It’s one of my favorite times of the week: Five Minute Friday with LisaJo. Each Friday she gives us a word – a prompt. The rules are simple: write for 5 minutes flat about the word for the week. No stopping, no editing. Just. Writing. Then head over to LisaJo’s place and link it up, and read the other brilliance brought on from the world’s most awesome writing flash mob.
We laid in the dark on the mattress on the floor. Your fevered body pressed against mine; breathing fast and shallow.
I held you close and sang song after song. Praise. Worship. Hymns about grace and love.
I’m not sure if I was singing them more for your benefit or mine.
It was the fourth day of fever, fussy, fits and meltdowns. We were both at the end of our tether; both exhausted yet finding sleep elusive.
As I sang songs about mercy and grace and the beauty of the name of Jesus your breathing slowed, hands stilled, tension released. We melded together and breathed our praise into the dark of night, certain we were the only two in existence. All because of the power of a song.
You’re better now and sit playing with your things. Cars and baseballs and books strewn about. I lean in close and hear your sweet voice lifted in song. You try – the tune is there – but many of the words escape your memory. So you sing the ones you know…
Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. Love me. Jesus. Jesus.
And as you sing my breathing slows, my soul stills and tension that comes from spills and diapers and groceries and homework and he’s-picking-on-me’s releases.
All because of the gentle power of a song, and the potent beauty of a Name.
A large group of people followed. They crowded around him. 25 A woman was there who had a sickness that made her bleed. It had lasted for 12 years. 26 She had suffered a great deal, even though she had gone to many doctors. She had spent all the money she had. But she was getting worse, not better. 27 Then she heard about Jesus. She came up behind him in the crowd and touched his clothes. 28 She thought, “I just need to touch his clothes. Then I will be healed.” 29 Right away her bleeding stopped. She felt in her body that her suffering was over.
30 At once Jesus knew that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd. He asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
31 “You see the people,” his disciples answered. “They are crowding against you. And you still ask, ‘Who touched me?’”
32 But Jesus kept looking around. He wanted to see who had touched him.
33 Then the woman came and fell at his feet. She knew what had happened to her. She was shaking with fear. But she told him the whole truth.
34 He said to her, “Dear woman, your faith has healed you. Go in peace. You are free from your suffering.” Mark 5:24b-34
I love this story. I love the faith displayed in the woman’s actions; I love the tenderness and compassion we see from Jesus; I love the ultimate power displayed from him. And I love the evidence that faith truly can move mountains.
Its so encouraging to me that all I need is to barely encounter Jesus, through faith, in order to see drastic changes in my life…in myself. Just by reaching out in faith and touching the proverbial hem of his robe I have access to his almighty, healing power.
Yet there are times I feel that is all I encounter of him – the hem. I rely on the fact that I can reach out in distress, touch his robe, and be healed from the malady of the moment. He is faithful to intervene; to inject his mighty power into my life, my heart, my situation and move mountains. With just a hem!
But I wonder how much more wonderful it will be to encounter him face to face? I want more than just the hem of his robe. I want to be swept up into his embrace and fully accept all of who he is, even if I don’t fully grasp the greatness of it. I want to lean in close, head to his chest, and listen to the beat of his heart. Remaining there until the beat of mine matches the beat of his. Until what grieves him grieves me. Until what brings him joy fills my cup to overflowing.
I am so vastly grateful for the power that can be found in just the hem. Meaning I don’t have to be in a perfect state of mind and heart to approach him. I can come in my dirty, foul, bleeding mess when I lack the strength to stand or even call out to him. I can simply reach up a hand, weak and trembling, and he answers.
But I want more.
In this dark world in which we live it sometimes seems as though the hem is all of Jesus we have access to. It’s hard to see his face among the incomprehensible evil surrounding us. It seems as though the hem – the bare minimum – is all he is offering to us. But I have a feeling that is because we are looking up from a heap on the dusty earth. We are battered and tired and weary. From our view all we can see is his robe swishing in the breeze just ahead of us. But he is all there – all present – ready to lift us to our feet, look in our eyes and speak peace.
Oh how I want so much more than just the hem of his robe.
I want to sit at the table and share the deepest parts of myself. To get beyond the surface aches and pains and get down to the real root of what ails me.
To walk the roads of this life side by side and listen to his voice.
To get beyond just the distress calls and pleas for help.
To encounter him full on, everyday…not just in times of trouble.
Oh how grateful I am for the power we can find just in the hem of his robe.
But oh how I want so much more.
Below is a song by Christy Nockels that I adore. It’s been on repeat on my iPod for days. Some days this is my anthem – a resounding love song from my heart to His. Other days, it’s my prayer – I want to be able to sing these words with all sincerity. I pray it blesses you as it has me.
The moment of conception, gender, hair color, and even moment of birth are completely out of the mother’s control.
The mother who is expecting a child wields very little – if any – control over the pregnancy, yet a tremendous amount of influence over it.
The choices she makes in a myriad of little things yield drastic differences. It seems nearly everything she does makes a difference in the health of her own body as well as that of the child within.
