Archive | January, 2014

Circumstances Do Not Change . . . We Do!

28 Jan

Our circumstances envelope us.  They engulf us.  They consume us.  Too often my circumstances pull my actions and my attention to places I never intended to visit.  I find myself in the middle of my own mind commotion solving issues, mulling conflicts, and traveling a general thought path that serves no one well.  I’ve written some posts over the last year describing some of the circumstances that have occurred in life and I pray that I have highlighted the activity of the Extraordinary in the life of the very ordinary residents of Biddinger Boulevard.

If God’s drawn you to Glimpsed Glory on other occasions you know that my Man has been a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the nipple line down, for the last 20 years. And you also know that even though he’s been in that chair for all these years, in my eyes, he stands taller than any man I know.

meandmylovefortyeight

For “his population” (a term we learned early in his rehabilitation which is never followed by what most would consider favorable statistics) his health has been good.  He’s in constant pain that the doctor’s can’t pinpoint the source of because his spinal cord doesn’t transmit the pain signals the way it should anymore.  He takes enough medicine to choke a horse on a daily basis to try and control a body that just won’t behave the way he wants it to.  And the joints in his shoulders ache constantly from using them to walk.  But for “his population” . . . .Brett

And again, if God has drawn you to Glimpsed Glory before you are aware that my Man is my biggest protector and the Warrior on my WallHe takes up the sword of God’s word and swings it with a surgeon’s precision in prayer every single day.  Over and over and over again –every day—he takes up his position on that wall and he fights.  I wrote these words about him during a hospital stay in March and they are every bit as true today.

That’s who my man is.  Behind the spine that won’t cooperate with his brain anymore, past the legs that will not listen to the signal to move, beyond the hands that refuse to obey his command . . HE IS A WARRIOR.  He is a protector.  He is about the business of listening to the Commander and standing guard at the wall so that his family and friends can safely go to their own work.  Every day, as surely as you rise from your bed and check off the tasks on your to-do-list, my man arises, grabs his sword and takes up his station. Oh how I praise God for the commitment He has given Brett to fight. (Warrior on My Wall, March 8)

God has truly raised Brett up to be a force for His Kingdom but that just wasn’t the way the whole thing began.  We weren’t believers when Brett was injured.  I have no doubt, Brett has no doubt, that the Hand and the Heart of God were definitely with us, but we were most certainly not with Him.

No, Sister, my Warrior and I did not begin this journey acknowledging Christ as our Comfort, our Sustainer, or our FriendIn fact, we began this journey by running from it.  We ran as hard as we could to try and get away from the reality of it all.  It was so much to take in without Jesus.  Everything changed.  Nothing was normal.  We had no direction. . . . but we still ran.

It won’t serve you well or edify you in any way to share all the details of that time period, but this will encourage your heart.

No matter how hard we tried to escape our reality,

now matter how far we ran . . .

it was not further than the Heart of God was willing to go.

In all of our running, He was still pursuing us.  He met me, He met Brett, knee deep in our circumstances.  Some we had created ourselves and others we had not.  Regardless of the origin of our situation, God appeared.  He swooped down from heaven and He saved us. He intervened in ways that can only be described as miraculous because Girlfriend . . . that is what He does because that is Who He is.  He is the God who does not change and the Savior who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Consider Hagar who reacted badly to a bad situation and ran from the reality of her circumstance.

And he went in to Hagar, and she conceived. And when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. And Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my servant to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!” But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her. Genesis 16:4-6

But she could not flee further than the Heart of God was willing to go.

The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. Genesis 16:7

Consider Moses who killed an Egyptian and he ran from the reality of his sin.

One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. 12 He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 When he went out the next day, behold, two Hebrews were struggling together. And he said to the man in the wrong, “Why do you strike your companion?” 14 He answered, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid, and thought, “Surely the thing is known.” 15 When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian. And he sat down by a well.  Exodus 2:11-15

But he could not outrun the Heart of God.

Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.  Exodus 3:1-2

And then there is Peter who denied the Messiah he professed to love and fled the courtyard filled with shame.

 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” 71 And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” 73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” 74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. Matthew 26:69-75

But he could not flee the Love of Messiah.

After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. John 21:1

From the Old Testament to the New, God’s children have been running from their realities, fleeing from their circumstances, only to find that His Heart willingly comes after them.  And Sister, He does not change.

