A few days ago, I was re-reading an old post of Bettie’s and was so struck by this one line in her poem:
And the ONE to restore the desiring.
Because I realized, and am realizing even more tonight, just how beautifully God has indeed been restoring my “desiring” of His will, of His Word to me. What was once so burdensome to me, is no longer so, in so many areas of my life.
Oh yes: there’s still areas He’s restoring that desiring, areas where He’s calling me to come to Him to know Him in a new way, that He might make my path straight in that place and take what is burdensome and turn it into a gift. But I see such growth that truly has come and is coming in His doing.
I told my husband a few days ago, that recent changes in me (that I know he has longed to see in me for so long) are now coming through the kindness shown to me. I told him about the Bible verse that says that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance and I shared how getting to go “home” and see my family and childhood friend of more than thirty years after 4.5 years apart did something deep inside me.
It made me see how I had been deliberately sabotaging my own health and well-being – living out what I began in my weariness and discouragement to believe about myself once again: that I am a victim, condemned (in my illness) and that I don’t belong to the Body of Christ because I am so different.
Visiting New Zealand opened my eyes to see my Heavenly Father’s great delight in me, especially as my dear friend of more than 30 years stood in awe at the visible fruit she could now see in our midst. I began to be reminded how each surrender has indeed brought such beauty to those who are most precious to me, as these surrenders have empowered me to love others deeply, fearlessly and wholeheartedly in God’s love for me.
And in the floodlight of God’s delight, I have begun to desire what is good for me (and my family and friends) and am walking into that easy yoke hand-in-hand with Jesus, with such new-found ease. I am shedding so much weight (physically and emotionally) and am exercising my body and faith daily, as Jesus is setting my mind and heart upon His Word without me even trying to do so myself.
I told my elderly friend that I realized I didn’t want to get well in the past because I thought it was just all too hard. I was exhausted. And yet, that’s the thing: it is too hard and in fact impossible for us to save ourselves in our own doing. But what is impossible for man, is not for our God. For in Him: everything is possible. What was once a heavy burden for us becomes a light burden in God’s carrying of us into His easy yoke and light burden for us, as all we do is come to Him for help, as He opens our hearts to trust Him through that sweet kindness He showers out upon us: the kindness we didn’t know we needed.
I had to laugh, as my daughter sat on my lap tonight and I read out aloud the card on my bedside table to her “in this together”. It is one of many cards (and stickers and bracelets with encouraging words) I and a dear friend had purchased for local high school children.
I had delivered most of them to the school I used to teach at, and others my eldest daughter had given away to children for free, when they purchased her home-made jewellery, as a thank you. But this one had made it’s way to my bedside table (I think maybe my eldest put it there), together with a sticker: “Your mistakes don’t define you”, which someone stuck to our bathroom door.
And then, in the past few days, I’ve found God giving me words of encouragement for my youngest daughter in particular to remind her that what sets us apart from others is what in fact reveals God’s heart to others through us. And that in turn what sets others apart from us, helps us to receive God’s love for us personally in a new way too – because we each carry a unique piece of God’s heart.
I realized it’s these three truths that Jesus has been writing on my own heart afresh that have been restoring my desiring, as God’s been busy enlarging my heart to run in the path of His commands:
1. Knowing that Jesus is in this together with me and that I don’t have to do this in my own waning strength.
2. Knowing that my past mistakes don’t define me- only the Cross and God’s abundant and now empowering grace for me does.
3. Knowing that I belong to Jesus and His Body and that my setting apart (what makes me different from others) is what in fact unites me to Jesus and His heart for me and for others, as we each learn to honor and receive new and unique facets of His heart in and through each other.
I “know” these truths and have experienced them in such beautiful ways, and yet in many areas of my life I have not been living out these truths because deep down I had become weary and discouraged. I didn’t realize just how badly I needed God’s kindness and His rest, His sweet encouragement that is leading me to repentance and a healthier and happier frame of mind and body. I didn’t know how badly I needed reminding that I belong to Him:
And that my soul has been crying out for Him, all along:
May we all be blessed in Christ’s restoring of our desire to obey Him in EVERY area of our lives. May we come as little children to our Abba Father, each day afresh, that He may lift away that heavy yoke of our doing and striving for His easy yoke and light burden for us. May the joy of the LORD that is our strength be restored in us, lifting away our weariness and discouragement. May the kindness and Sabbath rest of our LORD move us to godly sorrow and repentance without regret.
And may we all be encouraged afresh in the words God gave to Bettie to comfort not just her, but all of us too:
Welcome to Day 6 of Chapter 5 from Arise & Shine’s Part 7. Today, Bettie is bringing forward our sixth free will offering of the Stone Tablets: Revealing the Covenant and Testimony of Jesus (the Word fulfilled).
Carried On Eagle's Wings
They lay broken on the road
And the people passed them by
Their wounds were too great to heal
And their plight too great to restore
When out of the sky rose an eagle
And bore them on wings to the desert
Fearsome and scorching the sands
Were the places their feet then walked.
But the heat cauterized wounds
And long festering sores were healed
As the voice of their rescuer
Thundered from the mountain
Stop! The sound pushed at them
And set their teeth on edge.
You listen for us, Moses,
The people of the rescue turned away.
Their Rescuer desired Fellowship
But they could only see Laws
Written on Stone Carved deep
With harsh judging meted out.
. . . . . .
Centuries passed and OUR wounds
Would not stay healed
Gaping and oozing we stumbled
Groping to obey Laws heavy-yoked.
When out of the purity ONE came
Who fulfilled every law
ONE who reigned down mercy
With every step He took.
The whip fell on Him sharp and long
The Cross took His shape
And Judgment fell upon limbs
While blood and water poured forth.
And we called Him stricken by God
Again we turned our face away
From pain too deep
Underneath we saw ourselves.
He carried our debt
He carried our pain
He carried our judging
But in the dying He rose
Carried on eagles' wings
He became the rescuer
And the ONE to restore the desiring.
As we looked unto the Living One
Our hearts were carved upon
The hardness gave way
To tender flesh of Love.
Tablets of Rock-hard-stone
Became hearts for writing
By the Rescuer Himself
Signature inscribed deep within.
What a Fellowship is this?
As we bow here now
To our Savior - the Living Law -
He writes His Word upon our hearts.
Deuteronomy 9:10 “The Lord gave me two stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God. On them were all the utterances the Lord proclaimed to you on the mountain out of the fire, on the day of the assembly.”
Isaiah 53:4 “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.”
Hebrews 8:10 “This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my Word in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Exodus 19:3-5 [additional possible meanings inserted from Bible lexicon]
3Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, “This is what you are to tell the house of Jacob and explain to the sons of Israel: 4‘You have seen for yourselves what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 5 Now if you will heed [listen to / follow] My voice and celebrate [protect / wait for / observe / be a doorkeeper of / be a watchman for] My covenant, you will become My treasured possession out of all the nations — for the whole earth is Mine.