Our Daddy Jesus

Throughout the week, I have the privilege of meeting one-on-one with some of the most precious women in the world. While each session reflects the unique heart of the woman sitting before me, the initial agenda is always the same: they step into my office, I turn off my computer monitor, and we pray.

It's probably my favorite part of working in ministry.

Previously in my social work roles, I always felt anxious and inadequate as I fumbled my way through any type of counseling session.  Externally, I attempted the posture of a calm, empathic, and attuned listener. Internally, my mind was exploding with theories, practice models, and the overarching fear that I was going to say the wrong thing and forever damage the poor human who made the foolish mistake of trusting that I actually had something to offer them.

I won't pretend all those fears have vanished just because of my new title, but I will say I have found such sweet freedom in shutting off my own thoughts and allowing His to flow through me instead.*

Earlier this week, one of the loveliest and most inspiring women I've ever encountered in my life sat before me, defeated and afraid. Her primary concern? She slipped up on her diet over the holidays and feared as a result she would gain back some of the weight she had fought so desperately to lose.

Now, given the context of many of my sessions, this may have seemed like a pretty minor issue (the following day I met with a young woman who confessed she initially began using meth as a teenager because it was the only way she thought she could ever connect with her drug-addicted mother…I mean really, what do you even say to that?).  But that's the beauty of the Gospel: it's not up to me to determine whose hurt is greater.  We are all seen as equally broken, beautiful, and worthy of redemption.

I looked at this sweet woman, so ashamed of her dietary mistake, and asked if she was more upset at the potential weight-gain, or at the fact that she knew she missed out on something God wanted to show her through her continued submission of her cravings.  As she silently pondered her response, the Holy Spirit flooded my heart in my favorite, undeniable way and I opened my mouth - excited to hear what might come out.**

"I just want to make sure you know that your value in God's eyes has not changed one bit by this slip-up. In fact, His opinion of you has been the exact same since the day He created you.  Not once has He wavered in His fierce love for you.  There's not a single thing you have done, or will ever do, that can change that."

She began to weep.

I continued, amazed at the power behind these words (and knowing I needed to hear them just as badly as she did).

"I believe those tears you are crying are not because you've disappointed God - they represent the distance between His intense delight in you and your attempts to accept that truth as a reality.  Your heart is grieving only because your soul knows that you are His precious, perfect daughter."

Wow. If only I could remember this truth every day.

Shortly after our session, a friend of mine randomly sent me this sweet little video because she knows my obsession with babies and singer-songwriter music.  I suppose I should not have been so surprised at how perfectly it fit in with the theme of my day - God does that, you know? - but I was still taken aback at how beautifully this little clip captures the essence of our hearts as we wrestle with life's uncertainties, only to finally submit ourselves to the truth of our intrinsic worth and value as children of God.

Zephaniah 3:17 reminds us God, our Perfect Father, rejoices over us with singing.

*I still can't believe He chose me for this role.
**Before you think I'm being all charismatic about this, I want to clarify that I do not speak in tongues or anything like that. Every once in awhile, I'm just crazy-blessed with indisputable clarity of heart and the privilege of sharing these truths with others.  Again, I can't believe He chose ME for this.


Vanessa's Dad said…
I seem to remember some similar crying incidents and remedies as a Daddy-O of five sweet girls, who occasionally needed to cry. This song may have been even more helpful.

Sweet video. Thanks for sharing.

Emily A said…
Amazing, Natalie. I love hearing all the incredible things that you are doing in your new role. God is so good. And for the record....Tyrone Wells is one of my all time favorite artists. You HAVE to see him next time he is in Portland!