To be "beloved"

What a weird, backwards gift to know through and through that I am empty . . . empty enough for Him to fill me. The fact that I am limited means I am made to overflow. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13 NIV) ~from Shaunie's Up the Sunbeam
I see it all around me...and I still don't believe it. Does anyone believe it, about themselves, I mean? Maybe it will take another 30 years to seep through the cracks of the brokenness, the thick skin of disbelief, the thousand lies we've believed about how worthless we are, the even the Bible truths that feed the dichotomous picture of humans as the image of God yet fallen and depraved?

And then, too, actions always speak louder than words. We feel beloved when it's the kiss and wild hug in the park, the unexpectedness in the joy of just being together overwhelming all those walls we've built up. We don't feel beloved when the loving hand suddenly slaps, the one who speaks the deepest love also turns suddenly, and it's anger and venom. This endless cycle, ashes, ashes into beauty, beauty for ashes, repeat.

The wedding day in the cold snow when you clutch each other as tightly as two humans can, and the smiles spill out and the nerves fade, and you feel almost purely joy for a brief window, no in between, no mixed emotions. Just bliss. How do you get back there? To the pure emotion?

When she chooses, despite every past difficulty and sister squabble and friction in shared space, to hold your hand as you walk into the water together. That's beloved. Beauty for ashes. The transformation in the moment, the moment you can see you are beloved.

For thirteen years I have loved Jesus Christ and in that time I’ve listened to many folktales about Whose and who I was. The voices of those story-tellers waxing long had mostly belonged to folks who were afraid. Frightened men and women who had learned to abandon the precious limp of their belovedness. I look down at my naked feet and stutter a meager prayer of thanksgiving that I am numbered with the afflicted whose gait testifies of the one true story of the beloved. ~Laure at Love Poems to God
"My sins, my sins, my Savior!
How sad on thee they fall,
Seen through thy gentle patience
I tenfold feel them all.

I know they are forgiven;
But still their pain to me
Is all the grief and anguish
They laid, my Lord, on thee."
~ quoted by Spurgeon in "Faith in All It's Splendor"~

True hope never minimizes a problem in order to make it more palatable and easily managed. For the Christian, hope begins by recognizing the utter hopelessness of our condition and the necessity of divine intervention, if we are to experience true joy. Any personal change that can be achieved solely through human, in contrast with supernatural, intervention will neither satisfy nor change our heart. A proper focus on the deep wound is therefore neither negative nor does it promote despair. Rather, it sets the stage for the dramatic work of God. Love can be defined as the free gift that voluntarily cancels the debt in order to free the debtor to become what he might be if he experiences the joy of restoration. Repentance is the process of deeply acknowledging the supreme call to love, which is violated at every moment, in every relationship - a law that applies even to those who have been heinously victimized...Love silences explanation, penetrates excuses, and humbles the heart, preparing that heart to be captured by the gospel of grace. (from Wounded Heart and accompanying work-book by Dan Allender)