He will appear, He will find, He will speak to His children in the midst of it all and He will open our hearts so we can discern His Presence, hear His voice and truly see Him.

Hagar’s eyes were opened and she saw the One who sees her.  Her heart was opened and she knew the One that fixed His Heart on her . . .

So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,”for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” Genesis 16:13

Moses turned to see the fire of God and His ears were opened to His call.  His heart was opened to respond “Here I am” to the Great I AM. . .

When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Exodus 3:4

And Peter, who had gone out in disgrace, followed a heart that prompted him to run to Jesus. . . .

That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. John 21:7

And Beloved, when the Lord of Lord and King of Kings meets us where we are—no matter what has brought us there –and stirs our hearts toward Him, that’s when change takes place. When He reveals the Who of Him, when He allows us to glimpse His Glory, and when He peels back the veil so that we may see Him that, Dear One, is when change occurs . . .

not a change in our circumstance, a change in us.

Hagar saw the One who sees her and was directed back to her mistress.  Moses heard the Voice from the flames and was told to return to EgyptPeter ate with the Messiah and was told go “feed my sheep.”

Their circumstances were not changed but their hearts were.

Oh Beloved, this is my story.  This is my Warrior’s story.  As badly as he wanted to flee from his reality, as hard as he ran, He could not go further than the Heart of God was willing to go.

The Lord Himself jumped from the pages of His Word and opened the eyes of Brett’s heart to see Him.  He did not heal Brett’s spinal cord, but He healed His heart.  He did not restore his legs, but He restored His soul.  He did not return Brett’s finger function, but He wrapped those hands that would not cooperate in the earthly realm tightly around that Warrior Sword for the heavenly battle.  And he did not raise Brett up from that chair, but He did raise Him to life.

Brett’s circumstances did not, have not, changed . . . but he has.  The one who ran from the Lord now stakes out His position on the wall and stands firm.  The one who fled now fights.  All because the One to whom the battle belongs revealed Himself as the Giver of Brett’s strength, his defense, and His salvation.

Sword-Of-The-Spirit-941650Exodus 15:2-3

“The Lord is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a warrior;
the Lord is his name.

Do you see the Love of it all?

In His Sovereignty, He may or He may not remove us from our circumstances, only He knows what will serve the Kingdom plan best, but Sweet One whatever your reality is, however far you may have run, you can count on the Heart of God to come looking.  And if He sends us back to our circumstance, we can be absolutely certain that we do not go alone nor do we return to simply “gut it out” in His Name.  He did not save us and then leave us to hang on by our fingernails and grit our teeth until Glory.  No Girlfriend. 

If He sends us back, we return changed.  We return more than conquerors. . . equipped for the battle . . . with His promises in our hands and His Glory at our backs.   We return, from however far we ran, having been found by the Heart of the Living God,  ready not only to survive, but dare I say, to thrive!

He is the Worthy One!

23 Jan

What a wild and wonderful journey my Jesus has taken me on with Glimpsed Glory this past year!  I can’t begin to tell you how He has ministered to my soul by letting me write these little blips here in rural anytown, USA and then witness His Holy Hand spread them all around the globe to be read over 5000 times. Please be certain that what you hear in that last statement is all about Him and raise your hands with me to PRAISE OUR GOD for every Sister who has stumbled across these pages.

If you’re wondering why we’re taking a chronos moment to just sit at His feet in awe of this specific work of His Hands, it’s because Glimpsed Glory marks its first anniversary today.  Full confession is that I was a little hesitant to share the remarkable work He has done because I didn’t want it to be misinterpreted as a pat on the back to me.  More truth is that the enemy of my soul and the adversary of His Kingdom has used that particular trick to keep me quiet more times than I can tell you so as a child of the King, I’m claiming Psalm 8:1-2 and as the praise flows from my heart into every stroke on this keyboard I believe the Word of God and know that the foe and the avenger is silenced.

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!  You have set your glory above the heavens.  From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.  Psalm 8:1-2 (NIV, 1984)

So let me shout His Glory, boast of Him, and make it clear – whatever good thing has come from Glimpsed Glory, whatever hearts have been encouraged, or whatever spirit has been refreshed . . . that’s all Jesus.  The Father has given the nations to the Son as His inheritance, the ends of the earth are His possession and the Spirit is about the business of beckoning His children home.

