Prayer From a Glass Cage

I just wrote about learning perfect love. About experiencing the glorious weight of God’s presence, the heaviness that walks hand-in-hand with true selfless love. And I look at my closest relationships and am mortified.

What a fraud they must think I am to write such things about agape love!

My immediate instinct is to remove myself from everyone. To lock myself into a glass cage, where I can see out and share what I’m learning without touching anyone with my sorry imperfect heart.

This is how the Lord teaches me: He gives a little revelation and reveals more, even as I write it down and meditate on his words. I have certainly not “gotten it” yet! In fact, there are truths I have written for over 3 years now and am still not allowing them to fully penetrate my heart. So why do I expect everyone around me to snap into full awareness the moment I get an inkling of understanding?

What a lesson he has taught me tonight! He so graciously reveals truth to me in a loving, gentle, and repetitive manner. Even when I don’t get it right away, he continues to teach with patience and kindness. He doesn’t humiliate or shame me for not getting it on the first try, or for needing to hear it another way.

He is the perfect example of grace! I want to represent him better. I want to learn to deliver truth with gentleness and love. I want to bring words of life to my family, to build them up! To let them “get it” when they get it, and to learn what I can from them.

I want to walk this out in front of them with honesty and integrity, not just tout it from a safe glass cage as if I have all the answers. They of all people know I am still learning.

Please help this sink in now, Lord. I want to get it. Change my heart.

Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.
Colossians 4:6

The Glorious Heavy

Can you feel the joy and the weight of that phrase? Have you known it?

For the past couple years, I’ve been praying to see us and our situations from a Kingdom perspective. To learn what agape love really looks like, and to start operating from that place of perfect love. My love is so far from perfect! My constant cry has become “CHANGE MY HEART!!”

What a joy that he answers that prayer, even when it hurts.

There are so many areas of my heart that are still hard, calloused, and ugly out of self-preservation, self-protection, and greed. It’s a cycle – he shows me those things, I cry “CHANGE MY HEART!!,” and out pops another bowlful of ugly to deal with.

These things were there all along! I’ve just become more aware and more sensitive to them. They make me sick.

He truly is changing my heart. I laugh at the old saying:  ‘Be careful what you wish for; lest it come true.’ Yep, having a softer heart definitely means I am beginning to love more, but guess what comes with that? More feelings in general. God help me! More empathy. More pain. More tears.

True love is so “heavy” sometimes.

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison…
2 Corinthians 4:17

I love the Old Testament scriptures and just did a study of Exodus. Moses attempts to describe the physical presence of God. English translations read something like this:

Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.
Exodus 19:16

A more literal translation of that bolded part is: “…sounds and dazzlement, and a glorious heavy…” Now that I’m starting to recognize.

It’s been rough seeing and killing those fortified places in myself, but softening means his love will no longer get snagged on jagged shards of a brittle heart. It will eventually be able to flow through and touch those he loves, undefiled. What a sweet privilege it is to be learning this lesson, and to have caught a glimpse of the glorious heavy that Moses described.

Change my heart. Change my heart. Change my heart.

A Voice Worth Heeding

The influence of a woman. What an awesome, terrifying gift!

I am revisiting the book of Genesis and you know what has jumped out and scared me to death? How easy it is for a woman to influence a man.

We all know the story of Eve:

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
Genesis 3:6

Just a few pages later, a 75 year old childless woman is married to a man who God has promised some big things…that his descendants would be as countless as the stars, as the dust of the earth.

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar.  So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.
Genesis 16:12

Now, Eve and Sarai have been the targets of a lot of anger and criticism. (That may be the understatement of the year!) It’s my nature to separate myself from them – to see them as different and foolish. The gift of hindsight makes us so wise, doesn’t it?

We are just like them. We look at our circumstances, we use our reason, we come up with a solution, and we are really persuasive. These women weren’t out to destroy humanity! They had good intentions. They were good women who let some really convincing lies take their eyes off truth; who let circumstantial evidence and common sense make them think they needed to help God out. But look at the consequences!

Man was not cursed because Adam made a mistake or because he valued his wife’s input. He was cursed because he obeyed a voice other than and contrary to God’s.

“…you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’…” Genesis 3:17

There are so many shoots I want to follow, but this morning the main thing that hit me was how cautious we as women need to be with the influence we’ve been given. We have such a limited view of reality, yet we are able to convince ourselves that we have figured out God’s path. And once we have convinced ourselves, it seems way too easy to convince the people around us.

You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.
Deuteronomy 13:4

Our circumstances change from moment to moment, in the blink of an eye. Let me convince us of this (ha!): The only sure path is the one devoted to heeding (listening to and obeying) his words, moment by moment. The scenery may change, but his words are constant and true.

The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.
Isaiah 40:8

My prayer is that he would increase my faith to the point that daily circumstances do not tempt me to interfere with his voice. That I would be so intent on hearing and obeying his voice, that anyone heeding mine would be safe. May it be so!