So many of the good ideas that come our way arrive in seed form—the DNA or essence of what they are meant to be when fully realized, contained within those first fragile beginnings. The God-birthed seeds we like to call them.
Sometimes the seed ideas come in the gentlest of voices, so still and small you have to chase it, like a whisper being carried away in the wind!
Other times it is more of a shout, loud and shuttering, stirring you out of a slumber or sleep.
The latter is a little of how the idea for this book, those first precious tiny seeds, came to me. Like a shout to begin with—an awakening of sorts planting an idea, a hope, deep within my own heart—and then continuing to whisper and beckon to me through the years that followed. “Come and discover me. Come and follow me. Come and finish me”. Until at last, we are here.
It began one fall day in beautiful Vermont. I had the privilege of being asked to give a short talk at a prison for women. I was to speak a message of hope and value, a few words that would encourage or equip the ladies who were there through one difficult circumstance after another, locked inside a life, inside a building, they did not want to be in.
I spoke from one of my favourite stories, Max Lucado’s book, “You are Special”. It is a tale about a fictional people (all made of wood) in a make believe village, who went around sticking stickers on each other when they disapproved of who you were. You are too short—a sticker. You are too tall—a sticker. You are not pretty enough—a definite sticker—and on it goes.
In the end, one poor little Wemmick as they were called, named Punchinello, could not be seen past the stickers that covered him from head to toe. With some help from a wise friend, Punchinello goes back to the One Who created him, the very kind and caring Wood Carver, Eli, and hears the wise counsel as only our Maker can give. He tells Punchinello, “Remember, I made you, and I don’t make mistakes”, and he gives him this very important key and freeing truth, “The stickers only stick if you let them”.
In other words, the lies and the labels will come, but they have no control over you, or no ability to impact you in a negative way, unless you let them.
Punchinello, hearing this truth for the very first time, believes. He comes to understand that he is wonderfully made, loved and cared for, by the one who made him, and that he has immense value and worth, just for who he is. Sure enough, just like that, all the stickers that were stuck on him, begin to float to the ground. There is nothing to hold them there any more.
For the ladies in the gathering that day, we took off some of the old stickers that defined who we were—broken, marred, unloved, unlovable, and we put on some truth of our own—loved by God, fearfully and wonderfully made, redeemed, restored, with a hope-filled future ahead!
At the end our time together a few of the ladies came up to ask if it was really true—if God, Who made them, could love them just as they were, if He was good and kind, loving and forgiving. My heart broke in that moment to think that they knew the lies so well, for they had been re-enforced over and over, but rarely had anyone spoken God’s redeeming truth.
That is what this book is about. Not the definitive truth of Who God is, or Who we are to Him, there could never be enough books in all the world to contain the depth and breadth of that topic, but a few simple pages based on His love letter to us, the Bible He wrote to share the depth of His heart of love. It is a small part of the journey to help us understand the wonder of Who He is, gentle, kind, loving, strong, mighty, faithful and true—and the wonder of Who we are to Him—loved, adored, cherished, treasured, cared for, and cared about.
If one lie, one sticker falls to the ground, and one truth takes it’s rightful place in your life and journey, if you see His goodness and His grace and allow your heart to trust in the only One Who is trustworthy and true, then I will be forever grateful to the ladies in the prison that day and their very brave and courageous hearts, for this is a part of their story too. I will be eternally thankful for the seed that was planted in my heart in that moment—the desire to tell of the wonders of Who He is and His great love for all mankind—and I will be grateful for all the days of chasing that whisper, until these truths found their way to you.
Beloved One—He is. And He loves you so very much. You are His treasured one, valued, chosen, loved without limit, and adored. And that is forever true!
“Lord, you know everything there is to know about me. You perceive every movement of my heart and soul, and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind.