Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Love Realized

The next step…I’m sitting here feeling questions rise up in my head. It’s funny how when one chapter of our journey seems to come to a close as the seasons surely do come to an end and we wave “bye-bye.” (Girls…there is a plane flying overhead right this very minute!!!) It leaves us desiring the answer to “What’s next?”
I can easily at any one point in time make a list of things that may qualify for the next step but I often feel unsure of which item is THE one God desires for me to focus on. This happens in the simplest of ways each and every morning at times when I take my to -do list before my God. Is it just me or am I the only one who wrestles with what to do next?
Hmmm….then when I take a moment to be still I realize that I may be wrestling because I am stuck in my own agenda. Don’t we like to do things our own way??? Don’t we think about ourselves and our own situations way too much?? As I was praying this morning and even typing up my journal entry to my God this morning my kitty hopped up on the sofa (her new-found talent) and after exploring every crevice and dark hole around the cushions she nestled in next to me and has since fallen asleep.
Just as clear as I heard the airplane flying overhead a few minutes ago; I heard a click of a snapshot in my heart and a yearning to capture this moment. Just like the moments my boys first spoke “momma” and the moments they ventured out and took their first steps…it’s glorious moments like these that we choose to pause and capture deep within our hearts. I have a sense of realizing that God has moved everything in my surroundings to make it clear to me how much He loves me this particular moment!!!
HUSsssssssssssssHhhhhhh…it’s as if I hear my God nudging me to rest alongside Him nestled in His arms. Basking in His security and love and fully embracing that I am His daughter worthy of pure rest.
It’s as if He was right here speaking to me, ”You will know the next step when I speak it to you…and this next step is no step at all—just stay right here with me and rest.”
God surely gives us rest on every side of each step! (2 Chron 20:30)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Clumsy Steps Empowered by Comforting Arms

It is a delightful quiet morning. The only sound echoing in my living room is the tap of my fingers on the keyboard and the hum of my laptop. I’m sitting next to my adopted kitten nestled in a basket cuddling a borrowed teddy bear. After praying this morning I glanced over at her this morning sipping my coffee and tears inadvertently welled up in my eyes...
I recognize a bittersweet emotion rise up within me as I watched her clumsily sneak up on the not quite 2 foot tall canine member of our family comically named Zeus. These past weeks we have been so amused by our adopted kitten we named Princess Tiara because of the heart-shaped marking on her head. She was abandoned by her mother at about 3 weeks and missed out on so much rearing and modeling from her momma…especially the stealthy way of a cats’ playful pounce. She tries to lurk around the corner only to get scared of her own shadow and runs back into hiding. Then when she musters up enough gumption to venture out again she hears someone in the family cough and she stumbles over her own feet and rolls across the floor. She spends much of her time wearing herself out this way…striving to do what she was made to do.
Oh, how I feel that way…striving to do what I was made to do. It’s one thing not knowing what you were made to do and another to have an inkling and not follow it. I find it especially tough to follow this path of doing what you were made to do when you are stuck with feelings of being inadequate because your own childhood story may lack a bit of modeling or education or you fill in the blank.
Like my new little kitty, who is just so clumsy and fearful, I too find myself running to hide until I get the gumption to try again. The key I think is where we run to when life sends us stumbling over our own two feet. By something I cannot even explain…and a whole lot of God’s grace I realize it was He who reaches down every time with His loving arms and holds me! Our God loves us SO BIG! And He made us just the way we are…and everything about us He sees as perfect…perfect to do whatever we were made to do!
And just as my Princess Tiara runs to the basket to cuddle in the arms of a stuffed teddy bear to rest…I too have learned to run to my God’s arms to rest and just be. It is right here that I am learning that I am able to receive the courage and strength to take the next step.
My God rescues me and brings me to wide open places to run and play because He delights in me…AND fellow sojourner He delights in you too! I’m at a quiet state of just being this morning contemplating the next step God may have for me…I think Princess is ready to venture out again too…how about you?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Pot Is At the Well

This has been a long time coming...nudges from my God who has provided both private reminders and quiet thoughts of broken pots!

