Life is hard, so very hard. Oh yes, we know the truths of God’s beautiful Word, don’t we? But there are days the darkness presses in. Days our hearts, our minds, our souls struggle to breathe, to believe.
Where do we go on those days? When waves of crashing grief pull us under? When triggers of our past rip open deep wounds and leave us gasping for air? When it feels as if someone has strapped us into a frightening rollercoaster and our screams cannot escape?
Is there a place for us, for us hungry and thirsty souls, for us who have been told if we’d “just trust God at His Word” our storms would subside? For us, who run to hide behind closed doors, ashamed, weeping and fearful?
These are questions Bettie Gilbert, Anna Smit and their friends have wrestled through, lashed by the winds and waves of physical, mental and emotional turmoil. In Arise and Shine: Beloved, You Are Mine, a series of poetry, prayers and devotionals, we share how God has been meeting us right there. Not just once, but again and again.
Oh how He has been transforming that rollercoaster of terror into a rollercoaster of exhilerating adventure with Him. He is lifting our burdens away, dropping us into weightlessness, where our lack of control reveals His sovereign control: His safe hands and arms stretching out to lift us up and carry us so very close to His heart, until our hearts begin to beat again in tune to His own.
He has been revealing hidden treasures in our struggles to breathe and believe. These are treasures shrouded in the materials God’s people brought forward for the building of a Holy Temple centuries ago. Treasures now ready for the unveiling.
There is a place for us. Right here, right now. For the wind and waves, they define us as HIS. As fiercely loved, eternally chosen children of God, divinely called to “Arise and Shine!”
Song of Songs 2: 8 - 17, ESV
The voice of my beloved!
Behold, he comes,
leaping over the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Behold, there he stands
behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
looking through the lattice.
My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away,
for behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree ripens its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away.
O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
in the crannies of the cliff,
let me see your face,
let me hear your voice,
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely.
Catch the foxes for us,
the little foxes
that spoil the vineyards,
for our vineyards are in blossom.”
My beloved is mine, and I am his;
he grazes among the lilies.
Until the day breathes
and the shadows flee,
turn, my beloved, be like a gazelle
or a young stag on cleft mountains.
As the Lord calls us to Arise and Shine, He has let us know that we, His people, have now become His own dwelling place: the Temple of the Lord.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)
For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ 2 Corinthians 6:16 (NIV)
Is there a parallel then, between the setting up and arranging of the early Tabernacle and the building up of our souls, God’s Holy Temple, in Jesus Christ, today? We have experienced it, and still are experiencing it, to be so.
Come, let’s invite Jesus, through His living Word and testimony in us, to uncover our Abba Father’s desires within us. Come, let’s listen for the free-will offerings of His grace that He is calling us to bring forward to Him today. May we come to know His love for us more and more, loving and obeying Him in return. May we see the unveiling of His new Temple in our own physical bodies and in His unified Body, His Bride, as a whole.
We invite you, through the poems, prayers and devotionals of Arise and Shine: Beloved, You are Mine to take ahold of Jesus’ hand and our own. Come, let’s together discover and rediscover the power of:
Take these simple offerings that you ask of us, and transform them into a sweet-smelling aroma where Your Truth will be clearly heard. We pray for each child of yours You have led to read these words. May each one hear the calling of Your Spirit to join in with the offering of herself.
Thank You for shining Your light on the dark and hidden places in our hearts, where You want to uncover and reveal Your transformation and redemption for us. Thank You that darkness is as light to You and that the darkness covering Your beauty in us has not and cannot overcome the power of Your light and love for us.
May Your Spirit now uncover and reveal the beauty of Your blessed heart growing in our hearts and midst, through the joining and building together of us all – Your Living Stones – into Your very own Temple. May Your living Word now lift away every burden and wash away every intermingling of sin that is closing our eyes, our ears and our hearts to the beauty and purity of our bodies in the light of Your Body, which was broken and bled to make us whole.
Thank You that we are Your beloved lambs and sheep and that You are even now awakening us in new ways to hear Your call to us, that we might show You our hearts, and come when You call. Thank You that You are revealing Your victory for us here on this holy ground, of Your blood shed for all. Thank You that our every setting apart and hemming in, is leading us out into Your growing and spacious heart of love for us all.
In Jesus’ Mighty Name,
May you arise and shine in the light of Christ, for Beloved, you are the Lord’s!
Bettie Gilbert and Anna Smit had been compiling Arise and Shine to publish in a book (since 2017). But we both sensed God’s call to instead release the book He has been writing on our hearts these past few years, here at ShalomAleh.com. And so in obedience to our Papa’s blessed calling, You can find the poems, prayers and devotionals here, when you click on each one of the seven parts of the book above.