Treasure from Heaven

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How can it be that holy God would place his treasure in hands made of flesh that are going to mar its perfection?  God is so generous.  He is eager to communicate with his beloved children.  I receive words, pictures—metaphors for greater truths—because he has designed me to receive them.  A prayer begins, head bowed or not, eyes closed or not, I often receive before the asking.  I am undone.  I am not worthy.  How do I respond to this?  I immediately hear two words, with gratitude.

I know anything given to me is for the benefit of others.  I have long been receiving in intercession for our ministry, Hope Preserved. But as my desire has increased to be faithful to him, I have been releasing what I receive as he directs in my writing.  I admit that I’m somewhat fearful. It requires being completely vulnerable to let others see inside of me. And when my flesh taints the releasing, I have to trust his grace covers it all.

I started writing this blog after two years of inactivity.  Oh, I was always writing in my journal, but I had let the blog go, believing there was no one reading anyway.  This time I had clear direction from the Lord that he wanted me to write for him, and so Little Potted Plant was rebirthed.  I sent out emails to folks who had subscribed in the past who I thought might be interested. Mark sent out an email highlighting a post he particularly thought would help those who come to us for ministry.  I had very little response.

Discouraged, I went for a walk and talked to the Lord about it.  He showed me I was like a beggar with a little tin cup going around to friends, asking them to fill my cup by subscribing to my blog.  He asked, Why are you looking elsewhere for your cup to be filled when I am filling it to overflowing with my treasure?  And then the question that hit home, Didn’t you say you would write for just the one? “Yes, Lord, I did, and I will.”  What if the one is me? I have tears in my eyes as I write this. He was referring to “Audience of One,” a previous post, where he brought that truth home to me.

Recently I met with a precious family member to deliver prophetic pictures and words I had received from the Lord.  It was difficult and scary and beautiful and profound all at the same time.  It may be my natural wiring to receive these things from the Lord, but it’s not easy for me to release them, especially face to face.  Yet in prayer beforehand, the Scripture was given to me from Hebrews 10:38:  But my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.  

In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), Jesus is illustrating the deposit of gifting that is put in each one of us.  The one who received two talents received just as much praise as the one who received five because they invested it and got a return on their money.  The one who was afraid to do anything with his one talent was harshly judged. We are all given this “treasure,” this gifting that is uniquely fitted for each of us, the way that God has designed us.  

We have seasons where we are being filled, but at some point in time, the Lord asks us to release what he has given us. What that looks like is different for all of us.  We must accept that we won’t do it perfectly, and that’s okay.  But when we also realize that we have the fullness of God in the Holy Spirit backing us, we can do it. And when we do, we find that we are the ones most blessed.  It is worth it.  He is faithful!

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

Audience of One

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(First posted in March 2014 before our move to Waco, Texas.)

The number one idol is self. Why do we “lay up treasures where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19)?  Do we really love our stuff that much? I don’t think so. We love the perception that it makes us okay, because if it all disappeared, we would be left with just ourselves, and that is a scary thought. Unconsciously, perhaps, we often see ourselves as valuable because of the lives we have built for ourselves.

I see a stage being set for a play. People are working to put all the props in place as they set the scene and adjust the lighting, sound, etcetera. When everything is ready and it’s time to begin the play, the actors then enter the stage. They deliver their scripted lines before the audience who, if they perform well, give their applause in approval. To a lesser or greater extent, that’s what we do. Much of our lives are spent performing. Without realizing it, we work on our “props” continually: our homes, our jobs, our appearance, even our children. And we feel okay about ourselves when the “audience” approves. These props serve as our self-protection, and when we protect ourselves, we become our own gods.

Jesus told the rich young ruler, “Go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me,” (Mark 10:21). He wasn’t making a general statement that everyone should sell everything they own. He was looking into the young man’s heart, and he saw the idolatry. The young man believed he had kept all the commandments from youth (performance), but he still needed his “props” (self-protection), and he wasn’t willing to give them up.

