I’ve been a bit quiet around here. Life has been…in upheaval. Emotions are raw. Deep. Exhausting. But when I saw the prompt for Five Minute Friday from LisaJo Baker, what has been the prayer of my heart the past two months sprang forth in words. And the words have been sparse. So I thought I’d better take advantage of it. So, here’s my best five minutes on
The words jostle to come. To be released; freed. So many things bubble, churn, vie for attention. But the words don’t come.
Pain. Sorrow. Fear. Passion. Hopes. Dreams. All to set free among the world.
But the words don’t come.
Pain holds them down. Fear locks the key.
The words I speak bring only death. Spread only fear.
So write Your story in my life.
Pen Your words on my tongue.
Scribe them deep on the walls of my heart.
Etched like marble. Tender as silk.
Because when You form the plot, death becomes life.
All the injustices of this life; the that’s-not-fair sits balanced and light next to the freeing weight of Your Truth.
So scribe them deep in my soul, O Lord.
So when I speak Your story comes through.
Even when surrounded by death, destruction, pain and nonsense, when I speak Life springs forth.
Let there me less of me. Less of my “good.”
More of You. More of Your Story. Your Life. Your Freedom.
Write, oh God, write.
I shuffled into the kitchen to fulfill my daughter’s request for cereal.
I had been up for awhile, but its safe to say I wasn’t fully awake yet. I grabbed the plastic pink bowl and set it on the counter. I saw two crusted bits of food on the edge. Meh, I can scrape that off, no bother, I thought to myself. After gathering the other necessary items, I returned to the bowl on the counter. My eyes had adjusted further to the dim light of the kitchen (and my senses stirred awake by the fresh aroma of coffee brewing) and stopped cold in my tracks.
Not only were there two crusted pieces of food on the edge of the bowl, but the whole inside of the bowl was crusted as well! I have no idea how I didn’t see it before, but there was no denying it now. No amount of fingernail-scraping would make that bowl suitable to eat from – it needed to be completely washed, and washed well.
Isn’t that how it is with our own hearts; our souls? We look at ourselves and think we’re pretty good. Sure, there are a couple of things here or there we need to work on – things that need cleaning up. We’ll be the first to admit we’re not perfect, but we’re not as bad as we could be – especially when compared to the dirty dishes still in the sink.
In the dim morning light of our lives, we take a look at ourselves and from what we can see, we can fulfill our intended functions without problem.
But once our spiritual eyes adjust to the light of the Gospel, suddenly a myriad of muck and grime are exposed. Seemingly out of nowhere, issues that have been caked on through life, trials, heat and struggle are blatantly clear – whereas before, in the dim light of our own understanding we were perfectly clean.
Just as with that pink plastic bowl, it’s tempting to toss it back into the cupboard and let someone else deal with it. After all, I have more important, more pressing matters to deal with. But the next time a bowl is needed, that crusted nasty is still going to be there needing to be dealt with.
Its the same with our personal spiritual nasty. Its so tempting to just toss it to the back of the shelf and let our future selves deal with the dirty work. But the only true remedy is to be completely washed.
To allow the cleansing waters of the Holy Spirit wash over us and do the hard – sometimes painful – work of removing the gunk, grime and stubborn stains from our hearts. To immerse ourselves in the warm, healing Word of God. To fill our hearts with the Living Water and let it soak; let it soften the muck until it washes away easily.
So, how’s your bowl looking today? Do you need to take some time out and let your heart soak?
This week’s prompt from LisaJo Baker for Five Minute Friday is LAST. So, we write for five minutes – no stopping, no editing – and pour our hearts out. Here is my best five minutes on LAST.
Do you ever feel like when it comes to God’s priorities, you’re last on the list?
Your fears, dreams, hopes, deepest hurts and needs laid bare before Him and His eyes, mind and heart are elsewhere?
You stand in the middle of a fire, painful singe marks blister your heart yet your cries – like those in the worst of nightmares – make no sound. You try to run to the safety of the shelter of His wings, yet your feet stand fast to the floor, wrapped in the flames of pain, hurt, regret, confusion.
I’ve been there, friend. More times than I can count. Each time I stand in the fire I hope – I pray – its the last time. Of course, it never is. There’s always a next time.
But if I’ve learned one thing of these times of walking through fire, it’s this:
What remains when the extra is consumed in the fires of uncertainty; when the chaff blows away in the winds of terrifying change; when everything you’ve ever known is ripped from beneath you in the spiritual natural disaster…what remains is what lasts.
When I feel those flames licking my feet, whipping my soul, I wrap tight my spiritual hands around the beautified, purified, shining treasure left from the last time. I relish the refreshing coolness of that most-pure-gold against the skin of my soul and I remember.
I remember how when I felt most alone, that was when He was most present.
When I felt most lost, most abandoned, most confused, most worn down and beat up, that is when He was most tender, most wise, most patient, allowing the flames to take only what was necessary to produce the masterpiece of purified, sparkling, bejeweled glory that can only come from the pain of purification.
It doesn’t make the next fire any less painful, or the doubt any less real. Sometimes we are in the fire because of a choice we made. Sometimes we are there because we are caught up in the choices of those around us. And sometimes…sometimes the only reason we are there is because there is a beauty on the other side – a view of His face – impossible to see without journeying through the firey valley of the shadow of death.
Because it’s dark, you know, there in the midst of the flames.
But the beauty that comes when the flames die down, and the pain subsides and darkness fades and once again your vision is clear and your heart strong is a beauty that will last.
So when you feel like last on the list of God’s heart, look around and look ahead to the lasting beauty that awaits you at the end of the darkness.
One of the things I write about here is my own journey of being a wife. I’ve had the joy of getting to know Jennifer Smith from The Unveiled Wife through our writing together at The Better Mom. She’s an amazing gal with a beautiful heart towards strong, healthy marriages. She’s also recently joined the ranks of motherhood with the arrival of her gorgeous wee babe a few months ago.
Jennifer was so graciously excited to participate in this fun little giveaway to help us celebrate two years of blogging here at This Gal’s Journey. She has offered two copies of her new devotional, A Wife After God, to one of our readers! I was really torn about giving two copies to one person, or one copy to two different people. As much as I love spreading the love, I really felt like I needed to give both copies to one person so they can give the second one to a friend. Better yet, maybe you’ll go through it together! You know how I love community up in here.
So, click that little blue link below to get to the Rafflecopter widget so you can enter!
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.