My heart has felt kinda droopy lately. When it feels this way it seems I always find myself telling it “PERK UP!”
But, then I’ve realized this latest droopy feeling is a good one. I’ve needed to stay in a season of reflection. My heart is going through a time of purging. Cleansing. Sifting. I have been looking in the mirror of God’s word, and then feeling the weight of how many times I’ve walked away from the mirror — seeing clearly how filthy I am — only to leave not even attempting to wipe the dirt off my face. I walk around with a big smeary-dirt face, and it surely doesn’t reflect my Father’s magnificent beauty.
If you read my blog often (you truly hang in there and love me… lol) you may have noticed how I like words such as “new” and phrases like “He reminds me…”? These words are so warm and cozy — just like my fuzzy blanket, wool socks, hot tea and dark chocolate in the evenings…. but what’s the point? He can present the new. His words do indeed remind me… and that’s wonderful, compassionate and good. But, Joani for Pete’s sake… don’t walk away from the mirror with the old still on your face — try the new. When He “reminds” me, why in the world won’t I take the reminder and walk it out? Why? Cos it’s work to scrub the dirt off my face. ESPECIALLY when the dirt is really caked on thick from a long time of wearing it… it actually is quite painful to scrub it off.
And basically, this is it: I do not love like Him.
Rudeness. Bitterness. Gossip. Ungratefulness. Selfishness. Sarcasm that stings. Silly teasing that isn’t Christ-like. Criticism. Judging that which I do not know.
What is my life representing?
I can read 1 Corinthians 13 all day, wear the t-shirt, post it on facebook, sing about it, quote it with passion at a wedding, and hang the beautiful hand-crafted cross-stitch on my living room wall….. but if I don’t walk it out… if I don’t have it… if I don’t wear it.. if my actions don’t line up with it — go ahead finish it for me…..
I am nothing.
A few months ago, I had one of my biggest heart-lessons ever. One of those moments when time almost stands still around you, as something sinks deep, deep, deep into your heart. I was sitting with a friend who was pouring her heart out to me. She was losing everything on this earth that we hold dear. Everything; children, job, husband, finances… her freedom. She looked up momentarily, removing her hands from her face… and looked straight into my eyes, tears still streaming down her face, and she choked out through her sobs, “Holding onto my pain has cost me everything good this life could have held for me.” See, her life story was incredibly filled with pain. Childhood victimization that was not anything she ever asked for or wanted. Rejection. Cruelty. Pain. And she clung to it, like we all do. Surely, I can’t surrender it. Why? What do I do with this? The pain is killing me! I’m trapped. Why can’t I let go? How can I let go? What can I do without this familiar burden? But, at the same time how can I cope? The burden is too heavy. Then we fill it with anything and everything that dulls it just a bit….. alcohol, drugs, relationships, shopping, sex, eating, sleep, working hard to keep looking like perfection on the outside…. our souls shriveling on the inside.
Someone, please help me are the cries. I’m drowning. I’m sinking.
And that’s where love comes in again. He has. He has helped us. Christ has made the way. His love is not only filled with a grace to save…. His love is a saving grace. It’s always at work in our life. “Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me”” 2 Corinthians 12:9, ESV. He doesn’t give us a magical poof, and ta-da, we are what we are and that’s it folks…. He is at work. He’s cleaning, shining, molding, shaping, polishing, and creating a clean, new heart.
It’s how He works out love in our hearts. We surrender all those scars, pains weaknesses, and all our brokenness, and He works. He truly is all we need. And only through Him does the story turn out differently….
My friend surrendered her heart to Jesus that day. She realized that through God’s amazing love, He sent His Son to die on the cross to pay for her sins, her wanderings, and to be the healer of the incredible, incomprehensible burden that she struggled to carry. The first step for her was at the face of His cross, where she laid all of it at His feet and asked Him to make her new. She believed that God had the power not only to change her in that moment… but to keep on working in her heart to help her realize what true love really is. Step by step. Word by word. Moment by moment. Romans 12:2! She still is walking out earthly hard consequences, but she has a hope now that no one can take away. She has a love that will not fail her. She gave Christ all the pains, scars, and bitterness — and now her heart runs for the joy set before her…. and love pouring in and out of her. What a trade peeps!
We can’t love like Him if we are always assuming the worst… and even if the worst is totally true, can we continue on with love?
We aren’t loving like Him if we have enemies that we can’t be patient with or that we refuse to fully forgive…. and then desire, pray for, encouarge God’s best in their life.
So, today let’s walk away from the mirror…. and start scrubbing away. I don’t want to only think about how neat-o “new” is, I want to be new. I want to love like Him, and leave behind the pains keep me from all the joy that this world and beyond will afford by knowing the true hope. God heals my broken hopes by showing me where to set my heart. There is a hope that will never shake, change or disappoint. Look to our Saviour Jesus Christ, my friend.
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” ~John 13:35