He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” Psalm 2:7-8 (NIV, 1984)

It’s to our great delight that He allows us, in whatever way He chooses, to participate with Him in the Kingdom work. Through His saving grace He has made us ministers of reconciliation and commissioned us to spread the good news of the Gospel.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV, 1984)

01/23/2014: Country Flags =Readers Around the World

01/23/2014: Country Flags =Readers Around the World

And look how accessible He has made the world to us!  Only our Extraordinary God, our limitless, uncontainable Holy One, would have opened up such an unconventional avenue and sent such an unexpected messenger.

So if it worried me that sharing my awe at the fruit He has produced might be mistaken for placing the spotlight on me, why did I choose to celebrate it?  Why did I draw attention to it?

The answer is at the top of the page.

Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God.  They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today.”  Luke 5:25-26 (NIV, 1984)

And at the side of the page.

But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect.  1 Corinthians 15:10 (NIV, 1984)

The Extraordinary at work in and through the ordinary points to His greatness not mine.

I have tried since the first post on January 23, 2013 to be as transparent as would serve you well about my own unrighteousness and utter ordinariness so there would be no confusion over who was bringing life and breath to the words you were reading.  If you roll your cursor over the picture of me and my man at the side and click, you will go to a permanent page on the blog explaining who I am and who I am not.  It’s a message I pray that each visitor to Glimpsed Glory reads because I want every reader to be certain that only God does big things with small lives and to know without a doubt that the most important words they will read come from Him and not from me . . .

My own experience confirms for me that neither a righteous background nor an extraordinary intellect is a requirement for looking beyond what we can see and Glimpsing the Glory of the One we cannot. In fact, I am walking, talking assurance that the “Extraordinary of God” will be revealed to the most unrighteous and utterly ordinary among us. (excerpt from A Message from a Fellow Sojourner)

Sweet One, I hope what you are finding in these posts is the same thing that you find throughout the pages of His Word.

. . . The Redemption story from start to finish . . .

  . . . the intervention of Love in the life of the unlovable . . .

. . . Intercession by the One who is Worthy on behalf of the worst . . .

. . . astounding rescue, absolute grace, unwavering faithfulness . . .

It’s all about HIM.

God Is Faithful

It’s all about His rescue and intervention in the life of a girl “like Rahab” and the Love it shouts to us today. . .

Rahab the harlot, who lived long before me, is how I know that God loves me regardless of my sin history.  Rahab the called, who chose to trust God to preserve her life, is how I know He works for the good of those who love Him.  Rahab, the redeemed, who had no idea what awaited her in Glory is how I know that my mind cannot conceive the goodness.  (The Resolve to Go Beyond, Feb 7, 2013)

It’s all about realizing afresh that the Risen One, the One who spoke Outside the Tomb, has called us to the abundant life. . .

See that’s who I want to be.  I want to be the woman who realizes the depth of her healing so profoundly that she refuses to return to her home and stays just a little longer.  I want to be the one who weeps because my heart cannot stand the fact that I am not near Him.  I want to be the one who desires to see Him so badly that I stoop down and strain my eyes in hopes of getting just one more glimpse.  I know that one day He will say my name in Glory, one day He will say your name in Glory.  We will recognize His voice and Beloved when we turn, oh the love that will pass between the Healer and the healed.  But in the meantime Sister, for the redeemed and the released, there is life outside the tomb – abundant life.  Live it to the full Girlfriend.  Live it to the full.  (Life Outside the Tomb, Apr 2, 2013)

It’s all about trusting the One Who was, the One Who Is, and the One Who will be to always be Who He declares Himself to be. . .

Sister, we have no idea of the battle raging over us.  We don’t possess the eyes to fully see our circumstance.  But if we will open our hearts just a little wider, if we will fix our eyes on the Healer, we will see Him.  His feet are firmly planted and His arms are opened wide.  His attention and His affection are resolutely fixed on you. He will NOT waiver in His Love. He will NOT fail you. He will NOT let you fall.

Girlfriend, step off the edge of your circumstances – He is Faithful. You may not know the outcome but you Know the One who does.  Take the leap of faith.  Believe Him to be who He says He is.  Trust Him to be who He always has been and know, without a doubt, that when you jump the Arms of Love are waiting . . . just for you. (Step Off the Edge and Into Love, Nov 21, 2013)

It’s all about Him.

