Stores are stuffed with a wealth most nations can’t fathom. Songs play on speakers, trying to stir up a sense of anticipation and joy for the season. I had gone out to pick up some tokens I thought we would need, but I ached to return to the heart of the matter.
It was time to linger in the truth of love; to soak in the hope of real gifts. These were not wrapped up in ribbons and paper which would fade away. I sought to lay up treasures in heaven.
Mat 6:19-20 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
A recent news feature was a great reminder of how we are “living stones” and not bricks of conformity. As we come together to be built into something beautiful, I wonder about my place in the plans of my Father’s kingdom. As a living stone, I can often feel like the odd rock, with rough edges and not seeming to fit anywhere. What I feel isn’t necessarily the truth. My heart is eager to be submissive in joining others in love, building for the future.
The horses were confined. Fences had been built by men to harness their freedoms. The area to run had been taken away, and the strength of their muscles began to lessen because they no longer had the plains to run upon. Without room to run and grow they began to lose their identity, falling into a state of routine. Each morning they’d be fed the same food. They drank from a tank of stale water. Nothing inspired them to move around much.
When south winds began blowing, the air was filled with fragrances of former fields they knew to be pleasant. Putting their noses upward, they began to remember freedom. It stirred inner memories which had begun to fade. The horses began to whinny. They could hear and smell another horse they couldn’t see who lived in freedom. A stirring was felt within the fences and restlessness set them to begin pacing. Frustration at being confined began a movement…..soon the fences would not hold them.
“Come closer”, I say to this man I trust. The night is dark and the air is cold. He wraps me in his arms and speaks to me of his love. I feel safe. I feel warm. I believe his words of love and I drift off to sleep.
Days end, and I ponder the thanks I have to offer for the life I’ve been given. A poem comes to mind about The Road Not Taken. Meekness enters my heart. How arrogantly I traveled the broad way; bright lights and shiny baubles of every temptation. I gave myself to each of these willingly, never knowing they in turn were plundering me.
From afar He saw me. He said, she is the one I want. She is the one for me. I never saw His eyes looking at me. I was too enraptured by the beauty of other. Beauty that faded so quickly I had to keep looking for more, and more still. He sang His song to me and I didn’t hear it. I danced instead to a distant tune. When the beauty of lies began to fade, the dance grew weary. I sat for a time and then I went for a walk.
I think again about the poem of Robert Frost….two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
Mat 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.”
Life keeps tumbling your heart in circles
’til you let go
’til you shed your pride
And you climb to heaven
Now you’re out there swimming
In the deep
In the deep *
In the quiet, I lower myself to lay on the floor. I seek perspective and need to close my eyes to see this. My thoughts have come too rapidly. Breathing in deep, I become calm. Peace joins me here.
A song is playing softly. I can hear meanings. I relax the grip I’ve had upon my heart. No more will I fear what He will do with it.
* Lyrics by Bird York, In The Deep
In a conversation with a friend, he shared his longing to want to go home. I knew exactly what he meant, but not many would understand this desire. Weariness had crept in and the ache for the unknown had overtaken his heart. I’d felt it many times myself. Once again we laid aside our own wants and encouraged one another for the task at hand.
(The Message) Php 1:21-25 Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose. As long as I’m alive in this body, there is good work for me to do. If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I’d choose. Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better. But most days, because of what you are going through, I am sure that it’s better for me to stick it out here. So I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy in this life of trusting God continues.
Humming a tune with the words “all I want is you” stopped me in my tracks. The lyrics began to saturate my heart and I could hear a question come at me, “am I really all you want?” My worship suddenly felt like it was sticking in my throat. The honesty of the question made me take an inventory of all my thoughts and then look closer still at my heart.
I again wondered at the history which speaks of those who actually walked and talked to Jesus. They saw Him do signs and wonders. They beheld His miracles and all whom He healed of sickness, disease and demonic oppression. They heard His teachings first hand. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. (Joh 6:64-66)
I realize my heart is no better than those disciples who walked away from the Lord over two thousand years ago. I have my own desires, my own agendas, my own wanting of things to work out in my life. Basically I want God to do things my way. This is where I come to the truth of my own desperation.
I will never be able to follow through in my faith without that most precious of gifts, grace. As I have begun counting the cost of what it means to follow Jesus, my inventory always falls short in what I can do to stay the course. I fail in everything I try to do of myself.
I finally answer the question with “yes, You are all I want” but I have to be extremely honest. Laying down my pride, I confess, “I can’t want all of You unless You help me, because I am weak and will try to walk away from the best thing I know unless You hold onto me!”
2Co 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Joh 18:9 He did this to fulfill His own statement: “I did not lose a single one of those You have given Me.”
Written by Ana Mendez Ferrell….”She has drunk of the blood of the Lamb. This means that she has bonded with the life, with the light that proceeds from the blood. She has drunk from all the love of total surrender contained in the blood, and for that reason, she loves in a way that cannot be overcome. She loves her neighbor to the very death. This is the greatest power in the universe, and love is the power that destroys the devil.”