I have been pondering how we end letters or cards to loved ones, “With Love.”
I thought a lot about this because I have been grateful to the Lord for His faithfulness toward me as my Father. I will not pretend we had a perfect relationship; we did not. I had unforgiveness in my heart and things that hung around my neck, like jewelry, such as unforgiveness, anger, resentment, and bitterness; I wore them like a chain, but it was heavy. My attachment to Him was not a healthy bonding because I believed that to receive, I had to give and surrender to the guiles of abusive relationships. I held unforgiveness against God for what He allowed in my life. How can I love my heavenly Father, who condones abuse? I thought and struggled with these thoughts from the depths of my heart.
“As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person,” Proverbs 27:19.
One day I scheduled an appointment with a new counselor. When I walked in, I hadn’t sat down or said a word when he said, “I don’t condone divorce.” I was shocked because that was not my intention at the time. Was my face reflecting my heart? I needed answers about Love and submission to abuse. I noticed that I was submitting to toxic people; what was wrong with me? I didn’t know about people-pleasing; I didn’t know my tendencies were based on people-pleasing from my unconscious level, through the depths of my heart. I knew I could not change others; I needed to change my perception. I knew this because the Holy Spirit had shown me in the word.
As a child, people-pleasing was crucial to my survival and the survival of my siblings; as a mother, it is vital to my children’s well-being because I loved them. However, I could not give what I did not have in me; a love for my ex-husband, who tore me down with heartlessness, gaslighting, and control. I thought I was losing my sanity. I couldn’t love God either because I believed if I honored His commands, He would keep me by giving me the Love He has for my ex-husband. However, what I received instead was a love for myself; I thought I was being selfish because I started setting limitations and boldly speaking my truth. When I began saying no to things that were sucking the life out of me, my ex-husband accused me of being rebellious, selfish, or a Jezabelle.
Moreso, I understood that an unhealthy attachment to compliance wasn’t an act of safety or Love. I told the counselor that compliance is an act of fear for survival. Because I did not have a healthy attachment from birth, how can I give what I did not have within me? I understood what Jesus meant when He said that man speaks out of the heart.
Also, Jesus quoted what He said to Isaiah, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me, and in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:8-9). My lips said things I thought God wanted me to speak out of compliance; my actions/works were what I thought was pleasing to God from tradition, but my heart was far from Him. My heart raged and screamed, “Why?” against God rather than loving Him wholly enough to be honest about my feelings, brave enough to protest, and humble enough to accept His Love and providence.
Children can be brutally honest; they will point out your transgressions fearlessly. Another thing I found odd was when I spoke up for myself; people would send me prayer requests. I believed because I blew it again, God would withhold His love from me and not hear my petitions. But instead, I felt a warmth in my heart, an unconditional love that gave me the courage to come to God as a child who felt safe, loved, heard, and allowed such profound freedom.
I should have sought counsel from a child’s point of view. A child can spot a hypocrite or danger a mile away and is not afraid to say so. But, as Jesus said, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless you come as a little child. So let the little child lead.
I deeply respect my son-in-law for his love for my granddaughter though not of his blood. When he asked for my blessings for his marriage to my daughter, I told him that he was marrying my daughter and her three-month-old daughter; he adopted my granddaughter shortly after. Now that my granddaughter is a teenager, she confided in me. Discouraged and frustrated, we talked about earning her parents’ trust to spend time with friends. I told her she should pray to God and trust He will guide her to speak her mind respectfully to her parents and speak her truth. She was fearful at first, but I asked her how can they know if she didn’t say what was heavy on her heart. Later, she told me that her father heard her, and they talked about solutions instead of shutting her down; she smiled and said, “My dad heard me.” As a daughter loved by her earthly father, she was free to question everything because she was attached and grounded in his Love for her. He doesn’t withhold his Love when she makes mistakes. Instead, he turns her mistakes into lessons for her and himself because he wants to help her grow into a responsible, independent adult. However, I did not have an earthly father to teach me these things, but I am an observer, which is suitable for learning because I ponder on the things I see and seek to learn from what I hear and see.
I felt comforted by her words because the lesson for me was my son-in-law didn’t adopt my granddaughter to attach himself to only my daughter; he legally adopted my granddaughter through the courts to be her father forever. So, through their relationship, I felt the chains fall from my neck as I realized I was legally adopted by my Father in heaven through the blood of Jesus to be His child, fully loved, with the allowance to speak my truth, feeling heard, and find solutions with His guidance, forever. I love the picture of my granddaughter and her dad as she walks boldly with her father. He was walking by her side. This has been imprinted in my heart as a symbol of how I can walk through life with my Daddy, with whom I can walk boldly by His side daily, who loves me, hears me, and accepts me with all my flaws.
For God so LOVED THE WORLD, HE SENT HIS SON as the legal document confirming our adoption through the Atonement of His Blood; we are called the children of God.
When God sent His Son as a Gift to the world wrapped in swaddle, on it read: “Attached, and Bonded with My Blood, Love God.