I experienced a lot of change during my years as a widow. I sold the home where I had raised my children and bought a smaller house. Then I moved out of it and into an apartment in the city where I commuted to work. A few months later, I was homesick and moved back home. I sold that house when Mark and I got married and moved in with him. It took some time to make Mark’s home my own. Now after almost four years, every room is decorated and furnished to suit us as a couple. It meets our needs for ministry, for family gatherings, and for grandchildren to come and play. Now the Lord may be asking us to leave it all.

Mark and I are walking a narrow path in the ministry calling God has given us. We are waiting on him for direction as we have to make some huge decisions in the near future, mainly how we are to live as we wait for his promise for provision. We are praying about a less expensive living arrangement and maybe even a geographical move if that’s his will. My questions are “Can I do it joyfully? Will I be okay without all my props?”

Now I see an empty stage. You walk out to give your performance, but there is nothing on the stage–no props, no other actors, no scene. You feel exposed and vulnerable. What are you supposed to do without them? You look at the audience, and you see only one person, Jesus. Instead of giving a performance for him, with one look into his eyes, he fills you completely. It’s you and God alone. As he satisfies your soul and refreshes your spirit, then he sets the stage, all that you need to live out His will for you.

I’ve seen death up close and personal, and I know there are no more opportunities to trust him once we are in the grave. There will be no reason for exercising one’s faith in heaven.  Jesus, I can’t make myself ready for such a big change. But I have experienced your faithfulness in the biggest storms of my life. I’ve seen how you’ve gone before me and prepared me. I know you are preparing me now. By your grace and mercy, help me to lay down my idol of self, of making myself okay. I trust you to meet me here. I want only your will. Amen.

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose,” Jim Elliott.

God’s Original Design

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(This was my original post in May of 2013 and is first in a series of three in which I process my mother’s death and its impact on my identity.)

Back in my early days of court reporting, some 25 years ago, there were no laser printers. The paper I printed on had two carbon copies attached. After the job was printed, I had to tear the pages apart and separate the copies. The original copy was crisp and legible, the next copy was fair, but the last copy would always be a little faint. I had to be careful not to smudge the copies with ink from the carbon paper as I separated the sheets.

God doesn’t make copies; he only makes originals. But I have tried and tried and prayed and prayed for God to make me into someone that I think I should be, someone that is acceptable to him, to my husband, to my family, and others. It has taken a lot of effort, and it hasn’t worked. I am tired, so tired.

One week ago, my mother passed away. Losing your mother is a profound experience, a life passage. It doesn’t matter that she had late-stage Alzheimer’s and was 82 years old. When I am still and quiet, I still see her taking her last breath. I’m afraid one day I will forget that, and I don’t ever want to forget it. It’s as though I will lose part of her if I lose that memory. It was a holy moment, a very humbling moment–holy because I know she was passing into the arms of Jesus; humbling because it was a reminder that I will be there too one day. Life on this earth really does come to an end.

So now I am evaluating my life. What do I really want? I know I want to be me, the one God thought up before the creation of the world, the one he knit together in my mother’s womb, the one he knows so intimately. I’m afraid life will take over too soon, and I’ll forget what this feels like, to have a choice. I do have a choice. I don’t want to be a smudged or faint copy of someone else or someone that I think I need to be. I want to be God’s original, and I know there is only one way to find out who the real “me” is.

Father, you say in your Word that we love because you first loved us (I John 4:19). Help me to receive your love and to love you with all that I am. I want to sit at your feet and listen. It is only then that I can know who I am, for you are the only one who can tell me.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14

The Spacious Place

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It takes faith to enjoy your life wholeheartedly.  I recently read those words in one of my devotional books.  Wow.  It’s true.  I had never thought of that.  We know the enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  And one of the things he wants to steal is our happiness.  Often, even when things are going well, we’re waiting for “the other shoe to drop.”  We may be having a great day but still have a nagging thought in the back of our minds of “What if…” or “I should…”

This underlying angst can originate in childhood.  My stepfather drank for most of my growing-up years, and my mother as a codependent was controlling.  Fun was “meted out.”  If I was allowed to have a playdate with friends, I learned not to ask again for a certain period of time because I had had enough fun.  I received this message from early childhood until the wounded part in me that coped with this assumed the guilt.  In other words, I didn’t have to be made to feel guilty for having too much fun; the guilt came from within me.

