"You can go up there and get that hug. He's calling you, Rachael."
Those were the words my husband had just leaned over to whisper in my ear as he gave me a side hug. We were in a room full of people, and for the second time that week, we were being offered the chance to go up front and get a hug from God through one of the leaders.
I couldn't make myself step forward, though I felt God pulling me so strong to go get that hug. I'm certain I've never felt his pull on my heart as much as I did that day.
Even after that week that changed my life and my walk with God forever, finally having a heart knowledge of how much my Daddy God loves me, I've thought about that hug. I know I'm His princess, and that I'm his favorite, and that I am really loved by the One who created me and gave me the precious gift of life.
This year, my prayer has been for God to show me how to trust him. It took my dad going to meet Him a month ago that God revealed the very root of the trust that I can't seem to find.
I have raged at God; I have raged at my dad. His death revealed things I've suspected were going on my entire life but never knew for certain until the week after his death. Things that I thought I forgave years ago rose to the surface with a fiery fury that would now be brought to the light where my healing could begin. Buried hurt hurts even more when it gets pulled into the light like a thousand stabs in your heart from a jagged, rusty knife. But it's the root of my inability to trust.
So I'm sitting in church a few weeks ago, and the congregation is singing a song about freedom. And that's when I heard him as clear as if he were standing right next to me.
"I'm sorry, Rachael. I am so sorry I couldn't love you the way you needed me to, that I wasn't the father that you needed. I couldn't love you because I wasn't able to fathom God's love for me."
Yeah, I lost it. Me, who hates crying in front of anyone, especially in a crowd of people, lost it. And then God said to me, "And that's why you couldn't go get that hug from me, too. You saw me as you saw your earthly father, through that hurt you feel right now."
Slowly but surely, my heart is being repaired. Little by little, my Father is leading me. The best part is that now I have my earthly father in my great cloud of witnesses to cheer me on as I run my race. And if God decides to ever again offer me that chance to go get that hug from Him on this side of heaven, you can bet I'm running to him unashamed.