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Monday, March 30, 2015

Soul Sisters Series # 8, The Needy Woman





Martha was the ultimate multitasker and it showed especially in her home. It was immaculate; no clutter, no dirty dishes, no dirty underwear lying around and no dust accumulating on the furniture. But the kitchen is where she really shined. Her dinner parties were legendary. The table was set beautifully, the food tasty and the conversation rich. 

Today was no different. Jesus and his disciples were visiting and staying for dinner. Martha bustled about preparing the entrees, humming as she worked. But her enthusiasm soon deteriorated into frustration as preparations came to a head. 

Normally her sister Mary helped her in the kitchen, but she hadn’t made an appearance yet, and Martha’s irritation mounted. Where is that woman? She couldn’t believe her eyes when she peered into the living room and saw Mary sprawled out at the feet of Jesus. How could she sit there and leave all the work to her? Had she lost her mind? Well, she would take care of this right now!

Martha burst into the living room, strode up to the infuriating scene and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 

Jesus looked full into her face, and gently answered, “Martha, Martha. You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.” 

                               ---------------------------------

I’ve read devotionals, books, and heard sermons based on this story countless times, yet it never ceases to touch me. Jesus’ words seem to tug at my heart and remind me of what is truly most important. 

I need to be reminded sometimes, because it’s so easy to get off track and get wrapped up in seemingly good things. Even church “stuff” can pull me away from Jesus. My daily responsibilities and the monotonous routine can tune out His voice calling me away to Himself. 

An incident with my husband brought this to light. An exhausting couple of weeks at our jobs pulled us apart. We just weren’t able to spend much time together. Add to that the unrelenting bitter January weather, fatigue, frustration and stress and you don’t exactly have an environment conducive to romance. 

I wasn’t helping matters much either. I was distant, distracted and too tired to make an effort. Finally one day he cornered me in the bathroom. “It sure would be nice to talk to you. It seems all I get lately is good morning, good night and a quick kiss. I want to know what happened to you today, about your friends and you. I want to talk to you.” 

His words completely disarmed me. I stood there humbled and amazed that he desired me that much. I apologized and that night we finally were able to spend time together and talk. It was wonderful to reconnect. 

Through this incident I heard another Voice say, “Now you know how I feel about you.” I realized anew how much my Beloved Jesus desires me to come and sit as His feet. A compelling verse in Song of Solomon 2:10+14 says this, “Arise my beloved, my beautiful one, come to Me. Show me your face. Let Me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely.” 

Do you feel a tugging deep within, beloved of God as you read this? Your spirit yearns for Him. Have you been distant? Has distractions pulled you away? Is there a distinctive soul ache? You are lacking something that can only be found at His feet. 

Ironically even though I need Him so desperately, it can be a struggle to push away everything and go to Him. Can you identify? It seemed so much simpler when I was single and living with my parents. 

Within walking distance of my parent’s house is a large acreage of woods. I’d grab a dog and spend much of my afternoons there. I usually ended up on a log and for an undetermined amount of time this would be my leafy chapel. 

This unassuming place would be transformed into a Holy place. I poured out my heart, laid down burdens, waged spiritual battles, tears flowed and I heard His tender words of assurance. 

But I grew older, married, moved away and had a child. Those moments in the woods grew more infrequent. My times at His feet grew rarer as well. Sadly I became content with a surface relationship. 

I’m sorry to say it took crisis in my life for me to fall at His feet. My husband walked away from God. My mother suffered a brain aneurysm that left her disabled. My precious grandmother died unexpectedly. I had no control, no answers, and I was desperate for comfort. My heart was broken. 

Interesting enough, my search for consolation ended on a log in a small patch of woods. I was so lonely and hurt. With tears flowing, I cried out to Jesus, pleading for reassurance. Calm began to settle in my spirit. Then I heard a cardinal’s cheer, cheer, cheer nearby.  The red beauty flew closer until it was almost right above me. It kept up its sweet melody, never moving from its spot. 

My unassuming place in the woods was transformed into a Holy place. My precious Jesus met me there. I felt His presence so strongly. This was a turning point in my life. My relationship with Jesus deepened. I hungered for Him all the more. 

