Release

This morning I’m coloring my hair, a procedure I’ve been doing to cover those persistent grays since the ripe, old age of twenty-four. (Thanks, parental genetics!) In the process of waiting a short twenty minutes for the color to set, I will then find a darker hue has been released to shine in all of its glory.

Only twenty minutes… and a transformation will occur.

If only everything in me could be released so easily.

Unfortunately, transformation that truly counts – those inward workings of my heart – generally takes a lot longer than twenty minutes to be released. Freed from wrong perspectives, from my often befuddled ways of thinking, from my anxiousness and worries about things which will most likely never take place in reality.

Let’s face it, release is sometimes slow in coming.

Especially when I long for it so.

Why does it tarry?

Why does true transformation not work its magic in a twenty-minute time span? Can you imagine how encouraging that would be? To be changed in mere moments?

But then what would be the benefit or the challenge of persevering faith?

A faith that waits to find fulfillment.

A faith that lingers long where heaven meets earth.

A faith that tarries where the presence of God has come, intent on dwelling together.

A faith that experiences release one wonderful moment at a time, savoring each new taste of freedom.

In just a few more minutes, I will be able to wash out the old, gray dullness and find a vibrant brunette staring back at me in the mirror.

In contrast, I daresay I will spend the rest of my life gaining glimpses of transformation that shine from the inside out. But faith keeps me looking, continually pursuing yet content in the hope that, glance after glance, I grow into the woman whom grace is releasing me to become.

philippians313webThis post was written in conjunction with Five Minute Friday, where a group of us write about a one-word prompt. You can join us at http://www.lisajobaker.com/five-minute-friday

Open These Hands

Sometimes I clench them tightly,
bent on holding,
intent on keeping
things to myself that were never mine to possess.

Sometimes I clasp them together
with anxiousness,
deftly squeezing out any chance of
peace and calm infiltrating their locked doors.

Sometimes I play childhood games with them,
pretending they cradle people
with fleshly pews for sitting and
fingered steeple hovering over imaginary church.

When really, my hands are the Church,
an extension of Your body,
broken to cradle the sins of the earth
and spill out new life where death once reigned.

So why do my hands not shadow Your own?
Why are they slow to heal and comfort?
Why do they hesitate to reach out with love?
Why do they not scatter glory?

Why do these hands You created
for openness
so often remain clutched together,
trembling in fear of being seen?

Pry them free, Master,
and make them fit for more than
clutching and grasping
to fill themselves.

Release this heart to open hands,
and open these hands to release this heart.

IMG_2455This post was written in conjunction with Five Minute Friday’s word prompt of “hands.” You can join us here: http://www.lisajobaker.com/five-minute-friday

 

When Words Are Few

For me, words — in whatever form — became my safety. ~ Elora Nicole

My breath caught in my throat as I commiserated with the author’s sentiments portrayed in this statement.

I, too, have an affinity for words. I LOVE them. I love to see words printed across the pages of books, handwritten in decades-old letters, scrawled on notes left by husband and children, or placed with purposefulness in word search puzzles begging me to make semblance from their seeming disorder. Most of all, I love to see the words flowing from my heart and pouring steadily across blank page, releasing the wonder and aches stored within.

Words speak to me… no pun intended.

I find great solace in knowing they can be pulled forth readily and penned on paper, even when my voice remains silent. So to go through a time where words seem scarce is terrifying to me… and perhaps the very reason God has placed me on a forced sabbatical from words this past month.

Much to my dismay, words have been slow in coming lately. And those few which have come, have been scattered like a pile of Scrabble letters spilled carelessly across the table of my heart. A jumbled mess daring me to assemble them into something of meaning and significance. Something valuable. Something solid in which I can place my security.

While I can be in a room filled with people and remain silent, I cannot bear the thought of staring at blank page and leaving it empty. To open a journal and have nothing to write means that a part of me is not engaged in life. Something has gone missing.

I feel disjointed. Disconnected from God. Vulnerable and lost in a world without words.

And yet, God still speaks to me when my heart and the pages before me are empty. He loves me even as He stills my hand from penning the words to remind me it is so.

