Sunday morning's warm sunlight streamed through my bedroom windows, warming my covers. The sun was especially welcome because of our long, dreary, wet winter. What warmed me even more were the thoughts that were aching to be processed from the weekend's seminar. Our speaker had said that we each have God's approval, that God even says about each one of us, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."
I have loved Jesus all my life—at least in my head. But my heart has struggled to accept and feel His love. As the warm sun lightened the room, God's Spirit lightened and brightened my soul. It seemed God led my thoughts.
God would have sent Jesus to earth to save even one person, even me. Therefore, He loves me just like He loves Jesus. And I can personalize that text, "This is my beloved daughter, Becki, in whom I am well pleased."
But why, I thought, has it taken me so long to internalize and personalize God's love and approval, His pleasure in me? As a little girl, I'd wanted my father's approval but never felt like I quite had it. I remember one day in particular. As my dad was finishing his lunch, I was clearing the table and wiping it. He is so proud of me, I thought, as I tried to do my best to please him. But as I finished, instead of commending me, he pointed out some crumbs that I had left behind. I was crushed! Nothing I could do ever seemed to please him.
Later, as I was finishing my Master's degree, I even asked him if he was pleased with me. He put his arm around me and assured me that he was proud of me and that I pleased him. That meant so much to me! Yet now, 25 years later, I am still hearing more of his criticism and disapproval than his love.
God brought my thoughts back to the beginning of my life. Even before I was conceived, I was a wanted child. One of my favorite childhood photos is one with Heidi, my older sister, sitting on the grass, with me on my dad's shoulders. He did want me and he did love me. But because of his own upbringing, he had a difficult time showing it. So, naturally, as a child, I had a difficult time perceiving his love.
Was it any wonder that I had a hard time perceiving God's love for me? No, it was natural. Tears flowed as I let the realization of my earthly father's love wash over. Gradually, I was then able to realize my heavenly Father's love as well.
The realization was deep, the experience vivid. God's love for me is without condition and does not depend on my performance. He approves of me and is pleased with me. That realization makes me want to please Him in everything I do.
But God's wasn't finished with His revelation to me yet. He brought to my mind a text and scripture song that I love and the words were also personalized for me. "The Lord, my God, in the midst of me is mighty, mighty. He will save, He will rejoice over me with joy, with joy. I will rest in His love, He will joy over me with singing. The Lord, my God, in the midst of me is mighty, mighty, mighty" (Zephaniah 3:17). God not only approves of me and is pleased with me, He delights over me, sings over me. Amazing!
My thoughts then were brought to my own husband, John. God gave me John who loves me so approvingly and so unconditionally. He blessed me with such a special gift in my life, a husband whose love is in contrast to what I experienced in my home. His love helped me to flourish and blossom and to come to realize the depth of my own father's love and God's love for me.
This realization is having a profound influence on my way of thinking. I have always been driven, doing, accomplishing, working . . always trying to prove my worth and value to myself and to those around me. Now I can relax, slow down a hit, smell the roses, enjoy life, all because I have an increased awareness that I am valued and loved by my heavenly Father. Still, every day, I have to remember my life is His and yes, want to please Him. But I know He already approves of me and is pleased with me and nothing I can do can improve on that!