I didn't even realize I was running, not until I began struggling to catch my breath and my legs started to cramp from the strain. How long had I been fighting? How long had I been doing all I could to avoid His gaze? How long had I been dodging His touch, His embrace, His desperate longing to simply love me? The shock of the truth hit me so hard that it stole what little breath I had left within me. And I collapsed.
Slowly I became conscious, aware of the situation I alone had created for myself. Lying on the ground with my eyes firmly closed, I heard a whisper of a breeze inch its way towards me. Floating on the tips of the wind were the words my soul craved, and my mind wrestled to understand. "My girl..."
"Don't call me that." Forcefully I rebuked the voice of the One calling me.
Anger rose within me as I pushed myself from the ground. Too weak to stand, I settled with sitting. Eyes wide open now, I searched around to find nothing but the waving of trees surrounding me. Searching frantically for the source of the voice, I twisted and turned among the fallen leaves, crushing them in my fists of frustration.
Again, His voice danced on the wings of the air to my tired ears. "My girl..."
Pounding the ground I yelled with all my might, "DON'T CALL ME THAT!!!!"
Silence was my reward. My chest heaved up and down from the force of this outburst and tears streamed freely down my pale cheeks.
"Don't call me that..." I whispered between sobs. "How can You call me that?"
Wiping my face with my hands created nothing but streaks of mud and mess, adding to my weary and worn battle scars. They did nothing to stop the tears, and nothing to stop the pain exploding from my heart.
"How can You call me that?" I whispered again. "How?"
The wind whistled through the leaves above me. The earth seemed to still around me in an attempt to draw my attention beyond my own heart and mind. A single ray of light slowly broke through the canopy of leaves above me. Gracefully it inched it's way towards me, with such gentleness and deliberation that it was as if it was a living creature all it's own. As it reached the tips of my fingers, I felt it's warmth radiating through my whole being. Patiently it worked it's way up my arms and up my body as it created a circle of light around my whole being. Watching in awe, no words were found to protest. No thoughts of running. No attempts to push away seemed to find their way to the surface of my mind. All I could do was absorb this beautiful light, this echo of a love I knew I needed but had been so scared to accept.
As the light shone around me, alternating in it's rhythms of brightness, my soul began to warm within me. Again, the voice called. But not as a whisper coming from far away. Not this time. Now, the voice was here with me, it was around me, it was within me. Softly, yet firmly, it repeated it's message:
I bowed my head in shame and closed my eyes for fear of seeing the look of disappointment I assumed was there awaiting me.
"My girl, do you not know. Have you not yet learned?"
Tears streaked down my face to the vibrations of this calling.
"You are always Mine."
The words "always mine" echoed through the crevices of my mind. Over and over again they swirled within me. "Always mine." "Always...." "Always...." "Mine."
I tried to fight them. I tried to protest. I knew myself. I knew what I had done. I knew the pain I had caused. I knew the damage I alone had created in this world. I knew. And I felt it every moment of every day. I didn't deserve to be His. I didn't deserve to be loved. I didn't deserve to be.... anything.
A hand found it's way to my cheek, lifting my chin to face Him. I opened my eyes as His finger brushed aside the water escaping them. Meeting His eyes, I was lost for words. There was no judgement in them, no disappointment, no longing for more from me. There was only love. Pure, unwarranted, undeserved, unending love.
As my lips trembled I found the courage to ask just one thing that I so desperately needed answered.
Deeply His gaze penetrated mine, connecting with me in ways I had never known before. My very being leaned into His, longing to have this question answered, this void filled, once and for all.
"Because I want you. I WANT you. Always."
Collapsing into His arms, my soul at last found the safety it had longed, in the one place I never thought I would.