Profound truths wrapped in pint-size packaging seems to be the story of my life lately.
Like the way a family trip to the beach ended up becoming an epiphany for my heart.
You see, my daughter, at first sight of this beach started squealing with delight. Running in and out of the water, splashing, giggling, bubbling over with the euphoria of it all. Clearly we just don't go to the beach that often... for the wonder of this experience had not become common place for her.
She eagerly wanted to venture out deeper, holding to her Dad - or myself for safety.
I wanted to give her a taste of swimming by holding her up in the deeper waters. When she realised the waters were over her head she started to get panicked, and clung to me like a bur. When the footing beneath me started to swirl and soften I began to panic too. (Swimming with a child clinging to me didn't seem that ideal). I tip-toed back towards shallower waters, and when my foot felt a large rock, I stood. Safe. Secure.
Now all of us have a knack for getting ourselves 'in over our head' at one point or another. But sometimes life gives us a real dunking that we aren't prepared for. Grief: maybe you've lost a loved one, or a friendship. Depression: maybe you feel stuck in a pit you can't get out of. Anxiety: maybe the bills and the ills are stressing you beyond your limits. I don't know what waters you are in currently, but I think we all can relate to that panicked state of not knowing where to find our secure footing. My own heart has been facing that ebb and flow lately of peace and worry. trust and fear. joy and sadness.
I thought of my daughter, panicked when the waters threatened, secure when the rock below us held firm. The verse (song) came to mind: "When my heart is overwhelmed, Lead me to the ROCK that is higher than I" Psalm 61:2 Sometimes you just need to get dunked in a lake to remember this truth. Sometimes you just need to grab some crayons, sketch this verse out and tape it to your door. Etch it on my heart. Pray it through the storm.
What I've discovered afresh:
You often appreciate the rock much more when you're faced with drowning.
You savour the meal when hunger was your companion.
You have a grateful heart when you see your needs met.
You see God at work when your strength is gone.
I don't know what waters you're in currently.
Maybe you feel like no one else can see how deep you're drowning inside.
She's still the sweetest addition to our nest. Currently our older daughter is playing peek-a-boo with her as she squeals delight. Azriel says: "I'm still so glad you had this baby, mama... I thought you were going to have a boy, she surprised me!!"
Talia, our little lamb, we delight in you.
Sure, you know how to throw down a fussy fit most evenings... but I know these moments will be a blur soon. You keep growing too fast on us.
I love my friends, my family, that random person walking their dog...
Well, I love the things deeper too, actually.
The taste of coffee, the sunlight's kaleidoscope through the leaves, the smell of our baby's skin.
I'm loving all these things deeper,
because I'm not loving them first.
Or, as good ol' C.S.Lewis would say:
"Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in.
Aim at earth and you will get neither:"
Now, if you're like me, you won't really get this quote... until you really get this quote.
Until it lives out in your heart, works it's way through your affections and alters your thoughts.
God has been kindly pushing this message deeper into my stubborn heart lately.
The more I lift my eyes and ponder all the 'perfection-of-beauty' that He is, and the more I allow His gracious love to soak down into the dry and hollowed out caverns of my soul.. the more I look around and see every.thing with love.
The heavens declare His glory, yes.
But so do the ants, the fingerprints on my chubby baby, and the warmth of my husband's embrace.
When we love God first, oh how much more deeply we can love others!
Drawing from that endless ocean - how much easier it is to throw bucket-fulls onto others around us. Squeezing a drop from the thimble of my own heart barely satiates anyone.
Loving God first also frees us.
Frees us from fear of losing our deepest love.
For if we love our family first, we will fear and worry that they may be taken from us.
If we love wealth, health or home... we will be plagued with anxiety about losing them.
Whatever we spend our time, thoughts and energy on most each day is usually our heart's first love. Can these be taken from you?
(I was blessed years ago to feel the weight of this truth... when I was with friends in Pakistan, and I got a real nasty dose of sickness (food poisoning?). As I lay on a cot, feeling wrung out as an old dish cloth and bemoaning my state the thought hit me: 'Despite the fact that I am in a foreign land, apart from my family, and without any 'comforts of home'... I can still praise the God of all comfort'. When all other pleasures this world may offer are stripped away, I still have the fountain head of JOY to run to. He will not let me go.)
Do you come to this great God with joy?
Knowing that His love endures forever.
His love sought out the broken, the sinful... not the perfect or cleaned up folk.
His love found me.
When my heart sees this great truth, I am freed to love all others without fear.
For what is loss, when I know He is gain?
"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ"
This is where my heart is at lately, which sounds a whole lot more 'Christ-centered' than crafty for many of you I'm sure... but I only blog about what I'm passionate about, so this is it.