I’ve had a scene in my head for the past few years that I always go to when I am in desperate need of the love of my Savior.
The image begins with a little girl walking through a patch of wildflowers just as the sun begins to rise over the horizon. It’s that mystical time when the earth isn’t dark or light, not black nor blue, but glowing yellow and orange, covering the world in a sepia sea.
The little girl, with her round cheeks, wild auburn hair blowing in the breeze and piercing blue eyes staring in the distance, runs her delicate hand along the lush petals of the flowers surrounding her, all swaying in unison with the breeze. Breathing deeply, she inhales the sweet scent being carried on the wind. While she appears to be alone in the field, she knows her solitude will soon come to an end.
Walking up beside her she feels someone grasp her hand, and her face displays a joy that the words of this world could never describe.
He is here.
As she turns to look at the new arrival in the scene, her heart begins to sing a song like no other and the two of them start to laugh and dance. They run through the field with no inhibitions, it’s as if the flowers and the breeze all move with the same choreography, not of steps, but the rhythmical motion of an unexplainable love.
The man twirls the little girl around and around, with every turn she seems to be growing in stature and beauty. Finally, I see a woman standing there in the field, same round cheeks, same wild hair, same blue eyes. Now, though, I am seeing the world from her point of view, looking into the depths of the eyes of my Lover. He stares back at me, then wraps me in an embrace that consumes all of my heart. I feel every hurt, every pain, every wound that I wasn’t even aware I had, move from my body to His.
As we stand in the field, it’s as if the entire world is rotating around the two of us, as if the love we share is the only thing visible, and every flower is moving to the beating of our unified hearts. When we finally separate from our embrace, I’m expecting to see all of my hurt in His face. But as I bring my gaze up to meet His, all I see is love.
We both begin to smile, throwing our heads back in laughter. My Savior has found me, His beloved, and we are lost, caught up in the dance between our souls and the love shared between us. As I stand in front of the most exquisite man I have ever met, He slowly bows before me, holds out His hand and looking into my eyes gently whispers, “May I have this dance?”
I find myself going back to that field more and more, escaping this world for the one I desire in my head. A world where I see God’s light coming up on the horizon, blanketing the world in the glow of His goodness and mercy. The Holy Spirit is there, kissing my cheeks with the gentle breeze, perfuming me with the love I so greatly desire. And then there’s Him, my Him, the other half that my soul longs for, the only one who can truly make me whole. He desires me in a way that is so innocent, yet so fierce, so passionate, yet so pure. Nothing else in the world matters, because I belong to my lover and my lover belongs to me (SONGS 6:3).
This world exists, not just in my imagination, but in my heart. I may not physically be able to find this field on earth or tangibly feel the arms of Jesus cocooning me with His embrace, but God is good, and so is Jesus, and they have given me the Holy Spirit, who I truly do feel. The Spirit is able to bring me into this place of complete bliss. God created us as spiritual and physical beings, through the Trinity, all of our senses, our bodies and our souls, are given the power to feel Him.
In the Eucharist we are able to taste and receive Jesus into our bodies, our baptism and confirmation call us into the family of the Father and fill us with the burning power of the Holy Spirit. In confession we can go to our Healer, our Divine Physician, and speak with Him, knowing He only wants us to be well. The Holy Sacraments of the Church are like wedding gifts given to us by our Bridegroom. As with anything that is truly a selfless gift, we each must make the choice to accept them.
To truly make this relationship work, we must say yes to Jesus’s invitation and offer up ourselves to Him. If you are reading this story, you have before you a small piece of my “yes” to that invitation in my life. I have always kept walls around my heart, the thought of sharing my story with others was terrifying at first. Now I can see the beauty of bearing my brokenness, in a way that allows me to minister to others and help them see the joy that is within them waiting to break through the darkness.
For many years Jesus had been holding out his hand to me but I had been the one who turned my back and declined His invitations. Being a gentleman, and even though I know it was breaking His heart, He respected my decision. A relationship with Jesus is anything but forced, we are not slaves of a ruthless dictator, we are daughters of the kindest King. While God deeply desires us, He will never ever force us to love Him. He allows us to make that decision every day. If it was forced, it wouldn’t really be love would it?
So why is it so hard to take Jesus’s hand? Why is it so hard to trust Him? I think because we have been wounded by too many of our earthly dance partners and the stains of original sin. Instead of being able to follow the lead of someone else, we feel like we constantly need to be looking over our shoulders, making sure we aren’t being led anywhere we don’t want to go. We’ve been hurt by friends, past relationships, and family members, even by our original parents – Adam and Eve, and the thought of letting someone else take the lead in our life scares us.
In our hearts we find ourselves wanting to say yes to the Lord’s invitation to trust Him, but we don’t fully give Him our yes. So then, when things get shaky, we try to take the lead and we just end up stepping all over Jesus’s feet. What should be a beautiful dance now looks more like we stepped on an ant hill.
