“Leave a place better than you found it.” Ever since I heard this piece of wisdom from author and speaker, Joe McGee, I’ve repeated it a hundred times, and my kids may roll their eyes when we’re leaving a fast food restaurant, or someone’s house, or the church, but I interpret it to mean I’m…
We have been hit by sickness this week … my special needs granddaughter came down with Strep and it’s been an all-hands-on-deck kind of weekend. Praise God she is feeling better today, even perking up enough to eat a bit of dinner tonight. But it’s been a busy past couple of days and … well, I didn’t have the time (or desire) to break out my laptop until just now.
So we go to Plan B.
And Plan B is to share from another’s blog post that touched my heart and complements the theme of “2018: A Year For Hope”. So without further adieu, please allow me to introduce you to “Beauty Beyond Bones“.
I was taken aback by my own daughters eating disorder in her teens. Through a wonderfully terrible beautiful collision of heartbreaking circumstances, I overheard her mentioning to a doctor that she had been throwing up her food after meals. How was this happening? How did I not know?
“I know that God’s standards are spiritual, but I have a corrupt nature, sold as a slave to sin. I don’t realize what I’m doing. I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do what I hate.” Romans 7:14-15 (GWT)
Maybe you’re the mom, brother, sister or friend of someone with an eating disorder.
Maybe you are the one wrestling with these demons.
Or maybe the issue isn’t food, it’s something else. Another inner suffering.
“But if there’s one thing that shows, it’s that “desert periods” will occur in life. We will go through the desert. We will feel alone. And forgotten. Maybe inadequate. Possibly despairing. But our suffering doesn’t negate the Father’s love, as hard as that is to believe. And when we find ourselves in the middle of that desert, it’s even harder to believe that one day, we will ever be whole, or useful, or thriving again.” ~Beauty Beyond Bones
My world turned sideways that night, in more ways than one. And thus began our (hers and mine) journey back to honesty, forgiveness, acceptance and finally healing. But it was a process. And that’s just from my side of the fence … I’ll probably never really know how difficult the journey was from her side … I’m just grateful that she made it through.
I just met “C” outside of the computer store picking up my laptop from weekend repairs.
Dear “C” If you are reading this, I want you to know that everything below the dashed line was actually written by me last night on my cell phone. In light of our meeting, I believe it is no ‘coincidence’ that I had scheduled to reblog something written by The Abuse Expose with Secret Angel. I am sure you will find much on their website (and I hope by my own story, starting back in the 2014 blog posts) that will be of comfort to you as you are walking out your journey. I am going to continue to pray for you, and of course you now have my name and phone number. #GodIsBigger #TheDevilHasAlreadyLost #ThisDoesNotDefineYou
Alas, I am without my computer (in for maintenance) and so instead of trying to type out my writings on my phone (I assure you, that would not end well), I am sharing this lovely poem entitled “A Pure Heart”
With a shared passion for the abused and broken, I have been following The Abuse Expose’ with Secret Angel for several years. I highly encourage you to check out their blog.
So much of my life has been spent in fear and/or influenced by fear. Fear of danger (and for too many years as a child, there was good reason for that fear). Fear of rejection. Fear of shame. Fear of failure. Fear of the possibility of being alone, and later the fear that comes from actually being alone. And so on and so on.
I’ve written about it a lot in various blog posts (see side-bar for category “Fear Not). And while I’m not immune to fear -no one is- it has lost it’s stranglehold on me.
If you have been following with me through this current blog series, you know that in my last post I mentioned a feeling that the season of wobbliness and soul fatigue I’d been in was ending. My Bible reading plan currently has me wrapping up Deuteronomy, and imagery is forming in my spirit about venturing into lands of milk and honey.
But just like the 10 spies who saw giants in the land and counseled Moses not to go in to possess what God had promised, you and I can’t take possession of the things God has promised us if we are bound by fear.
And so before my writings take on the shape and colors of new things God is whispering to my heart, I would like to share (reblog) another excellent post entitled “Becoming Fearless” by Jennifer Arimborgo, Feeding On Jesus.
In a prior post (week 3), I shared a few definitions of hope, as well as a definition for what I call Bible-HOPE. The latter is a far better kind of hope, for Bible-HOPE (HOPE) is rooted in the Promises contained in the Word of God, and most often to a covenant Promise made between Himself and we, His people.
To hear His voice and receive His deep love for us, this is the very birthplace of HOPE.
But sometimes, life sucks the hope right out of you! And then what, my friend?
How is one to respond when you’ve been smacked upside the head by the frying pan of life, and had your hope knocked clear across the floor?
I’ve experienced both, and no doubt you have too.
