Did you know that you’re pursued like this?

I recently met God the Father. On June 11, I was in the back yard when he showed up and spoke. It isn’t as important that I share what he said as it is that I share how I felt when he said it: like his daughter.

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For the first time in my entire life (I’m 31), God felt like a dad. An available one who delights in surprising me, who pays attention to me, who actually wants to do stuff with me, like sit in back yards.

This has wrecked me.

I didn’t expect it. I always had connected primarily with Christ and secondarily with the Spirit, but I didn’t know what I didn’t know — to borrow a quote from the book Abba’s Heart by Neal Lozano, “that Jesus and the Holy Spirit were ultimately leading me to the Father.”

Now that I’m closer to him, I can see what I couldn’t before: how short I’ve sold his goodness.

That stretches me. It challenges me to trust in ways I’ve never. It takes me out of my comfort zone.

The experience reminds me of a scene in Home Alone. Kevin’s in the church while the choir rehearses and his neighbor, about whom rumors exist, approaches him. Kevin freezes, wary and scared, until his neighbor speaks: “Merry Christmas.”

It surprises Kevin. His neighbor, who he long has avoided, strikes him as safe. The face Kevin makes as he realizes it is the same face I make as I learn what the Father is like.

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He’s present. He’s attentive. He likes me. He is active where I expected passivity. It surprises me.

And according to Lozano, “He will do whatever it takes to draw you to Him. … He is drawn to you and He seeks your loving response.” Which leaves me breathless.

He will do whatever it takes. 

Did you know that you’re pursued like this?

He seeks your loving response. 

Did you know that you’re wanted like this?

I didn’t. I didn’t know that all along, I’ve already had exactly what I’ve desired as a woman: to be pursued, to be wanted.

I didn’t know. Which is why the hardest thing I’ve had to do since June 11 is acknowledge my value.

This is new for me.

Accepting our value, our dignity, as intrinsic requires us to transcend the urges to earn it, to prove it, to doubt it. It requires us to admit that we don’t have to. It requires us to wait to receive when all we want to do is take.

And I’ve tried to take.

I’ve handed myself to men who haven’t asked for me — I’d pursue for fear that he, whoever he was, wouldn’t; for fear that if I don’t, I won’t get what’s best for me.

As if God’s not as good as his son says he is. As if he his gifts aren’t good — as if he doesn’t delight in witnessing my response to them.

As if my value exists but is undetectable to others.

As if I have to prove that I’m likable, lovable, valuable.

My fight with this didn’t start because of low self-esteem (I like myself. A lot.). It started because I wasn’t aware of the Father’s esteem for me. Of his affection. Of his devotion.

Of his pursuit.

I knew I was designed to respond to pursuit. And I knew I was likable, lovable, valuable. But I didn’t know if anyone else knew, and I wanted somebody to.

So for years, my actions spoke: “Look how lovable I am!” And as it turns out, the entire time, the Father was speaking to me.

“Look how loved you are.”

He knew.

And he says it to you, too.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • kbg

    Wow…thank you for sharing this. And no, I don’t think I know how much God the father loves me. Thank you for giving me a lot to contemplate in prayer tonight!

  • pastordavidrn

    I rejoiced to read of your experience, Arleen. I consider these kind of epiphanies—when God shows up and speaks His love personally—the height of our spiritual journey. Yes, I love theology, yet our endless arguments about the correctness of divergent Christian beliefs are silenced by these divine encounters that cut across all our creedal divisions.

    What you described happened to me at about age 16, unanticipated and forever etched on my spirit. Eros is part of our humanity, and therefore part of the nature of the God in Whose image we are made. Misunderstanding agape as a stand-alone characteristic of God leads us to miss an understanding of His relational zeal in pursuing us. Christ’s Passion on the Cross was eros incarnating agape—God’s ultimate expression of His pursuit of a human Bride. This sets the divine symbolism of our sexuality in its context: “male and female” made He them in His image!

    While thinking along these lines, you might like the poem I wrote some years ago after reading Francis Thompson’s “The Hound of Heaven” (which you would also like, I’m sure). It’s called “Caught by Love” (www.pastordavidrn.com/files/poem-caughtbylove.pdf). Blessings, Arleen!