Over time I began to learn something special about that place at His feet. My moments with Jesus aren’t limited to leafy chapels. The feet of Jesus isn’t just a physical location, but a position of the spirit. 

It’s a place where I can go to pour out my heart. I can lay my head on His lap when I am soul weary. I can feel His touch and hear His voice. I can be myself and not fear rejection. It’s a Holy place of worship, whispered adorations, shouts of praise and a bursting heart of love. 

Just like the body yearns for food and water to sustain it, I can’t do without my Jesus for very long. I am undone without Him. I’m more self-centered, distant and distracted. The soul ache throbs within. 

It isn’t long before I hear His gentle voice wooing me back to Him. I hear Him say, “Child, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. What you receive there will never be taken away from you.” 

I see His open arms inviting me to come near. It’s time to quiet the noise, to shut out the pressing demands and enter into His presence. He waits for me. 


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Monday, March 23, 2015

Soul Sister's Series #7, The Adoring Woman




My heart pounds heavily as I peek through the door. There He is, reclining at the table. His sweet voice stirs something within me. I stand trembling, hesitating, yet yearning to be near Him.  Just when my heart seemed on the edge of bursting, I rush in and drop at His feet. 

The clattering of utensils ceased and gasps of outrage spouted from the guests. “What is she doing? Get that woman out of here.” I recoiled at their disapproving attacks. Perhaps I should have waited until He left. 

I turned and looked up at His face, expecting annoyance at the disruption. Instead of anger, His eyes beckoned me. His tender look of love broke me; I couldn’t turn away now. I edged closer to His feet. The turmoil of the crowd faded away as I gazed at His beautiful face. 

Yesterday I was a worn out prostitute. An outcast of society, not worth knowing or loving. Then I met this man, Jesus. With His touch, I was transformed. All the filth cleansed away. I experienced freedom for the first time. I owed everything to Him. Yet what do I have to give? 

Tears flowed profusely down my face and trickled onto His feet. Muddy tracks coursed down His dusty feet. Alarmed I swabbed them with my hair, caressing and kissing them fervently. The alabaster jar bumped against my arm. I did have something to give. The jar of perfumed ointment was the only valuable thing I owned. Yet my sinful wages obtained even that. My most costly gift was not worthy for a Holy God. Yet it was all I had. 

I break the seal and pour it liberally on His feet. The fragrance filled the room. Murmurs of disapproval rose again and invaded my circle of worship. My face burned with shame, was I too impulsive? I considered leaving. 

Just as I began to rise, Jesus spoke. “Simon, I have something to say to you.”

The proud Pharisee sneered at me, then turned to Jesus, “All right Teacher, go ahead.”

“A man loaned money to two people-$5000 to one and $500 to the other. Neither one of them could pay him back, so he forgave them both, letting them keep the money. Which one do you suppose loved him most?” 

“I suppose the one who had owed him the most.”

“That’s right,” Jesus answered.

Then He turned to me and smiled so lovingly at me. “See this woman kneeling here? When I entered your house, you didn’t bother offering water to wash my feet. But this woman has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t give me a kiss of greeting, but she has kissed my feet over and over again. You didn’t give me oil to anoint my head, but she has covered my feet with costly perfume. She loves me much, because her sins-and they are many-are forgiven. One who is forgiven little shows little love.” 

He then reached over and cupped my chin, captivating me with His eyes, “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you, go in peace.” 

I drank in this amazing love. This love that says you are beautiful to me and worthy to be loved. I left in wonder at what happened. I left forever changed. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I am ashamed to admit it, but many times I linger on the doorstep looking in at Jesus. Unlike this precious woman I hold back from being in His presence. It’s a vicious cycle in my life that usually begins when I focus on my weaknesses and failings. The negative thoughts begin to pile on and I allow them to weigh me down. I withdraw within myself and from Jesus. Then I wonder why I feel so miserable.

I admire this woman so much. I desire to be a worshiper like her. She drew close to Jesus regardless of the disapproving crowd and her hurtful past. She only desired to be with Jesus. She unabashedly poured herself out like her valuable perfume and experienced His precious grace. 

