Gentle death, Hope, Jesus, Joy, Love, Sacred Space, Surrender

Becoming Whole

It’s been a crazy year–or couple of years. Through my ups and downs, my elation and my melancholy, I feel as if to be a different person. Or, a new version of myself. Remember when you were little, and you looked in the mirror to find that you looked different than you did the morning before? Yep, kinda like that. It feels like a habitual shedding of the person that I constantly have to get to know all over again. What I’m actually finding is that, through all the morphing into new stages of life and self, I am only seeing what was there all along, only covered by layers of “protection”. Protection for and from a broken heart.

When you look at a seed, do you see a well-watered, thriving shrub, plant, or tree? Hardly. You wouldn’t directly think of the lush greenery that hides inside the seeds protective casing. Before that seed can grow into a beautiful tree, it’s protective cover must die.

Before there can be resurrection, there has to be death first. I have found that I must die to my efforts of trying to be God, and surrender my “seed covering” up to Him. And slowly and gently, Jesus peels the layers of my heart’s protective covering away, so my vulnerability, hurt, sin, and self-rejected parts are exposed. I become a little girl again, weak, helpless, and wholly dependent on my Father. I realize that I am poor, in need of much care–like an infant. This is where the true healing begins. I am exposed. I no longer hold and hide away the things that bring me great shame, but, like vomit, they spill out into the light. But I find that in the light, there is kindness. I meet the gentle gaze of my Father, and I am undone. I feel His patience, and it steadies my anxious heart–a heart that is being healed, a heart that is being made whole.

Contentment, Gentle death, Hope, Jesus, Joy, Love, Music, Poetry, Sacred Space, Surrender

All I Know

Broken, this shell that’s quickly passing–back to where it came;
Empty, this heart, it seems it’s fasting-from love instead of pain.

All I know is that I know what You’ve done for me,
All I know is that I know I’m here on my knees,
And You stay with me, You stay with me.

Hiding, the things I think will shame me–being someone I can’t be;
Running, far from where I started-but it’s running after me.

All I know is that I know what You’ve done for me,
All I know is that I know I’m here on my knees,
And You wait for me, You wait for me.

You know me, this frail, unsteady flower–like a fallen leaf;
You show me, every moment, every hour–how You’re loving me.

All I know is that I know what You’ve done for me,
All I know is that I know I’m here on my knees,
And You’re shaping me, You’re shaping me.

Christian Living, Jesus, Surrender

Simply Receive

My idealized life story:

  1. Graduate with a degree in Biblical studies
  2. Do something ‘grand and glorious’ for God, and see tangible change
  3. Marry man of my dreams (strict qualifications, of course)
  4. Have amazing children
  5. Die with an extraordinary legacy

Now, I’m an expert manipulator, as are you. Like it or not, we use, and oftentimes  subconsciously use, manipulation to get to where we want to be in life– and to get what we want out of people. We do it to those around us, and we even try to do it to God. Even in wonderful, God-honoring plans of our own devising, we can try to manipulate our own fingerprint onto our lives.

In the list above, it would seem, there is nothing dishonoring to God. These are great dreams and goals. But, since these are my own dream and goals, I have become aware that, deep down, they partly exist to manipulate God into loving me and giving me what I need from him by what I give Him and do for Him. I’ll explain:

  1. If I work hard to ‘know’ a lot about the Bible and God, then I will grow closer to Him and He will be pleased with me.
  2. If I spend my whole life serving God and others, and laying my life down selflessly for Him, then He will love me more.
  3. If I marry a ‘Jim Elliot’, he will serve to help me get to numbers 1. and 2.
  4. If I have children that love God, then God will see me as successful.
  5. If I leave an ‘Apostle Paul’ type legacy, then God will see me as valuable and special.

At the root, these desires aren’t wrong. To desire to want God to be pleased with me, to love me, to see me as fruitful, and to see me as special is not wrong. It’s what I do to meet those desires that make it wrong.

As Christians, each and every individual has God’s full attention. There is nothing can do to make Him any more pleased with me than He already is. There is nothing can do to make Him love me more than He already does. God already views my life as a success, and He already sees me as a prized, special vessel–even if I never do anything to attain these things. Why? Because Christ is that for me, and He is worthy for me. He is everything for me and to me. Though I fail and fall, God will not love me less, because Christ is in me; and if Christ be in me, I am blameless–brilliant. 

In conclusion, It is His work, not mine. There is nothing I could give Him to manipulate my standing with Him. I have nothing to give, and He gives everything. Honestly, this is pretty revolutionary for me. What is revolutionary is the ‘receiving’ aspect about walking in relationship with Christ. Actually, to be perfectly honest, what’s revolutionary about being in relationship with Christ is that it’s all receiving. We really have nothing to give, which sounds edgy to some because we so badly want to bring something to the table; but we waste our time, for the table has already been set–the Lamb has already been slain. Similar to the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son, we try to work hard to get what we want–what we really desire; we try to impress God when He is already knocked out by us. He says to us, “Sons and daughters, I am always with you, and all that I have is yours.” (Luke 15:31).

It is so hard for us to accept this truth: that we are the recipients of everything we desire in Christ, grace upon grace–gift upon gift. We don’t need to work for love; we must simply receive.