Encaged…

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It’s just some sticks, some wood. Nothing, really.  I pick them up and use them to make a fence, a wall.

Piece by piece.

Sometimes we encircle our hearts thinking we are protecting ourselves. We try to ease our pain and calm our fears. We build these walls stick by stick, tying them together with fishing line, or rubber bands that snap, as we desperately piece them together. We do it as quick as we can – thinking perhaps the faster they go up, the less pain we might feel.

Uh huh.

We erect them to keep out painful memories, hurtful times, difficult moments. All the while we build thinking we are helping ourselves, when we are in fact encaging our very own heart. It’s not a fence or a wall, it’s a cage. Isn’t that what it feels like?

It does to me.

We sit inside these boundary walls which are meant to help as we peer out at the world. We gaze across meadows, pastures, see the sun rise and fall, squirreled away in our nests along the fence. For a while we look inside and tend to the garden of our hearts. We weed what’s inside, we plant new seed, we till the soil. Yet, we remain, trapped inside. The very thing that was meant to protect us, made us a prisoner.

It’s time we choose to set ourselves free.

See, we can point the finger and talk about what others have done to us. We can examine our circumstances and ignite sympathy and compassion. We can seek comfort in the arms of those we love. But the only one who can release us from the cage, is us. We built it, we must demolish it. Funny thing is, as we try to do so, we find the cage  door has rusted shut, the key has been lost, the way out isn’t the way you thought was out. See, you don’t have control after all.

When Jesus Christ first stood up in the Temple and read from the scrolls of God’s Word, these are the words he spoke.

“The Spirit of the Lord, the Eternal, is on me.
The Lord has appointed me for a special purpose.
He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to repair broken hearts,
And to declare to those who are held captive and bound in prison,
“Be free from your imprisonment!”” Isa 61:1 The Voice

As much as I try to pry open the door, it is Christ I need. As often as I think I can handle it myself, it is Christ I need. As I pound on the doors of my cage trying to rip it open, it is Christ I need. He says to me, “be still.” For He is the gatekeeper. He’s been appointed for a special purpose, for just this time. He’s here to release you, release me, and declare freedom for those enslaved. He’s been doing it since the very 1st century, and He wants to do it now, today, for you.

So those sticks you picked up and thought you could master. Those walls you built to protect your precious heart. That cage you now sit in. Stop rattling the walls, stop pounding on the door, stop fighting it, stop – just stop. For there is good news! Jesus has the key.

Let Him open the door of your heart and release you.

5 Minute Friday ~ Fly

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You were born to fly.

Cliche, yes. Truth, even more so.

Life, we life it just once. We muddle through our days and often wonder what for. Why are we here? What is our purpose? Really, just why?

Are our days meant to be drudgery? Do we spend our time thrifty and dole out what is the minimum required? Or..

Are we meant for more?

Like an eagle soars high above the earth looking down at the world as it sees it. So too we can fly, soaring high above the daily to do lists. High above the appointments, the schedules, the meetings, the kids, the spouses, the in-laws, life as we know it. The commitments in life, which wear us down, hold us back and keep us grounded. Not grounded in the solid faith, oh no, grounded as it “air traffic control – you are cleared for take off.”

See, our lives, our time, our purpose, our hopes and dreams, they all speak to us and whisper like a prayer unsaid, “fly.” Let go! You can do it, no wait – you don’t have to do it – just buckle on up, it’s time to let your spirit soar!

No longer do the images on the ground have that satiellite view, small plots of land and figures that you can barely make out. Oh no, now there are people with passion, prayers to be said and ways to love with abandon.

You, me, we were so born to fly. To release all that we are into the Godhead Himself and walk in ways that reveal our true nature.

He’s ready and willing to lead the way.

Prepare for take off!

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This post is part of Five Minute Friday’s, a five minute weekly reflection on a word prompt. No edits, no do overs, just write.  “No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.”

Change = Life

Fall Leaf (1 of 1)

Sometimes we are meant, to stand out.

Just recently I was driving along enjoying a beautiful Fall day when down dropped this red leaf onto my rain soaked windshield. Amongst a sea of yellow, ambers and greens this small little leaf, shone. The contrast of colors is what made me stop the car and take notice, and in fact – take this photo. As the bright sun lit it up there was no mistaking the beauty of this leaf.

This dead leaf falling to the ground can bring joy.

Cast off from it’s home, from it’s perch and connection to all it knew, at just the right time and season – it let go. Releasing itself to the wind, the sun, the elements all around it. It could have fallen by the road, into the piles and piles in my yard, but for that one moment, we met. Beauty on my windshield and a gentle reminder from the Heavenly Father to my heart. Sometimes we are just meant to stand out, let go and be who we were destined to be.