This woman found acceptance and love. Jesus even defended her against the accusers. My Jesus would never reject or push me away. So why do I wander like a dumb sheep? Why do I forget even the basic truths? Why do I have to learn the hard way? 

Nevertheless, I hear His invitation, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Oh, how I need to hear these words. It’s like an invigorating breath of fresh air after existing in a closed in, stale place. It’s like a captivating invitation to sweet fellowship. I yearn for this Divine connection; I need Him like rain to parched land. 

My heart burns, yearns, as my Beloved beckons me. His sweet presence allures. My heart cannot resist. He speaks softly, tenderly; intimate words that thrill. “My child, you were meant for Me. I desire you with an everlasting love.” I must not delay, or allow anything to keep me from Him. There is no rejection here. This is a safe place of acceptance and love. 

When all you have known is painful rejection it can be difficult to open yourself up, even to Jesus. The fear of rejection goes deep and can be hard to root out. I can certainly identify. My school years were especially painful. I had zero self-esteem, plus I was a huge tomboy. The boys taunted me and called me ugly. The girls didn’t want my friendship either. Rejection was all I knew. 

I spent most of my time alone; shut up within myself. I guess it became more of a safety issue. If I don’t open myself up, then I won’t be hurt. Still I longed to be known and loved. It took many years for me to finally experience sweet intimacy with Jesus. Dear sister, don’t hold back like I did. 

Your God “is not a man that He should lie.” His ways and thoughts are so far above ours. His love is unchangeable and strong. You will not be disappointed. Don’t linger at the door anymore. Go to Him and cling to Him. Pour yourself out.  Jesus is a lavish giver; receive His grace and love.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Soul Sister's Series #6, The Generous Woman




One by one they came. It was a showcase of the rich and powerful.  Elaborate flowing robes rustled as they paraded into the courtyard of the temple. Pulling out their money bags, they poured the coins into the brass offering receptacles. The jangle of the coins resounded throughout the courtyard, bringing the desired affect; attention. 

Another person entered the courtyard. A poor, elderly woman walked tentatively toward the receptacles, her head bowed. She pulled out a couple of small coins and dropped them in, a tinkle barely audible, an offering ignored. She turned and shuffled away, inconspicuous to the liberal givers all around her. No one noticed and no one cared. 

Jesus sat nearby watching the rich dump their money, and gather their praise. He made no comment, and offered no admiration for their generosity. Yet this woman caught his attention. He watched closely as she dropped her coins in and left. His heart was touched. 

Quickly gathering His disciples to Him, He said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out their wealth, but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-all she had to live on.”

Two tiny mites; the smallest coins in size and quantity.  Why bother with such a minute offering? Compared with bags of gold, this didn’t seem worth the trouble. This woman could have looked at the coins in her hand and thought; I don’t measure up to the others. So why give? What difference does it make anyway?

Sometimes after I teach, write or speak, the feelings of futility can be overwhelming.  The results aren’t what I expected, perhaps the way I communicated the message wasn’t eloquent.  It would be so easy to compare myself with other gifted people and think, “Why even try. I can’t speak or write as fluently as they can. I’m not as beautiful or talented as she is.” 

Sometimes in the process of writing my blogs, I think, “What I am doing? I can’t write like Max Lucado, or other well known authors. I have trouble even writing a profound sentence. What kind of impact is this going to have?” And so it goes…endless comparisons and assessments that get me nowhere, but discourage me from giving my all.

This woman didn’t get all caught up in these entanglements. She gave freely out of her poverty. And she caught the eye of God. Her gift impacts our lives two thousand years later. 

What we give makes a powerful impact in people’s lives. Sometimes when we don’t get any positive feedback we experience those feelings of futility and are tempted to shut ourselves up. God has placed certain people in your life that no one else could touch. No one else can give what you can give. He has placed treasures inside your storeroom. When you pull them out and share them, it powerfully touches people. 

