Several years ago, I read a book by Brennan Manning that forced me to ask myself what I really thought about God. What did I really believe about Him, specifically as He related to me? My answer was so very grim, and God’s amazingly gracious response altered my life. I’ve always been so grateful that Manning urged his readers to ask this question, always thought it was one of the most profound questions we could ask ourselves.
It never once occurred to me to ask God what He really believes about me.
Because I already know, right? And don’t you? Beloved, cherished, loved with everlasting love, redeemed, co-heir with Christ. I mean, those are the things His Word says. And those are the things I’ve repeated whenever I’ve needed to know what God thinks about me. But how can I truly know the mind of God unless I first ask God to reveal Himself to me? Yes, His Word is true and does define my identity as a believer. But I still never asked what He thinks about me, about Andrea.
I was working through the section on wounds in John and Stasi Eldredge’s Captivating this weekend, and in their discussion on healing, they refer to every woman’s Question, that there is something all of us want to know: “Do you see me? Am I captivating? Do I have a beauty all my own?” My heart, even half-hardened, ached to read those words…and ached to know the answer. Further on in the discussion, Eldredge says, “Let’s just start with a thought. What if the message delivered with your wounds simply isn’t true about you? Let that sink in.”
I’ve spent so much time examining, uncovering and seeking healing for my wounds in the last few years that this exercise seemed a little old hat. Still, that ‘What if?’ had some kind of gravity to it, and I was drawn in. I thought and I prayed – what were the things I had accepted as truth about myself, even from early on?
I shuddered to name those things so plainly. And I thought, What if they weren’t true? What if I wasn’t an ugly child? What if I wasn’t awkward? What if I wasn’t annoying, wasn’t unfeminine? What if God thought I was pretty? What if He saw me as feminine? What if He knew me as a delightful, precious little girl? I thought about my daughter, about how I see her, what I think about her, and I knew – to a loving Father, I had been delightful. It was a very sweet thought.
But that was all before. Before I became an adult, before I went my own way, before I allowed myself to be wounded. What had He thought of me during those days when I wasn’t a child anymore, when I was rebellious and far from Him? How had He seen me then? I was no longer a delightful little girl, so who had I been to Him since?
Suddenly I remembered my question: what did He think about me? About Andrea? My name. It means ‘womanly’ or ‘godly woman’. I’ve known its meaning, even since I was young, and I always believed I would grow into it someday. Just as a fresh wave of grief rose up to answer the accusations of how miserably I’ve failed in that pursuit, the answer came, gentle and sure: Andrea. You’ve never stopped being Andrea to Me.
He has always seen me as who He made me to be – as Andrea, womanly and godly, belonging to Him even in my name. How it draws me closer to Him to know this. How it helps me to walk in the freedom of this moment, of today, to know that He who called me is so very faithful. When my heart has been far from Him, He has not chosen to believe it would remain there. When I felt unlovely, ashamed, afraid…He saw a woman whose future was grace. He saw the me He made – a very different me than the one I believed in.
I Believe in You
When there’s nothing to believe in, I believe in you
Forget the past and let My hand in yours be the proof…
I know it feels like every eye is watching you, waiting for you to fall, expecting you to lose
But I see victory, so all you have to do is remember, I believe in you
I believe, even when I see you crying
I believe, let me dream for you…
There will come a day when Love will lift you out of here
There will come a day when Love will bring the truth
There will come a day when Love will free you from your fear
And you’ll remember, I believe in you
And so it makes sense that I’m remembering now, as Love is lifting me, freeing me. I’m learning to see what He has seen all along – beauty bearing His indelible marks of grace. Will you pray for the eyes to see the same in you? Will you ask Him what He thinks of you and listen as He whispers love and restoration, healing and hope? I believe He longs to tell you.
And I believe His whispers are the very best there are.