The One Who redeems. (Job 19:25)

  The One Who intercedes. (Romans 8:34)

  The One Who IS the Great I AM. (Exodus 3:14; John 8:58

And so I find myself, these many months later, having glimpsed His glory again and again, more confident, more thankful, and more convinced than ever that the words I echoed from the Book of Malachi and the Book of Hebrews one year ago today are trustworthy and true. . . .

I, the Lord, do not change.  Malachi 3:6

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.  Hebrews 13:8

I pray that it is the same for you Beloved.  I pray that your time here is time with Him and that He has spoken to you through His Word over and over again through the last year.

Girlfriends – ones I know and ones I am yet to meet –may I just say how I admire your tenacity and your desire for Him. If you are here, if you are visiting this site, I know you are searching for the More of God and I know with absolute certainty that He will not disappoint you. He will be the God He has promised to be since He set our chronos time in motion.  He determined the place and the time that simply would not be complete without you in it—thank you for letting me share in a small part of your journey.  You mean the world to me and fill me with great joy.  I so hope we will have another year to seek hard after Him and run the race side-by-side.  May God bless each one of us with eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to glimpse His Glory.

They will be gathered from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.   Psalm 107:3

They will be gathered from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.
Psalm 107:3

He Never Leaves Us Empty

11 Jan

Day 11 of the New Year.

Most have probably stopped reflecting on 2013 by now and begun carving out life in 2014.  Me, I don’t even have our Christmas decorations down yet.  Truth is, I like our home with the glow of it all and, more truth, I haven’t stopped reflecting yet either. I’m basking in the glow of 2013 every bit as certainly as I am our still-lit Christmas tree.

Christmas on the Boulevard

Christmas on the Boulevard

It wasn’t an easy year.  In, fact it was a hard one.  And I’m not just talking about the things that occurred on the outside of my skinI’m talking about all the things He brought me face-to-face with on the inside of my skin. . . haughtiness, jealousy, pharasitical thinking.  But Oh, the refining work that God has begun in this Girl!

He confirmed for me again that I am of such importance to Him that He will not allow me to be stagnant in my faith or to settle for less-than.  He made it possible for me to glimpse His Glory and go places in my Promised Land that I never would have gone without the trials that left their footprints all over Biddinger Boulevard in 2013. Part of who I am has started to look a little bit more like Who He is because of the challenges my soul has faced and, Sister, that quiet joy . . . the peace of knowing that He is involved in it all, that He desires more for me. . . well, that’s worth everything.  I think it’s part of what God was saying through the Apostle Peter in His opening chapter.

 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while

you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 

These have come so that your faith

of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–

may be proved genuine

and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Though you have not seen him, you love him;

and even though you do not see him now, you believe in

him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy…

1 Peter 1:7-8 (NIV, 1984)

Isn’t it beautiful?  I’m coming out on the other side of 2013 with a knowledge of what I believe to the marrow of my bones and what I still want to fully believe with every part of my heart but might be just lingering in my head.  Do you see that?  God already knows, nothing needs to be proven to the Omniscient One. The trials don’t reveal a thing to Him.  He already knows it all.  It’s me who walks away with more than I walked in with. 1pet172

You see, there’s a concept that God has rolled through my mind over and over the last couple of years and I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the next piece of understanding it.  The concept is plunder. Not a common word and not a common notion in our dispensation of time but I think I was blessed to live it this past year.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance links the verb plunder with to “strip away” and the noun counterpart connects to the word “booty.” And it seems to me, no matter what the form –verb or noun—it’s always connected to a battle or to captivity. The Israelites had been enslaved and oppressed by the Egyptians for 400 years when God appointed Moses to lead them out.  They had been subjected to harsh conditions and brutal treatment but God had not forgotten them nor did He plan to set them free from their captivity empty handed.  No.  God decimated the Egyptians and sent His children toward the Promised Land weighed down with plunder–silver, gold, clothing.

Now the sons of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, for they had requested from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; and the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have their request. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.  Exodus 12:35-36

As the Israelites walked the dry ground, a wall of water to the left and wall of water to the right, their hands were full of what God had provided.  Every foot that touched down on the other side of the Red Sea emerged not only free from their oppressors but possessing their wealth as well. That’s so God.  He wasn’t content to simply free His people, He blessed them with abundance as well.