Now what if I became fixated on my insecurities, “I can’t pray like so and so, so my prayers aren’t as powerful. I don’t connect with the teenagers like Miss Sue, so I’m not effective in ministry.” What if I allowed envy of the worship leader’s singing talents to hinder me? I could look at the talents in my hands and think, “I don’t have much to offer like they do. What difference does it make anyway?” What if I close my hand and my heart? What if I question the Potter’s intentions in His moldings and shapings? 

Perhaps I can’t do or be like other talented women. But God has gifted me with my own unique talents and abilities. He has placed people in my own life that only I can impact. I just need to give freely. Not for recognition, for the approval of others, or what I can get out of it.  You see, what’s important here is how I give, not what. 

That’s what caught the eye of Jesus. Not the coins, but her precious heart. She gave more than the rich, because she gave out of her poverty. It was a genuine sacrifice. She gave trusting that God would see and bless it. She gave purely out of love. 

If Jesus is impressed by a poor widow’s offering will He not be touched by your gift? If He can take a little boy’s box lunch and multiply it to feed multitudes, can’t He take your gift and use it powerfully? Take your eyes off the coins in your hand; let go and give freely. Share those treasures you hold inside. Tell of what God has done. Impart the lessons learned. Reveal your precious heart. Someone needs to hear. 

There are hungry people in your life, and you are the fresh, loaf of bread. Offer yourself freely, allow Him to break you and minister to these needy ones.

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Soul Sister Series #5, The Pursuing Woman



          

Caleb, Othiniel, and Acsah are three family members who simply believed what God promised; that He would give them every place wherever they set their feet. They refused to stand on the sidelines; these three pursued after their inheritance. 

Caleb was eighty five years old when he stood in front of Joshua and proclaimed, “I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day…The Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as He said.”

Caleb witnessed what happens when people give in to fear. He and Joshua were the only ones who stood strong in front of the wavering Israelite spies and dared to believe God’s promise. His inheritance delayed for forty years, he wandered in the wilderness watching his people die one by one. Nevertheless he never forgot God’s promise. He conquered the land promised and settled there.

Caleb refused to allow fear and unbelief to keep him from possessing what was his. Is it any wonder he would be kind of picky about who would marry his daughter Acsah?  He desired a son-in-law with a passion to match. So he put up a challenge. “I will give my daughter Acsah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Debir.” 

Othiniel took up the challenge, captured the city and married Acsah. Later God anointed him powerfully to be a judge over Israel forty years. 

How can Acsah remain apathetic with such a Father and Husband as Caleb and Othiniel? Their passion for God spilled over into her life. Her heart is revealed in just a few verses. 

Her inheritance included land in the Negev, which is a dry wilderness land. Acsah desired more than just her inheritance. She urged her husband to ask Caleb for more. Apparently Othiniel felt it wasn’t his place to do so. So Acsah went herself and sought out her Father.  

“Do me a special favor, since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water.” Joshua 15:9

Acsah didn’t allow Othiniel’s hesitation to deter her. She was determined to go after what she needed.  She could have given in to doubts. Perhaps she should settle for what she had. After all wasn’t this a bit audacious?  Wouldn’t her Father be awfully put out by her request? Nevertheless she approached Caleb without any reservations. 

 Doubts, fear, and unbelief can loom large. For too many years I’ve allowed them to dictate my actions. I’ve settled for less; hesitated taking a step into my inheritance. I’ve faltered at the giants and fortified cities. I hate to admit it, but I was slow to apprehend the truth.  I look back now and wonder why? How could I give in to my insecurities? Why did I wait so long? Yet to flog myself over past failures is a waste of time and energy. Like Acsah I yearn for more and I desire to aggressively pursue my God, regardless of my insecurities and what people do or don’t do. 

I want to be a bold, confident woman like her. I desire to walk in my inheritance. 

Because of her boldness, Caleb generously gave her the upper and lower springs. He gave her more than she asked for. If such an earthly Father could give this way, “How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him?” Matthew 7:11

This pursuing of God’s promises is what made Acsah a perfect model of what it means to be a confident woman of God.  She wasn’t satisfied with anything less.  Are you settling for less?

Are you aware of what is your inheritance through Jesus? Do you know who you are in Christ? 

