Even as I rest here with Him, a pang of fear touches me. I do not want to give it leave to remain, so I gather my courage to tell Him. It is still difficult to get used to the idea that He truly wants me to share the deepest things of my heart with Him.
“Papa,” I begin hesitantly. “Something scares me...” I can feel him nodding, encouraging me to go on. “I am afraid, desperately afraid that I will do something wrong or that You will see something in me and decide to turn away even before I know what I have done. I guess I’m afraid that if I am not perfect I’ll lose everything in You. I am terrified of making a mistake, any mistake, because it could mean I’ve lost everything.” It is difficult to admit this to Him.
He says nothing, but holds me and shows me a picture of myself as a little girl, being ignored for having done something wrong, but not knowing what she did or how to fix it and making things right again. She is afraid of losing relationship, of not existing any more. I remember this picture now, I’d pushed it aside now for many years. Reliving it now, the feelings are so poignant I can taste the fear as the overwhelming sadness fills my belly and edges into my throat. I see my mother turning her back on me now and a touch of panic edges into my awareness too. Surely this is the source of my fear.
“This is not justice.” His voice is very stern now and I fear that He is angry with me. I can feel myself tremble, though I try to hide it. “That was manipulation, not training the heart but scarring the soul. Your soul is deeply scared, wounded to the core from this. Your expectation is set and you have seen this over and over.”
Relief that His anger is not with me mixes with the bitter reminiscence of the empty aching of my heart. Tears threaten to overflow as my words pour forth. “There are no second chances for me.” The words are bitter on my tongue, I hate this fact I have lived with for so long.
“You haven’t needed many of them, have you?” His response surprises me, if anything I expected a lecture on why I was wrong in my belief.
“No, not really,” I stammer in reply. “There have been times I have lost, the loss has been big, but I have minimized those times, I guess. I’ve worked very, very hard to be good, to get it right the first try, or close enough to squeak by. I always wonder, I fear, when someone is going to catch on, to see through it all and realize that I am really just faking it and not a good as it all looks.” I know I have said these words before, but this is the first time I have ever felt heard or understood in this.
“It has been hard for you.” His words, though simple, are filled with deep compassion that belies their simplicity.
“Horribly. I am always so afraid it will all be taken away and I won’t even know why…” It is so easy to let the words flow with Him.
“My grace…” He whispers in my ear. “My grace…” over and over He whispers that to me. “My grace… it is unmerited favor. Unearned, unconnected with anything you have done. You cannot earn it or un-earn it, it is my grace…you are my grace. My grace is not about you or anything you have done. It is all about Me, so you cannot lose for anything you have done.” I begin to weep now. “Receive my grace, my grace…my grace. “He begins to whisper it over and over again in my ear. “My grace.”
“I submit my heart to your grace, Papa, I submit my heart to your grace.” I try to rest back into His arms and let this pain and fear finally go.
“This is not something you can just let go of, child. You must be healed of it. I must restore and heal those scars and wounds.” He explains kindly.
“I am willing Papa.”
“Those wounds go very, very deep.” He says, touching my heart, tracing a line down to my belly. They cut through every fiber of your being, every relationship, everything that you set out to do. They undermine all trust for you.”
“I know Papa! I know,” I cry, flinching as I see the wounds exposed. They are old wounds, unhealed through the years, ragged, bloody and deep crisscrossing my belly.
“They are cruel wounds. And yet, you have persisted.” He pronounces as if passing judgment.
I feel I must explain. “I bandaged them together the best I could…” I now see the filthy rags I used to try and hold the wounds together, to cover them and function in spite of them. They have been in place a long time and it shows. The bandages are horrid and vile to behold.
“But they have not brought you healing, only functioning to a degree.” His declaration cannot be argued or dismissed.
Sadly, I nod, wishing for more than to just function wrapped in these filthy rags, but not having even an image to hope from. They have been a part of me for so long I do not know what it would like look to function without them. “I want healing, Papa, I want to be whole. Most of all I want to be able to trust you completely! Please, Papa, touch and heal these wounds.” It is an effort to find the hope even to say these words.
Gently He nods as He moves from behind me, carefully laying me down, wounds exposed, on the branch. Carefully He examines the wounds. Although He has done nothing yet, I find that I am growing anxious. “These bandages must be removed. You have become numb beneath them.”
His words call a new fear to life. I have been numb for along time, but that numbness is safe. I can not feel much, but it keeps the pain bearable. I have always been willing for this inevitable trade off. But to feel joy, without pain? It is tempting, but at what cost? Can I face Him touching so deeply?