As the Pacific Northwest continues to shake off the cold and gray of a long, hard winter, Heather Casimere, first-year MA in Theology & Culture student, writes about a recent season of refreshment and rejuvenation. Heather reflects on the experience of remembering that she is beloved, so much so that it becomes an imperative: Be Loved.

Recently, I took time off from the grind of work and the process of emotional excavation of The Seattle School, to fly two states south to my native California. I flew into the Bay Area, then drove the three hours north to Redding, California, where the mountains meet the desert.

I was on my way to a four-day creativity conference at an emerging church, and doing so was not convenient. Doing so required that I take off a bit of time from work, spend money, fly down. Kiss the parentals and then drive three hours to the motel I’d secured on a grad school budget. This trip was so out of the way. So inconvenient. Not much of the healing that has happened throughout my life over the past several years has been convenient. It’s been costly. Up-ending. Uncomfortable. But oh, has it healed.

Not much of the healing that has happened throughout my life over the past several years has been convenient.

As I raced my way through the desert up Highway 5 to make it to the motel I would call home for the better part of the week, I prayed for a refreshing. In my mind’s eye, I could so easily see a waterfall, cascading down effortlessly over these brown shoulders. I desired a quenching, something akin to standing underneath a fount of water.

Every day I attended this conference, people of God spoke blessing and truth into each soul in attendance. I would attend workshops which addressed the creative process and the resistance of writing. I would duck back to the motel to squeeze in Mexican food and a quick recline by the pool in 90 degree sun, letting brown skin become darkened by hot kisses. I would return to the campus just in time for a worship which showered off lies until they ran down the drain; until only blessing remained.

Days later, I return to the Pacific Northwest, to a city that seems much brighter and warmer than I left it. The sun is out, which is incredible and just keeps the high of the conference going. The momentum of happiness and Vitamin D are just rolling. Roll on.

Yes, I spent four days in a Christian bubble in a land where the desert meets the mountains. Four days soaking in glorious sunshine. Jumping into icy pools. But more than that…I find I have a glow. I find myself met. I find myself full. Filled to the brim with beauty and prophecy and promise.

I have been met. He has seen who I am. He always has; it’s me who’s just beginning to realize it. The way that I am was brought about intentionally out of who He is. He created me this way. He celebrates the uniqueness of this creation. He laughs about it! As His kid, I am blessed despite what any other human being says. Despite what their opinion of me is. Despite whether or not they necessarily agree with the words I’m saying. I am, essentially, showered in love. Lies are finally showering away, and as I become free from their weight, I am emerging powerfully.

This is how I return: Sun kissed, yes. Vacation happy, for sure. But more than that, I find myself returning with an expanding awareness that lasts past the post-vacation glow:

A showering down, a realization, that I am Be*loved.