Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Note: I wrote part of this post on 8-5-10.
This word has been echoing in my head for the past few days... weeks... and even years.
A week ago I felt the pull to read it again. To revisit what God is saying to me... to you.. to us all.
A few days ago I felt more than heard His still small voice.
And today... today He confirmed that I needed to say it.
And nothing less.
What is too much?
What is too much? Or too little..... to give to God?
It is easy... saying, "I'm a Christian. Of course I love God."
But do we really know what that means?
Do we comprehend the reality of what it means to know God? To love Him?
Fully. And completely.
When things don't go our way... if something or someone is taken away from us.
If God doesn't "do" things in the manner in which we think it should go?
Then do we still love Him?
What is too much?
How much will we take until we throw our hands up at Him and say enough!?
Or do we stand with arms raised high... hearts surrendered....
And worship Him.
I know what this is asking.
I know what it requires.
And it scares me just a little, as I'm sure it must scare you.
How much will He take?
How much does He want?
And how much will I be required to give....?
And before you shrink from this as I have at the mere thought of it, I want to share my journey with you.
A cliff note. For the tale in whole would take hours and days to tell....
I was born with much and was left with little.
I was raised with heartbreak and raised on adversity.
So it is no wonder that when I found myself with a family of my own, that I held tight.
In the midst of my deep mistakes I staked out my claim for what was rightly mine. What I had been given.
But He is the one who has given it to me. All of it. And I lost sight of that. I don't know if I was ever willing to see it at all.
It was His from the beginning.
When I gave my heart to Him, I became His.
My pain became His.
My heartache and heartbreaks.
My adversities and my pain.
My good and my bad.
My joy and my laughter.
My gifts and my burdens.
All of it.
It was His even before I gave it to Him.
But I had missed something bigger.... I thought I could hold some of it back for myself.
Keep it hidden.
Or in better terms give Him what I thought He deserved and reserve what I thought should be mine.
What I deserved. What I had suffered for... what was my right.
A yearning wells up in me as I write....
How foolish of me.
How diluted... and how wrong.
Who am I?
WHO AM I?
He is God.
EVERYTHING belongs to Him.
All the earth and everything in it.
I can no more hold back from Him what isn't already His.
And it took my own tearing and breaking to wake me up, to truly understand that all belongs to Him.
All of it.
And no amount of hoarding or tightly grasping is going to change that His hand holds me as I hold tight to all that I think I can't loosen my grip from.
And so He began to speak to me... way back when.
"Do you trust Me?"
On a day I finally listened... I wept.
I wept harder than I had ever wept before.
Because I knew... I knew it better than anything else.....
And I was crushed with the truth of my heart.
I wasn't willing... not really... to give Him what was most important to me.
Hadn't He given them to me?
Wasn't I allowed to hold tight to them?
Hadn't I given Him enough?
I felt like He had taken it all.... so much.
And now He wanted them too?
It was too much!
It was too much for me to give.
And as I gripped harder... I began to feel His hands over mine.
Sure. Strong. Gentle. Kind. Loving.... and gently beginning to infuse understanding in the ability that He has... and that which I don't have.
As I pictured each precious face in my mind.... my oldest daughter, born out of my ashes and bearing His beauty... the one that I held closest and tighter than all the others. My youngest daughter, given back to me after losing so much... the joy and song in my heart. My baby... my son.. the child of promise....
All of them, gifts of redemption for my broken soul.
And then the one that I held away and pulled close when I felt the need... my husband. The one I feared the most to rip my heart from me. The one I struggled with the most and longed for with confusion.
These are the ones that He was asking for.
This is what He really wanted me to give....
And for so long.. for such huge amounts of time in my life... I couldn't. I still wasn't ready.
I thought I could take care of them myself.
Deal with what life held for us.
And do it better than Him.
I don't think I consciously thought this. What an absurd thought.
But I acted it out as though I could.
Fighting Him... myself... and my husband for the control. For the reigns of our lives.
I thought my intentions were altruistic.
They were noble.
To protect. To love. And to hold them tight so that none would get hurt... lost... or be abandoned.
