Part 7: Chapter 7 – Day 3: Stepping Into Grace

Welcome to Day 3 of Chapter 7 from Arise & Shine’s Part 7. Today, Bettie is bringing forward our third free will offering of The New Covenant of Love.

Have you faced a shift in your life recently?

I have felt so many shifts throughout the years. And I’ve found that the Seasons will change, and our lives most assuredly move to different rhythms. But our Living Word, Jesus Christ, remains solid and unchanging for us. 

As my life-rhythms changed dramatically this past year, I saw a new Rheumatologist this past fall.  A new Doctor for a new state, here in this season of transition. And he shocked me with his words:

“I see no need to try to add in any other medication. Your body has clearly rejected so many. You have actually been managing your flares wisely.”

Managing wisely? How could that be? I have felt so weak in knowing how to pace my days. When I mulled over the Doctor’s words the next day, I knew WHO had been doing the managing, and I felt like laughing–Holy Spirit guided holy laughter! In spite of my weakness and fleshly ways of trying to carry the burdens myself, God has always been the One carrying me.

Even when I have not acknowledged or seen His hand–He has always been shaping and molding my heart.  The pain might rage, or my weakened flesh might grow weary, but HE is my One unchanging steady point, keeping me in step with His plans and His safe boundaries.

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25

The Greek meaning for that phrase, “keep step” set my mind to remembering a time of physically “keeping in step” many decades ago, when I was a young teenager. (Follow this link to the Biblehub website to find more word meanings:)

4748 stoixéō (from stoixos, “a row, line, or rank“) – properly, walk in line, in strict accordance to a particular pace (“stride”); walk in cadence, “keep in step.”

Helps Word-Studies

~~~~~~

The young, chubby clarinet player fell behind at every practice. The Squad Leaders called out in frustration, “What is your problem? Why can’t you stay in step?” The clarinet player did not have an answer. Playing the notes while standing and moving around the field was hard enough. Even the hours of practice on the Band Camp field didn’t seem to make a dent in her progress.

She went home determined to learn. In the same way that her old clarinet was a puzzle to others, her inability to grasp the rhythm was a puzzle also. So she marched around her yard and her friend’s yard (the same one who climbed the willow tree with her in their younger days.) Left, right, left, right, … over and over again until she began to feel the words within the notes she played.

There came a day, and she couldn’t even remember when it happened, that the rhythm had etched itself onto her legs and into her mind. The music and the movements joined together, and she was flowing with the group. The years passed, and unbelievably, she became a Squad Leader. When a new recruit who could not stay in step joined the ranks, she remembered. And she waited. It would come, the rhythm would wrap itself around the new one’s heart also.

~~~~~~

Now, many years past that fresh-paced young life rhythm, my husband and I sold our home last year and moved in with our daughter’s family. As we were preparing for that move,  I paused and looked around one morning, realizing that the barren walls seemed to be speaking to me. I felt the Lord’s nudging to find expression for what He had placed within my heart:

The Barren Walls

The empty rooms
are echoing
And the barren walls
are speaking
What is it they are saying?

Listen to our stories
Hear the laughter
and the tears
Pay attention to the figures
from the mists
you will recall ...

Set down roots
the LORD had spoken
Settle in the land
I called you to.
Your work will be your prayer
as the years unfold and spin.

I will break up your flinty ground
in the gardens of your heart.
I will array your rooms with beauty
by the singing of MY heart.

And when the years are done
the rooms seem stark and bare
You will look inside your soul
and find that nothing's lost.

I have stripped away the outer
to fill the inner even more
with OVERFLOWING
OVERWHELMING
OVERSHADOWING
FULLNESS OF MY SPIRIT.

You are HOME
inside MY heart.

--bg

And suddenly, the years of that chubby girl in marching band melted together with the memories of a young housewife raising her toddlers who overnight became teenagers pushing their own boundaries. 

Isn’t that what we all do? We find ourselves chafing at the boundaries set up around us.

We think we know the right pace to set,  the correct rhythm with which our life should flow. But all the while, our Saviour has set a plan in motion and has invited us to come follow Him.  He has longed to inscribe His New Covenant of Life upon our hearts: the unforced rhythm found within His perfect boundaries and pacing and planning.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 The Message

When the seasons change and I am taken off-guard, feeling adrift from my usual rhythm,  He whispers His voice of comfort to me:

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'” Isaiah 30:21 NIV

Oh dear friend, would you join me in prayer to this wonderful Savior who calls us to live within His new Covenant of life for us?

Dear Lord Jesus, 

Thank You so much for the gift that You have set before us: New Life found in Your grace-filled New Covenant for us. Forgive us for thinking that we could manage our lives, and direct our steps ourselves. What a joy to know that You have already set in motion the perfect plan for each of us!

Thank You for revealing Your movements within us as we’ve looked back over the years. Even when we stubbornly resisted Your leading, Thank You for being so patient with us! 

We take such joy in Your planning and pacing of our days! We praise You for every change of season that You brought about in our lives. For we can look back and see that it was in the very change that You were showing us how to walk in step with You.

Keep us in Your ways. Keep us focused on You. We know our weaknesses too well–but then so do You! And in each place of weakness, You have come to give us Your own New Life flowing in our veins. Oh praise You Lord Jesus for being our great Saviour of our souls.

In Your name we pray,

Amen.

May these songs of worship bless you in the unforced rhythmic beat of the Holy Spirit and Christ’s ever-present grace for you in the season He is leading you in(to).

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