I am so thankful for a loving and gracious Heavenly Father. He is the perfect parent - the Comforter and Nurturer that I so desire. I am amazed at how much He loves me. He claims that I am the beloved daughter of the Most High God. How humbling, yet awesome is that! He is patient, waiting for me to come to Him when I finally carve a small fraction of time to spend with Him. Yet, when He sees me coming from the distance, He is the one who runs to me, like the father of the prodigal son. Happy that I've chosen to come home and rest in Him!
I had a dream once, and I believe it was a vision from God. A vision that I really needed to "see" and experience, and one that spoke to my heart, to reassure me of who God really is. In my dream, it was the day of the Wedding Feast. We were all dressed up as prince and princesses, with our long gorgeous gowns, pretty flowing hair (think of Arwyn or Galadriel in LOTR)...we all looked elegant and royal. A huge procession was taking place. We each had to walk up a long flight of steps to get to the altar where the throne of God was. And once there, God would give each of us our crown. It was a magnificent atmosphere - lots of cheering, the sound of trumpets filling the air (I think I heard music from Vivaldi, too!). It was approaching my turn soon, and I was very, very nervous. I felt so inadequate and shy - I don't like any kind of attention (ask Jared, even on our wedding day, I didn't like the front-and-center kind of attention!). And I felt like a peon. I mean, there were so many people there, and God probably just wanted to slap on my little crown on my little head, and move on to the next person. I mean, come on, He's got a lot of people to get through!!
Anyway, it was my turn. I couldn't even look up at Him because I was so nervous. I kept my eyes down and started to take my steps, making sure I didn't trip over my long gown. With each step, my face got warmer and warmer. I was afraid. Afraid that I wouldn't get His attention (I almost wished that it would just be God and me, and not this huge public spectacle!). So, I resigned myself to the fact that I would just get that crown, and He probably wouldn't even make eye contact with me, instead he'd be looking at who the next person is, and I'll just walk away and join the rest of the crowd.
About 3 or 4 steps into my walk, I heard these hurried footsteps coming from above. It was like an excited run. There was bounce in the steps! Then I see the shoes and the feet of the excited runner. And the next thing I knew, Jesus himself had run all the way down from the throne to meet me! In excitement, he swooped me up in a huge bear hug and swung me around and around. I don't even remember what He said. Maybe there were no words. But I literally sensed the love! He sees me! He loves me! He didn't wait for me to get all the way to the top of the steps. Instead, He ran down to meet me! And when His big arms enveloped me, I knew I was loved, cherished, and I was His beloved daughter!
And I truly believe that's who God is. Philip Yancey wrote "God's arms are always extended; we are the ones that turn away...".
When things get discouraging on this side of heaven, I hold on to that feeling of unconditional love. That my Father in heaven is crazy about me, and His love will sustain me, no matter what the circumstances, no matter how hard things get in this life. My Father is waiting for me at the top of the steps, and I KNOW that one day, I will feel those strong, loving arms around me!
Happy Father's Day, from His beloved daughter.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I know it’s been a while since I blogged, but so much has happened in the lives of the Ahrens Family. I will attempt to write about each event and its significance, starting with us leaving Willow Creek Community Church.
It’s Friday night, June 11th, and I’m actually typing this is the dorm room at Wheaton College. We are here on a Congregational Retreat with our new church, Harvest Community. Jenna is fast asleep in her Pack N Play, there would be complete silence in this dark room except for the Praise Baby music and the only light, both of which are coming from my laptop. I haven’t had a quiet moment like this in weeks! (oh, Jared and Joshua are attending the first session of the retreat).
Jared’s last day at Willow was May 14th. The day before that, Joshua, Jenna, and I met Jared at Willow for our “last supper”, actually it was lunch, at the church. After lunch in the atrium, we took a walk around campus, revisiting the different places that have been significant to us.
The AtriumWe went to the gym where Axis services used to be held. We formed many friendships there - some of which still exist and will be for a life-time!
The GymWe then walked to Room 162 where Summit (a medium-sized Axis group that met on Tuesdays for small groups) was held. It was there where Jared and I first met!
We journeyed down the hall to the Promisetowne rooms where Joshua attended PT classes on a weekly basis, and where I served with the Curriculum Team, and occasionally helped out with the 3-year-old class. Joshua had so many great memories there, of Ms. Traci and Ms. Judi, and all his little friends. It was there that he learned his first phrase “God Made Me”. Promisetowne made a huge impact in Joshua’s life, and for that, I will be eternally grateful.
The Promisetowne office where I volunteered on the Curriculum Team.
The room where the kids would go for music class!
Lastly, we ventured up to the Chapel. What a special and holy place for us (and for many people too)! The Chapel is where Jared and I were married; it is where both Joshua and Jenna were dedicated.
Willow will always have a special place in our hearts, for many reasons. But nothing more important than that it is where The Ahrens Family Story began.