Leaning into...Him!

“All the masterpieces of art contain both light and shadow. A happy life is not one filled only with sunshine, but one which uses both light and shadow to produce beauty.” – Billy Graham.

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard

“For if you ask only for faith, hope, love, freedom, happiness, modesty, humility, etc., without making them concrete in the nitty-gritty of daily life, you probably haven’t really involved God in your real life… Our numerous requests simply become the concrete way of saying that we trust in the fullness of God’s goodness, which he wants to share with us. Whenever we pray with hope, we put our lives in the hands of God.” – Henri JM Nouwen


To say that I’ve been self-absorbed is an understatement. The people around me have really had a great deal of patience with me…God love them for loving me. A lot has happened in my life & the mere fact that I’m taking the time to sit down & do one of the things that gives me more joy than anything in this word, which of course is writing, proves what a Mighty Awesome God we do indeed serve. I haven’t sat to write anything of substantial worth in about 6 months or so. All the passion and desire has just flitted away. That my fingers are moving desperately to keep up with my thoughts right now is filling me up to overflowing. I haven’t had this experience in a long time. I reveling in it…praying it lingers for awhile.

When I moved into a home of my own in May it was a lot larger adjustment than I could have ever imagined, the insomnia and worry is something I wish on no one. I internalize a great deal, working the problem over, always making it worse. In the end life settled down & I began to blissfully nest. It is an experience that still brings me great joy. I cannot tell you what a space of my own has done for me. I feel often selfish & burdened that I have so much while others have so very little. I’m not sure it’s a struggle that I ever want to NOT be burdened with. I don’t want to get to comfortable. However, this little gift leaves me constantly sending little streams of praise to God. My passion for cooking has ignited & I’m delighting in cooking up new and delicious recipes. I’m also extremely aware that this is not something I’ve gained because of God’s extra favor toward me. He has given, and if He chooses He can take away…not because of what I’ve done, but because of who He is.

He never allows me to become to comfortable. He knows my spirit oh so very well. He is aware that if He just left me alone to my “vices” then I would just keep right on without a moments thought to Him, except maybe a quick prayer or a glance at my Bible, you know, to keep the “good Christian” exterior up. So, He rattles the cage a little. He allows satan to sift me…He works me through until I’m breathlessly falling prostrate on my face, in need of HIM!

As many of you know I have had a tooth that has been causing me a lot of problems, it still is actually, which is a topic I refuse to discuss. God provided the money & now He is going to have to provide the remainder of the healing…it is what it is.

The second thing is that I’ve been having a lot of stomach trouble. It is likely I will have to have gallbladder surgery…I’m waiting for an appt. w/ Rapha so I can maybe do this a more cost efficient way.

I have no health or dental insurance!!!!

So, what have I been doing! Wallowing…YES! Worrying…YES! Freaking Out…sometimes! Leaning on God…sometimes! Trying to managing the situation myself…OH YES!

What I find most interesting when I try to manage things myself is the prayers I offer God. I begin to bargain with Him. I begin to make deals. I’ll deal with this Lord, if you will just do this for me. I can handle this, but I just don’t think I can handle this…

The big prayer for the gallbladder has been…”Lord, just provide me with an evening job w/ benefits so I can pay off the surgery bills, and Lord please provide me with the money to support myself, & I’ll work a nighttime job if you will just take care of…etc…”

These last several days I have been in a lot of pain & that scares me. God keeps tapping me on the shoulder, speaking to my heart & saying, “Pray that the gallstones are taken away!”

My response, “WHAT? You know God that once gallstones occur that rarely if ever leave the body? Are you crazy? (micro managing much!)

I felt that urge again this evening…”Pray the gallstones are taken away!”

The honest truthful fact of the matter is that I’m afraid to pray that prayer. I would rather pray for the pieces to be picked up in the aftermath than to go out on the limb where the fruit is. I would rather wallow in worry & fear, trying to micro manage, than to say, “Hey God, you are the God who does the impossible…rock my world!” I feel like, honestly, I don’t deserve for Him to rock my world. I don’t deserve His grace, His mercy, His favor. I still feel like the little girl afraid of her Daddy’s punishing hand. I know better, God has taught me so much about His character…I know better, but still…

It is amazing that He never gets fed up with me. He continually comes to me. He continually challenges my level of comfort. He does not want me complacent. I’m a mess, but I’m a mess that Jesus loves. I’m a mess that He is cleaning up. I’m like poor Eustace in “The Voyage of Dawn Treader” trying to rid myself of the horrible dragon skin, pulling off one messy layer at a time only to find another layer of dragon skin underneath. It isn’t until Aslan pulls the dragon skin off that Eustace is made new. And if you remember Eustace made the statement that is was something akin to the most horrible & wonderful feeling he had felt. It hurt worse than anything coming off, but that it was actually off helped to make him feel brand new. Sometimes, I’m just too afraid of the pain that I miss the chance for God to make me NEW! I miss the chance just too simply be with Him.