This was reinforced in my first marriage.  My former husband was an alcoholic, and his moods varied greatly.  During the seasons of active drinking, I walked on eggshells to not set anything off when he was in one of his darker moods, just as I did in childhood with my stepfather.  I had learned to stay “hidden” and subdue my own desires and opinions about life so as not to upset the apple cart.  Although the Lord met me where I was and I continued to grow spiritually, I was not at the place where I could let my guard down and truly live freely.

I just celebrated ten years of marriage with Mark.  When I was widowed, I told the Lord if he had someone for me, that he would have to bring him to me.  I asked for someone that together we would be better for his kingdom than we could be apart.  And he answered me.  I have “become myself” in ways that I never dreamed were possible with this man who has made it safe for me and helped me with encouragement and unconditional love.  Those deep places of pain, the broken parts, are for the Lord alone to heal.  But I finally have had the safety for them to come forward, one by one, for healing.  

Psalm 18:19 says, He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.  The Hebrew word for spacious is ravach, and it means to breathe freely, to be revived, refreshed.  This is the place where the Lord wants his children to live.  The Lord has since given me Galatians 5:1 for my life verse:  It is for freedom that I have come to set you free.  Stand firm, then, and don’t let yourself be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  The spacious place is freedom.  

I’m still in process.  Aren’t we all?  But I’m determined with God’s help to let go and trust him to wholeheartedly live my life.  We don’t have to keep carrying our baggage as if we have to pay to earn the right to be happy.  Jesus paid for that right.  All we have to do is receive his grace and be willing to let him heal the inner children in us who are still in pain.  

The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10.

When Time Stands Still

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There are moments that exist just as they are, in the present with no other thoughts, no other voices.  Just that moment.  I had that experience one night when I was babysitting my then eleven-month-old granddaughter, Myla Grace.  I had the delightful task of feeding her supper, giving her a bath, and rocking her to sleep with her bottle.  Myla Grace is a highly sensitive child.  It was months before she would let any of the rest of the family hold her, even her daddy.  So it was very special when she started “taking” to her Nana.

In the rocking chair with Myla that night, I softly sang the songs I had sung to my own babies and some of my other grandchildren.  She watched me wide-eyed as she sucked on her bottle.  I’m not a good singer, but that didn’t matter to Myla.  Her eyes grew heavy, and slowly the sucking stopped.  As I pulled the bottle out of her mouth, she opened her eyes widely and looked at me, studying my face.  And then it happened.  I smiled at that precious baby girl, and she broke into a huge smile back.  No words, only quiet.  Two sets of eyes locked together, two smiles as if a huge secret was being shared.  At that moment nothing else existed.

I was deeply impacted by Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts.  And I’m naming for the second time around one thousand things I’m thankful for, writing them down in my journal a few at a time, day by day.   It used to be that I thought a gratitude list was only for things like family, health, and material provision.  Now I understand that it’s being present and noticing all the graces God gives throughout our day-to-day lives.  The Word says “In all things give thanks, for this is the will of God for us in Christ Jesus,” I Thessalonians 5:18.  In noticing how he shows his love for us, we are loving him back.

Having our eyes open to see God’s graces requires intentionality.  It requires the “want to.”  It requires slowing down and being present in the moment If we set our hearts toward Him, the Holy Spirit will open our eyes to the smallest of graces, but it’s up to us to create the space for that to happen.  And when we experience those moments, wow!  We can be in touch with his love and with the life he has given us.  Time really does stand still.

The Word says, “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom,” Psalm 90:12.  Wisdom comes from seeing, hearing, touching God.  We do that by eucharisteo, by giving thanks.  I couldn’t wait to note my moment with Myla in my journal later that night.   I’m inviting you to try it!  There are no rules and no time limit.  It is highly personal.  And check out Ann Voskamp’s, One Thousand Gifts Devotional.  There are pages in the back for you to make your list. I promise you will be refreshed as you notice more of God’s gifts to you each day.

Thank you, Jesus, for loving us so much.  Open our eyes to see your graces, that we may have more and more of these holy moments with you.  Amen.

