I look at these precious little kiddos from Korah in Ethiopia and I have one thought lately. God, let them know how much they are loved. Let them know how valuable they are to You...how You delight in them. It doesn't matter they are the poorest of the poor. It doesn't matter if they can't see correctly. It doesn't matter that they wear the same clothes day after day. It doesn't matter that some of them are orphaned. What matters is what You say about them.
I think of the stories of some of the children from Korah. I think of the sweet little boy who was thrown into the garbage after his parents died, hauled off in a garbage truck and was discovered in the trash dump where he still lives today. I think of the teenage girl who was raped and bore a son as a result. I think of the girl who walks her blind mother down to the city streets to beg every day.
They are His beloved.
Beloved. It means a person who is greatly loved; dear to the heart. This is what we all are. His beloved.
As I write this, my husband is in India at a school where children from the slums have been given an opportunity for an education they never would have received apart from sponsorship. He got to meet Tulsi, this precious little girl who has no parents...
During a skype conversation with me the other day, Ben said "She's going to change the world. She has caught the vision that she matters and that she's special. She walks around like a queen." I had tears fill my eyes as I read his words. What if...what if we all walked this earth knowing we matter and that we're special...that we are royalty, sons and daughters of the King?
The reality is that we are. But many of us, myself included, don't live like we are. We walk around like we don't know our names, our very identities. We are like whimpering children living crippled by the labels and lies that have been put on us and spoken to us by others or by ourselves over the years. The children in Korah know labels and lies. They have been told that they are worthless, useless, unworthy, unloved, outcasts. Some of us have been told the same.
I've been reading Henri J.M. Nouwen's "Life of the Beloved". Honestly, it's rocking my world. Beautiful in it's truth and simplicity. My name, Amy, means "beloved". Hmmm. Interesting. I've always known the meaning of my name, but I've never embraced it or lived it. In my 37 years, I've never fully lived in the place of freedom that comes with knowing what it really means that the God of the universe calls me His Beloved. I think I'm beginning to scratch the surface of that truth. Just like Tulsi...I matter, if for no other reason than I am His Beloved. Why is it so easy for us to believe that other people are the Beloved, but not us? When the reality is:
Long before any human being saw us, we are seen by God's loving eyes. Long before anyone heard us cry or laugh, we are heard by our God who is all ears for us. Long before any person spoke to us in this world, we are spoken to by the voice of eternal love. We are intimately loved long before our parents, teachers, spouses, children, and friends loved or wounded us. That's the truth of our lives.
And I think when we grasp this truth in the core of our being, it changes everything. From the moment we claim the truth of being the beloved, we are faced with the call to become who we are. When we know we are the Beloved we can let go of fear because perfect love casts out fear. We can be who we're created to be. We can walk confidently and laugh at the uncertainty of the future. We don't have to look to other people for affirmation because we are loved by the only One who is constant. We can see others for who they are despite themselves - the Beloved. There's a shift that happens within us...we are set free. Free from striving to earn people's affections. Free from all the lies and deception that plague us. Free from self-rejection.
"Just one word from You could shatter a thousand lies."
The word echoes in the chambers of my heart. Becoming the Beloved means letting the truth of our belovedness become enfleshed in everything we think, say or do. Yes, it changes everything about our lives. It's what makes Tulsi go from walking with her head down to prancing about like a queen, head raised high...a dreamer. She has rejected the lies that her history, her poverty and her society define her. One realization has shattered the lies - she's the Beloved. And as such, she matters. She is important. So are you. And so am I. God says so. He whispers into those deepest places of doubt and insecurity within us and says...
"I have called you by name from the very beginning. You are mine and I am yours. You are my Beloved, on you my favor rests. I have molded you in the depths of the earth and knitted you together in your mother's womb. I have carved you in the palms of my hands and hidden you in the shadow of my embrace. I look at you with infinite tenderness and care for you with a care more intimate than that of a mother for her child. I have counted every hair on your head and guided you at every step. Wherever you go, I go with you, and where you rest, I keep watch. I will give you food that will satisfy all your hunger and drink that will quench all your thirst. I will not hide my face from you. You know me as your own as I know you as my own. You belong to me. I am your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your lover, and your spouse...yes, even your child...wherever you are I will be. Nothing will ever separate us. We are one."
May all of us, every child and adult, walk like sweet little Tulsi, secure in the knowledge of who we are and who we belong to. Regardless of our baggage. Regardless of what people have told us. Regardless...
We are the Beloved.