You might have noticed a curious absence from my story last week. Or you might not have noticed at all (Narcissism is one of my greatest qualities, so I'm always concerned with you being concerned with me.). The absence was this: the Love of God for me.
And it was no mistake that kept it out. That was intentional.
Perhaps it was because I was so intolerable as a child and teen, or perhaps it was because being tolerable wasn't even enough, but I spent much of my time sent to my room or grounded or put away from people and things I loved. I grew to equate me being a disappointment with distance from those from whom I wanted love most.
If you are grown now, you know that feeling like a disappointment is a nagging itch that won't be scratched (or perhaps your greatest quality is ego, in which case I will pray for us both). I think that failure, or even fear of failure, is the mercenary messenger sent to grind us into harder work or hope for heaven. Either one will do. If I fail you, it is only a short reminder to you that I am still human, but it is a long reminder in a slew of reminders to me that I have been sent to my room with no dinner.
This morning I worked from home, finishing a project that's been good for me in the work-with-your-hands sort of way. From original sketches to scanned images to vector files to letterpress machinery to my kitchen table this morning for the final brushes of watercolor before mounting on mats—it has been a labor of love, but labor nonetheless. Piles of prints with Psalm 18:19 on them, "He rescued me because He delights in me."
Half are being hung on the walls of girls we've rescued from the red-light district in India and the other half are our gift to donors who helped rescue them.
It is very easy for me to believe that those girls have been rescued because God delights in them.
It is also very easy for me to believe that our donors who have sacrificed blood, sweat, and tears to rescue, are delighted in by God.
My roommate drinks her tea this morning while I am bent over the cards with my paintbrush. "Don't forget that that's about you too" she says and taps the prints. And I look up at her because it never occurs to me that God delights in me.
He saved me, yes.
He chose me, yes.
He sanctifies me, yes.
He teaches me, yes.
He pursues me, yes.
But delights in me?
Draws me near to him?
Loves being around me?
I'm still very good at lining up my disappointing behavior and coming up with reasons why I ought to be grounded for life, yet all the while He's saying, "Come close, come near, be near."
I write to a friend the other day that the beauty of progressive sanctification is that "there isn't a part of yesterday's me that doesn't contribute to today's me. My hordes of sin, my mistakes aplenty and the proof of them only show that there's work to be done."
It seems to me that the best place for that work to be done is close to my Maker, the artist who crafted me from the original sketches and who will finish me to completion.
Note: If you are a parent, draw your kids close to you in times of disappointment. You will fight it. They may fight it. But I know of no other way to show them the length of God's love from a young age than to draw them close. Love them nearer to you and so nearer to Christ's love.