She turned to me after saying goodbye, her eyes reflecting his post-game letdown.
“He looks so sad,” her face showing a sympathetic frown. That’s when I knew it was time.
“Come here,” I said, motioning her into a hug.
As we stood in the middle of the gym floor, parents and students all strewn about talking, I hugged her and leaned close so no one could hear what I would say.
“I know you like him,” I could feel her head nod against mine in acknowledgment. “but you need to know that even though he picked her, it does not mean that you are any less beautiful or wonderful or valuable.”
I squeezed her and pulled back, looking into her eyes.
“And tonight,” I continued “when your heart is hurting over this, you need to know that’s me talking, but it’s also Jesus talking to you. And He loves you.”
She smiled a faint smile; her face was full of vulnerability, her cheeks flushed. I squeezed her hands as reassuringly as I could and turned toward the door. I knew not to linger with her heart so exposed.
There’s something incredibly freeing about being found out like that – to have someone say “I know that deep hurt of your heart, and it’ll be ok. This is not the end.” There is that awful red-faced moment where you realize you are known and then the sweet, sweet grace of knowing that this exposure is not meant to shame you. You are known in order to be loved. This is grace.
And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. -John 1:16
May we be reminded today that we are known and loved…grace.