” The light from our backyard spilled across Sommer’s little face.
“I’m afraid you won’t love me anymore. I’m afraid you’ll think I’m bad.”
I recognized Sommer’s look of shame all too well. “Oh, sweetheart, there is nothing you could tell me that would change my love for you. What is it? Go on, catch your breath, and then tell Mommy.”
Sommer took a deep breath. Then she spurted, “Do you remember Cody from back in kindergarten?”
“Yes.” I paused, waiting for her to continue.
“Well, remember how I told you he kissed me?”
“Yes.” Again, I waited.
“Well, actually I kissed him. Can you ever forgive me?! Will you ever trust me again after lying to you?”
My heart felt relieved—and yet sorry at the same time that this had festered within her for three years. Is that what all this fuss was about? Oh, my precious little girl. How much I love you! “Sommer, of course I forgive you. Thank you for telling Mommy the truth. And, yes I still trust you. Sweetheart, I love you forever and ever!”
As we shared big hugs and little kisses, Sommer’s body relaxed. “Thank you, Mommy. I am so sorry.”
“I forgive you, baby girl, and I love you with all of my heart,” I whispered. As I touched her arm softly and watched her drift into sleep, I couldn’t help thinking of God’s love. How many times had I tried to keep something from Him? How many times had Satan convinced me I was unlovable and unworthy? How many times had I seen the guilt of my sin and then headed in the opposite direction, only to feel the weight of condemnation, fear, and shame? How many times had I wondered if God would really love me if He knew everything? Would He still accept me? (And did I honestly think God didn’t already know?)
Where are you, emotionally? What keeps you from fully embracing His love? What causes you to step back when He calls you to step forward? What patterns and paradigms war against your intimacy with Him? Do the past sins that others have done against you hinder you? How about unforgiveness? Wounds? Your own past sins? Do actions from your past taint your ability to accept God’s love in the present? Do you put conditions on God’s love, disqualifying it with shame and regret?
Do you realize that you are God’s masterpiece? (You are, you know!) You were created in His image. Before God created the foundations of the earth, He established His plans for your life. He destined you for good works. He knew you by name and provided a plan of salvation to graft you into His family. You are His child.
The enemy tries to convince you to hide from God, to withdraw from Him. Satan whispers accusations, reminding you of all the times you let God down. His mission is to steal, to kill, and to destroy you. He points out all of your inadequacies, and denounces your worth. He condemns your insufficiencies, and assaults you with feelings of shame. And in the process, the entire world becomes tainted.
However, the Holy Spirit lovingly whispers, “Draw near to Me and confess your sins, that you might be forgiven.” He reminds you of His plan of salvation and declares what Christ accomplished for you. Jesus’ mission was to seek and save the lost. He came that you might experience the fullness of life. God declares His grace is sufficient for your weakness. He shouts that you are loved beyond measure. He covers you with His holiness and pronounces you forgiven. Listen closely! Can you sense His presence? Do you feel His forgiveness?
God invites you to enter into a deeper relationship with Him. He wants to reveal His thoughts to you, and desires to fill you with His power. He went to great lengths to rescue you and wants you to enjoy all the benefits of His presence.
“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt.”
JeremIah 31: 3-4
Excerpted from What I Wish My Mother Had Told Me About Men by Julie Gorman. Copyright ©Julie Gorman. Published by Authentic Publishers. Used by permission. Visit Julie’s website and hear her radio program at juliegorman.com.