For me, the answer was a solid "No." I was the youngest of four children born too close together. I still remember the first time—though it was not the last—that my mother told the story of how devastated she was when she learned she was pregnant with me.
And my father? A traveling salesman, my dad would be gone for two weeks and then home for a weekend, gone for two weeks, home for a weekend. He often had a few drinks before entering our home. He was unavailable to me both physically and emotionally. I felt that I was a nothing but a disappointment to him and to the world.
Believing that I was nothing but a disappointment played out in my life in ruinous ways. I looked for affirmation and acceptance wherever I could find it. I turned to boys and then to men to feel wanted and beautiful.
Even after I became a Christian, the wounds remained unhealed, and I thought it just a matter of time before my friends and my husband discovered the truth about me and left. I believed I would ultimately end up abandoned and alone.
You see, our wounds and our sin work together in a very ugly way. The story of your life is the story of the long assault against your heart, the story of how you have been wounded, what you have believed about yourself as a result and how you have then chosen to live.
But the story of your life is also the story of the long and sustained pursuit of One who loves you most and best in order to woo and win your heart for Himself.
God wooed me into salvation. He woos me still. And having the eyes of my heart opened to that reality has changed everything.
Beloved of God
About 20 years ago, life "as usual" was no longer working for me. Sorrow and pain from unaddressed wounds in my past had risen to the surface, and I needed help.
I sought out a good counselor who walked with me into the deeper realms of my heart and brought understanding, clarity, hope. I began to learn about the normalcy of spiritual warfare and started taking a stand against the enemy and rebuking his work in my life. And then I became very hungry for more of God.
I have heard the word beloved many times. But I never understood that I am the beloved of God. I am the one His gaze is fixed upon. I am the who has captured His heart.
But I am not the only one. You are His beloved, too. Ask Him to reveal your true identity to you. He wants to!
Listen. It was for you that the Ancient of Days snuck into the enemy camp disguised as a babe. It was because of His great love for you that Jesus submitted to death on a cross. You are the hope that was set before Him that kept Him on that cross, and you are the one He still pursues.
Every song you love, every memory you cherish, every sunset and scent, every moment that filled your heart with longing or your eyes with holy tears were sent to you by God. Love notes, written just for you, to romance your heart to His own.
Oh, you are romanced. And ever will be. Ask Him to open your eyes that you might see.
Somewhere in her heart, every woman longs to be like Eve, before the fall, to be a woman who is fully alive and captivating. But a lot happened in the world between the creation of Eve and the healing of the woman with the issue of blood. And a lot has happened in your life between the dreams you had as a little girl and your life today.
Although we would love to be like Eve, most of us are more like the woman in Mark 5 who is wounded and desperately needs Jesus. Some of us have been bleeding much longer than 12 years.
I want to tell you that there is still hope—hope that you can become the woman God had in mind when He created you, the woman who is romanced, irreplaceable and beautiful.
Jesus still offers to restore us as women. His invitation is ever nigh to come close, reach out, invite Him in. We invite Jesus into our hearts at the moment of salvation, but that is only the beginning. There remain chambers in our hearts where we are wounded and still feel so very young. Jesus waits for us to invite Him into those places and to ask Him to heal us.
Healing for the Brokenhearted
The offer Jesus makes is much larger than the offer of forgiveness. Oh, we desperately need that, again and again!