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.
[Tweet “Beloved is God’s invitation to claim your identity.A time of surrender to what matters most-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
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Welcome back, Mary!!!!! I’m sure facing that, yikes! *underwater* tunnel was just one of the many emotional sacrifices you made for your boys! What a precious reminder that He is with us through every darkness. Have a blessed week!
Thank you June! It is so good to be back.
I feel I have a lot of tunnel moments because I forget who I am and whose I am. God is patient and kind in His reminders to me. I am blessed to be his beloved and to know I belong to him.
Welcome back, Mary! It’s so good to read your hope-filled posts again. “God identifies who I am and there is nothing about me He doesn’t love.” Such an encouraging reminder. Thank you! I hope you have settled in to your new home. 🙂 Blessings and hugs!
I am settling into my new home. The beautiful part is that it really feels like home.
I am so happy to see you Trudy. I have missed your sweet words of encouragement to me too. I pray you are doing well and can’t wait to catch up with you over at your place.
Oh … oh!! You’re back!
I’ve been thinking of you in the last few days. Now I know why God put you on my heart, Mary.
I am back and love that God gave me words to share. I have been peeking in on you here and there while I was gone. I wanted to keep up with you. Blessed that you popped in today!
The light that shines in the darkness.
God only God!! Great to see you friend!
A tunnel is just a tunnel until we make it something more….oh that’s me. I’m great at emphasizing tunnels. I so needed this post as I head into scary surgery tomorrow. What a soothing reminder that no matter where I go, He’s already gone ahead and goes with me. You REALLY need to do something that combines your great photography with devotions or posts….you really have a great photographic eye. Great to see you back out in the blogosphere and thank you for reminding me that I am His beloved too!
Why do we make things bigger than they are? We let these things overtake our minds and forget that God says who we are and He loves us dearly. Thank you for your sweet words about my photography. I love capturing beauty because it brings me such joy. If you have any ideas for me as to what I can do with it let me know. I’m thrilled to be back and I am praying for you as you recover and heal from your surgery.
I’m not sure whether I’m more excited about this lovely description of your vacation “happy place” of so many years — or about seeing words from you on my screen after your long break from blogging.
Aww thanks! I have missed seeing you and all my friends. Thank you for welcoming me back with open arms!!
I loved that Brennan Manning quote when I first saw you post it earlier this week, over on Instagram. How amazing, the “relentless tenderness” of our Lord! When I let myself fall into His Grace, I do become aware of that tenderness too! Thank you so much for this beautiful post, filled with sweet memories too!
What a treat to be writing again and to have you join me here. You are so sweet to leave me my first encouraging words since I got back from my writing break.