A baby can be born perfectly healthy with the mother living through pregnancy with a “life as usual” attitude; a baby can survive even when the mother makes catastrophic choices. But a baby and mother can thrive and enjoy an even higher quality of life and bonding when she takes steps to nurture herself and her unborn child – even in less than ideal circumstances.
Several years ago I came across the phrase “pregnant with hope” while reading. I don’t remember the context or in what I read it. But I do know the image that conjured in my mind.
I pictured someone so full of hope welling up inside them that they nearly burst with it – with no effort of their own. An incessantly, almost sickeningly, happy person with more naïveté than wisdom or desire for a real view of the world.
We live in a dark world. A dark world full of dark people capable of unthinkable evil. And hope, like a newly conceived baby, is fragile and can be easily trampled by the realities we face everyday in our neighborhoods, cities and on the television.
It’s easy to let the darkness reign and fill in the cracks where faith can’t provide a tidy answer or wrap life up into a pretty little object lesson with a perfectly packaged solution at the end of the puzzle. Hope gets buried among the grief, disgust and confusion of it all.
Yet hope, like that tender growing babe, while fragile and delicate is also strangely resilient; shockingly strong with a penchant for life.
Hope can survive throughout unimaginably difficult circumstances. Hope can grow and thrive and multiply without any outside effort on our part. The Author and Creator of our hope can do amazingly magnificent things through the medium of hope; and, lets face it, He needs no help from us just as a babe needs no concrete help from his mother to develop a heart, hands, fuzzy hair on his head.
Yet if we take time to nurture hope…
To feast on Food that nourishes and strengthens; to drink deep the Water of Life; to dream and plan and dream some more about what this hope might become. To take intentional steps to protect hope at all costs from the pollutants of this world… Oh how much deeper and stronger would that hope be that lays dormant within us so many days? How much more bonded would we become to the idea that hope can endure?
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8
So if we think happy thoughts all will be well? No, not even close. Yet if we fight against the darkness, beginning with our own thoughts – the ones so dark and misty it scares us to even acknowledge them – and consciously transform them to things of light, things of life, things of hope… Imagine the rebirth of spiritual brightness that would return to your heart. And then I do it and he does it and she does it… Oh I can see the hope blooming even now.
It seems to me, the more hope in this world that is set in things that are noble, honorable and lovely; nurtured in excellent, commendable things, the better off this world would be. Agreed?
You see, a hope nurtured does not remain merely hope. Hope spurs one on to action, to enforce change, to be the impetus of tangible deeds that plant a seed of hope in another. A hope nurtured grows and matures and transforms from unseen to seen. A hope nurtured and birthed into tangibility, by nature, breeds hope in those with whom it interacts. Hope begets hope; kindness begets kindness; honor begets honor. The hope you nurture within your own soul can become life-changing hope to someone else. Someone that might not have anyone else who can implant that first seedling other than you – and you might be completely unaware of it happening at all yet it is dependent upon the hope birthed from you.
So whether hope is but a tiny seed in your own heart or a burgeoning bloom nigh to tangible for those around you, can I encourage you to take time to nurture it? To protect it? To feed and encourage it to grow?
Tell me, what is something true, noble, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable or excellent to which you can turn your thoughts when the darkness threatens to crush your hope? Share it in the comments and let’s nurture a bit more hope in the world together. Who knows, what you say may be the very thing someone else needs to hear to pull them from the pit.
I’ve linked up with Christian Mommy Blogger
This week’s prompt from LisaJo is After. Five minutes, no editing, just writing.
I’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking, meditating, praying.
Talking to this One I address as Lord, about all the things I declare about Him…to Him.
Do I really believe this? Is this true? What are my core values?
And I’ve found myself without hesitation and with emphatic passion replying, declaring, nigh to shouting yes! I believe; it is true; I can see it here and here and here in my life.
Over and over this week I’ve listened to a song. I’ve hummed it as I’m changing a diaper. I’ve pondered it word by word as I walk with my children. I’ve sung it out loud and off key when I think no one else is listening.
The refrain repeating over and over again declares:
Whatever comes my way, I will trust You.
Again and again.
With this new refrain taking root once again deep in the core of my heart something has begun to happen…
The medical test? It came back positive.
That family member we love so dearly? How about a painful illness.
That friend over there? Their child is sick. That child over there breathes a life hanging in the balance.
Its as if the forces of this world are calling my bluff. Taunting. Really?
comes your way? Will you really trust?
My response: what choice do I have? When it has been proven time and again that He is trustworthy, good, true to His promises even if it comes about in a manner in which I would not have chosen. He does not cause the tragedy; yet if I allow it, He can use to draw me closer to Himself. Knowing Him better; having more strength to walk through the dark times.
Would I prefer this walk of faith to be all rainbows and chocolate? Absolutely! But this life is what it is. We are promised trouble in this world.
I just didn’t expect the trouble to appear so soon after the declaration.
We’re talking abut preparing our bodies, and babies, for labor/delivery/and birth, even if you are having a c-section! Come join us and share you favorite ways to gear yourself up for the big day!
If you’ve clicked over from The Better Mom, you’re very welcome here and I’m so glad to have you! Get a hot cuppa, put your feet up and take a look around!