Welcome to Imperfect Prose on Thursdays, where we blog about redemption! This week’s post is by IP Team Member Brenna Zeskiger D’Ambrosio.
I think I might be like Saul. I was listening to a sermon as I cleaned my kitchen, and as the words were spoken aloud through my speakers, the weight of them fell heavy on me. The difference, the preacher said, between David and Saul was that David understood, truly knew, how much he was loved by God. Saul and David both did horrible things, but what made the difference, ultimately, was David’s sense deep down that he was beloved.
What is that? What is it to really know that God loves you? To not doubt that the Creator of all delights in you? When I became a mother, I knew more. And I instantly knew that God loved my girls.  That He sang over them. That He held them in the palm of His hand. The words spoken and recorded in Zephaniah became real to me. My girls were beloved.  But me?
If you asked I would say I know God loves me. But 35 years into this walk, I don’t know if I really have felt it. 
Just saying that makes me feel horrible. How dare I say something so dismissive? So trite.  I don’t want to say it aloud as it negates all the amazing ways God has shown up and proven Himself over and over and over. It’s bad to even think. (And it is also another reason why I shouldn’t be surprised that I don’t feel it. Do you see this horrid cycle?)
But I don’t. I don’t feel it. Not the way others seem to. And I want to. I want to know what it would be like to be confident of His love for me.
Pastor Jonathan Martin, who gave the sermon I heard wrote a book called Prototype. And in it he says the following:
We were conceived in delight and baptized into wonder before we even had a name. There was one who beheld us in our unformed substance, singing over us, delighting in us. Because the enchantment of divine love was there before we were born, it is native to us; we all have a primal desire inside of us to be the object of that delight, to be fully known before a God who celebrates us. Prototype, 22.
What would it be like to feel this? To have the knowledge of this tattooed across our hearts?
I grew up in a Pentecostal church. There were always words of knowledge, loud prophetic utterances, and healing. People cried and laughed and got slain in the Spirit. I would watch it happen to the left of me, and to the right. In front of me, and behind. But very rarely to me. And since then I have a fear that God will pass over me. Pass by me. So when they gave us directions on the second day of the women’s gathering, my stomach dropped to the floor.
We got in groups of four. We spent five minutes listening to what God was saying to us about the person on our right.  
I go into these things not expecting God to talk to me. I figure since I’ve been doing this Christian thing so long, that He’ll save those words of knowledge and the healing for others. It helps take away the disappointment and sadness when I am passed over, again.
She looked at me, when the time was up, and it was clear that she had something to tell me, but was confused.  “I hope this makes sense to you….”
She proceeded to tell me God gave her a picture. There was a woman standing in my kitchen with strawberry blonde hair. She was baking me cookies and making me tea. And she was so happy to see me. 
And here she paused before finishing. “It’s the Mother’s heart of God. God wants you to really know how much you are truly loved. Does this mean anything to you?”

I woke up this morning to see the sun peeking out over the trees as it made its ascent into the sky. This early in the morning the city is quiet with only the sound of the garbage trucks in the alley making their morning rounds. And as my feet stepped on the cool terra cotta tiles of my kitchen, I felt a presence. And the sunlight that was filling my kitchen with light began to wash over me and fill me with warmth.   
And I grabbed a cup of coffee and let myself stand a moment in the presence. I knew I was here to meet God. And in that moment I heard the word whispered, “Beloved.”

Brenna is a city-living, tender-hearted wife and mama to three little girls who encourage her daily to seek out the beauty in life. She loves travel, Diet Coke, homemade bread, and Indian food. There is always something cooking in her oven so stop on by. You will most likely find her either shuffling her girls off to an activity or cuddling with her family at home. She blogs about brokenness and redemption at Beautiful Things  (http://chicagomama-brenna.blogspot.com) and you can find her on Twitter at @chicagomama

every thursday, we gather together to celebrate redemption. here are the details:  

1. link up a post (old or new) that relates to redemption.
2. put the ‘imperfect prose’ button at the bottom of your post, so others can find their way back here 

(here’s the button code:
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3. read other’s prose, and encourage them!
 so won’t you join us, as we “walk each other home”? (ram dass)
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This year, I turn 30 on May 30th. Instead of a big party or presents, I’m hoping to raise $30,000 to build a classroom in Gulu, Uganda with Bob Goff and Restore International  As one way to meet this goal I’m hosting a remote 5K called LOVE RUNS on May 25th

The beauty of a remote 5k is you can run the race WHEREVER you are. I’m in Minneapolis, Minnesota, so I’ll be getting some runner friends together to run with me, but you could run (or walk) in your own neighborhood, with your own friends.

The other beauty is you can run (or walk) at whatever pace you want! 

You purchase your ticket here if you want to participate. The cost is $35 and includes a “Love Runs” t-shirt we can all wear while we run (inspired of course by Bob Goff’s Bestselling book Love Does). Make sure you sign up by May 11th to get your t-shirt in time! 

All proceeds go to to support my goal to build a classroom (half of a school) in Gulu, Uganda.

The day of the race, we’ll all take pictures of ourselves in our shirts, running and walking, and post them to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Use the hashtag #LoveRuns and feel free to tag me (@allyvest), Bob Goff (@bobgoff) or Restore International (@restoreintl) to help raise awareness. 

For more information, check out the event page here: http://loveruns.eventbrite.com/# or feel free to e-mail me at allison@vesterfelt.com

Thank you so much and hope to “see” you on May 25th!