beloved

‘Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.’ [Ephesians 5:1]

Beloved. Say it out loud…it even sounds intimate, right?

A few years after Jesus and I agreed he really did mean more to me than just a guy who people told stories about, I was at a youth event with several girls. It was Drake Relays week, and I was balancing college fun with wanting to be present with these ladies. We did the normal crazy stuff. My hair was put into thousands of mini-braids. We laughed, and we took time to meet with our Savior. One of the activities was to be still and present with God, and ask to hear what name God called us…a name that comes directly from him massive heart for us. Strangely enough, as a young, new believer and so incredibly thirsty for God’s unconditional love, I heard ‘Beloved.’

I honestly cannot believe I even just typed that in a blog post. It was so long ago, but when I saw the word of the day from Rethink Church, I couldn’t help but be right back in the skin of who I was then.

I was young and naïve that this life would be easy, but oh so in love with Jesus. All of the little pieces of me that I felt were empty, lost and depressed he covered and filled to overflowing with his love for me. No one else would ever be able to fill those pieces of me. No one.

God calls me Beloved, not just because of his heart for me, but more for who he has intimately created me to be. For my laughter. For the intricately weird set of gifts and experiences he has given me. For my indignation at how people treat the least of these. For my rebellious nature when people try to lead without Holy Spirit discernment. For my passion in seeing his kingdom being built. And yes, friends, even for my mouth and all the times it gets me in trouble, cussing and otherwise.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” [Colossians 3:12-17]

I am his beloved, and I love that intimacy with God, especially when intimacy means being loved, known and wanted through deep relationship.

And especially when it means being a part of something bigger than myself along with other weirdos who claim their inheritance of being chosen by God, digging deep into his word and seek God’s peace to soak their souls.

Maybe Lent for me this year is so much about the heart of Jesus and drawing closer to his heart for me that I cannot help but reflect back on who I was when I first fell in love with him. All so I can see clearer where his love will take me in the future.

As his chosen ones, holy AND beloved…friends, what name do you hear when God calls you?

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beloved

Sometimes I’m a slow learner. At least it was in the case in believing I was a child of God. It was hard enough believing in something I couldn’t see, or touch for the first time. But as a proverbial father? I had one…I didn’t need another.

Oh, but I did…

It was in a college Bible study and we were looking at the scriptures where it refers to being ‘adopted’ into God’s family by Jesus’ sacrifice and the Spirit’s presence.

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…because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ [Romans 8:14-15]

As the truth that I indeed had an Abba sunk in…so did this beautiful word…beloved.

I’ve never felt beautiful. I’m not pretty…no one ever thinks the ‘tom boy’ is cool. But suddenly in that one simple word, beloved,  I felt God’s presence attacking my heart…making it firmly known that God considered me both.

In that moment, it didn’t matter the names people called me, what they said about me or their firm opinions of who I should be and how I should act. In that moment my Abba had declared me his beloved.

I’ve held onto that so hard over the years as media assaults our senses with what you should be, how you should look and societal expectations of women. It becomes harder and harder to remember that I am God’s beloved daughter. But as someone who has finally found the value in not only having women as friends, but truly as sisters willing to walk through the gauntlet with you, I find it is much easier to navigate this world with others by your side.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. [Ephesians 5:1-2]

So let us walk in love as we walk others into God’s love, as God’s beloved children.