Ephesians 1:3 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are YES in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:20

This is your inheritance:

In Christ, I am a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 
In Christ, there is no condemnation. Romans 8:1
I am a conqueror through Christ.  Romans 8:37
I can do everything because Christ strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 
I stand firm in Christ, He anointed me. 2 Corinthians 1:21
I have redemption and forgiveness of sins. Ephesians 1:7
I am God’s workmanship; created to do good works. Ephesians 2:10
I can approach God with freedom and confidence; my prayers are effective. Ephesians 3:12
I am a daughter of the Most High God and an heir. Galatians 4:7

Dear sister, do you walk in your inheritance? It’s one thing to believe it, another to pursue after it. A bold, confident woman such as Acsah is terrifying to the enemy. Why do you think he works so hard to deceive you? Sometimes you have to fight to apprehend the truth. It’s easier to remain in the wilderness because it’s less risky. In the Old Testament, not to desire the land or fight for it was to doubt God’s faithfulness. 

Not all the Israelites fought for the land promised. An incident in Joshua 18 brings this to light. It says in verse 2 that the country was brought under their control, but there were still seven tribes who had not yet received their inheritance. I can feel the frustration in Joshua’s voice as he asks, “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?” 

I ask you the same question: How long will you wait till you believe the promises and take possession of what is yours?  It is time to push aside anything that would cause us to waver in our pursuit. It is time to shut our ears to the enemy’s deceiving voice and confess the truth of our identity. Beloved, take what belongs to you and never be content. 

 I know what I am speaking of. Many times I have let down my guard and eased back, instead of fighting for what is mine. Before long I am in a dark pit; a result of believing the lies of the enemy. My Jesus asks, “Why are you putting yourself down? Why are you settling for less?” It is then that I raise my powerful weapons and I speak the truth. I step into my inheritance and push back the enemy.

I am certain more than ever that a Divine aggressiveness is needed. If I am not pursuing after my God, if I am not fighting for the truth, I am missing out on my inheritance. Thankfully the Holy Spirit has a spiritual cattle prod to quicken me. I need to be reminded many times of just who I am, and Who I belong to. I pray the passion and fire burn always within me. I won’t settle for the dry places; I desire the springs. I want all that God has for me. 

Can you identify? Has there been times when it’s hard to see the Truth, who you are in Christ? Have you struggled with insecurity like me? 

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Soul Sister's Series # 4, The Discontented Woman



The barren, desolate wilderness is treacherous for anyone passing through. For a runaway pregnant girl, it is deadly. At the beginning of her flight, anger empowered her, moved her steadily forward. Now the fury had spent itself and she realized her dilemma. Her foolish act placed herself and her unborn child into danger. The wilderness was an unmerciful place to the weak and feeble ones. 

It was becoming obvious there would be no search party. She glanced back now and then, expecting to see them coming after her. Why should she be surprised? Why would they care about a rebellious slave girl? Good riddance to trouble! Let her go back to Egypt. If the desert takes her first, so be it. 

The desert may claim her life, yet it was doing something else too. Any pretense of arrogance, of self-importance was stripped away. She now saw herself as she really was; a wretched woman; weak, rebellious and contentious. Perhaps she deserved to die. 

The barren wilderness has a way of exposing our weaknesses and faults. We lose control, and we don’t feel strong and confident anymore. Those pretenses we work so hard to maintain are stripped away, and we feel vulnerable and powerless. We see that truly we are poor and needy of spirit. 

I remember well experiencing a spiritual wilderness like this. I call it my winter of discontent. The people I depended on to meet my need for approval and love disappointed me over and over again. Either they weren’t available or just not responsive. The ministries I led weren’t being attended and I interpreted that as rejection. Perhaps I had done something wrong to be snubbed. 

I began to notice a subtle shift in my attitudes. I lost my temper at work and even at home. I withdrew from people, fearing their rejection. I found myself in a barren wilderness and I didn’t like what it was doing to me. I didn’t like what I saw in myself. 

