Being Cherished

Being Cherished

Many years ago, I was sitting in a counselor’s office completely brokenhearted over my marriage. The counselor was a nice person, but she had no real guidance to offer. Her therapeutic approach involved hours of long-faced listening. After that, her advice was simple: “The answers are within you.”

Right. I wouldn’t have been there if that were so.

When you are broken, you stumble around looking for some kind of solace. I was vulnerable, and unfortunately, I received a lot of bad advice in those days.

But God is a God who sees. Hagar knew that. (Gen. 16:13)

On my last appointment with that particular counselor, something took me by surprise. She had me lean back on her couch and asked me to close my eyes. What now, I thought. She said, “I want you to think about your Higher Power, whatever that is for you.” I argued inside. Why was I paying good money for this?

But as she left me alone, I entered into a vision. Somehow, I was standing on a hillside facing the Sea of Galilee. Shining water lapped along the shore about fifty yards away. A warm spring-like wind sifted through tall grasses, and the sunshine felt soothing on my skin.

In that beautiful scene, Jesus strolled up to me. He wore a white woven tunic. I felt comfortable with Him as if He were my own brother. He opened His arms, and I leaned into Him, placing my head against His chest. He didn’t say a word, but embraced me as I wept. He seemed to have all the time in the world.

Soon, I realized my tears were not just about the sorrow in my life. They were also tears of feeling known and understood, and even cherished by God. It filled a longing deep within me, a need that my husband was unable to meet at the time.

Have you ever felt cherished by anyone?

That kind of love has the power to break the heavy yoke, bind up open wounds, cover a multitude of mistakes, and fill the gnawing emptiness in our souls. In truth, aren’t we all looking for that True Love?

God came to me in a vision. I hadn’t experienced that before. I was undone. I’m not sure how long I laid on her couch. It could have been minutes, but to me it seemed like an hour. I didn’t want it to end. Still, our time was up, and she tapped me on the shoulder. I snapped out of it, but I left her office dazed and unexpectedly light-hearted.

It just goes to show that God can meet you anywhere.

A week later, I went to an Al-Anon meeting. Someone raised the topic of having a Higher Power, and the discussion focused on what that meant to different people. I told them about my vision, struggling for the right words to fully describe it. The room went completely silent. I wondered if I’d said something out-of-line, until several members came to me afterwards. They said my story was captivating. They’d never heard anything like it and wanted to know more.

I don’t know how visions happen, anymore than I understand how dreams form in our minds at night. What I do know is this: You have to start from a place of faith, believing that God in His mysterious ways can intersect your reality. It’s like putting up the sail on a boat, because you believe the wind will come. Secondly, God is drawn to the broken-hearted, as well as those who are humble and contrite. Faith and the condition of our hearts can create the right atmosphere for God to speak, but those things never limit Him either.

Many years later, I wrote down a prophetic word for another woman who was angry and depressed.  As I reread the notes today, the vision God gave me so long ago came back in startling definition. Though Jesus said no words in the vision, this was essentially the message…

“Come into My embrace for you have not rested for a long, long time. I am very present. Let Me hold you as you tell Me one by one the sorrows of your past. Take all the time that you need, for I will listen. And one by one, each scene of pain, as you pour it out will be washed away. And then you will have room in your heart for the joy I have to give you. This is a necessary work. Remembering will cause mourning, but blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. ”

Can you hear the tenderness in Jesus’s voice? Can you feel what it’s like to be cherished by God in your pain and sorrow? That is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Please share your experience by commenting here.