Learning to Love Myself, Even the Broken Parts

I have a big birthday coming up next month, and I’ve had a lot of angst anticipating this birthday.  I think what the Lord is showing me is that I have an unrealistic view of what “this age” looks like.  I’ve set up a standard that I should have it all together, my life figured out by now, and I’ve been panicking because I don’t.  The truth is that it’s never going to happen on this earth.  Perfection comes after this life, when I’m revealed in Christ to be fully myself, the one he created me to be.  That’s what sanctification is, and on this earth I’m still in process.

The last couple of days I was struggling to get out of a pit, lamenting the fact that here I was again.  In my time with the Lord, I sensed him tell me, “I love you whether you’re healed or not.”  I’m thinking if Jesus loves me just as I am, shouldn’t I love myself that way too?  If I place a higher standard on myself than the Lord does, is that not idolatry?  Because it’s saying, “I know better than you, God.”

Of course, this doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t desire to be healed and seek Christ for it.  The truth is that because of those wounded places in my heart, I’m driven to seek him more earnestly, and my intimacy with him grows.  Our broken places are where we often have the strongest encounters with the Lord.  And then out of those places where I’ve been broken and experienced healing, he can use me to be a vessel of compassion and understanding, offering hope to those with similar struggles.

So the challenge that I’m taking up and offering to you is to thank God for every struggle and see it as not just a place that needs to be “fixed,” but a place where we can encounter Jesus.  Sometimes it’s very hard to connect in those places because the pain is too great.  But we can whisper, “Jesus, come and get me.  Be with me here,” and he’s right there.  He always has been.  He was with us when we were first wounded in that place.  

Let’s recognize that there are little girls in us that have been broken, and when they are triggered, they hurt.  They cry.  They are “stuck” in the space and time where the original wounding took place.  We should ask Jesus to minister to them, yes, but we can also minister to them ourselves, from our core soul.  We do that by loving them and treating them as very valuable parts of ourselves because they are.  When we stop and recognize that the pain that put us in a pit is coming from a different part of ourselves, we are on the path to healing.

I’m now excited about my upcoming birthday and what God has in store for me in this new chapter.  And I am at peace knowing all I ever have to be is who he made me to be.  These are words from an old Amy Grant song that speaks to my heart, and I’ll leave them with you:

When the weight of all my dreams is resting heavy on my head 
And the thoughtful words of help and hope have all been nicely said
But I’m still hurting, wondering if I’ll ever be the one
I think I am…I think I am.  
Then you gently re-remind me that you made me from the first 
And the more I try to be the best, the more I get the worse.  
And I realize the good in me
Is only there because of who you are…who you are
And all I ever have to be is what you’ve made me 
Any more or less would be a step out of your plan  
As you daily recreate me, let me always keep in mind
That I only have to do what I can find  
And all I ever have to be…all I have to be
All I ever have to be is what you’ve made me.  
(“All I Ever Have to Be,” Amy Grant)

A Lesson from Baby Birds

There are baby birds on the feeder outside my window, the momma right below on the ground.  Yesterday I saw a momma robin hopping along with a worm in her mouth.  I’m seeing a picture, a metaphor.  When the baby birds are still helpless in the nest, momma bird brings them food and drops it into their gaping mouths.  Then when they are able, they venture out to find food on their own.  Two things stand out—when they are in the nest, they must have their mouths wide open in order to receive the nourishment that they need to grow.  And when they are strong enough, they must venture out to seek their own food or they will die. 

The Word tells us to seek God, that we will find him when we seek him with all of our hearts (Jeremiah 29:13).  Before we receive Christ, we are also in a helpless state.  Once we have found him and receive him into our hearts, we have to continue seeking him if we want to grow.  Jesus speaks in the parables of searching for him as treasure hidden in a field (Matthew 13:44).  In every situation of life that I find myself in, I should ask, “Where can I find you in this moment, Lord, and how can I connect with you here?”  

In these uneasy days when we’re experiencing a global pandemic and racial unrest across the country because of the horror of a white police officer restraining a black man until he died, all caught on video for the world to see, it’s hard to know how to respond, to know what to do.  But it all begins with our intimacy with the Lord, for even Jesus only did what he saw the Father doing (John 5:19).  We can talk about it and fret about it and even join protests, but without God, nothing will truly change.