If you are ready for that full commitment to the will of God, you have to allow yourself to be led, there is no other way. Jesus won’t fight with us, He will let us stumble if we try to choose our own choreography, but He will always be there holding out that hand waiting for us to say yes. As close as I have come to God, as much as I try to fully submit to His will, I still do a lot of stumbling. That is the best part about our spiritual love life, our main Man will never tire of helping us up when we falter on our feet. There will never be a time when we turn away from Him, that He won’t be there waiting for us when we turn back around.
Don’t ever be afraid to turn back around.
“I tell you… there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” LUKE 15:7
God loves repentant sinners. What a relief!
One of the phrases I absolutely hate hearing is when people who have been away from the Church say if they were to go back, they would start on fire, like God is waiting to smite them and punish them for their leaving. I’m pretty sure that’s never happened and I get real “fired-up” when I hear people say it. If they only knew.
If they only knew the love that would be shown to them when they came back, if they could only hear the choir of angles that would be proclaiming their arrival, if they could only see the joy displayed on the face of their Savior when they returned to Him.
In our own spiritual dating lives, we need to remember that others are on the same journey we are. The further along you get in your relationship with Jesus, the closer He is able to draw you into Himself, and being drawn into Jesus has put in my heart and soul a joy that is uncontainable. Through this joy I have come to realize the true meaning of being the hands and feet of Jesus.
Just as a marriage on earth is intended to lead you to be fruitful and multiply, a union with Jesus offers the same, just in a different way. The fruitfulness of a bond with Jesus is the ability to offer yourself up to Him by offering yourself up to others. I think of the phrase a lot of people chuckle about when the middle school dance rolls around, “Make sure you leave room for the Holy Spirit!” We need to do the same in our dance with Jesus, we need to have room in our hearts to be filled with the Spirit and come alive just like the disciples did at Pentecost. The Holy Spirit helps us become the best helpers we can be.
Being a helper isn’t just making a hot dish for the couple who had a baby or frying up pancakes for the breakfast after Mass, part of our role as women also has to be one of a spiritual helper, becoming the hands, feet and face of Jesus. The lost sheep may not be able to see the Lord, but they can see you and me. We need to show them the love of the Father and put on display what His mercy can do for them, because they have seen what it has done for us. We also must allow this realization to happen in God’s time, not ours.
A lot of times I find that what is pulling me away from God isn’t something internal I’m dealing with, it’s focusing on the state of everyone else; it goes from concern, to worry, to fear. Once you start treading in the waters of worry and fear, it’s hard to help people. As difficult as it might be, we need to focus our eyes on God alone, this focus then allows Him to lead us where His hands, feet and even face need to be. It’s not our job to convert people, thankfully we can leave that to the Holy Spirit, but it is our job to love them, if we are loving them with a heart united to Jesus, the Shepherd will find His sheep.
Don’t ever think God can’t minister to His people through you. I spent a lot of years thinking I was useless, that I had nothing to offer. Looking back, those seem like wasted years. How beautiful it is, though, that nothing is wasted when it’s given to God. All those nights I stayed up wondering why I had to exist in this world, why I had to go another day being me. Now a distant memory that I can look back on and smile, something I thought I would never do. I can smile because in the darkness I now see Jesus there. Patiently waiting for me to allow Him to come to me, for me to recognize that He didn’t come to this world to save everyone else. He came to save me, because I am far from useless; I am His.
If you struggle with seeing your worth I want you to read these words very carefully and prayerfully, hear them coming not from me but from Jesus:
I came to save you; your value outweighs the world. You are my beloved. I know your hurt and your pain. Allow me to heal you and be filled my love.
If you read these words and struggle to believe them, I invite you to take those struggles to God. Just like with any other relationship, it’s not always sunshine and roses. Know that the darkness may come. The important part is that you don’t try to face it alone, because you can’t, and what a relief that you don’t have to. We have a big God, we just have to let Him do His job.
Ladies, I invite you to find your field. Find the place you can visit when you need to feel the love of your Father, to know that you are a cherished daughter of the King. The place where you can be consumed by the embrace of your Savior, an embrace that can heal your soul and fill your heart with indescribable bliss. Allow yourself to enter into this place and empty yourself so that you can be filled with the Spirit, a Spirit that through you, can set the world on fire with God’s everlasting love and mercy.
Allow yourself to be led by the Almighty, a partner who will gently guide you through all life’s ballrooms – the big ones, the small ones, the bright ones and even the dark ones. Place your hand in the palm of His and be prepared to be swept off your feet. What beauty we find in this world when we see a woman whose confidence is put in the hands and feet of her Beloved, and whose radiance is visible in the dance between them. A radiance that can break through the darkness of even the blackest of nights.