You Are Loved | UMC YoungPeople
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February 2018

You Are Loved

By Abigail Parker Herrera (SCJ)

By Abby Parker Herrera

Psalm 139:1-18

I rarely tell “mom stories” when I preach or blog. It’s just not my style. But lately I’ve found myself thinking of my kids when I think about what others think of me. One night I sat with my youngest daughter sleeping in my arms and thought for the millionth time how perfect she is, how precious, beautiful, smart, and snuggly. When I say perfect, I don’t mean she does everything right, or is some crazy talented two year old. I just mean I love her for who she is. SHE is perfect. She doesn’t have to do anything special to be loved. I look at her closed eyes and her drooling mouth and truly understand this is how God sees me. That God loves me just for me.

I left her room feeling peace and wonder, and walked into a room with my 11-year-old step daughter. She was not feeling perfect. She’s coming into a hard age of figuring out what her skills are; how much she needs to work on reading or math or writing or dance. And she has people all around her telling her what her value is. Is she an A student or a C student? Is she saying the right things with her friends at lunch? Does she know about a certain song or has she seen a recent movie? Did she like it or not? Is she wearing the right clothes? She is trying to navigate everything carefully so people like her. It’s painful to watch because I see her just like I see my youngest. I look at her and see she is perfect. She is beautiful, smart, loving. She amazes me on a daily basis. And if I tell her all that, she will say I have to say those things because I’m her step mom.

Over time, we forget who we are. If you are young and reading this, let me tell you a secret: old people still worry about what people think of them. We still make decisions about our style, food, houses, and all sorts of things based on what we think others will think of those decisions. We measure our worth in the eyes of people around us; often in the eyes of people that aren’t even close to us. We need reminders.

Every Sunday at my church, we have a prayer of confession. It’s a time to say the list of things we know are wrong about us, or our country, or our church. We name the things we think make us unlovable. And then, the miracle happens. Most people don’t know it, but every Sunday after the prayer of confession, a miracle happens. We pray and then hear “You are forgiven.” In that moment, we Re-Member. We are put back together; with ourselves, each other, and God. We remember who we are and whose we are. We remember we are loved and forgiven. After that, we usually do something called “passing the peace” or “offering signs of peace” and that’s where we sometimes cover up the miracle that just happened. We maybe turn to a neighbor and mumble “peace be with you”. At my church, I don’t allow this. We share this good and miraculous news by turning to our neighbor and saying the peace of Christ: “You are loved. You are forgiven.” That’s who you are! All. The. Time.

We need to remember every day that we are not a list of accomplishments or what others think of us. We are children of God. We are loved and forgiven. When we remember that, it makes us free to love and forgive others. It makes us free to remind them of who they truly are; loved, forgiven, and free. You are the child sleeping that a mother calls precious and holy. You are ALWAYS loved that deeply. That is how you move through life.

You are Loved. You are Forgiven.

Practice telling yourself this daily. Try telling it to someone else.

You are Loved. You are Forgiven.

You are Loved, You are Forgiven.

You are Loved, You are Forgiven.

Peace be with you.