A few weeks after we arrived to America, my father took me to the Christian school where I would be going to school. I was 8 years old, and I remember walking into the school building and seeing this enormous wall painting of Jesus walking in a beautiful garden surrounded by children from all over the world. His face beamed with joy and the children looked to him with adoration.
Something welled up in my heart then … I wanted to be one of the children holding Jesus’s hand and walking next to him.
I didn’t know it or understand fully back then – but I was accepted, wanted and loved long before I entered this world. It didn’t matter to Jesus that I was a Peruvian Indian from the Andes Mountain. I didn’t have to prove myself by how much education I received or by how I looked. My worth did not come from the color of my skin, my looks or my achievements … but the journey to really get that in heart has been a long one.
I mention this because for years, I was ashamed of my ethnic heritage and of where my family came from. I lived with a sense of shame and at the worst points it led to depression. But God has set me free and continues to set me free.
I am learning that when I look to my Heavenly Father, I know He sees me as a beautiful woman, loved and accepted and I know it has nothing to do with me, but everything with who He is – a kind, loving Father who sees me washed in the precious blood of Jesus – and because of that I’m perfect in His eye.
Not long ago, I went back to the Christian school, where today my niece goes to school and the mural of Jesus and the children is still there. My nephew, who was with me sat himself in front of it, and I took a picture.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever … His love never changes. I wish I knew how much Jesus loved me back then, but praise God I know better today. And yet even what I know now is just a drop in the bucket. It will take eternity to fully understand God’s great love for us.
And in my heart, I’m a child again (for aren’t we all really a child at heart?) and I reach out to hold Jesus’s hand and His love fills my heart.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1