Everyone wants to be claimed. To belong. To be wanted and loved without condition. A lot of people get that foundational need first met in their families. But when we don’t have a good family life, we often turn to friends who become family.
One of my “best friends” in high school was a girl who transferred in and only stayed for one year. During that year, we were inseparable. She was a year older and wiser, and she took it upon herself to teach me about older guys and better make-up and anything else she thought I was lacking in life. I let her “teach” me because it was amusing and it made her happy. She said that I taught her about faith and how to stop giving herself away to older guys. We were an interesting pair.
But we had a lot of fun together, and it was great to have a BFF. Or at least I thought it was. She would often tell me how glad she was that she had transferred to our school, that she had always needed a best friend like me to help her in life. We’d be best friends forever, she said. Our kids would be best friends. It would be grand. And then she gutted me.
We were out playing pool one weekend and my friend ran into someone she knew. He asked who I was, so I started to introduce myself and say that I was her best friend. But she interrupted and said, “Oh, she’s just some girl from school. I’m just letting her hang out with me tonight. Figured I could help her meet some cool people.”
Oh, my broken heart. The person I thought had become my closest friend was ashamed to claim me in public.
She transferred again the next week, and we didn’t keep in touch. I didn’t know if it was possible to bounce back from that night, but I was too humiliated to try anyway. If someone doesn’t want to claim me, I wouldn’t dare try to make them. Oh, the shame. If my self-worth issues weren’t mounting before, they definitely were then. Was I not worth claiming?
But of the things I love about Christ, one stands very close to the top: He claims me. Loudly and with fervor. In front of everyone. This is what Easter means. He went to the cross and conquered death so that He can say I am His. He has never been ashamed of me. I grasped on to that truth and used it as a balm for my wounds. I struggle so much to relate to God because I am such a physical person–I need to touch and be touched in relationships. I want to see Him in the flesh, to be able to lay my head in His lap and hold His hand. I suspect I will always feel this tension until we get to the face-to-face. But I can keep plowing through it because I know where my claim lies: my Beloved is mine, and I am His.
One day I’m going to stand before God, and I’m confident that Christ will say, “Hey, God, she’s with me.” And I will never have been more thankful to be claimed.