Yes, we did make it home from Europe, but have fallen into a firestorm of emails and business arrangements that need my attention NOW! Almost takes all the joy out of coming home! Almost!
I leave for Orlando tomorrow, so things are a bit face-paced around here. But in the last week we’ve moved the movie production of THE SHACK a few more feet down the track and we are so excited at how that is shaping up. Kathie Lee Gifford on the TODAY show this morning gave it an exceptional summer-reading plug. TIME magazine has a blurb in their new issue, and we also have had interest for articles from Reuters, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, and PEOPLE. So the phenomena keeps unfurling. Who would have ever thought.
But here’s what I really wanted to share. I had a brief exchange with a lady named Vicky and I think it would be encouraging to others of you as well. This is what Father wants to do in our lives and he has a thousand ways to do it given our unique make up and circumstances.
Here’s the exchange:
I am a 49-year-old widow. Just a few months after his 44th birthday, my husband was diagnosed as being in the late stages of an insidious and deadly type of cancer. He died 49 days later. That was September 20, 2005. I spent two years utterly shattered by these events and am just now emerging from the shroud of this living death.
Last night I started reading So You Don’t Want to go to Church Anymore.
I am a performance-based believer (at least I think I’m a believer, plagued by doubts all the time), all my life trying to earn God’s love and attention. The idea of him as “Father” or “Dad” is totally foreign to me. I’ve always felt there that I’ve missed something, that something has failed to take root in my heart and I’ve just missed the point. Over the years I’ve alternated between being a good-Christian-Girl to being an outrageous party girl to getting into New Age stuff. I don’t want to live this way any longer. I want it to be real, and to know that I know that I know.
My biggest question is HOW? How do I just stop and let God love me? Last night I prayed that he will show me how to let him love me. How do I open up and let him be a Father to me?
My response: First let me say I’m sorry for the deep pain you’ve experienced. Unfortunately, it is not as uncommon in our day as people might think. Life is filled with pain, it’s just that lots of people have learned to hide it.
Secondly, I’d say to simply ask God to see his reality. You don’t let him love you. He already does. It’s just that you don’t see it yet. When you ask him to show you, he does the work to untangle you from the inside so that you can see that love. That process generally takes some time. So just wake up every day acknowledging his love for you. Ask him to show you a bit more every day….
A few things from the website that might help:
NONE of these will do it, of course. They will begin to help you carve out a mindset that will help you recognize Father’s working in you so that you can discover the unique way that Father wants to make himself known to you and in you.
And to that end, I pray that the eyes of your heart will be opened to behold all that this God has done for you and al that he wants to do in you to let you freely live as his daughter in the earth. It’s great stuff. Isn’t it amazing how he has already begun to draw you back to his side? He understands your pain, the places you’ve wandered, and now wants to get you on the track that matches the hunger he’s planted in your heart. And he’ll do it! He’s pretty good at what he does.
This is how she responded. And I love that God didn’t use any of the things I gave her, but simply made himself know in the reality of Vicky’s life.
A few weeks after your reply, my boss asked me to accompany him to his friend’s house to notarize some end-of-life documents. The man, like my husband, was stricken with an aggressive, deadly cancer and had only days to live. When we arrived, the wife was extremely distraught and I sat there and held her hand as she poured out her grief and fear over this imminent loss.
She was on my mind the rest of the day and it weighed heavy on me all that she was going though and the grief that lay ahead…and that evening I was reliving in my mind and spirit the days leading up to my own husband’s death. How even though he had betrayed me, I loved him, I couldn’t HELP but love him, I couldn’t just all of a sudden stop loving him even if I tried; and in fact, I would have gotten up on that bed and died in his place. Absolutely. Without question.
And then That Voice…the Voice that I know to be Jesus Voice…whispered to my heart “that’s how I feel about you and that’s what I did for you”. And my heart opened up to Him.
Finally. After nearly 50 years of trying to get Him to love me, trying to get MYSELF to love Him. Finally, ALL HIM. 100%. Not 99% God + 1% me. Which always ended up equaling exactly ZERO. Finally. All Him.
Do I sound giddy? I am!