The Thing About Hearts (Part 2)-

I would like to submit the following in caution/clarification to some of the content I published recently in “The Thing About Hearts”. Though it may have some individual benefit it is written mainly for this purpose. 

Simply experiencing pain does not make us like Christ. All of us suffer but few of us look like Jesus, or affect the world as He did. What makes us like Jesus is being willful in the wounding and willing in the healing. Jesus did not stay wounded.

To simply be wounded can be quite dangerous. Some of us are tempted to hold on to our pain… self-made martyrs for all that we’ve suffered. It is our badge of honor and often the scapegoat for our own short-comings. At the end of the day we don’t let the wound close. We don’t let Him heal us so when people actually see our heart there’s nothing but a bloody mess of scar tissue. Sometimes we’ll even let ourselves bleed out leaving naught but apathy.

Another temptation is to hide our pain. Either for guilt, or fear, or the pretense of virtue we stuff it under the layers of life. We bury it (like one would a treasure) and hide it from the One who would make it well. In time our wounds grow infected. This we now called bitterness and it is a rot that finds it’s way to the deepest part of us- the marrow of our soul and yet also, seeps from us; tainting everything we say and do. I can’t help but picture a man who’s eaten too much garlic. He may brush his teeth and shower but the scent is leaking out of his skin. So it is with bitterness. You can smell it on the soul.

I have found that I often try to avoid pain; be it conflict, rejection or simply being unappreciated. So often I’m posturing myself in the place of least discomfort. As He is growing my faith I see that there’s no place for such things in the kingdom. To love God, to love what He loves, means to suffer. But it also means to be healed. We cannot hang on to our pain. It’s strange to think that we want to, but we do. For one simple reason…

Hurting enables us to dwell on ourselves.

But we were meant to dwell on One much greater than us. It is our fullest joy and our deepest peace to do so. Christ did not dwell (in any sense of the word) on His cross. He did not glorify it. He glorified the Father on the cross! And then when the suffering had accomplished it’s end He rose up healed; “leading captives in His train”Now tears spring to my eyes. Truly I, if any, am such a captive. And it is the sweetest endeavor to follow in kind. To neither avoid nor be overcome by pain, loss, sorrow or wrong. But to instead, with all faith and humility overcome such evil with good. Leaving behind paths of healing for others to follow. 

 

Father, only you can heal the soul.

Only you know the deep wells of the heart and only you can set us free from chains of brokeness that shackled us before birth. Today, let faith rise up in the place of pain. In the place of fear, loss and offense. Cause us to both endure and overcome that You might be shown glorious and we may know Peace! Salve each tender scratch… each ragged tear. Thank you that you give us a Comforter. I pray that we would receive your comfort in trial and relish in Your nearness despite all circumstances. Mostly, thank you for the innumerable times you’ve healed my own heart. Even from hurt I’ve caused myself. May the sweetness of Your presence be felt in our hearts. 

Amen. 

 

When Poetry Fails

It’s a dangerous business. This blogging thing. Perhaps not for some. But for me. Today I have no prose. Why then? Why form the words on the page?

 

1. Obedience in faith. I’m just lopsided enough to believe God talks to me and I actually believe He told me to write for a season. But the initial gratification of obedience has wore thin and in tandem the sinking suspicion that more than my parents are reading this has rendered me mute. And so it goes that there is a difference between striving in my flesh and fighting through the funk. It seems to me that I am in the latter and this is my fight. 

2. She told me I should. The fact of the matter is I have some amazing friends. Friends that others go their whole lives without having. But it’s no good having good people in your life if you don’t listen to them. So today, I’m going to trust a good friend, heed her advice and write.

3. I’m giving myself permission to not be okay. I am holding out for some promises and some breakthroughs right now. There are some things in my life that need to/are going to shift but they have not yet shifted. And I am “weary in doing good”? In laymen’s terms I’m a hot mess. I’m tired, beset and angry. As such, old coping mechanisms have started their siren song to lure me toward the rocky shores of destructive mindsets. So I’ve decided to forgive myself for not looking/feeling rested, gentle, or even admirable today. Turns out I’m up to my knees in mud and blood as I wage an internal war on my own misguided nature- plugging my ears and throwing my full weight against the wheel as I wait for Him to bring me to that safe harbor. And I do believe He will. He always has. 

4. She’s hurting too. I stood in a room of women today. They were being delivered great information with enthusiasm and transparency. But just as in weeks past I saw the heaviness in their souls. The strain to believe and receive anything that was being said- held captive by the guards of shame, fear and unbelief. And shackled by weariness and good intentions. My passion to see a tangible, liberating touch from God must have leaked out because one of the women found me and as I hugged her she started to cry. I’m confident they were the same tears I cried this morning. Our trials, our pains, can seem so personal- so specific to us but as it turns out- most things are common to man. I hope in writing I give her permission to not be okay too as she waits in faith.  

5. A prayer for prose. Though I don’t have the poetic, profound voice of the LORD for my trial yet today I can pray… pray for you, and for me as I did for her-

 Jesus, thank you that you chose to reveal yourself to us in the middle of the storm. That we don’t only see you when it’s quiet but in the midst of being buffeted. Keep us stayed upon the waves and vigilant for Your coming. Confident that you will not abandon us part of the way through. I love you and ask that you break through quickly giving rest to those who need it. Liberate troubled and weary hearts today and be glorified in our broken faith. Thank you for not being so lofty that you refuse to crawl into our rickety boat and yet being so mighty that there’s no storm you can’t calm. Please reveal yourself to me again today.  

 

Mark 6: Jesus Walks on the Water

 

45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.

47 Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified.

Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed,

 

And Because This Seems to Be an Anthem of My Heart Right Now

“Oceans” By: Hillsong United