‘I am the disciple Jesus loves’

It’s an incredibly bold claim that Elizabeth Fitch made at the women’s retreat last weekend. The disciple whom Jesus loves? That’s the phrase used in John’s gospel, probably to describe John himself. But when Elizabeth made that claim about herself, she wasn’t bragging or being arrogant. She was simply describing the transformation that God has brought about her as she has sought to answer what she calls “the ‘who am I?’ question.”

After years of trying to answer that question as a wife, an attorney, a mother, and any of a host of other identities, Elizabeth says God has brought her to a place where she can say, “I am God’s beloved child, and I am the disciple Jesus loves.” As someone who spends far more of my energy than is good for me managing people’s perceptions of me (or, more rightly, managing my perceptions of people’s perceptions of me), I found Elizabeth’s description of herself to be a compelling invitation to a beautiful kind of life. A beautiful, abundant life.

Some more gems from Elizabeth that I’m still pondering:

  • “I’m a lot less sophisticated than I used to be.” I love this description of being free to live as the person God made us to be, not who we think we should be.
  • “Can you dare to believe that God might just be an abyss of compassion?” What a powerful image. Often it seems too good to be true — and yet, as Elizabeth said, this is what we were made for.
  • Psalm 103:4 says that God crowns you with love and compassion. “Have you crowned yourself with love and compassion today? If not, why would you do less for yourself than God does for you?”

Interest piqued? Want to hear more? Talk to one of the 82 women who were on the retreat! And you ladies who were there: Share in the comments what you heard from God over the weekend!

(Photographs by Mary Ann Calhoun)