I’m asking the question now, “Where are you in this and how do I align with you, Lord?”  What does “Christ in me” look like here?  Maybe the world is changed one life at a time.  “Change me, Lord, in how I think about this.  What do I need to know about myself in this situation in order to receive what I need from you?”  And ultimately, “What does love look like here?”

The Word says, “We love because he first loved us” (I John 4:19).  It all starts with God.  Just like the baby bird will never be able to fly on its own unless it receives what it needs from its momma, we won’t be the light of the world unless we’re willing to humble ourselves and receive from the Lord.  Jesus is our model.  After he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death on the cross, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name (Philippians 2:8-9).  First comes humility, then comes power. The transforming power of the Holy Spirit is the only thing that will change us.

Jesus, rescue me from my frenetic thoughts and my anxiety and help me to breathe.  I want to be changed.  I want to connect with you intimately in the sanctuary of your Holy Spirit, where you dwell, “Christ in me.”  Teach me your ways.  Help me to love as you love.  Amen.

Living Outside of the Box

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The Box
I cannot find me.
And I don’t want to look inside the box anymore,
For I know now that I don’t belong there.
But I’ve tried so long to fit in it.
Sometimes stuffed in it.
Sometimes very small in it.
What if I walked away from it for good?

I’m thinking about how our miniature schnauzer Calvin steps out of his crate every morning so slowly, yawning, stretching his cramped hind legs that have been tucked under him all night. And I realize this is how I am coming out of the box. It’s like I’ve been asleep, on autopilot for a very long time. So when I come out, I have to stretch myself as I try something new, like saying no or responding differently or giving myself permission to do the things I really long to do—giving myself permission to be me, but not sure exactly how to go about it.

Calvin hesitates. Does he go to the door, ready to go outside and do his business, or does he jump on the chair and go back to sleep? On a rainy, cool morning like today, the effort was too much, so he went back to sleep on the chair. That’s me. Many days the newness in living outside the box seems like too much, so I find a place mentally to curl up and numb out. But other times I rush out to meet the day, welcoming life and eager to discover more about who I am and what God has for me. I know this is a process. In getting off the merry-go-round (see previous post), I’m doing a lot of floundering. But I know in time my weak legs will get stronger.

When I wrote the poem “The Box,” I didn’t have a label for it, but Mark clarified it for me. The box is false identity, not living as God created me to be, using the unique gifts he put in my hands to fulfill my purpose and bring his light to the world. Inside the box, I was governed by expectations others had put on me, or more often that I had put on myself—needing to please people in order to feel loved, self-protecting mindsets to avoid pain, believing lies about myself that are rooted in wounds. 

The enemy wants to keep us in a place of captivity, where we’re afraid to move from status quo. Life with the Lord is lived in a spacious place where we are free to breathe and move around, freedom to live as God designed us. Why has it taken me so long to get to this place, Lord? But God sanctifies time, and he is faithful. I’m making the choice to not look back and to stay out of the box. I know it’s okay if I stumble and fall and even occasionally go back to sleep. But by his grace, I will get back up! 

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.
 Psalm 18:19.

Merry-Go-Round

I am seeing a merry-go-round as I pray. It starts slowly and then goes faster and faster. It reminds me of when I rode one recently with my three-year-old grandson, Benjamin. I had to hang on for dear life trying to keep myself balanced while holding his body weight as he was half off his horse, clinging to me. I have always been one to shun rides at the fair. Even as a teenager, I was terrified. I remember riding the Ferris wheel with two friends in high school. I sat in the middle in the fetal position while they were on each side of me whooping and hollering with glee. It doesn’t thrill me to feel out of control and at the mercy of who’s operating the machine. But yet I got on because it was expected of me…and so it goes in life.

Oh, I have been on many merry-go-rounds. One lasted 25 years, my career as a court reporter.  I was doing what was expected, taking on the persona of who I thought I should be, working and living on autopilot. Eventually, the plane crashed. I fell off the merry-go-round first through burnout, then work-related injuries, later through the death of my former husband, and more recently by fracturing my hip over a year ago. Those are times that the Lord gives us to stop and reflect and ask the hard questions—who am I anyway and why am I doing the things that I’m doing? There is a disorientation when life as we know it is altered. Mostly, as in my case, we work hard to try to get back to where we were without considering if that’s where we want to be, if that’s where God wants us to be.