So, my desperate hopeful prayer until the end of September is going to be, “Lord, take the gallstones away, make me new, make me more like you!”

What inspired me to begin writing tonight was the first quote…I have a calendar that gives me all these lovely quotes. I discovered that one & then the two others followed. I was blown away. God is so completely faithful.

25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? – Matthew 6: 25-30

I LOVE the book of Nehemiah! He was a man obedient to the Lord! His story inspires me. My favorite passage of scripture from this book is small. It is in a moment of dier need. They are concerned with rebuilding the temple, they are bombarded by threats from other leaders, the men are sleeping in their armor around the temple wall, people are weary, scared, and in need. Nehemiah could have gotten ticked at God, he could have gotten angry with the people, he could have prayed that they have more faith, or that they get more rest, but instead, seeing his own failings he prays this:

9 For they all were trying to make us afraid, saying, “Their hands will be weakened in the work, and it will not be done.” Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.- Nehemiah 6:9
I often find myself praying for Him to strengthen my hands.

I know I’ve been all over the place in this post. I used to have such direction and passion back in those younger days when I wrote ;)…however, I do want to leave you with something I wrote awhile back. I keep coming back to it because it stills my heart & gives me so much JOY! There are other writings I could share that could be more relevant to this post than this one, and I’ve shared it more than once, but I just need it sometimes. I need the SACRED ROMANCE! I need to be reminded that this world has nothing for me. I need to be reminded that God is in this for His Glory. I need to be reminded that His heart is enraptured with me…I need to be reminded that He doesn’t need me, He wants me. I need to be reminded that this is NOT my home…so…

I envision myself standing in a room; wood floor tarnished and dug in from many romping nights of music, laughter and fellowship. I can see the moons hallowed glow, and the twinkling stars through the open door in the back. The light from lanterns hung on white washed beams cast an inviting glow to travelers along the weary road. I’m dressed in a 19th century dress, soft purple with little white daisies bubbling about. My curls are braided with a sprig of lavender placed in the back; ringlets encircle my face, green eyes nearly keeping up with the stars. My weathered and worn lace up black boots adorn my feet, which are raised on tiptoes, rocking back and forth, while my arms lace around my back. My fingers are fidgeting with a handmade handkerchief embroidered in yellow roses. I’m humming…”Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, he washed me white as snow.” I hear the laughter of those around me. Some are enjoying refreshment, while others are chatting in comfortable groups. Time progresses and more travelers arrive, friendly smiles, and warm greetings are passed among hand shakes and giggles. The band tunes up and begins to play…soft and low at first, and then raising to their peak a rowdy sort of number that makes certain young folk dance upon the air. All the while I’m observing, keeping rhythm with my toe. He walks in casting a shimmer of a smile my way. My heart will surely explode before He makes His pardons to grasp my hand. Fear rises up in me and I shut my eyes and swallow hard. He touches my face gently sending warmth and peace. He takes my hand and pulls me confidently to the dance floor. The air smells of lavender and my feet touch air. I feel young and free, eight years old again in an open field being swung around by my Father, feet touching heavenward.Shall I dance? My feet have to move first…I MUST take His hand. I can no longer look to the side or the back of me, or be concerned of the ought of the matter. I must do what I must. I must be reckless. I must let my heart take wing and soar by His side. Life is truly a dance or a play however you choose to look at it. It can be a tragedy, comedy, drama, or documentary. However, the only partner worth having, the only dance worth dancing, is with Him close by my side. I choose to hear His music in the night.

3 The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying:"I have loved you with an everlasting love;I have drawn you with loving-kindness.4 I will build you up againand you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel.Again you will take up your tambourinesand go out to dance with the joyful……13 Then maidens will dance and be glad,young men and old as well.I will turn their mourning into gladness;I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.Jeremiah 31: 3-4; 13

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