But all too quickly the Israelites looked back toward Egypt, the place of their oppression and began to romanticize their enslavement.  They grumbled about their freedom, complained about their blessings, and longed to return to the land of their captivity.

The rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we used to eat FREE in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.” Numbers 11:4-6

Wow Sister!  Talk about rose colored glasses and distorted vision.  How could they remember anything in the land of their slavery having been FREE?  Did they not recall the miraculous ways God intervened to deliver them?  Had they forgotten the plunder God had sent them out with?  Were they really so unwilling to remember the pain of their captivity that they would risk returning by choosing to believe the comfort of the lies?

They hadn’t even faced an enemy from without yet and they were already considering surrendering to the enemy within.

Galatians 5:1

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep

standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1

Beloved, is this beginning to touch a heart string  with you?  Is it possible that in 2013 you emerged from a land of captivity?  That you walked between the wall of water on the left and the wall of water on the right and set your feet on the other side declaring freedom in His Holy Name?  Did you hold in your hands, maybe for the first time ever . . . peace, trust, assurance, confidence?  Was your heart full of the God of More but now you find yourself looking backward and wondering?

Girlfriend, see it for what it was.  Don’t let the unknown of freedom pull you back to the misery of captivity.  Fix your eyes on the One leading the way and trust the God who set you free.

He did not bring you out empty handed.  He loaded you down with one blessing after another.

fruitofspiritBut the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,

kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;

against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

But we cannot be afraid to remember the truth of where we have been and what He has delivered us from.  I have to remember the sting of realizing the haughtiness that lived in my heart.  I must be willing to recall the pain of the jealousy that was devouring me from the inside out.  I have to look at the ugliness of my pharasitical thinking.  And you can fill in whatever has held you captive . . .we must remember. 

Not in a put-ourselves-above-Jesus-can’t-forgive-myself kind of way, but in a way that puts the spotlight on our Redeemer and keeps us from believing that apart from Him there is any good thing living in any one of us. I heard a Bible teacher once warn against developing spiritual amnesia, I think she was spot on.  If we don’t remember the captivity we may fail to remember the rescue.   And the plunder that once thrilled our souls, the freedom to hold our heads high, well. . . it might begin to seem ordinary or worse, we might begin to believe we deserve it.

So you might not and I might not have the whole concept of plunder, spiritual plunder, figured out.  But Girlfriend, if we shrink back from staring our struggles, our challenges and our battles straight in the face . . . we’re in danger of returning to our captivity and that Sweet One is not what your God intended when He planted your beautiful feet on this planet. 

You were set free to live life to the Full . . . (John 10:10)

Your Soul Full of Freedom . . . . (2 Corinthians 3:17)

Your Hands Full of Plunder and . . . (Deuteronomy 28:8)

Your Heart Full of Him.

eph319

. . . to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge;

that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:19

Making our Mark on the New Year

5 Jan

So, how has the New Year been so far?  It’s only day 5 of 2014 but I’ll admit to you that some of things I determined to do, to be resolute in, have already been difficult.  See, I took my own suggestions from the last blog.  I went to Bible Gateway and chose the 90 day reading plan.  I set up a separate e-mail folder to file and categorize the Girlfriends in God devotional that I receive daily.  I bought two new packs of neon index cards and I downloaded the Bible Gateway app onto my phone.  And now, for me, is the difficult part – following through!

I love the set-up of things.  The newness of the organization holds so many possibilities.  And the lists and plans look pretty to me all written down with exact lettering and arranged just so.  Might be because I’m writing from Michigan and we’re getting another snowstorm, but the “best laid plans” remind me of an overnight snowfall.

You look out the window and it’s beautiful.britt winter1

Pristine.  Fresh.  New.  Not a mark on it.

brittwinter

That’s how my calendar looks to me when I finish writing down the Scripture passages I want to read each day.  Or my index cards look after I write down the verses I want to memorize and put them in order of the way I want to go after them.  They’re beautiful.  Pristine.  Fresh. New.  Not a mark on them.

But eventually, someone has to leave the house, go get the mail, take the trash to the end of the drive—and there are the marks.  Tire tracks left behind to run an errand.  Cloddy old boot prints to the mailbox.  Trash bag drag marks cutting from the garage to the edge of the road.  And the unmarred beauty disappears.