The Lord has me in a process right now that has been painful. An uneasy angst has hovered over me for months, and I haven’t been able to pinpoint the source. As I pressed into prayer one morning, I heard such an odd verse, “There is a time to cast away stones and a time to gather them together,” Ecclesiastes 3:5. I knew there was no way I dreamed up that verse because I don’t even know what it means. I read a few different translations and a couple of commentaries and took a good guess at what the Lord was telling me. But it wasn’t until a few days ago that he clearly showed me from Isaiah 51 and 62: clear the field, remove the stones, so that he can plant the vineyard.  

The same morning that I received that word from the Lord, I was in worship at our church service, and I saw myself kneeling in an empty field with a fresh wind blowing over me. Then I saw the inside of my head filled with rows of stones that were being removed one by one. Next I saw a vine that began growing in my head, and it grew clear out of my head upwards toward heaven. The message was clear: remove the stones so the Lord can plant what he has for me for this season. The stones don’t represent necessarily bad things, just things like distractions, mindsets that don’t serve me well, some things that worked before but are no longer for this season, and some things that were never meant to be there.  

I have to trust God to show me first what is there and then what needs to go, stone by stone. Removing stones can’t be done apart from the Holy Spirit, and it can’t be done without getting off the merry-go-round. When you first jump off, you feel disoriented, even uncomfortable that you’re not as busy. When the Lord clears a field, the new growth doesn’t spring up overnight.  It takes watering, lots of sunlight, and nurturing. It takes patience.  

My heart’s cry for years has been, “Don’t let me miss you, Lord.” But if I look at the world as my mirror and see myself through that lens, I’ll always be conforming to it, and I won’t be living in the beautiful design in which God has made me. So I’m taking the risk that I may not fit in and I may feel some loss, but I want that transformation. Lord, thank you for this process. Give me the courage and give me the grace to wait, to hear, to listen to you.  Oh, the sweet freedom that awaits!  

Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.
Romans 12:2, The Passion Translation

Standing in the Temporary

(This post was written in 2017 when we lived in Waco, Texas.)

I see the crack in the wall of this 70-year-old house, and in my mind I can visualize the cracks on my face, the deepening crows’ feet around my eyes, and the wrinkles on my neck. And I think about the cracks in my soul, the parts of me that hold pain that had to break off so I could survive so long ago.

The pictures on the shelves of our grandchildren are dated soon after they are displayed. They grow so quickly. You think it will be a long time, the baby stages, but it’s temporary. Wasn’t it just yesterday that their parents were babies too?

The neighborhood where we live is old, with broken sidewalks and broken people, some of them living in rundown houses. They too are trying to survive. Once it was a great area, our subdivision, with remnants of its heyday still in place, but it too is temporary.

What if real life is standing in the broken places, the cracks, the temporary, instead of running to the new and shiny? Do we think if we run away from what is broken that we will somehow save ourselves? That if we ignore the pain that wells up in us and medicate it with the new and shiny, it will somehow go away? But to live in denial is to miss the beauty of living in what is real.

When I stand in my broken places, I can ask Jesus to come and stand with me. I can hear him speak life and truth and feel him suture up the wounds with his nail-scarred hands. I don’t have to search out the new and the shiny because his glory becomes my glory. Then it no longer hurts when that wound is touched because the scar tissue is pain-free and strong. My whole being gains strength because I’m not bleeding out of that place anymore. I can now actually love that part of me because Jesus filled it with his love.

I look again at the crack in the wall. “I won’t abandon you, old house. You are still good enough. You serve your purpose well.” I look at my aging face in the mirror and become soft.  “Thank you for serving me well. I love you just the way you are.”

All that has been is a part of who I am now, thousands of temporary moments that are stored in my being. They have been happy, joyous, sad, lonely, painful. Some have made me stronger.  All have ultimately led me closer to God. As I give him the broken parts that still feel pain and let him heal them one by one, they are reconciled back to the whole of me, and I can be fully present. Because they were meant to be temporary too.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18