Thursday, January 5, 2012

Precious Jewels

For a couple of weeks leading up to Christmas, I laid in bed wrestling with the images of special gifts. Those precious trinkets and tokens given from one to another that somehow seal a treasured relationship, a place of honor, or a special love.

In those moments, I could not get my dad out of my head. Dad and I had an awkward relationship, to say the least, and it left a lot to be desired in a little girl's heart, but there was one thing my dad knew how to do: he could convince me I was special. Not to the extent that I felt special, walking around like a proud peacock and spreading my feathers, confident in my place in anything. Just in the way that there was something just under the surface, something secret that made me somehow special to him. And so leading up to the holidays, I was thinking of those special gifts and particularly with the image of precious jewelry...and it absolutely disgusted me.

There was something dirty in that mental image, something less than settling, something that finally had the strength to question a special relationship and the meaning behind a father giving his daughter precious jewels. Maybe it was something about my knowing my relationship with the man, the "secrets" shared, the odd sense of...something. Relationship? I would hesitate to call it love, though I loved him with a daughter's heart. Still do (a ransomed daughter's heart, as my true Father has answered so many of my unspokens), perhaps more now.

And I was thinking about the oddity of a father giving his daughter the jewels or the tokens of a love that he should have reserved for a wife, for a true lover. It was just creepy; it made my skin crawl, and something in my heart pained in those moments before I fell asleep with these images on my mind.

Then, as He is so often to do, my true Father spoke. He spoke in such a way that I could not deny His voice or His presence. He said, "Perhaps it isn't so creepy. Perhaps it isn't absurd. For I...I have these jewels for you, my daughter. And I would be honored if you would wear them."

It wasn't an easy surrender, not by any means. How could I accept a token of a love from a Father when these less than glorious images of a corrupt earthly relationship were holding a death grip on my heart? Literally keeping me up at night in the season of gifting, tormenting something in me that began to see clearly and yet was so enticed by the offering of an honest Father.

How to reconcile the gross with the godly?

For days, He worked on my heart. Mostly in those weak hours before I went to sleep, when my heart was still and the world was quiet and I was able to process, side-by-side or simultaneously, the image of the precious gift of a father with the unspeakable precious gift of my Father. Where love took on a new meaning, a real meaning, and I could see the honor in the gift. Even the gift of precious jewels.

Praying, following, listening to my Lord, I began shopping. Browsing for that fine jewelry that was too good for me, that made me feel too special, that stood and questioned that lingering part of me conflicted between filth and love, between brokenness and humility, between being convinced and being cherished. It was tough. Really tough. There were a few things I was drawn to immediately as my heart cried out, "This is beautiful!" then followed with "...too beautiful for you." Those questions of purity and wholeness that have long lingered in my heart were far from silent, screaming for answers and demanding I take a step back from what I knew God was calling me forward to.

What I knew was of Him.

And I put those jewels down, left them behind, and went home to think on it. To pray on it. To consider...

To consider a life where His love speaks louder. Where His grace answers. Where His mercy shows. To consider a life of being His, marked by a gift of treasured jewels, of something beyond beautiful that does not, in fact, contradict anything in me. It only contradicts the pain and the lies that have too long held me back.

It speaks in truth, and it is an honor to wear His gem.

So with God by my side, I found that jewel He chose to honor me, at least in this moment. I wear it around my neck, knowing as I run my fingers over it that we share a pure love, without need for convincing or for secrets or for questioning. We share something wonderful and blessed, as my Father has answered the heart of His daughter and shown worth, wonder, and beauty within. And without.

With this token, Lord, I am honored to be marked as yours, to know this as a sign of something incredible that is not tainted in the least. To embrace your grace, your mercy, and your love without question of my worthiness, my purity, or my place as your beloved daughter.

So this is what love is.

Maybe it's not really creepy for a Father to gift His daughter precious jewels. At least, not in this case.

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