I've swept clean the garage of broken clay pots caused by my clumsy little hands and I think it’s funny that God has recently given me a picture of a broken pot and at the same time made me aware of my secret strives for perfection. God has freed me from so much of it; but there is still a side of me that desires for others not to see any of my junk, it’s just not something I want to run and do. You know, who doesn’t want to look good…or have their house tidied up before guests and if my heart were like a pot; I would want mine to be perfect, pristine and without blemish. I have a visual of some beautiful dishes my grandmother kept in her hutch that never saw a crumb of food on them and they were just so pretty!!
Frankly, I think it would be nice to just sit and be pretty at times—but really to have a whole pristine heart is more like my desire. Knowing my pot has been broken in numerous pieces and even though God has always glued it back together…it’s not perfect and remnants of the brokenness are evident with all of the cracks in my pot.
I do believe part of this is a God given desire…I have to believe this!!! For, He made me in His image and although not by my own ability, but by the Spirit who lives in me…I have to believe He has made me to yearn for holiness…the kind of holiness that only comes from being with Him in heaven.
But honestly, if it were up to me alone, I would have designed and protected my pot a bit differently. As I imagine how pristine and beautiful that I desire my pot to be…I am reminded in the depths of my Spirit that it is the cracks in my pot that have given me character and even have made me useful in this world—but only because God has gotten a hold of my cracked pot! With a cracked pot we may be tempted to hide our pot or even worse discard it naming it worthless…unless God gets a hold of our pot and gives us the strength to embrace the cracks!
Even thought I may struggle with embracing my own brokenness God gives me strength and my heart will fail in this world…but He is my strength and my portion (Psalm 73:26)!
As much as I may want to push my pot off to the side and hide it, maybe even at times, disown it…my God gently reminds me of His desire to REMEMBER what has made my pot—more specifically, REMEMBER what has caused it to crack and break at times and REMEMBER how effortlessly He put my pot back together. I gently feel His warm embrace and His gentle loving hands clasping mine as I run my fingers down the seams of my cracked pot. I’m fully aware that what I am feeling is evidence of my brokenness, my sin, my weaknesses and the weaknesses of others around my pot that have caused it to break into tiny pieces!!
During much of my young adult life and even in recent months I found myself getting stuck in the awareness of my brokenness and crying out that I must be an object that no one wants. (Jer 22:28) And I am very aware of the enemy of this human race who lives solely with this purpose in mind…trying to get me to believe that I am a shattered mess of a pot that no one wants. My enemy and frankly, yours too, tried to convince me of this back when I was just a young girl…memories are still fresh of the night my enemy almost succeeded! The thoughts that ran in my head at a very young age were much like the Psalmist David wrote “I am forgotten by them as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery.” (Psalm 31:12)
How can I stand? How can I live knowing that I am all but broken pottery? I remember that night all alone with no one to save me…no one to stand with me and He heard my cry for mercy when I needed help that night overcome by the fear of encroaching shame, lies and threats… even when I did not know His name…my Jesus was there for me and He whispered my name and just with His bright presence my heart was eased and rest fell on my weary body.
Now, almost 30 years later, I see it…again on this very morning as the sun begins to rise and my eyes turn the corner along with my body as I continue my morning walk facing the rising sun. My eyes cannot bear to open because the light is so bright—just like that frightening night in my room, oh, so long ago. Even with my eyes just barely open with sun rays piercing through my eyelids…it is only the shape of the cross that He allows me to see. He draws my heart to REMEMBER that He came that night! He was and is my Rescuer and is always strong and I am weak.
Oh my heart still pounds remembering it and these words from Big Daddy Weave describe it so well:
When I saw a flash of light and I heard the sound
Of a voice like thunder shake the ground
It was the first time I remember ever feeling my heart beat
And the arms that gripped me felt like grace
And I realized in their embrace
To be held so tight
I’ve never felt so free!
Also known as…the day that You found me!

Oh yes, this is what GRACE is!!! His grace gripped me that night and continues to beckon my heart and enables my fingers to run along the seams of my broken pot! Be strong! Take heart! I have overcome and there is HOPE I remember Him saying this and so funny that He continually whispers similar words to me even though I am a grown woman and have children who are now becoming the age I first experienced brokenness.

Sometimes I get frustrated that I continually need to hear these words and words like them...I really do want to be past this for good and really in so many ways I do believe I am…

But wait, He has a specific purpose and place for me in this world and there is redemption found in Him and He beckons me to love…love…love! How can a broken pot love well? By dipping into the loving well!! Love…Love…Love!!! He has made me for love and calls me to love Him and love others! Because I was made in God’s image, this also means that if I love God, I must also love myself…even if my heart is like a broken pot.

Because it is only when I can embrace His love for me that I heal from my feelings of unworthiness…only to be brought to whole new feeling of unworthiness in His Presence so that HE alone can be glorified!!! Then and only then am I loving well!

And I just can’t help but picture this pot of mine; if it were perfectly put together without cracks it would be able to hold a candle or water inside. But without the cracks; the light would stay inside and without the cracks; the water would not seep out and sprinkle on other pots.

With my pot being full of cracks I am much more able to radiate His light and love. And then when I dip my pot into the loving well, I am forced to leave it there for a time, allowing Him to glue all of my pieces back together.

By His healing I can then hold water for just a short time, but I must make frequent trips back to His well to replenish my pot—or better yet just plant my pot right next to Him! He gently reminds me of my weaknesses and I’m convinced it all must be part of His plan to keep me close to love.

I think God must get a kick out of watching all of our broken pots full of His loving water…sprinkle out on other pots in need of His loving water.

Grace…pure sweet grace is what it is!!! The ability to embrace my broken pot and allow Him to shine and pour out on others around me…all the while I am weak…oh so very weak!!! My flesh and my heart will fail from time to time…but my God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26) May you be encouraged to embrace your own cracked pot and make frequent trips to the well of love or plant yourself right next to Him—for I know God loves your pot just the way it is!