He longs to be my safety when my thoughts are silenced, when the words begging for release are quenched by the flame of His Spirit telling me…

He is enough.

As I’m slowing allowed the privilege of writing once more, I do so hesitantly. Praying for the wisdom to keep my trust from turning to the written word instead of to the Living Word.

Taking courage, I haltingly entrust Father once more to pull something beautiful from what feels so barren. To take me beyond this awkward moment of starting anew and craft a work of wonder that only He can envision.

I place the pen of my life in His hands and allow Him the task of connecting the disjointed dots of this soul to define Himself more clearly in me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYu8ZyETnKo‎

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Releasing the Melody

As I sit and listen to the deep tones of the wind chimes striking chord against chord, my heart is stirred with melancholy fascination. Something about this music in the wind captures my soul’s attention, drawing me to come and ponder a depth that lies hidden, yet yearns to be uncovered. A deep desire to be known. To be heard and understood.

Perhaps it is the reminder that so much untapped melody lies within the hearts of men. Within me. God-ordained, God-desired music. A symphony of love songs held in timeless, sustaining rest, awaiting the moment to be released and poured across the staff of life. A deep, rich melody yearning to be heard. Yet all around resounds a cacophony of disharmony. Or worse, an overwhelming silence where music was created to dwell. The songs of destined praise too often drowned out by the chaos of  the world.

Intent on playing our own tunes while dismissing the Divine Conductor, we release a jumbled noise instead of the grand symphony that has been given us to play. Like clattering cymbals placed in the grasping hands of untrained children intent on being heard. Attention demanded, regardless of the annoying sound. We ignore the surrender that’s required to bring forth the melody from the touch of the Maestro’s hand. Instead, we struggle against Him thinking we know best the music we are to play.

Oh, it’s easy to speak the words, “Lord, have Your way in me,” but how often do I truly submit my heart to what that statement would demand? Instead, I resolutely stiffen the cords of my heart and lay down a list of stipulations, carelessly scrawled as notes to a tune of my own making. Though fashioned by God to be as melodious wind chimes, I refuse to yield my heart. Laboring to bring forth a melody without the wind, I hang still and silent. Yet crave to be heard.

But what good are dormant wind chimes?

Desiring to be a thing of beauty, I instead settle for becoming a cheap imitation. Chimes of dainty shells and beads fashioned by the world’s hands. Mere decorations. There is no music within these hangings. When a wind chances to blow against these fragile chimes, they simply clatter. And when the wind becomes too strong, they are soon destroyed. Dashed to pieces because they are not designed to withstand the elements. They are made only for times of calm.

In contrast, the chimes with the richest musical tones and qualities are most often large and rather plain in design. Purposefully crafted to withstand the harshness of the wind. Yet not just to withstand, but to yield to it. Cords strung to hold fast, yet bend with the weight of the breeze. These stalwart chimes do not unravel when knocked upon, but respond. Respond to the wind and bring forth the melody inspired by their Creator.

The song of these chimes is a soothing sound. The melody sending ripples through the hearer’s soul. And as I listen, I come to an understanding that my life is to be as these chimes.

I am purposed to release the music that God has placed within me in such a way that it soothes the hearts of those who hear it.

So help me, Divine Maestro, to come to You without stipulations. Without my own song to sing as a counterfeit to Your own. To yield to the bending, to give sway to the fiercest of winds knowing that the harder it blows against me, the stronger the sound of praise will ring forth.

However You choose to come in the stirrings, may my heart choose to yield to the weight of Your hand as I succumb to the rhythm of grace at work all around and within. May I trust in Your leading, the strength of Your might, to withstand and surrender to the winds of Your Spirit.

Open and laid bare before You. Raw. Vulnerable. Revealing.

Let not the music that is in me die! May all of me respond to Your purpose as I bring forth the melody You have created for me to sing. With the voice You have given.

No longer hidden and lost, but open and found, revealing the beauty of the One who lives within.

When the winds are raging, may I cling tightly to You, absorbing Your melody and singing out praises with all that is in me. And when the air is still, may I rest in breathless anticipation awaiting the wonder of the next opportunity to be a love song for You.

Made whole, in perfect harmony with the Maestro of the universe.

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