My embrace with the Father was restored in Adoration at the Life Teen Women’s Retreat a few weeks ago.
At the beginning of my missionary formation year, I realized how tainted my relationship with the Father was. As we reflected on the Father’s love through the parable of the prodigal son, we placed ourselves in the parable as the son and let ourselves be embraced by the Father in a time of quiet reflection. Except, I wouldn’t let the Father even touch me. Having been through a lot of pain because of the way men have treated my body in the past, I was too afraid to even let God, my Father, touch me. I cringed at the thought of being intimate with anyone who looked like a man in my imagination.
Realizing this hurt, but it also gave me hope and something specific to pray for God to heal. I began to fervently pray for trust and the grace to be healed.
In faith, I knew He would heal me, and He did. Slowly and gently he healed the wounds, memories, and sins that made me cringe at the thought of intimacy. Intimacy meant I needed to be open, which was hard because the world around me has hurt me. To protect myself, I closed off to intimacy and to God.
He healed me in the silence as I accepted forgiveness (God Speaks and Heals in the Silence). Rejoicing in the peace and freedom of being healed, I let Jesus hold me as I fell asleep that night.
He healed me again and again as I went through the memories that scared my childhood, teen, and young adult life. He healed my wounds of fear of abandonment, trust in God, trust in men. He restored my belief that I am beautiful, known, and delighted in. As he healed my heart, I started to believe that I am worthy of love just for being who I am as a daughter of God.
On the weekend of women’s retreat, the reality of my worth became real as the missionary men slaved away in the kitchen. When I thanked them and said I didn’t feel worthy, they responded that I deserved it for just being me. I cried twice on the first night of the retreat, both in thanksgiving for the men serving us and out of joy that I am worth it.
My heart opened Friday night and my desire to behold the face of Christ and be united with Him grew.
Saturday night, Michelle Benzinger gave an awesome talk. One part that really stood out to me was that “what we sow in tears will be reclaimed in joy.” Seeing the truth of that statement in my own life, I was also able to see what God still needed to resurrect in my life. God desires us to live into the resurrection, not as if He is still in the tomb. He wants us to claim resurrection in our lives through reconciling, restoring, and transforming us.
As I knelt in Adoration that night, I sought to look at the face of Christ. What happened was beautiful, deep, and almost indescribable. Jesus met me where I was at and gently came close to me. He danced with me, over me, and within me, restoring and redeeming all my fears of intimacy. I felt one with him: transformed, new, healed.
I am still rejoicing and grateful, knowing that what “we sow in tears will be reclaimed in joy.”
Today, I encourage you to open your heart and let God love you!