When I was a child, I was Daddy’s little girl, his one and only. My parents were divorced when I was four, so I didn’t get to see him very much. But when we were together, I remember feeling so special and content just to sit next to him as he would play with my hair or to sit on his shoulders playing with his beard. Although I knew he loved me, he was and is a man of few words, so I have never really known his thoughts about me. I was always afraid of disappointing him with who I was or wasn’t and always insecure about him not loving me anymore. Now that I am turning, (gulp) 40, I have come to understand how this insecurity unfortunately played an integral part in shaping my identity.
I was always very insecure about my value. I was never confident of who I was or what I could achieve. I allowed others opinions and perceptions of me to tell me who I was or wasn’t, and they were usually negative. I believed what they said to be true. I was always comparing myself to others and always falling short, especially in beauty. I never felt beautiful. I was always looking for acceptance and belonging. I wanted to be liked, to be loved for who I was, whoever that may have been.
When I gave my life to Jesus at the age of 25, I realized for the first time that my Father loved me, but I didn’t know how to relate to him as such. I felt close and relatable to Jesus, but the Father remained in my mind distant. I had a difficult time equating the God of the Old Testament to the Father of Jesus in the New Testament. There was this deep-rooted insecurity, wondering what He really thought of me and fearing I could disappoint Him so much that He would leave me.
Now, in hindsight, I can see all the ways He has worked to break through that insecurity. First, He gave me my wonderful husband who has demonstrated passionate, unconditional love and who truly thinks I am beautiful, even though I have never known why. I would always ask him why he loved me and he would say, “just because I do.” I didn’t get it. I was so hesitant to marry him at first because I believed there would be something that I would do in the future to cause him to stop loving me and leave me. After 13 years of marriage, he’s seen the best and worst of me. He’s had plenty of reasons to leave by now. After a lot of healing, I am finally convinced he really loves me and will never leave.
The Father also showed me how he felt about me when He gave me my children. That was a little easier for me to understand. I will never forget how I felt when I held my firstborn son in my arms. I was immediately flooded with unconditional love for this precious, beautiful gift in my arms. I never felt that kind of love before. I was overwhelmed with joy. Is this how the Father feels about me? My son couldn’t do a thing for me. He couldn’t even love me back. He just existed and I loved him. He came from within me, and now he was in my heart forever. I would do absolutely anything for him. I was convinced that there was nothing that could ever make me stop loving my son.
While I learned much about the Father through my husband and children, when I was alone in prayer I still had a difficult time connecting with my Father. I can’t explain why my heart still didn’t feel secure with Him, but He knew. He was so faithful and gentle with me. I remember a time when I was home alone in my bed and desperately sick with the flu. My husband wasn’t home to take care of me, and I couldn’t get out of bed to take care of myself. Suddenly, I was extremely aware of my Father’s presence with me in the room. I heard him say that He would take care of me. I was overcome with emotion and tears soaked my pillow as I lay there soaked in His love.
For many years after this event, I still struggled with my identity as His child. I strived to be worthy of His love and favor. I wanted to please Him, but always failed at what I would try to do for Him. My weaknesses, fears, and failures always hindered my relationship with Him. If my circumstances weren’t favorable, I would assume it was because I had done something wrong and deserved it. Well, as we all know, circumstances are hardly ever what we would consider favorable, so in my mind, I was always doing something wrong. It was an endless cycle of not being able to receive His love freely, and not being able to love freely.
But God is so very faithful. He does not give up on us, even when we give up on ourselves. In the last three years, God has used the most difficult season of my life, to break through to my heart with His love and to my mind with His truth. I experienced His love like never before through His people when I needed Him the most. I also realized that He is not a God of few words, but has much to say about His thoughts for me. He spoke to me over and over about how He felt about me, how He saw me, and the plans He has for me. I had to break off the agreements I had made with all the lies I believed about myself from childhood and agree with Him. He spoke life into my soul through others who saw me as He saw me. The lies were broken off and I was free.
From this experience I realized the power of agreement. Who are we agreeing with? Do we agree with what God says about us or do we agree with the lies of the enemy of our souls? In Matthew chapter 4, when Jesus was in the wilderness, the first thing Satan did was to try to make Jesus question His identity. Just 40 days before, He was baptized by John the Baptist. The Spirit of God descended on Him like a dove. And the Father publically declared, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”(Matthew 3:17 NKJV) Then Satan comes to Him in His weakest physical condition and says, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” In other words, “Are you really the Son of God? Are you sure? Did God really say you are His Son? Prove it!” Did Jesus agree with Him? Of course not! He replied with God’s word, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” In other words, “What sustains life is what God says. Agree with what He says, agree with truth, and you will live.”
Jesus is the Word made flesh. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He came that we may have abundant life, that we may know the Father and live in His love for us. All we have to do is agree with Him. Say yes! Satan came to steal, kill and destroy, but he can only do that if we agree with Him instead and let him do it. Say no! Satan has no authority over us because we belong to God and He says so. Our identity is in Christ. He is our Father, our daddy, and He loves us with unconditional, unfailing love. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. He would do anything for us and He did by giving us His son to die in our place. We are daughters of the king of all creation and Satan tries relentlessly to keep us from realizing it by keeping us bound by lies. We must see God, ourselves, and each other as He does if we are going to live in freedom, if we are going to live in our true identity and fulfill our destiny.
I had a vision a few years ago of this little girl who was dirty, with unkempt hair, wearing rags, and cowering in a corner. Her father was calling to her with an outstreatched hand to come out of the corner, but she wouldn’t even though she wanted to because she was too afraid. I knew that I was that little girl. Then I saw, this same beautiful little girl wearing a white dress and hair flowing as she was running in a sunlit field full of flowers toward her father. He ran toward her, lifted her up, and spun her over his head in the air. Confident in His hold on her, she held her arms out wide. They were both laughing and she was no longer afraid. I am now that little girl. Thank you, Daddy.
Marcie Blackstone can be reached at [email protected]