“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more they were called, the more they went away from me….they did not realize that it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.” Hosea 11:1-4
"Think of God in a very big way. And if you do, that's too small! You can't think of anything more wonderful than this God. . . . God is so marvelously good, there is no word for it. So gentle. So considerate. So kind, so tender--so everything marvelous. That is God." Thomas Keating
The heart of the Father is to call each of us out of our own personal places of bondage. Places where we are limited in the beliefs we have about God and ourselves based on the way we were raised, our religious traditions, life events. Arguably the most significant factors in shaping our image of God are our early childhood experiences at the hands of caregivers and influential adults.
Letting go of our long-held assumptions is hard work! Yet I have found that times of solitude and silence where I listen for His love is one way that opens up for me the healing my soul longs for.
Just this morning, I was invited to linger a little longer with the Father, remembering the times I felt Him lift me to His cheek. What a beautiful sight it is to witness an exuberant adult lift a tiny child and affectionately kiss their chubby cheeks! I journaled about the dozen or so names of people that have welcomed me, celebrated me, lavished the love of the Father on me. I realized that is was God in them blessing me with their human kindness which healed me of self-doubt and insecurity during key moments of my life.
If you haven’t experienced this lately, I invite you to Exhale’s next silent retreat, an Advent Day of Reflection, Dec 6. He is calling you. Listen and be healed.