For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. For you will go out with joy, and be led forth with peace. Isaiah 55:10-12
today i am going on faith that God is watering something good, deep down in me. something that won’t return empty.
nothing has stirred my soul as of late. my thoughts are restless but not sinking into any ounce of clarity or conviction. this ebb of sorts doesn’t catch me off guard because it’s part of my normal rhythm. times of confusion and times of intention are always intermingled for me…nothing is ever pure. only one or the other. all the time.
and so i live in this in-between , knowing the dust will settle soon enough. and the flow will come again as i slowly digest all of the truths, emotions and threads of living and walking with Jesus. and begin to see slivers of light seeping in through the dusty cracks.
the cracks where beauty washes in and invades the greyness of the flat everyday...
the waking, the cleaning, the bills, the driving, the conversing…all the daily duties that can make life seem small. and keep the imagination pinned down and tattered. lest we pay attention to those little cracks of light coming through.
where joy lives. and where God offers Himself to us everyday.
so much of my life i’ve missed it.
because i think i looked in the wrong places most of the time.
as a little girl i would climb trees. and sit carefree for hours singing in the branches. i barely remember really. because as a teenager i became the victim of a crime…and little by little it stole my song. and the good stuff in life became fuzzy, almost blotted out. everything felt a total loss because being a victim tends to cast a heavy shroud over goodness. like wearing a long, wet wool coat that constantly weighed me down.
all joy felt choked out somehow as i grew up and my innocence drained away.
and the stranglehold of hardness took root. something deep in my soul began to grow a thick skin in response to fear and uncertainty. and i was mostly unaware of the subtle but deep lines carving their way into my furrowed brow. lines and wrinkles now a permanent remnant of my story.
and the hardness.
the hardness had become part of my very bones and blood. it had served me well for so many years and kept disappointment at a safe distance. i had learned well to neither risk or hope-but instead to live with arms folded and wear a suspicious guise. no joy. anywhere.
and so i lived for a very long time, shut down and trapped in a prison of my own making.
“fear keeps life small. the music dies and joy drains. i’ve lived the strangle.” -Ann Voskamp 1,000 Gifts
i too had lived the strangle. but the worst part is that i eventually forgot what joy even felt like – i had choked out hope right along with fear. my jaded eyes so quick to mistrust, had kept life so very small and colorless.
and so my story is one of God’s invitation to lay down arms. and surrender all of my efforts of self-protection and to live with hope and reckless trust instead. to live open. i see now it’s the only remedy.
just as He already knows. He knows that reckless trust and living with hands open- open to offering, to possible pain, to uncertainty-is also what allows us to receive. and see Him in those holy cracks. otherwise, we keep joy, love and freedom locked out.
i had kept joy locked out through my tough indifference. but i was worn out. worn out from wrestling and guarding and fighting for my own safety.
how beautiful that the Father was there all along, pressing in for Love’s sake. and waiting patiently for my “undoneness” to take over. for the walls of my own making to hem me in, causing me to face my survival methods…and to awake my longing to be free. really free.
my soul wanted to feel again, breathe again, sing again. i wanted to feel it all…the good along with the ugly and know that i would be ok. safe. safe in the Father’s grasp…no matter what.
years have passed since those first moments when i slowly unfolded my arms. and opened my white knuckles-leaving myself open to pain or whatever may come. but also open to receive. i can look back with gratitude because i know that God was always up to good in my story,even when it seemed a total loss. He had redemption in mind.
i see it more clearly now. i know it more truly now. i believe it more fully now. His deepest desire is for us to receive the love and redemption only He can offer. and we can only receive that love to the same degree that we are open.
our openness let’s His love seep into the deepest cracks of our brokenness…and heal. He brings us back to life, even in those dead and dark parts. then suddenly, without noticing-we are surprised by the light coming through … and recognize it as joy.
“we can walk without fear, full of hope and courage and strength to do His will, waiting for the endless good which He is always giving as fast as He can get us able to take it in.” -George Macdonald
so i wait expectantly for the endless good only Jesus offers…and prepare my heart of flesh to take it in. by grace, xxoo jamie