I was desperate for change. I felt like a piece of burnt toast, and I knew I needed help soon. An opportunity arose for me to escape to a personal retreat. Escape I did, at least that’s how it felt at first. Perhaps going to a cabin in February isn’t appealing to many people, but it drew me like a vacation to Hawaii. 

I went alone, feeling misgivings, wondering if I was being selfish leaving my family. Yet God had me right where He wanted me. Now I was free from distractions and I could hear His voice. He had much to say. 

Up ahead Hagar spied an oasis of green that indicated a spring. She quenched her thirst and rested. She felt so strongly about fleeing the camp, she didn’t care about the consequences. Now she began to waver, wondering what her next move should be. She then heard the voice. 

“Hagar, servant of Sarah, where have you come from and where are you going?” 

Have these questions ever rung in your mind? Have you ever just blew it and wondered how I got here and now where can I go from here? Have you ever spent time despising yourself? I’ll raise my hand along with yours. Yes, unfortunately I’ve been there, done that and bought the T-shirt. 

Hagar was ashamed to admit why she fled yet how could she hide from Almighty God?

Abraham and Sarah tried to fulfill God’s promise of a son by their own efforts and included her into their plan. She conceived with Abraham. Her pregnancy definitely improved her status in the clan. She went from a lowly slave now to carrying her master’s child. 

Every chance she got, she popped an attitude and flaunted her pregnancy, especially in the face of barren Sarah. 

Things turned ugly. Sarah mistreated her badly until she had enough and fled.

Where was she going? Her intention was to go back to Egypt. Yet would things be better there? Truth be told, her life was altered now. Hagar had no answers. She couldn’t justify her actions. The Lord saw behind her tough, independent mask and saw the ugliness, saw her inadequacies. He saw it all. 

Yet God sought after her. He found her and gave a promise to bless her offspring. He had a purpose for a selfish, prideful slave girl. He breathed life into a desolate wilderness. He lifted a head bowed low. She experienced God in such a personal and intimate was she even gave Him a new name. 

“She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her, ‘You are the God who sees me’, for she said I have 
now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13 NIV

Hagar I am sure wasn’t the same after this encounter with the God who sees. God sent her back to Sarah. She was able to go back to the same circumstances, but with a new perspective, with new strength, and a fixed assurance that God knows her and loves her. 

Why would God desire such a woman as this? Why would He desire me? I know He does, yet I will never understand why. I’ve been known to pop an attitude now and then. I have been prideful and selfish. I’ve indulged in depressing pity parties much too long. Yet He still comes to meet me and speaks such tender words. How can I hold myself back from such a powerful love as this? 

I was blaming others for my troubles, just like Hagar blamed Sarah. But the real issue was a fierce need for approval. My need wasn’t being met, bottom line: it could never be fully met. My spiritual wilderness exposed these inadequacies and left me feeling vulnerable and weak. Yet my discontentment with myself proved to be the beginning of a new growth spurt in my spiritual life. 

This discontentment is actually a great blessing. Without it I would be content with the status quo. I would be satisfied with my position and with who I am. I wouldn’t experience the lavish grace of God, or know Him in a more intimate way. 

This makes our discontentment a Divine thing. Its purpose is to turn us toward God. It deepens our relationship with Him. Yet the enemy wants to use it to his advantage as well. He would rather we waste time and energy lamenting over failures and flogging ourselves in punishment. 

When our focus is turned inward, we alienate ourselves from God. When we feel sufficient time has passed, we ceased punishing ourselves and then turn to Him ragged and beat down. 

Why not turn to Him at first? Why don’t we admit to Him we are poor and needy of spirit? Wouldn’t this save us much heartache? Surely His heart’s desire is for us to come quickly to Him. Aren’t His arms always open in welcome? 

Yet even when we choose to alienate ourselves, He still seeks after us. He meets us in the lonely, barren places and draws us back to Him. I have always found Him to be this way even when I am like Hagar. 

I entered my cabin retreat with my faith shaken and my head bowed low. I left with a new assurance of His love and fresh strength to face what He called me to do. Just like Hagar, He met me in my wilderness. He didn’t abandon me, or cast me aside in frustration. He still had a purpose for me. He still desired me.