I’m joining Lisa-Jo at Gypsy Mama again for 5 Minute Friday. Join us! Just write for 5 minutes–no edits, no extra time–just write and post. The theme today is “If I knew I could, I would. . .
If I knew I could find the words that would convince you that God loves you, I would drop everything and spill those words out for you to hear and watch your eyes and heart light up.
If I knew the acts in my life that would show you how much God loves you, and what peace you would find if you knew Him, I would stop everything else and just do those things that would show you.
If I knew I could find another person in this world who could help you to see God and have faith the way I do, I would push aside my introverted nature and introduce you to that person and serve you tea and cupcakes while you talked.
If I knew that I could point you to a passage in scripture that would speak to your heart and show you His, I would sit with you in silence as you read and pray for God’s presence at that moment.
If I knew that I could pray for God to pursue you and prepare your heart and that nothing I could do would help, I would pray anyway because I love you that much, and because I know God loves you that much, and because I know hope and faith and love prevail. . . .
I skipped out to the mail box as a young girl with blond pig-tails swinging wildly, excited to retrieve the mail for mom. But then I heard it. The sound of a plane over head. Suddenly my joy turned to fear. I reached the mail box, covered my ears, crouched down, and tried to hide. The fear overwhelmed me. I don’t recall the exact sensation, but I recall how terrified I was of planes. I don’t know if it was the noise or the fear of a crash. I know mom would ask me as I shuttered in fear, what was it I was afraid of? I couldn’t tell her. I just was. I had no words to speak about how I felt.
As I move through Holy Week, I have no words to speak of Christ’s death on the cross and the resurrection. Instead, I wonder whether, if I had lived during that time, whether I would have been struck with fear and an absence of words. I wonder whether I would have been one who refused to speak up for Christ or one who refused to listen to Christ.
I am certain I would not have spoken up. And I imagine, like I did as a kid, I would have been wrought with fear, a fear I perhaps could not articulate.
That is difficult to admit, but I admit it with certainty. Today, I don’t find it easy to talk about the resurrection because I find it intellectually incomprehensible.
Understanding it and believing it required a transformation from head to heart–an inner knowing. Faith. Belief in things unseen.
So, as I move silently through Holy Week, I reflect on my own failings, but I look to the cross. I read the words of another who reminds me that I am precious and dear to God, despite my failings. He covers me with His grace. I find peace at the foot of the cross. On my knees. In silence, but not afraid.
“All that makes Him precious and dear to the Father has been transferred to me. His excellency and glory are seen as if they were mine; and I receive the love, and the fellowship, and the glory, as if I had earned them all.”
–Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness
The alarm sounds and I reach over to find my husband still sleeping. “Wake up, you leave today. . . I miss you already.” We linger, holding that one last hug before we set the day in motion. I pray, “God, cover him as he travels this week,” and I rest in his arms another minute.
We stumble around in the morning light. Our usual morning routine disrupted by this early morning flight. Two showers. Breakfast. Last minute packing. Snacks. Passport. Hanging clothes. Book. We are ungraceful and the clock says it is time to leave–well past the time to leave. Forgotten items send us scurrying. And the peaceful moments we savored just before we slid out of bed become a distant memory.
We head out the door later than planned. And rain–torrential–slows our pace further. Traffic. Brake lights. A bumper-to-bumper parade going nowhere. I note that we missed every light. Why is it when I’m late that the lights are all red? And why not bring up more negative things to pile on to the morning stress. . .
Why is it that, when things are what they are–things I can’t change–I make them worse? I thrive on the negative and create more stress. Instead of savoring the last hour I get to spend with my loving husband, I squander it with my ugly side. Why don’t I just shrug things off and laugh about them? And then I think:
“All that makes Him precious and dear to the Father has been transferred to me. His excellency and glory are seen as if they were mine; and I receive the love, and the fellowship, and the glory, as if I had earned them all.” –Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness.
This morning I haven’t earned them all, that’s for sure. I’m grateful I don’t have to. And, I’m certain the way I’m behaving isn’t what Bonar was talking about with respect to the things that make Christ precious and dear to the Father. I imagine God, in a parental stance, arms folded, saying those things parents say to children when they over react–those things I’ve said to my only children so many times.
Yet, I am loved by the Father, even when I am clothed in the ugly. In my tattered “clothes,” I feel ashamed. Deep sadness for this foolishness. Deeper sadness that I haven’t poured out Christ’s love on my husband.
I breathe in God’s grace and forgiveness. The words spill out, “I’m so sorry. I wanted to take you to the airport so that I could spend this last hour with you. . . . And now, look what I’ve done. . . . Please forgive me.” I see a glimmer of God’s grace and mercy and love trickle down on us. We travel in silence the rest of the way to the airport.
We remain wounded by the morning, but I know we will heal like we have so many times before. We say our good-byes and I-love-yous, and I slowly pull away from the curb, reminding myself that “All that makes Him precious and dear to the Father has been transferred to me [and my husband].”
My tattered clothes remain, but the gift of the Father’s love and the promise of the cross, is transforming me one tiny thread at a time.
“take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life,
a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct
as God accurately reproduces his character in you.”
–Ephesians 4:24, The Message
Last night, I headed to church. A little late. And so, I hurried. I didn’t drive faster, but suddenly, without even thinking about it, I found myself thinking, “Come on, hurry up folks, let’s make the light.” “Move over, I have somewhere to go.” “What a maniac! Go tailgate someone else!”
I imagine Christ sitting in the seat next to me. Safety belt on, conversing as we head down the road. It is, perhaps, the worst place for us to converse. I’m a courteous driver — outwardly– but my inward dialogue, more often than I want to admit, is one of impatience. Like tonight. It’s ugly. But no one sees it. That is, until I put Christ in the passenger seat and I realize:
He sees it all.
A life that still needs work on the inside. A heart that wants a God-fashioned life, but that is not fully mature in Christ.
I reflect on what a “God-fashioned life” looks like. Life renewed from the inside and working itself into conduct in response to God. God accurately reproducing His character.
Figuratively, I unfasten my seat-belt and hand the keys over to Christ, once again. I turn towards Him. I let the Spirit move and breathe in me.
I turn back to the Word. “Walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. . . . do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love.“
So, in humility and with discipline, I seek a God-fashioned life. Not that I am capable of it myself, but through Him. By allowing the Spirit to fill me up and breathe in me and then pouring myself out in acts of love.
As I get behind the wheel of my car today, I breathe Christ in. I breathe out love. I breathe Christ in. I breathe out patience. I head, steadily, towards Christ. I allow God to reproduce His character in me.