Thursday, June 27, 2013

Be still - grace and love

Be still before the Lord - just be still. My heart rejoices at that. At the fact that all he requires is for me is to be still. Out of our love for him comes trust, and trust manifested in our lives is simply a still heart. I cling to that as I live and breath and face the troubles of a fallen human race - when facing our shattered hearts.
    I choose to be still. I choose to listen, to open my heart and my mind and allow God’s love to flow over me. I wait, and I feel a peace begin to wash over me. My heart is renewed.
    It’s so easy to be caught up in the mistakes of this world, to lose sight of the beauty of God and his divine hand gently carrying us along. It’s so easy to forget that God understands all of my own failings, as well as those of others. As I do what scripture tells us -  “Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced...” Psalm 105:5 - as I remember just as commanded I get new insight. I recall the judgements he pronounced - and realize they were grace. I realize that the loving Father led his children of Israel through miracles and blessings - even when they didn’t deserve it. And I take a breath and let this grace overwhelm. How much grace has he given me? How many mistakes did he cover over with his love and mercy?
    And I remember the greatest commandment - love. Just love. That’s all he asks, just love and all else will fall into place. I remember that this is what I’m really living for. It’s not justice. It’s love. And as I realize that everything else is miniscule in relation to this divine and wonderful calling to love and to give grace in abundance. It’s when you allow this love and grace to dwell in your spirit that you can see the problems in this life in the light that God sees them.
    The mistakes of others against you are the hardest to meet with grace. Harder still when the offender is unaware or unbending in their faults. This is the time to be still. This is the time to put Christ on the throne by loving him and loving that person. When I come face to face with my own mistakes - ones I’ve had in the past, ones I struggle with now, and ones I know I am unaware of - I am overwhelmed by this amazing grace. All that is left to do is simply to realize that others are on the same journey as you are, and they fall and stumble over the rocky path just like you do.
    I am an incredibly clumsy person at times. I’m always hitting my head, amazingly I don’t have tons of concussions, and continue to hope that one of these days I’ll knock in some sense instead of out. I trip and stumble. It’s a brilliant picture of life. I stumble and fall all the time. I’m honestly a bit of a mess. But I look up, and all I see is grace. And my heart stops racing, and I’m still.
    As I consider the pain, rejection, injustices, and cruelties we experience it makes me want to go out and fix it. To go out swinging and fighting for what I believe in. But those feelings only last until I remember the road we’re all on, the fight we’re all fighting, and the grace we’re all breathing. Looking up into the eyes of love and grace, the fight goes out of me and my desire changes. It becomes like his.

        Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing (1 Thessalonians 5:11)    
When love rules you, when grace is all you see, when you truly understand how God picks you up each day - that is when you start seeing others mistakes and failings as them stumbling and all that is left is to reach out and help them back up.

    Loving others and giving them loads of grace - that is just a part of discovering true grace and love. And when your heart gets to experience that for just a moment - you are that much closer to feeling the love and grace of God. For just a moment - be still.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tears and Power

My heart has been heavy. Another morning that I wish would not come. I crawl back into bed and close my eyes. I'm exhausted before I even start.

Life throws you around, sending you sumersaulting right into a brick wall. And sometimes you'd rather not get up. You'd rather lay there and cry. You'd really rather not "pull yourself up by your boot straps" and you certainly don't want someone else to either.

It's a strange feeling - wanting to remain defeated for a moment. Or perhaps what it really is, is a desire to stop striving to do what you've been told day in and day out.

Is it rebellion when you just throw your hands up and say no more? Or is it simply a sign that we were made to be in perfect rest with God and this life is just plain hard. Sin has a way of muddling our vision, and conscience has a way of broadsiding you with guilt.

The house is a mess. I'm a mess. But do I get up? I flail, but it does no good. Just like a sheep that get's stuck on its back. It fights... Then I look up.

Right into the eyes of peace.

No more striving. Giving up. And knowing that it's okay. I don't have to succeed to earn love. Not the kind of love that lasts. All I have to do is be still and let it flow through and around me. I just have to fall into him, because the shepherd knows how to pick me back up.

And I find, as long as I fall out, everything is okay. When my heart falls out, and I call out for help, heart laid bare. When I fall in, I can do nothing. When all I see is my aching heart, and I refuse to call out, I flail longer on my back and exhaust myself. Why don't I call out to the shepherd? Why don't I call out to his people?

My emotions laid bare, part of falling out into his hands is in the crying out. I cry, I yell at God and what's going on, but in the midst of it, I still pray to my sovereign shepherd.  Just like Naomi I cry out "because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty." Just like Naomi, life tosses me around and I ask what the Lord is doing, but my eyes still look into those of compassion, faithfulness and love.

Just like in his anguish David cried out to God "O LORD, I call to you come quickly to me. Hear my voice when I call to you....But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD; in you I take refuge - do not give me over to death...I cry aloud to the LORD; I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy. I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble. When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way....He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield in whom I take refuge..." (Psalm 141: 1,8;  142:1-3; 144:2)

Sometimes it's best to just fall apart so God can put you back together. I look at scriptures and am filled with joy because the man after God's own heart is one of the most expressive examples in the Bible. Here is a man who spills his heart out to God instead of controlling and masking his emotions.

After I cry, I dry my tears. I know his love. And his love fills me with more power than I could ever imagine because it's the same power that brought about the resurrection and I feel the resurrection in my own heart.