Every other summer for most of my adult life, I packed the car until the seams burst with beach paraphernalia. I dreamed about this beloved vacation as summer approached each year. There were times this included beach toys and all things boys treasured. Each trip required the stamina of at least twelve hours on the road and plenty of distractions to keep the passengers happy.

The highways felt familiar like the worn place on the couch that fit my body perfectly. As I traveled through the mountains of West Virginia and Virginia, John Denver showed up on the playlist because who doesn’t want to sing “Take Me Home Country Roads” as loud as possible? The closer we got to our destination the more the excitement radiated from the back seat. In my mind, however, I started visualizing the one hurdle I needed to overcome before we made it safely to the beach.

There is a place I hold close inside that very few people will ever have access to or understand why I keep it guarded. It is the place that knows the meaning of “beloved”.

A secret place that understands deep love and belonging.

The deeply guarded key to my heart.

A place of knowing that as a beloved person a sense of vulnerability needs to break free.

The soul that craves others to cherish her, but at the same time is terrified to open up and surrender.

God calls us beloved. He looks at us with a deep love that offers no judgment, but instead completes us by choosing us over and over. God sees my heart and knows the hidden places even better than I do. But He never ceases to cherish us and call us closer to Him.

The last stretch of highway appeared as I switched lanes and headed toward blackness. Before me was a long, underwater tunnel that made me a bit anxious. Did you catch the part about underwater??

Driving toward the tunnel reminded me that inside was a place where I lacked control. The darkness symbolized the place in my heart that I kept to myself. The only thing to do was surrender. Let go of my preconceived anxiety and trust that the other side would bring light and hope.

As scary as the tunnel feels and looks, the hidden place in my heart is not nearly as overwhelming with God by my side. The drive to the beach requires this stretch of road but the other side is a sweet landing into a beauty that never fails to bring peace.

God is our sweet landing. He erases our anxiety and fills us with courage. God calls us beloved and tenderly reveals the hidden darkness with His light. A tunnel is just a tunnel until we make it something more. Our hearts belong to God always and He adores everything about us. My reminder to myself is that God identifies who I am and there is nothing about me He doesn’t love.

May these words speak to you as loudly as they have me!

“Our identity rests in God’s relentless tenderness for us revealed in Jesus Christ.”
― Brennan Manning

Sabbath Blessings!

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