For a long time, I rest there in His arms, my head upon His chest, His hand on my heart. Gently, He puts His hand to my face, holding it, tucking my head under His chin. “Child do you understand that I am delighted in you?” He asks. I can hear the pleasure in His voice.
“No, Papa, I really don’t think that I do.” I am embarrassed as I whisper my reply.
“It is time to change your paradigm about yourself as well. You see yourself as a child, but you have grown up. You see yourself as an apprentice when you are expert. The feedback from your most recent group of students I sent to you to show you this. It is time to take confidence in what I have created in you, time for you to accept and be thankful in what I have created you to be. Step up and take that now.”
What He asks is a big change, it is very new for me. It is so much easier to see myself as small and just faking my way through things that to see myself as strong and competent. But I must submit, I must obey. “Yes, Papa, please help me.”
The room is quiet now, not uncomfortably so, but quiet nonetheless.
Finally I ask, “Papa, this destiny that you talk about, I am scared. Every time I have heard people speak of their destiny, I hear them speak of terrible hardship and pain. Yes, they have said that You brought them through, but it has always sounded awful and I am scared.”
“I know you are scared. But know this child, my children do not go through more pain on the way to their destiny than those who are running from Me. They tell of their pain because it is a memorial stone to what they have done, the growth and maturity they have gained. It is not a bad memory they want to run and hide from, but a reminder of what they have gained. So they talk about it and it sounds like they have walked through great difficulties, worst that you are willing to bear. The meaning of it all though is different to them.”
I shake my head; this is hard to understand. “I have always believed that serving You meant asking for that pain and it has frightened me. It has made me fear that You would take from me the things that are dearest just because You—well You did those things as a matter of course. I’m sorry I have looked at you that way, Papa.”
“I know, child, I know.” His kind voice is soothing to my troubled spirit. “That is why I want you to know I love you and I want you to trust in My love.”
“How? There is so little love that I do trust…” The words tumble out before I can stop them. I do not like to hear this truth spoken out loud though.
“That is not as true as you think.” He counters without anger. “There are loves that you do trust in. You do know how to do this. Let me into that circle of trust.”
“How, Papa, tell me how.” Desperation tinges my voice.
“Oh, child,” He sighs, stroking my cheek gently with His thumb. “You are so close. Your heart is so close to this. There is one last key that you did not give Me when you gave Me the keys to your heart.”
“There is another key? I honestly thought I gave You all of them. I do not even know what the key is for.”
“”It is the key that unlocks an attic room where your dearest treasure is kept. You wear the key around your neck.”.
I am surprised to find there is a thread around my neck and on it hangs a tiny key. Looping two fingers around the thread, I try to break it, but it does not break! I try to lip it over my head, but cannot. I can find no know to untie. I do not understand how to give it to Him, although I truly want to do just that.
“How do I do this, Papa? Do I cut the thread with the sword? I do not understand.”
“No, not the sword. The thread must be burnt away in the flame.” He explains.
“I must take the coal from the fire and burn it away.” He speaks slowly and deliberately now, knowing the weight of what He speaks.
I swallow hard, but do not hesitate. “Please, Papa do it—I want to give this to You. I am not afraid of the flame if it is in your hands. Burn away what you must. I trust You.”
Tenderly, He presses my face in His hand as He hugs me. Helping me to my feet, He takes my arms and walks toward the fireplace with me. The blaze is very hot, its strength frightening.
Suddenly I know what is in that attic room! It is a portrait of myself! It is the very core of who and what I am. With access to that, He can repaint that portrait. This is what I fear the most, finding out I am not what He wants and being required to become something that I just cannot be. Unconsciously, I clutch at the key, my flesh does not want to give this up. I chew at my lower lip, struggling not to yield to Him.
Through it all, He waits for me, not taking anything by force. His wait is patient, not driving me or manipulating with guilt.
I try to force my hands off the thread, but cannot. “Papa, burn my hands if you must! Please, I give You this key! Take it from me as I cannot!” I whisper in desperation.
He takes a coal from the fire. I stiffen in anticipation. He surprises me as he takes the coal to the left side of my throat to a large raised scar that I did not know was there. He pressed the coal to the thread, pressing it into the scar.
The pain courses through me as I search to understand the nature of this scar, this wound of long ago. Finally I can see that it is fear! But of what?
I see a little girl whose daddy is always away and when he is home his is not accessible, too tired, asleep. She is afraid daddy is not there for her, that he won’t be there when she needs.
“Papa! Forgive me for this view of You. I have been afraid You would not be there for me! Forgive me!.” Suddenly the thread breaks and the key is in my hands. Without a word, He removes the coal and returns it to the fire. The burned scar throbs; I shut my eyes to hide from the pain.
“Wait here for Me, do not move.” He instructs. He seems to take a long, long time to return. I want to look for Him, to wander from this place, bit I fight to obey.
“Here,” it is His voice once again! He presses something into my hands. I fight to open my eyes, but still cannot see it.
“Papa, I cannot see…” I stammer, confused and a little frightened.
“Let Me put salve over your wound.” Gently He smoothes His fragrant salve over my neck and shoulder. The coolness immediately begins to relieve the pain. I feel myself relax and almost fall. Struggling to keep my feet, I clutch at His arm for balance.
He is there! I suddenly realize, when I blindly reached out without looking or checking to see, He was thee!
“Yes, daughter, I am always here.” He presses something into my hands once again. I am finally able to see. It is a small gold mirror. “It is for you to see yourself through my eyes. When we look at the portrait you keep, I want you to be able to see what I see as well.” He explains.
Though curious, I cannot bring myself to look into that mirror now. In spite of the ache in causes in my burned neck and shoulder, I press the tiny key into His hands.
“Please, take this now, too, Papa. I want you to have this key too.”
He takes it as though I have given Him a great treasure, polishing it and adding it to the other keys in the velvet wrap. “This is a treasure to Me, child. It is all you have to give.” He says somberly, as if to warn me from belittling my offering to Him. “Place the mirror the cabinet for now. It is not time to go to the attic now.”
I obey, but slowly because of the pain in my neck and shoulder.
“Come sit with Me again.” He sits and once again draws Me to Him, bidding me to rest upon His shoulder. I am grateful and I fall asleep in His arms.