Keep Me Yours

About two weeks ago, I asked God for a Word He wanted me to receive that day and it was Psalm 32:7:

You are a hiding place for me;
    you preserve me from trouble;
    you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

As I shared it with a friend and told her that “deliverance” can also mean “to calve” and “surround me” can also mean “fetch me/cause me to come” I suddenly remembered something my husband and I watched on TV. It’s a series called “Farmer Seeks a Wife”.

One of the women woke early and because she got up then, she was able to partake in the calving. She was so overwhelmed by the beauty of that moment alone with the farmer, experiencing such an amazing moment alone together. It emphasized again for me the beauty of that hiddenness God calls us into, to be set apart unto Him and to still to His birthing of the new in our midst.

And then later, I sat there and read further in A Passion for the Impossible, a book written by Miriam Huffman Rockness about the life of Lilias Trotter, and just cried and cried. I sat with the Promise God gave Lilias right before her own weary heart and others’ discouraged hearts were opened wide to receive a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit – and to see hearts opening to Christ all around them after years of sowing without reaping:


Malachi 3:1
“See, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to His temple, the Messenger of the covenant you desire—see, He is coming,” says the Lord of Hosts. 

What I found so beautiful is that this birthing of new life came as Lilias and others confessed their own weariness and need for a fresh infilling of Christ. As they set aside time to seek God and to rest and recharge away from all their activity “for Him”, God moved mightily in their hearts and suddenly simulatenously in the hearts of those around them, who were then drawn to Christ like a magnet.

I have been drawn away into that quiet place with Christ afresh this week. On Resurrection Sunday Jesus drew me to His discipline of the disciples. As He entered the locked upper room, where they were hiding out in fear, He rebuked them for their unbelief and their hardening hearts, for refusing to believe those who had reported the Good News of His resurrection to them. In this rebuke of His disciples, Jesus uncovered the hardening of my own heart, the sorrow, unbelief and discouragement that I had allowed to hide out and fester in me, tainting my heart and my vision. And so, also so deeply encouraged by the repeated humbling of Lilias before her Maker, each fresh season of her life anew, I decided to take the time to lay my heart fully bare before God.

It’s funny how simple things really are, and how easily my heart softens at God’s touch, when all I do is I just draw near to Him, when all I do is just openly confess my discouragement, my sorrow and my unbelief. Jesus responded to me so beautifully through His Word, through a movie my daughter and I watched a few weeks ago, and through my husband’s uncovering of what lay beneath the surface.

God uncovered my dented pride (ouch), my clinging to the (oh-so-much better) past and the shame I have felt of my current (humble) circumstances. And He invited me into His seeing: into His pride in me, the new life and heavenly future set before me and my intrinsic worth in Him. As I embraced God’s seeing of myself and others, I could see how the sins of pride and unbelief had been sucking the joy out of me, filling me with grief and stealing my delight in learning from, growing with and connecting to those around me. And I rejoiced in the change of mind He gifted me, as He lifted such a heavy burden off of my shoulders, overwhelming me with His tender loving kindness.

As I was sitting with what God is doing in my life and heart, I came across this old poem I penned in prayer in 2018, and I so longed to share it with you, as it still so reflects the desires of my heart. May it bless your heart also to pray this with me afresh and to linger with our precious Jesus, inviting Him to show us all the ways He has already been answering these desires that are in fact the desires of His beautiful heart for us, His lowly, gentle and servant-heart.

KEEP ME, LORD



Keep me ever weak before You

That You might be my Strength

My Cup, My Portion.



Keep me needy on my knees

That I might know You ever more

Your life, Your grace, Your love for me.



Keep me humble

Casting here my burdens

Upon the One who saves.



Keep me thankful

Remembering all You've done

And all You've promised true.



Keep me breaking

Bread from heaven falling

Not hoarding, but in partaking gift.



Keep me pouring

My heart out like water

Panting after nothing, but Living Water.



Keep me seeing

Your hand upon

Your sovereign rule and reign.



Keep me learning

My heart here open

To Your perfect leading.



Keep me safe

Within your boundaries

Not stepping there beyond.



Keep me leaning

All my weight

Upon my Lord and Savior.


That I might live

Each day, forever

In Your holy Presence.