  1. Hi Susan…

    I am just sitting here in the car in this very wet and cold day with a coffee during my break as a Caregiver before going to help someone else in their own home making sure their heating is on and they have a hot meal for the day… When I stop to read your message. Just to let you know that it has touched my heart and gave me comfort all the way to the UK….Thank you

    • Maria,
      You are so welcome. It is nice to know we are connected though there are many miles. Such a world we live in! Amazing. I pray that you will not just feel the tenderness of God’s heart for you but that your cup would overflow with it and splash all those dear people in your care. That when you walk in the door, the very atmosphere changes. Thinking of you! Susan

  2. One morning as I was doing my stretches on the floor I wondered, “Gee, what does God, being God THINK about?” It staggered me. I mean, He already knows everything and I mean everything. It occurred to me to ask Him. So I did. “God, what are you thinking about right now?” And His answer threw me a loop. Very simply with a tone of Love He said, “You.” He said it as if to say, “What? Do you have to ask?” I arose and in that knowledge it felt like I walked a few inches off the ground all day long. It’s good you asked, Susan, because I am renewed by the memory. Wish I could remember this one 24/7, but alas….
    the very human Suzee B

  3. It took years for me to let down my defenses against feeling emotion… to let myself be vulnerable instead of guarded and inwardly defiant… to let Jesus come into my secret rooms of pain and lies and self-loathing. But I finally got quiet, and listened, and asked Him to show up. And He had so much compassion, so much redemption, so much to show me about myself, the way He saw me. I will never be the same.
    It is painful and difficult to walk alongside another woman who is much like I was, but even more guarded, prideful, defiant, and angry at God and everyone she comes into contact with. She wants to be comforted and loved, but she pushes everyone away. She wants someone to help her, she wants GOD to provide in the form of someone’s helping hands, but rejects them when they come. She is hurt and bitter and lonely and scared and full of rage. I am about the only person she continues to communicate with, and I feel God placed me in her life to be someone who won’t abandon her, no matter how she behaves. Sometimes it feels a bit abusive, because she gets mad at me since I can never fullfil that empty place inside. I know only Jesus can do that, but she refuses Him, says anything to do with God just brings back all the rules and pain and voices that beat her up. I feel something like the counselor in your story, who had compassion and patience, but nothing much to offer in way of real help. My friend asked me, “How do I know what Truth is, when I don’t really believe anything God says, or even anything you say?” And I responded unhelpfully with “All I know is that the Truth is inside of you…”
    But at this point, she doesn’t want to hear Truth, she wants to fight against it, so confused by the battle going on inside. The historic voices in her head warring against the longings of her soul.

    I’m not sure why I lay all this out there, except that your story reminded me of this present situation, and I feel like the inadequate counselor… what I really want to do is gently lay my friend down, ask her to think about her “Higher Power”, and leave her alone to find Him. Yet I do not want to leave her alone in the world, with no human contact she can trust. She admits that I am the only one she has ever been able to be truly honest with– and I haven’t told her she’s wrong, that’s it all her fault, and I haven’t told her what she should do with her life. I haven’t been mad when she’s been angry and resentful toward me. I haven’t given up on her, even though she says she ruins every relationship. I keep asking Jesus to give me grace and perseverance in abundance, to continue to be a safe place she can turn to. I don’t give her money, don’t support her in any way except emotionally and spiritually. And of course, I love her, and can see her beauty, courage, and suffering.

    Yet… I feel there is something I’m missing. Perhaps I am too passive, and just need to tell her to reach out for the One who can meet her in the depths of her pain, like no human being can. Who can cherish her completely, like no other. She says she doesn’t want Him…. but I know she does. You may or may not have some words of advice or encouragement for me to pass on to this hurting and lost soul, whom I love… what do you do to help someone who is too scared to let Love come in?

    • Nikole…I am very moved by your struggle. I would encourage her to lay down and let God Speak to her. You never know what might happen. But having said that, some wounded people don’t really want to be healed and whole. Keeping others busy with their problems garners attention, and that feels like love. Does she want to progress out of her stuck places? Is she willing to forgive people who’ve hurt her? Will she look at her part in problems? If not, she may be stuck in victim mode. I hope you have healthy boundaries so you don’t get exhausted emotionally. You can’t really help people who don’t want help. Praying for you to have wisdom from God. Love, Susan