Some years ago as I was struggling to face the reality of a broken relationship, I sat in my Therapist's office as he shared an analogy with me.
He had long been telling me that this relationship was over, worse yet, it had never been and could never be be the idealized relationship I had so long desired it to be. I refused to accept that I had been abandoned by my parent. Staying in denial, I continued to give my parent opportunities to be my Daddy. Yet, every time I engaged with him, going to him to feed my aching soul, I left feeling rejected and sorrowfully malnourished. I believed, it was my only option: I had to find just the right way to reach his heart, for I truly believed I remained unworthy of love until my Daddy loved me.
He was closed. I kept knocking on his door; the lights seemed on, but no one ever answered the door.
As I listened to my Therapist share this story, I began to see that I had additional options.
"Diane, it's as though you've been on a long road trip; you're tired, lonely, and starving. You pull up to a strip mall with 5 restaurants. You recognize the restaurant you have frequented often, and you go to the front door, but-- it is locked. You double and triple check--yup, it's locked. Stepping back, you peer into the window and see the sign in red letters, "Sorry, we're closed."
You feel the hunger pangs; you are famished. You watch as streams of families enter the other open restaurants, and yet, you stand paralyzed outside the one restaurant that is closed."
Yes, friends, it was at that moment I had my very own "AHA" moment! I realized that because of my refusal to accept that which seemed unacceptable, I had contributed to my hunger. It was time to choose differently. I had options. The restaurant I had been trying to pry my way into was permanently closed. I would now move just a few steps to the left or to the right and be fed--nourished--and satisfied!
It was no coincidence that as I left my Therapist's office that day that two days later the nation would be celebrating Father's Day. As I entered the Father's Day Service at my Church that Sunday, I took those "couple steps to the left or to the right" and turned to my Heavenly Abba and found the door was wide open. As I entered into His 'restaurant,' I saw a banquet had been prepared for me that satisfied my every need. As I read Psalm 17: 7-8, I realized-- I AM the apple of God's eye, and my hungry heart spilled out:
"When I think of the emotions evoked by this phrase, I immediately think of a contemporary expression: Daddy's little girl. Don't you just smile and isn't your heart warmed as you think about a father's love for his daughter or his son?
For years, I have longed to experience that kind of love; to really feel loved and protected, esteemed and valued, cherished and...chosen, again and again, each and every day by my father. Sadly, this was not to be. Interestingly, the longing to be "daddy's little girl" did not die with the death of my father; in fact, it grew with the absence of the hope I previously felt that maybe, just maybe, before he died, I might become the apple of his eye.
As I matured chronologically and spiritually, I sought comfort in the fact that my husband was a wonderful parent to our children. The wonder I felt as I watched him love and care, protect and guide, was felt at the core of my heart, but did little to ease my longing. I wanted to be loved by a dad like that. And then, nearly ten years ago, I discovered that my father was not in fact my biological father and my paternal parentage would never be revealed. I was broken; the years of expectation were now weighted down by the realization that I was more of an orphan than an apple. Hopes shattered and defeated by the weight of this knowledge, I retreated. After weeks of intentional isolation and calculated self-pity, I soon became sick of myself! How could this sorrowful daughter be the apple of anyone's eyes--so I ran--that's ran to that Father's Day Service for some spiritual counseling. Unwittingly, yet immediately, I discovered that I had entered the "shadow of [his] wings" (Psalm 17:8). Finding refusge in God's love for me revealed a previously obscured truth: as His child, I am the apple of His eye! He is my refuge (Psalm 16:1), He is my portion (16:5), He is my inheritance (16:6), He is my joy (16:11). I had called out to God and He answered my prayer, He gave "ear to me...and showed me "the wonder of [His] great love" (17: 6-7). He removed my sorrow and replaced it with His joy. And I am kept "as the apple of [His] eye;" I am Abba's little girl."
Are you hungry today? Read Psalm 15-17. Listen to all that our Heavenly Father offers to His cherished children. Is there a longing in your heart that years to be satisfied? Run to your Heavenly Father, let Him "still the hunger" of your soul and be satisfied!