Browsing Tag

pain

Meditation

Leaves of Stone

IMG_7054I decided to get a little exercise in by raking a trillion leaves that we clearly didn’t make time for. They were still rather damp from the rains from a few days back, so the raking was more difficult with the added weight.

As I began raking the hoarded autumn leaves from our back stairs, I noticed how they covered the water drain, not allowing the rain to fall through. The rain just seeped into the leaves themselves, and slowly made its way down.

I began to rake the yard. It was too much to gather all the leaves in one area so I made three mounds and added leaves nearby to each mound.

And then it hit me. Hard. I began to think about all the layers I’ve allowed to cover my heart. Layers of burdens – shame, regret, pain, fear, anxiety. They laid on the soil of my heart and it was heavy.

As I raked the leaves and added them to the mounds, it was as if I was placing my layers at the altar before the Lord. I couldn’t see all the layers and layers, year after year, anxiety upon fear, fear upon regret, regret upon pain, and pain upon shame. As I kept raking, I kept uncovering the truth.

One mound for the Father.

One mound for the Son.

One mound for the Holy Spirit.

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As I raked the leaves, I also found broken branches.

I made a heap for the sticks and mounds for the leaves. Leaves that became heavy, burdensome stones. Stones that covered my heart – making it cold and inaccessible. So now I had sticks and I had stones and a bunch of hurts I needed to name.

Oh Lord! Dig through the layers of these leaves of stones on my weary heart and heal me. Show me the hope you have for me. I know that there’s life underneath all these layers of dying – with your love, through your blood, by your power.

Death was gripping my heart, not allowing me to live – to breathe.

There it was for me to see. The layers I’d accumulated over my life that covered my heart. Clear as day.

But deep inside, under the layers, is a heart of flesh.

God will make it right.

And as I write, the wind outside is strong enough to lift the dry, lifeless, falling leaves, enabling a few of them to knock at my window looking for a home.

But I won’t let them in.

It’s time for the northerly winds to scatter them away.

But the leaves will continue to fall and I vow to catch them before they get too comfortable with me.

And so I wait, grasping at hope. Expecting to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

And I lift my hand and give them to God one by one.

Meditation

The Feminine Plural

Many women feel less than, as if they lack something that will give them value. They may be estranged from their family, single or divorced, abused, infertile, lonely, or voiceless. They compare themselves to other women or men around them and all they can see is what they don’t have. But what if God’s intention for women is abundance in all the expected areas of life – family, intimacy, fruitfulness, friendship, and purpose, but only if she was willing to receive it in an unexpected way.

 

EVERY woman is capable of being a feminine plural.

EVERY woman is called to be a daughter, a wife, a mother, and a sister.

 

God has purposely chosen women to be a representation of the fullness of God. Just as He named Eve, the mother of all living – abundance is inherent in the makeup of a woman. She was designed to carry seed and produce life and live purposefully. A woman’s God-given heritage is waiting to be re-claimed.

 

Women —your fulfillment is in being ALL that God has created you to be. And that fulfillment is found in the company of the Triune God and His love for you.

 

Not in having an earthly family, but in being accepted in the Beloved.

Not in marrying a man, but in setting yourself apart to be the bride of Christ.

Not in having babies, but in birthing the Word of God from your spiritual womb.

Not in being liked or followed, but in denying your self and uplifting others.

Not in being a worldly success, but in living out your Spirit-driven purpose.

 

Family, marriage, pregnancy, community, and worldly success are earthly shadows of kingdom principles that are not yet fully manifested in their glorious state. Not all women will experience these conventional or expected norms, but the mystery is that abundant life can still be grasped. Who can ignore the distant echo of Jesus’ words reverberating down generations, The kingdom of God is within you.

 

Every woman has the potential to be all that she was made to be in the here and now. And its varied forms can happen all at once or in different seasons of a woman’s life. There is no need for jealousy or envy. God has given every woman the capacity to overflow in abundance.

 

EVERY woman can be a daughter — I will be a father to you. {2 Corinthians 6:18}

Some women have been adopted as children or have been in the foster care system, abused, rejected, neglected, or abandoned by their parents, victims of divorce, orphaned by disease, death, war or drugs. Simply put, some women feel alone and cry out for acceptance.

And from the deepest reserve of His love, God’s voice whispers, You, my dear child, are my daughter. I have chosen you. I knew you before you were knit in the womb. You have always belonged to me. Father, Son and Spirit are your dependable family and refuge.

 

EVERY woman can be a wife —Thy maker is thy husband. {Isaiah 54:5}

Jesus is calling every woman to be His bride – to an intimate spiritual relationship. She will be cherished, honored, empowered, fruitful, and safe. Jesus will meet a woman’s every need and transform her if she gives her self wholly to Him.

And He says, Come, come sweet bride. Listen to the gentle whispers of my love for you. I will comfort your aching, longing heart, and prepare it to receive. The secret of the depth of our fellowship is time. Set aside time every day to talk with me and I will reveal my secrets to you.

 

EVERY woman can be a mother — For more are the children of the desolate woman than the married wife. {Isaiah 54:1}

Once a woman has decided to give her heart to Jesus, the result of their union is abundant life. She will become a fruitful garden. He will tend to her and cause the North Wind to blow out her fragrance into the lives of the people around her.

As the seeds of God’s word are planted in her spiritual womb, the voice of Jesus whispers, The excess of my love will spill out for others through you. And you will comfort and care for my wounded children and you will feed the hungry – these are fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers. I have bundles of joy for you.

 

EVERY woman can be a sister — She had a sister who sat at the Lord’s feet. {Luke 10:39}

Surrendered women have a dynamic, personal assistant in the Holy Spirit. He reveals the deepest mysteries of Jesus. In silence and stillness, make time each day to listen and focus on the words and work of God. In yielding yourself, the Holy Spirit will be your influencer, your mentor, your teacher, your revealer, and your reminder. Strengthened by the Spirit you bandage, you carry, and you love your wearied, broken sisters.

And the gentle whisper of Jesus says, Be that sister who sits at the Lord’s feet. Be the sister who has loads of love and encouragement, the sister who edifies, the sister who teaches her sisters to seek the Lord with all their heart.

 

EVERY woman can have a purpose ­– You have come to your position for such a time as this. {Esther 4:14}

God makes everything beautiful in its time. All our sufferings are used for good. Some women feel like they’re permanent residents of a wasteland of buried dreams but God has a plan for each woman – confronting her past with her future to bring forth a dynamic now. You may be in a season of suffering or a season of waiting or a season of intimacy. But these are all leading to the revelation of your unique purpose.

And Christ whispers, Come with me, walk with me. Let’s hold hands. My visible scars will remind you I understand your brokenness. I will wipe your tears away in the company of my faithful love for you. I have wonderful plans for you – for us. Set your eyes on eternity – on me, and do not look back. Do not be afraid of your future. I am there.

 

My prayer for you, dear sister, is that God will empty your heart of regret, pain, loss, the shadow of death, loneliness, barrenness, and dreams deferred to make room for the fullness of God.

 

Embrace your feminine plurality. Abundance is yours!