Prodigal Daughters

Meditating on Charlie Mackesy’s sculpture of the prodigal son returned home to his father’s embrace while on retreat this weekend, I felt God saying clearly to me:

“Beloved daughter,
flesh of my flesh and heart of my heart,
how I have yearned to be the arms you run to;
to wrap them tightly around you
and whisper tear-choked into your ear:

‘There is nothing that can keep you from my love –
no sin,
no worry,
no unspoken thing too big, too small
to dampen my longing
to laugh and dance and feast and sing
and work and love and rest and eat
and be …
… just be with you.

I’m sorry you’ve felt the need to stay away so long;
that you’ve thought yourself unworthy, unwelcome, unforgiven.

In my eyes
I hope you see only compassion
for the things that have hurt you,
for the times you have chosen wrong,
for the desperate, aching need to know you are loved.

In my embrace
I hope you feel how much you have been longed for,
how much you are my delight, my joy,
as my heart beats against your own.

In my welcome
I hope you believe you are at home;
that though you felt dead and distant,
you are alive and well;
that though you felt lost and alone,
you are wanted and found.

Beloved daughter,
flesh of my flesh and heart of my heart,
I will never let you go.'”

***

It’s good to be in the space to write and dream and know my belovedness. Thank you Daddy.

Daddy

My relationship with my father has always been a tricky one.  Yes, there is love.  But also inconsistency.  Yes, there has been pride in my accomplishments.  But also the need to prove my worth.  Above all, as a pastor, there is pressure. Pressure to get it right; pressure to forgive and reconcile and move on with everything picture perfect.  It’s definitely impacted my relationship with God.  I cringe whenever I pray, “Our Father….”  I feel guilty and disconnected.  I keep wondering what it is that I need to do to make God happy – a proud Father.

As I have journeyed with this over the years I hadn’t actually realised quite how far I’d come: how the sense of my belovedness has snuck up on me and started changing me from the inside out.

It was with great joy and wonder that as I read the words from Romans 8:15 “And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father,” God, as Daddy, suddenly made sense to me:

Daddy, I need you to simply sit beside me tonight.

I need to feel the warmth of your presence

and to know that I can rest safely in your mighty arms.

I need you to pull me close

and whisper words of love and assurance into my heart.

I need to know that despite my faults and mistakes,

I remain precious in your eyes

and that you love me simply because I am yours.

Hold me until I feel safe.

Hold me until I am healed.

Hold me until I know love.

Hold me until I see where I truly belong –

ever, always, on your lap and in your arms.

Amen.