Sunday, February 3, 2013

His love

a friend who really is more like a brother to me challenged me from psalm 116 in the deepest darkest valley moment of this whole experience.

the Lord protects the simplehearted; when i was in great need, He saved me.  (psalm 116:6 niv)

it wasn't even a week since news of the accident - i had a heart that had been racing with the events of the night and tears running freely, i was desperate for something secure.  i so wanted to embrace the challenge, yet honestly did not have the strength or mental power at that point to think into it, "so what does that mean for me?  what do i do with that?" i asked him for more.

"well, what's the opposite of simple?  complicated.  complex, right?"

in that moment, the new world that i was thrown into felt like being in the center of a tornado - fast, furious, and wanting to squeeze my eyes shut until it was all over.  there was just so much unknown, the pain in my heart so very intense.  attack almost unbearable. 

i loved the sound of making this day-to-day of mine simpler.  not just simple for running away from the difficulty simple, but having Something true that in looking to, everything else could fade in the background.

since that day we spoke, i have been wrestling with the Lord for how i could connect the dots in that challenge.  i went before the Lord again and again.  begging Him to show me what it would look like to keep a simplehearted focus in a very un-simple circumstance.

it's manifested itself in different ways over the past months, but this past week i've felt God being really direct to me about having a heart of simplicity.   and it's been found in no crisper a picture than the life of Jesus:  His very purpose for coming to this wreck of a world.  the way He responded to every person He encountered in His 33 years of life here.  why He died.   the way He died.  why He didn't stay dead.    and still, over two thousand years later - the picture no less clear than when he actually walked on this earth --  the way He ministered to my broken heart.   and upheld me when i thought i'd crumble.

this fall - that is when He started in me this idea of being simplehearted.  the weeks went on.  listened to some sermons.  days pass.   read a new friend's blog.  pick up a book i started with our minichurch close to a year ago.  i listen.  i wrestle.  and i'm hearing the very same message.  they all declare what's almost deceivingly simple:  love.   you have something for me, i know.  open my eyes.

i think of the Scripture i know.  if i had to boil it - simplify - how He feels about me:  lovingly.  and if i needed a sole mission for how to spend the rest of my days:  love God.  love others.

it makes my head spin with thoughts yet clears away the clutter all at the same time. 

i breathe in what it feels like to let go of a life that tries to figure and learn and suppose all that God might be changing in my heart through my circumstances.  exactly how He might be making everything work for good.   what to do with the challenges our new life here at home.  how to love a heart-still-healing daughter and a physically-still-healing-husband with a what-on-earth-just-happened-to-us marriage and still do "real life" in the midst of it all.

too exhausting.

i see now that each of those circumstances do not require different methods of approach.  yes, good and right to pray for wisdom and direction in certain areas of decision-making.  yet, in light of this simple heart i believe the Lord's asking me to embrace, it becomes fruitless to run in various directions.

"but the Lord answered her, 'martha, martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things but one thing is necessary.  mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.'"  (luke 10)

while the approach is simple, it - for sure by design - requires such connection with the Father.  if i have eyes of love in each of my day's circumstances, it eliminates the what?  yet creates a deep need for the Spirit for the How?  if i am now clear on mission, that leaves the work of the holy spirit inside of me to handle how that will be accomplished.

"I am the vine; you are the branches.  those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.  for apart from me you can do nothing."  (john 15:5) 

and there it is.  the Gospel in its simplest form:  God longs for a relationship with me.  so simple, but it took me time to get there.  i think back to the words i've seen all over the pages of my life lately.  things like

I've never left you, nor will I ever leave.  

if the miracle comes too quickly, there is no room for discovery, for relationship., Jesus is engaged in a divine romance, wooing us to Himself.

when i first met you i drew you in close to Me.  *

so that makes my time with Him in the morning instrumental.  and trains the thoughts that run throughout the day to be teachable.   if there's one thing i know about love.  the rich, satisfying kind of love, is that it takes time.  time to learn and know and understand.  uncovering layer after layer until you realize you'll never actually be finished learning and understanding - and that's where the richness is found. 

so i will ask God for the power to love.  and then i'll wake up tomorrow and ask again.  i'll regret what i just said, and ask again.  and i'll remind myself that every moment is a "weak moment" because  a heart that wants to be like Jesus needs some serious tapping into the Source.  for i know so very well that without the connection to the Father, my efforts fail.  been there often. . .as i lay my head on the pillow, sky dark with finality of the day. . .the events replay.  conversations, choices, tone, messes tended to that could have been left undone, opportunities left void that held potential.  but instead of seeing it all as failure, i remember my simplehearted focus. . .love.  and know it's that very quality of Jesus that covers it all.  He is just so complete. 

*quoted above:  the praying life by paul miller.  carry me by jenny & tyler.

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