I lost him two weeks ago. It still seems surreal. Maybe because I loved him so much. Maybe because He lived in Chattanooga and there has always been distance between us. But there is no longer distance keeping me from him. Now there’s only time. Time between now and when I will see him again. Now there’s only time. And to be honest, I’m not ok with that. Because the distance was great, but the time is greater. And I want it to be tomorrow. I want to see him tomorrow.
I met Harold four years ago. Four years ago this weekend actually. It seems much longer. He was the kind of person who made you think you’d known him always. But it was only four short years ago.
And four years ago, I was in a lost spot. I was hurting. I didn’t know who I was, or who wanted me. I didn’t know where I belonged or what I was supposed to be. And so, to tell me who I was, the Lover of my soul sent me to a Christmas party. Of course I didn’t see it that way. I had gotten a call from my friend Cameron who told me his family wanted to invite me to their Christmas. I didn’t understand why but I also didn’t care. Because I was broken, and broken people need people. I needed people. So I took Cameron up on his offer and I drove to Chattanooga. I drove the miles, and pulled up to a little farm house on the Georgia border. I walked into that farm house and into a warmth that was much more than the temperature of the room. And that is where I met him, Cameron’s grandpa, Harold. He and his wife Lil didn’t just take me in, they took me to heart. They opened their house and their heart to me, and just like that I was family. And at the end of the night, I was invited back. As often as I wanted to come. I was family. It was that easy.
The next year, I drove back to that farm house in Chattanooga. I drove back to that family. But I still wasn’t able to see myself as more than a friend. Maybe a good friend, but just a friend. But that year, that was the year that they decided to take a family picture on the back porch. And like a good friend, I stood to the side, as the family got organized. I stood to the side until Harold came over to me and told me that I was family. I was family and I was going to be in that picture. And I wasn’t just going to be in the picture, I was going to stand next to him. Because I was his grand daughter. He loved me. And that was the end of it. It didn’t matter who I saw myself as. He saw who I was, and he stuck to it. He claimed my identity even when I couldn’t.
He claimed my identity even when I couldn’t.
He claimed my identity even when I couldn’t.
He did what Jesus did. The Lover of our souls. The Author of our souls. The Author of our purpose. The Author of all we will ever be. He claimed our identity even when we couldn’t. Because the enemy, he wants to destroy me. He wants to destroy you. He wants to destroy us all. And so he speaks into our ears and into our hearts. And he tells us we are nothing. He tells us we are nothing to be loved, nothing to be valued, nothing to be wanted. And we believe him. He holds up glass and we see it like a mirror. We see through it and we believe what we see. We see pain, we see ugly, we see all things that are wrong. And it is all we will ever see, until Jesus, the one who walks into our lives and loves us even when we don’t see ourselves as lovable, until He comes and shows us truth. He claims our identity even when we can’t. And He doesn’t hold up glass, He holds up truth. Truth that we are beautiful. Truth that we are the lily among thorns. Truth that we are the Beloved’s and He is ours. Truth that we are wanted, desired, loved with an everlasting love. Not for what we’ve done, but for who we are. In all our sin, in all our lacking. We are loved with an everlasting love.
He claimed our identity even when we couldn’t. He claims our identity even when we can’t. He is love. He is the Lover of our souls. You see, we are who we are, not because we have proven it. We are who we are because He has proven it.
I’m going to miss Harold so much. It didn’t feel like enough time with him. But I guess my friend Greg is right, it doesn’t matter how much time I got with him, it would never feel like enough. And even in the pain of loss, I can hold to truth. Just as Harold held to it. Just as Jesus holds to it. We are who we are, not because we have proven it. We are who we are because He has proven it.
He claims our identity even when we can’t.
Be loved, Beloved. Be loved.