Jennifer Arimborgo authors the blog Feeding on Jesus. I think her post “Can You See Him?” beautifully and artfully speaks to this very type of situation, and she has graciously given me permission to share it with you. as follows:
================ “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Ps. 27:13, NKJV).
Do you believe you will see the goodness of the Lord in this life? According to these words from Psalms, being convinced that you will is the antidote to discouragement.
What comes to mind when you read the phrase, “seeing the goodness of the Lord”?
Probably most of us start to imagine desirable outcomes to our current circumstances. These are some concrete ways His goodness could manifest in our lives:
• The healing of a family member struggling with chronic illness • Sudden, unexpected financial provision for paying off debts • The restoration of a rocky marriage • A child being born after a long journey battling infertility • A loved one delivered from drug addiction
Yes. All of these are most definitely overt expressions of how good He is. Each of them showcases His kindness in a dramatic way. However, I’d like to share with you a deeper nuance of this Scripture than what may be apparent upon first glance.
To do so, I’m going to bring in another passage to help illuminate this one. It’s from Jesus’ teaching in Matthew. “But blessed are your eyes, for they see…” (Matt. 13:15a, ESV). He spoke these words to the disciples, contrasting them with multitudes of people who could see with their physical eyes but had no real perception happening at a heart level (vv. 13-15). He was pointing out to them what riches were theirs because they could perceive truth.
Do we have eyes that see? To see with our spirit means to discern, to recognize, to ascertain, to be aware, to understand. If we do have heart’s eyes that function this way, blessed are we! This is why Paul interceded for the Ephesians’ spiritual power of sight. This was so crucial that he never stopped praying this prayer: “I keep asking… that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you” (Eph. 1:17a, 18a, NIV).
Like them, we, too, desperately need eyes that can supernaturally ascertain and absorb real hope. Now, let’s look at Psalm 27:13 through the lens of this vital truth. David says, “…Unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord…” Do you hear what Holy Spirit is expressing? “Unless I had believed that I would perceive His goodness… that I would profoundly recognize how good He is… that I would discern the true character of His heart, how pure, how kind, how faithful is His very nature… that I would become aware of how tender His intentions are toward me… that I would comprehend with every fiber of my being how much He loves me… I would have lost heart!”
This, my friends, is where hope is born: when we can see Him. When our heart can understand who He really is. When we can truly see His goodness, then we don’t ever, ever, ever lose heart. Blessed are our eyes when they can pierce the fog of adverse circumstance and perceive Daddy’s kindness and love in the midst of it.
How we need such eyes! I would encourage you to pray Ephesians 1:18 and Psalms 17:13 over yourself right now, and then every day for the rest of your life!
Daddy God, I pray that the eyes of my heart may be enlightened, that I may know the hope to which You have called me! Out of Your great, merciful love, allow me to see Your goodness in the land of the living!
What a lovely word picture this is to me. To have ears that hear and eyes that seewith the heart (spirit).
But I think this type of engagement requires a willingness to look outside ourselves and above our circumstances so that we can attend to (focus on and interact with) the loving countenance of our Daddy God. And to hear His voice and receive His deep love for us, this is the very birthplace of the HOPE we so deeply long for and desperately need.
In my current watercolor (below, and still a work in process, but I’m going to be revealing more within the next week or three), I like to imagine “Miss Hope” as lifting her arms in complete surrender, as an offering to her Lord. Some days arms are raised in prayer, other days in worship, and still other days in sorrow. But whatever her emotion, there is intimacy and intention to her interaction with God. She knows to Whom she has sought out, and has called upon, and to Whom she is now kneeling before. His voice is comforting and familiar to her ears, and she is able to be restful and surrendered in the sacredness of this moment with Him.
Dear friend, if you have been ‘smacked upside the head by the frying pan of life’, my prayer is that you would take some time to seek out your Daddy God, and allow His voice become familiar to you. If you will seek Him, He has sworn by His own Name to be found by you.
And HOPE can revive again!
“His voice is so sweet and heavenly
Although I can’t really hear Him
I can feel Him speaking to me
Assuring me, calling me near Him
He is watching over me
Always loving me
Always there for me
I will listen with the ears of my heart
For the voice of the One who loves me.”
(poem written by my beautiful daughter L.V. in 1994)
If you have been following along, above is the initial sketch for the word picture along with it’s progression to the current state in the larger picture. There are components of this piece that are going to be revealed as this blog series continues, so please keep coming back to watch the image in my head/heart come to life on paper.
What do you think would be a good name or caption for this particular word picture?
Also, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments about any of the word pictures in this blog series, or any other of my posts. My prayer is that they will speak something unique to your heart/spirit, and I would be honored to know how they move or impact you.
All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.