It’s difficult for us to receive what we don’t understand, isn’t it? For years, I ran from God because I didn’t think he could accept me the way I was.
I had a lot of baggage I’d carried around with me for years, and bringing it before a holy God seemed not only unreasonable. It seemed dangerous.
Every year around Christmas my family and I would visit my grandmother’s house for a once-a-year reunion. Aunts, uncles, and cousins I hadn’t seen for months were there, and we’d squeeze as much conversation, hugs and memories as we could into the short time we had together.
One of my favorite things to do was marvel and my grandmother’s antique doll collection. Each year it grew, and I’d conjure up a story for each porcelain face to go with her dainty dress and pearls.
These dolls never left their perch in various rooms around the house, and they were all in pristine condition. I thought their value exceeded anything in my grandparents’ home, but decades later I discovered an important truth.
When my grandparents passed, my family was largely responsible for the estate, and one of the collections which came under question was the dolls. It turned out, antique dolls were only valuable to very specific buyers, and those buyers were extremely hard to find.
In other words, the value was in the collector’s eyes, not the eyes of the general public. And what I didn’t understand during all of those visits to my grandparents’ house was that I had more in common with these dolls than I thought. And so do you.
Our value comes from the One who chose us. Nothing more, nothing less.
There are no strings attached to his affection and no ulterior motives behind his extravagant love.
He loves us because he is love.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:10 NIV
He made us, mindful each intricate detail, and his affection goes far beyond the care my grandmother took with her doll collection or the care I take with my own children.
When I lay down my need to earn what is already mine, I begin to understand a word more amazing than anything in the English lexicon: grace. And once I start extending grace to myself, I can extend it to others without expecting reciprocation, payback or IOU.
That’s the beauty of grace. There’s nothing we can do to deserve it, and nothing we can do to pay it back.
When I think back on those Christmases with my family all those years ago, I’m grateful that even though I didn’t see it yet, God was teaching me. He was using something as unlikely as a doll to show his affection toward me.
And if you’re willing, he’ll do the same for you.
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