Saturday, March 24, 2012
A Perspective Without Peer Pressure…
Art by Brian Jekels. Called "Mary's Worship".
(Rambling and sorting through these words and thoughts, I hope you can still see what matters most. I am a clinger of hope, battling to trust and surrender even when it sometimes seems so nearly impossible. I only share when I MUST, when I cannot stand the silence of hoarding hurts or pleasant things any more. When I am so insecure that I just must lay out words like a hand of UNO cards to peruse before continuing on in a game… Here is a little of both, joyous and not so, but… I hope you can see what I see even through what seems like negative… That hope is not mine just because it is there, it is a gift that must just be received by the very Creator and Giver of it… Will you join me? I hope so… )
I have sat these months with weight smothering my heart… for my ideas which reflect what others near me feel only lofty thoughts, idealized in candy-coated la-la land mentalities, offering a path leading not to reality but, to what they think is a tangent off of the “right path”. (???) At least, that is what they think. What do I mean? Ugh… If you could only hear that groan…
I have seen for myself… I have seen what I am without Him. I have seen my potential for grieving, hurting, destroying, discouraging. I have seen it, and I pity… I have compassion on… the one who has not seen yet his or her need for Him. For, I am nothing good without Him. NOTHING good. I draw comfort from these verses, recently.
“And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, and begged Him that they might only to TOUCH THE HEM OF HIS GARMENT. AND A MANY AS TOUCHED IT WERE MADE PERFECTLY WELL.” (Matthew 14:35-36)
I am stuck in a bubble… a utopian land where even the religious ones have some odd ideas that crawl up my spine like ants on picnic day. Where, oh, wherever have we gone so wrong? Could it be possible that the ones who claim to know the Christ, that they are actually doing the opposite of what He actually desired? I see things that others near me feel I am overexaggerating and misconstruing, they feel I am just not from here, so I cannot understand. But… how is it that a place to be body, which should represent what is holy, can be on similar grounds of Hitler and his command to destroy the “unhealthy”. Is that really one’s calling when authority is placed in open hands? Is it possible that those four walls and two levels are only meant for the healthy and not for the sick? Huh… here I thought that it was MEANT for the sick, a hospital for the soul. Is it possible that I am just confused and insubordinate, disrespectful for disrespectfulness’ sake? I am stunned.
Sometimes I feel as in a dream, where emotions are scattered and floating, and I must grasp them and thrust them back in my heart before they are lost. I feel like there are those trying to steal them, who are trying to engulf me in a foggy mist so I can get lost in it. Now that IS confusing, distorting, and makes me feel most vulnerable. Yet… I cling to what I know, and try not to cling to what I don’t understand. What might that be?
I KNOW that the Lord sent us here to this place. While I do not understand the reasonings, which most just assume have all to do with relatives and grown child responsibities, I assure you that there is more to it… I just don’t know what it all is yet. I know that my current responsibility is highly involving encouraging and pouring into my husband and kids, and those few who actually don’t mind hearing what I may have to say. My many words are not often… considered. For lack of a kinder way to put it. And… well, I certainly have many failings days; and, boy, does that hurt. While others have only used my talents and sucked the life out of me, the Lord has redirected me to let go of those high expectations of others and live fully where I am. Not that easy, actually, and constantly battling my own feelings of letting others down, but… I am MUCH more content and relaxed… Most of the time. How misunderstood am I at this time where most around me are so works oriented? Grrrr…
I may be warring to understand and maintain some semblance of peace from all sorts of obstacles, deterents, and barriers, but I can trust in Jesus. He knows it all. He knows me. He knows them. He knows it all. He has asked me to “cast my cares on Him for He cares” for me.
I know that my kids get all kinds of messages all the days long, and I cry out often to the Lord for His touch on their lives. They are brilliant, creative, intelligent, sweet and strong characters, that need me near. Present. I KNOW that.
I know that my dogs trust me and have confidence that I will give them affection when they need it, even though I am sure they have come to realize that I have a different sort of liking for them than that of cats. Oh, cats… so sweet, purring, and uncomplicated. Hahahahah…
I know that sometimes I feel so isolated and lost in this small, and yet, great big world, but… He actually knows exactly where I am, all the time, and is always near, unless I step away from Him, distracted, self-pitying, and willing to let go… sigh…
I know that those mountains just outside my windows were formed by mighty big hands. Capable hands. Nothing is bigger than the Owner of those hands… no challenge, trial, or hurt. And, I remember that the Creator of those climbing hills and peaks creased the earth “just so” to remind me of who He is, what He is… ALL powerful. ALL knowing. EVERY where.
