I've joined two Bible study groups here. Both are doing studies by Beth Moore: A Heart Like His and Believing God. These studies are both very timely for me, and I'm seeing that God has brought me exactly where I need to be. I've lived a long time trying to "serve Him" without really embracing Him or learning to live a life of true worship--I've been doing dead works. And all my dead works keep me busy because I don't really believe that God cares for me--at least, not all of the time. Much of the time I believe that He just wants me to do "the right things" and then He will reward me (because I was "good"). But that is salvation by works, and works don't save. I have a serious need for a new foundation.
One of the things I've been struggling with is feeling like I'm just too far away from God for Him to love me, like I could just become too messed up and maybe He's just mad and wants to fix me. Somewhere I knew that this is immature thinking, but it wasn't getting through on the heart/spirit level.
God brought some things to mind yesterday morning that really made truth a lot more real to me. He showed me my kitties and how they all respond differently to my affection... Sierra seeks it out almost constantly and will put herself between me and whatever Im' doing in order to get petted. Inca comes near and calls and then gets responsive when I make myself available and call to her. Sable doesn't seek my affection very often and in fact used to be aggressive to anyone who approached her. But I love all my kitties equally. I would never abandon them or give them away, and I show my affection to them in ways that are meaningful to them. For Inca that means sitting beside her and stroking her firmly, rubbing her head. For Sable it means sitting on the floor so she can approach freely, and it means being alert to whether she can tolerate being petted at the moment. For Sierra, it means scooping her up and holding her close to my heart... And if one of the cats gets out, even into the stairs, I put the others in a place where they will be safe and I go and hunt down whoever got out. So if I can do all that for my kitties, why is it so hard to believe that God feels affection for me and searches for me when I "get out?"