All accurate descriptions of me. Of the me for so long.
My struggle with God to keep control. To keep it all together.
And then one day... all of it came crashing down.
It all broke... and with it... I shattered into a million pieces.
I got in my car, and I drove.
I drove and drove... and I cried and I cried.
My tears filled every crevice and every pore.
"What more do You want?! I've given it all to You!"
I remember shouting it at the top of my lungs as I drove.
I pounded on my steering wheel with my fist.
And as the pain of my life poured down my face I heard Him whisper to me. I felt Him quiet all the chaos surrounding my heart....
"You haven't given me everything.... I want it all."
"But the one thing I want the most... I want your trust. Because in that is where your heart lies. In that is where you will find Me again. And it is only in your trust in Me that you can be found again. It is only then that I can do what you have been crying out for your entire life. I don't wait to hurt you. I'm not hiding from you... waiting to strike you with everything wrong that you have imagined from Me."
"I love you.... why have you not believed Me?"
"You asked Me to break you... you asked Me to show you who you are... who your supposed to be. I am honoring your prayer."
"Are you ready? Are you ready to finally know? To finally see? And to finally stop telling ME what you think I should be doing instead?"
"Are you done fighting Me?"
Sitting here... so many days from that one... I can feel like new the pain... the profound excruciating moments of that day that began a journey and season for my family that I feel we are coming to the end of.
I smile at how deep the love of my Heavenly Father for me... at His heart for me. For us. That He would intervene for me... fight for me. And do what He did on my behalf.
"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ," Ephesians 1:7-9 NIV
It has been slow for me.
A painstaking process of giving Him back what I had held from Him. What I had taken.
Whatever that looks like for you.
I was willing to give Him everything else... everything except what I thought what I deserved.
What I thought was owed me.
The entitlement shames me.
The pride overwhelms me.
And His grace and love that He held out, and still holds out for me still brings me to my knees.
So I am asking....
What is your "everything"?
What are you holding back?
Your most costly treasures?
Your most intimate secrets?
Your crisis.. your debt?
Your way of thought?
Your wrongs... your rights... your life?
What is your everything?
Anything held back hinders us in way of relationship with our God.
If we are willing and if we choose, it will rip... it will tear.... and it will hurt.
But it will sow and plow... it will root out the weeds... the things that are holding you back. That have continued to hold you back... wondering if you will ever get to where you know that you should be.
And in those places that we thought were filling us up and giving us purpose, He will begin to grow and begin to bear sweeter fruit than we could ever try and produce or grow ourselves.
Are we willing to give Him everything... even at the cost of losing it?
If we aren't, then we really can't call ourselves His.
Though we are still His... we are divided.
The requirement hasn't changed.
He requires it all.
A heart completely His.
Is your ground too sacred for Him to walk on?
Is He even allowed to walk where you don't want Him to?
Will it be easy?
Will it be hard?
But is the reward of knowing Him, fully loving Him, and serving Him... with everything, far outweighing than our own benefits that we have deceived ourselves into thinking that we will receive....?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
"31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
32He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
33Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies;"
Romans 8:31-33 NIV
Do you want it?
For you... for those you love more?
We can not continue to our own... we were bought with a price.
We are His.
And because we are His and He call us His own, we can settle into it... hold on tight to Him and not our circumstances and shortsightedness.
He is worthy of our trust... worthy of those we love.. worthy of our hearts... our lives...
We have to stop trying to do things our own way... on our time tables... and begin to allow Him to BE everything to us.
Do we really want Him?
Do we really want Him and all that He hold for us?
As we enter a time of thanksgiving... I pray that it will also be a time of surrendering... a time of hope renewed... and a new and fresh revelation of all that He is... all that He has been... and all that He needs to be.
All that He should be.
All glory, honor and praise to Him who sits on the throne... to Him who hold it all... And who is worthy of it all....
.... until another tomorrow.
"21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:21-23 (I've listed this one before... it bears repeating.)
"11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust. 15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field; 16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more. 17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children— 18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all." Psalm 103:10-19
"16 On that day
they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion;
do not let your hands hang limp. 17 The LORD your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:16,17