After a long silence, Sylvie interrupted my reverie. “Giselle, what are you thinking?”
“I don’t know,” I muttered. I hugged knees to chest. The chill of the winter day had long since seeped through all my layers of clothes. After another long silence, I flung my limbs back down in frustration. “Can we get out of here?”
“Am I glad you asked! It’s a lot colder out here than I thought it would be.”
Before we set off, Sylvie drew me into a hug. “Thanks, I needed this.”
“I don’t get it. You needed me?”
“I needed the reminder that I’m not alone in my sin, that God still loves me. God put the words in my mouth, but they were for me too.”
I pondered all Sylvie had said as we trudged back through the crackling leaves in the Hollow and back to the Volleyball House.
“Well, here we are,” she said. “Do you want to come in and talk some more? I think everyone else is at dinner.”
"I guess so.”
We removed our outerwear and settled in to the living room.
"What you said out there. It sounds too good to be true,” I said.
“Maybe it does, but remember, it’s not something I’m making up. Jesus called God ‘Abba’ – the equivalent of Daddy in his language. And so did Paul.”
I bit my lip and looked away. It was hard to shake the memory of my Daddy's reaction to wrecking his Miata.
“Giselle, do you truly regret having sex with Brad?”
“You know I do.”
“Well, then beating yourself up about it a waste of energy. You may think it’s what you deserve, but that’s a lie. Talking to me about it is good, but there’s someone who it would be even better to talk to.”
I furrowed my brow. “Who? Ian? The campus chaplain?” Suddenly I wasn’t as keen on the idea of humiliating myself in front of anyone else.
“No, silly – I meant prayer. I know that God’s already forgiven you, but something tells me that you don’t know it, not really. The only thing to do is to talk to Him about it right away. He’ll remind you of the truth of his love and protect you from Satan’s fiery darts. Does that sound okay?”
I nodded. “I guess it’s worth a try, but I wouldn’t know where to begin. Will you pray for me?”
“I’ll start, but jump in when you’re ready, okay?”
As Sylvie knelt down, I had second thoughts. Why did I ask for this? Was there a way to back out?
She grabbed my hands and bowed her head. She said some words, but my panic drowned them out. Finally she squeezed my hand. “Giselle, sweetie, your turn.”
"Our Father,” I began, not knowing what else to say. Silence hung thick in the air for several minutes. Then all at once, I was given the words to say. “Jesus called you Abba. Is it all right if I call you Daddy too?”
A tingle ran through me and I felt more than heard God answer. My daughter, my beloved daughter, welcome home.
This time, I didn’t brush it off as imagination. I knew it was true, and I knew just what to say in response.
"Daddy, I made a big mistake, and I’m really hurting. Sylvie says I can run right to you with it. I’ve been running away from you, not toward you. I wanted to hide until I was good enough. I wanted to earn your love, but I finally realize that I had it all along.” As I talked, a warmth settled around my heart. “Thank you, Jesus. I love you!” I cried out.
I squeezed Sylvie’s hands, and she took up the thread of conversation once more. We continued praying, each taking turns offering thanks and praise to our God who forgives and forgets, a God who in His almighty loving-kindness answers even the smallest prayers of His children.