I know that I can count on exactly ONE. ONE. That is it. I cannot tell you the grief in that lesson, for me. To know that my trust cannot be lent out, whipped out, handed out, because… well, my heart needs a break from the poundings… well, it is time to remember that there is ONLY ONE who is “sufficient” for all my needs, and He is spirit and truth. He lives in my heart, and loves me anyway, beyond and in spite of my numerous failings and incapacities.
I know that that sky above me, above all of us, truly DOES “declare the glory of the Lord”, and that those winged creatures swooping, soaring, buzzing, singing, twittering, and joying… well, they are reminders that if He takes care of them, He will surely take care of little ole me. Us.
I know that I MUST “trust in, cling to, rely on, and believe in” Jesus. There is NOONE like Him- Friend, Defender, Confidant, Counselor, Mediator, Rock, Help, Savior, Light, Refuge, Shield, Protector… on and on and on I could go. All that in One very loving and giving and just and right and merciful and faithful God. Thank You, Jesus!
I know a lot of things, though I have to be reminded of them so many times. I keep forgetting His promises, (why and how is that?!?!) and that He is not just a “promise maker” but a “promise keeper”, too. I keep forgetting the power He gives us to live a Christian life. After all, “the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in you”. WOW!! Not to mention the verses declaring that He has already the victory!! He has overcome!! Why do we so often live in defeat if that is so? It surely is not because He has condemned us to live so. It has everything to do with our weaknesses and tendencies to get distracted away from what matters most in this world. Not money, not family, not church, not work, not success, not anything else, but Christ Alone!!! He IS the most important “Person, Place or Thing” in this whole world. Go to the dictionary and look up the word “noun”, write in Jesus, Jesus, Jesus… He is the most important noun EVER.
So how does this all connect with my ranting and verbal showering? Where do I actually fit in all the mess that is life? How should I behave, act, proceed with the challenges that have knocked at my door or have crept into our quiet existence in this chestnut-mountain strewn land? Where does ministry fit into this exhausting journey of “survival of the fittest"- whether off or on “holy” soil?
I was touched by this somehow… I am letting it work itself into me so bear with me as I chew a bit more. I will share it anyway, in hopes that it will touch you as well.
“but go rather to the lost sheep of Israel, and as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. FREELY you have received, FREELY give.”
I am not worthy of all that Jesus has done for me. I still get overwhelmed knowing that He saw ME while He hung on that cross and suffered all He did. I am not worthy of it. I am literally just “a sinner saved by grace.” It isn’t that I have done all kinds of horrible things in my lifetime. No. Actually, whoever may have known me in my lifetime would probably say that I have always been a pretty “good girl.”
But… that is not the point. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans) ALL. I have lied; I have let fear govern me instead of trusting; I have coveted; I have envied; I have held to bitterness and resentment; I have lusted; I have said curses and sworn and thought things I shouldn’t. I have. I have my own mountains to pass over, my own valleys to pass through, my own oceans into which I cast repented sins at Jesus in confidence knowing that He will throw them into that “sea of forgetfulness”. I cannot survive well without Him. I could strive to attain this world’s version of success and still fail. I could have all the money in the world and still be entirely poor. I could. But… I don’t want it without Jesus, my Joy, my Peace, my Help, my All.
I don’t know lots of things. But… I know that I know that I know that I will leave all of those mind blowing, daily nagging and always-strewn-across-my-brain question marks of life at the feet of Jesus. I will sit there and soak up whatever I can. Like Martha’s Mary. She did "choose the better way", you know. It can, and will, only do me good, even if I have to suffer awhile in the lesson going, in the storminess that so often shakes me to my core and gets me fearing instead of trusting and surrendering. I will go on. I have to go on. I wonder sometimes if I even CAN persevere on, but then the other half of my brain... the part that has been untouched by years of strain, doubt, and adult grievings, that childlike side of me; well, it takes over in spurts. In courage it stands up to all the fogginess and insecurities and discouragements, and… takes a deep breath and says, “ Come like a child before the Storm Calmer. Remember… Be still and know that He is God.”
Help me to “touch the hem of Your garment”, Lord. Amen.