Same with my 90 day calendar and my Scripture reading.  I have this perfect scenario dreamed up in my mind about the beautiful way it all unfolds at the beginning of each fresh, pristine, new day.  There I am sitting at my desk with a studious look on my face and a steaming cup of coffee by my side.  I’ve showered and have my make-up applied impeccably as I open my Bible, filled with the Holy Spirit, and dive into the Word.  The beauty of my time with Him remains intact and undisturbed.brittwinter2

No prints, no tracks, no drag marks.

It rarely works that way.  Most often, I’m still in my pajamas without even brushing my hair.  I’ve had coffee but I’m carrying my computer or my Bible from place to place with me, reading my Scripture aloud as I am doing things that have to get done every morning.  It doesn’t always feel like the beauty of meeting with Him is intact, whole, or undisturbed.

And my imagination doesn’t stop there.  I have the picture perfect completion of my scheduled reading time as well as the seamless transition to my next activity planned out too. In my pristine new day, I end my 90-day reading plan time, by using a new highlighter with an unfrayed tip to make a perfectly straight line over the passage I have read and I walk away feeling satisfied, full of the Spirit, and ready to begin working on the verses I want to memorize.

In my real life, I make a mental note that I’ll do that when I can find a highlighter that doesn’t have a tip saturated with black sharpie marker and I stuff my index cards into my purse so I can work on them at the doctor or riding in the car. “After all,” I hear my mind say, “I want to make God a part of every activity!”  And that’s true, but do you see how different my imagination and my reality are?  My reality doesn’t reflect the unmarred beauty of that newly laid plan.  My reality, like my highlighter, is a little frayed at the tip.

In my imagination, I somehow glided over the fresh snow and retrieved the mail without leaving a trace, soared in our minivan like Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to get milk, and floated, trash bag in hand, from the garage to the road without disturbing a single flake of snow—without marring the beauty in anyway.

brittwinter3

In reality, I put on my old boots with the broken shoestring and left footprints twice the size of my feet from the front door to the mailbox.  And they weren’t even in a straight line.  The van was not occupied by anyone enjoying toot sweet candies and not only does it leave tread marks behind it, it drops pieces of dirty snow from the wheel wells.  And those trash bags, they are much too heavy to float with!

That’s my reality. The snow around my house doesn’t stay in its pristine state for long.   Life starts to happen and life, well, it leaves big old prints, hard packed tracks, and drag marks all over my fresh, new plan. The unmarred beauty quickly disappears.

But you know what?  I don’t think God minds a bit when I come or when you come to meet Him wearing cloddy old boots with broken shoestrings.  I think He’s glad we want to be there.  Does He want to see me looking that way every day . . . my guess would be no.  But, if on some mornings, it’s the best I have and I purposefully pull on those boots and stride across the snow to get to Him, I think He looks at those big old footprints and He sees love.  It might even be that He looks at the heart driving the determined steps of those boot laden feet, the ones that mar and disturb with each new stride, and He finds them to be beautiful.

God doesn’t look at our well laid plans.  He doesn’t look at our neatly written calendars.  God looks at the heart Sweet One.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

He knows your desire to meet with Him and He is not surprised by the challenges of your day.  You are not and I am not the first of His children to contend with interruptions or encounter obstacles.  And our God, who does not change, has never placed any value on the things that appear impressive to our limited human vision, but He has always seen straight to the heart of the one who loves Him.

Now we don’t take this as an excuse to have an attitude of license and give God less-than, but we protect ourselves from a posture of legalism by trusting Him to know the intention, the yearning, and the desire of our souls.

then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with everyone according to all they do, since you know their hearts (for you alone know every human heart), 1 Kings 8:39

Beloved, don’t take the task of deciding what beauty looks like from the Father’s perspective on yourself.  If I may be so bold, it doesn’t belong to you.  It isn’t yours to determine.  And simply put, you nor I are equipped to do the job.  We’re too extreme, swinging from one side to the other, justifying our actions in one breath and condemning our hearts with the next.   So, what say you and I decide that we’ll forge into every pristine day and we’ll proceed to leave our love filled cloddy boot printed, minivan tread tracked, trash bag drag marked prints all over it and then . . . . well, we’ll depend on the Beautiful One to see straight to our hearts.

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Lord, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel,

keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever,

and keep their hearts loyal to you.

1 Chronicles 29:18

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