Date: August 22, 2020
By: Jessica B.
What does it mean to be a beloved daughter of God? When I decided to write a reflection on this topic my initial reaction was excitement. Not too long after this I became overwhelmed by the weight of explaining two seemingly simple words. Beloved daughter. For some, this is a title that has never resonated. For others, this title may seem quite familiar, so familiar that the words have lost their meaning. Sure, it can be easy to see your friend, daughter, or sister as a beloved daughter of God, but does this title find a soft-landing place in your heart? Or, does “beloved daughter” compete with a list of uncharitable titles that you have come to believe about yourself? This constant battle to replace falsehoods with truth is a struggle I know all too well. As I write this reflection, I am speaking to each of your hearts as much as I am my own. And so, while gathering my thoughts to write this piece I turned to our Lord, asking Him what He would like each of His daughters to know about their identity in Him. I pray that these words bless you.
Daughter: a girl or woman in relation to her parents.
Daughter. The first title that we receive. A title not earned over time or with effort, but rather one automatically bestowed upon us at birth. The name daughter implies a relationship. After all, we were not made to be in isolation. We were made in the image and likeness of a Triune God and the desire for communion has been imprinted on our hearts. Our earthly parents were tasked with the responsibility of imaging the love of God the Father to us. But, even the best of parents are unable to reflect the Father’s perfect love. They, like us all, are wounded travelers trying their best to navigate life. As broken trust is demonstrated in our relationships we can then begin to use people, and grasp at things, to soothe the ache of our wounds. Or, we close ourselves off, put up walls- fig leaves- to protect ourselves from experiencing future hurts. Whether we realize it or not, our perception of God as Father can become clouded by these circumstances. Subconsciously we can project attributes (both positive and negative) of our earthly relationships onto God. From this, our ability to receive the name beloved daughter can diminish as we struggle to trust God the Father. This therefore begs the question, “Do I believe that God is a good Father who has my best interests in mind? Do I believe that He loves me?”
Unlike our earthly parents, God, our Creator and Father, lacks nothing; He is not limited in His capacity to love us and meet our needs. In the book of Exodus it reads, “The Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin (Exodus 34: 6).” Ladies, our God is a Father who is faithful to us, despite our forgetfulness of Him. He is a Father who is not easily angered by our actions, but rather bathes us in mercy instead. He is a Father who loves us in our weakness; we are never too much, or not enough, for Him. He chose to create you. He intentionally created you because He desired to call you His daughter, His beloved. Truly living out our daughterhood requires a raw vulnerability; an ability to open ourselves up before our Heavenly Father, scars and all, so that He can love us just as we are.
Beloved: dearly loved
Be-loved. Be loved. A posture of being, not an act of doing, that we receive the Fathers love.
This spring/summer I have been quite captivated by my family’s garden. Earlier this year as the tulips were beginning to flower I noticed that at night the bulbs would be closed. When looking at them in the morning the flowering petals were no longer closed, but rather opened in congruence with the rising sun. Beloved, God desires for you to open your heart to Him. To allow Him to cast a light on all the lies you believe about yourself, all the efforts you make in vain to measure up to unspoken standards, and to fill these areas with His love and truth. He desires for you to find peace in knowing that before you do anything, you are loved. That before you DO anything, you need to BE. We need to allow ourselves to be loved. To rest under the gaze of our Father and receive His love for you.
In the gospel of Matthew we hear an account of Jesus getting baptized in the Jordan river. As Jesus was coming up from the water a voice from the heavens said, "this is my Beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Jesus received this affirmation before he began his public ministry. Before Jesus performed any public miracles or acts of healing, he was beloved by the Father. So too is it with us. Our belovedness is not based off our accomplishments, not on what we’ve done in the past, or what we will do in the future- rather it is a gift that God the Father desires to freely lavish upon us.
It is especially during the times that we feel inadequate, when we are starting our careers, entering a new chapter of our vocation, experiencing a move, that we are reminded to re-orient our gaze towards our Father. To release our grasp from our walls and instead, like tulips, open ourselves up under His warmth. And remember anew our identity as a beloved daughter.
As we open our hearts to Him He whispers, “you are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you (Song of Songs 4:7). While all you see are your perceived failed attempts and unnoticed efforts, I see you and love you, just as you are. You are perfect in design. Nothing goes unnoticed to me.”
As a parent lovingly gazes on their child, spending endless time watching them sleep, or play, so too I imagine God looking at us. When we meet this gaze we find that, “the Beloved of the Lord rests in safety- the High God surrounds him all day long- the beloved rests between his shoulders (Deuteronomy 33:12)." We find that our hearts are safe in our Father’s hands.
It is from this place of security that we can then go out with filled hearts, and a renewed sense of confidence. Confidence in ourselves because we have confidence in God the Father. Confidence that He is who He says He is, and therefore we are who He says we are. A beloved daughter.
"You are precious in my sight, and honoured, and I love you (Isaiah 43:4).”