Keep me: YOURS.

Perspective in Brush Strokes

Today’s post first appeared on my dear friend, Wendy Simpson’s blog, Widow’s Manna , about five years ago. Wendy is not only a creative writer, but an artist, producing beautiful sketches, paintings, intricately woven blankets and prayer shawls, plush toys, digital art and cards. You can find her artwork on her WordPress Wendy’s Vignettes and her Facebook Wendy’s Vignettes

 

Been thinking about perspective…..

 

Take a little time to look up an impressionist’s painting. I love Monet. With that fresh in your mind, think about perspective.  When you walk up close to this painting, you will observe thousands of small brush strokes in an array of colors. Close up there is some beauty but in many ways it looks like a lot of chaos truly makes no sense.  It is pretty hard to get an idea of what the artist it trying to express.  Now take several steps back from this painting.  Something amazing happens. Thousands of tiny brush strokes make way for shapes and structure. The colors blend together to create new colors and something you could not see before, takes shape.  The chaos become beautiful and the artist intended expression makes more sense. 

 

It is like that in life. When we are face to face with trials of life, there is not much room for perspective. We see the chaos of each brush stroke and a mess of color that seem strangely placed. There is no picture and beautiful is the last way we would describe our life.  But God sends people into our lives, who have been standing back observing this “painting” process in our life.  Their perspective is something we couldn’t see, being in the middle  of it all.  They see colors blending together and pictures that have taken shape.  They see that the artist intentions were beauty not chaos.  They see reasons for color choices, that we would never have chosen. So, all this to say, we are thankful for those who have spoken perspective into our lives. And those who have pointed out the order in our chaos.  

 

Both perspectives are necessary to walk through a process like this.  You can stand back and see the picture being painted before you and have, in turn shared what you observe, color blending and something taking shape.  I can share the details I don’t see colors blended, I see instead, what was used to make that color. I see the tears and agony and joys and victories it took to paint one of the thousand brush strokes.  To me every stroke has a meaning. You see it as part of the big picture’s beauty.  But when I cannot understand why a stroke was placed, I need only to remember there is a big picture and the artist, he knows why.  Every stroke is part of the masterpiece.

 

I am thankful for those of you who share perspective. We are just living it, and in living it, we do not see outside the everyday survival at times.  Thank you for your encouragement and love and grace as we walk this journey one day one “brush stroke” at a time.

 

Five months before Chris passed, on the heels of life altering surgery, I was desperate and looking for hope and perspective.  (Above is an excerpt of that.) I’d put aside passions and parts of me that I felt would hinder complete and utter devotion to caring for Chris.  I stored away and stuffed the ache and the sadness, for as long as I could.  Allowing myself moments, trying (not too successfully) to make them brief.  Aw… control… it served me well, ha, or so I thought.  Amidst the journey’s steps I have (on so many occasions) broke down, and completely lost my resolve, to be strong (on my own strength).  Having very little grace in my grief, I’ve fallen into chaotic and messy emotional places, and always get so upset with myself. After a fairly long battle, and after tears have subsided, then …. I’d finally seek God’s face and the wise counsel that came from those candles God had placed along the dark cave walls of this journey.  All I had to do is reach out… and there it was… His divine provision.

 

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son…. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”  -Colossians 1:13, 17 (ESV)

 

“That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2-3 (ESV)

 

 Now, my perspective has been narrowed some and I am looking, specifically, at the dark brushstrokes.  Deconstructing them, if you will, for perspective and to find His goodness.  These brushstrokes, left unattended, could make my whole canvas… go dark.  These brushstrokes I speak of, have screamed out for my attention for awhile now, and up to now… I have ignored them and refused to give them audience. In a sea, of over twenty years of living and life with my husband, I now choose not to continue to suppress the pain of His passing and the disappointments, so that I can just mourn….

….My death …the death of a caregiver

 

….Watching death…. stolen years.

 

….Lost and changing relationships.

 

….Not fitting in.

 

….The missing arms and lost affection.

In the coming days and weeks I resolve to explore these dark strokes on my canvas and begin the process of acknowledging their pain to finding their worth.  I believe that God can take all that is, the fallen part of man… and create in us… something good.  The goodness being… Christ in us the hope of glory.