How do we do that?

Being real, authentic and true to the design of our very souls and inner beings means to have an awareness of who we are. Dare I say, we must learn to love ourselves. Loving ourselves challenges us to first look.  Gazing around and seeing the beauty of the leaves is one thing, but to sit, ponder and examine the sinews of that very leaf and understand it’s process, this is work. So too, with our delicate and precious souls, minds, hearts. If we want to believe differently, feel differently, respond differently – we must stop and meditate, examine ourselves and submit to be transformed.

This is work. Hard work.

That red leaf, you see, it wasn’t always that red color. It was a green leaf just like all the others leaves on the tree. It was the same, it was no different, it just was – a leaf. But time had taken it’s toll on it, the available light cycle had changed and so it began to change it’s color and it’s luster – it transformed. So too with our hearts. They undergo change through trials, through pain, suffering and the choices we make. Some things we have no control over and we are victims of circumstance and the sin of others. Yet, it still hurts, doesn’t it?  Nevertheless, we have a choice in how we respond, how we love and how we handle the gifts bestowed upon us.

“Brothers and sisters, in light of all I have shared with you about God’s mercies, I urge you to offer your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God, a sacred offering that brings Him pleasure; this is your reasonable, essential worship.  Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.” (Romans 12:1-2 The Voice)

God clearly tells us in Romans 12:1-2, that in view of His magnificent mercies, His compassion and His love that we are to offer our bodies as living and holy sacrifices. Our very bodies and lives can be offered up to the Eternal God of Heaven – um, what? Can you grasp how important becoming a living sacrifice is to our God?  Like Jesus offered Himself on the cross, so we too offer our own bodies as we walk.

How so?

Scripture says we do this with our minds – our thoughts, our fears, our hurts, our pain. Those things which we often push away, God says, ‘be still.’ Sit and ponder the sinews and depths of our hearts, our pain, our suffering. We no longer deny that it’s there – we look, we feel and we let go. The tentacles of suffering may be far reaching, and digging in these places will be painful.

Don’t let it stop you.

God asks us to be transformed from the inside out. This is not something that can be done to us, that we inflict upon our bodies  – rather it is the mercy, love and grace of God moving in our very hearts and minds – transforming how we think, feel and believe. We choose, we must choose, to love. It starts right there, in your very own heart, in mine.  Love yourself, give yourself permission to be loved and to be seen for who you really are. It’s time.

Our hearts, they are this ugly and beautiful thing. We have darkness there, let Him transform it. You don’t want it to hurt anymore? Bring it into His light. You don’t want to respond in anger anymore? Nail it to the cross.  You might need a friend to carry the light for you at times. God will provide. Walk. Trust. Let Go – and let God transform you, change you to be who you were destined to be- and live.

Like that red leaf I met one Fall day shone in the beauty of the sun. Let God meet your deepest longing in your heart and begin to transform you, change you, love you – free you. So you too, amongst a sea of people – shine.

For sometimes we were meant to stand out.

Mowing Season

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It was just grass.

Fall was upon us and the grass needed mowing. The mower had been broken for a few months and so it was extraordinary long and in need of cutting. Our yard began to look more like an unkempt field rather than a yard in a neighborhood! Add on top of all that, well, it’s Fall.

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The leaves, they fall upon the ground, and although they sure look pretty – if we left them to sit there through the winter – well then, it’s not so pretty! Underneath all that snow melt will be wet, soggy, leaves. We were due, it was way past time, to mow.

So off I went, saddling up our riding lawn mower. Because it was so long, I made more than one pass to cut it down. In fact, I was driving in circles! Round and round, over and over, I passed over the same patch of grass again and again. As I encircled the yard, I found the presence of God began to encircle my heart. Pressing in. Hard.

I was watching that grass and those leaves being cut and shred into smaller pieces. Tossed around, torn up and spit out of that mower. Settling down on top of the freshly cut grass as mulch for the spring. Preparing it for new growth.

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It was then that it hit me.

Like grass and leaves waiting to be cut down and laid out for new soil, so too are our hearts in the hands of our Maker. I can’t speak for your heart, but I sure can for mine. I’ve got grass growing in my heart everywhere, everywhere!

My grass it’s so overgrown in areas – I try to shade the light from getting in there and making it grow longer. Yet do I yield to the source of all light? Where I thought the grass had been cut down – I realize it was my own selfish self not accepting truth and allowing the grass to grow stronger.  Where pockets of growth had been shaved off – new growth was shooting out, rooting and sprouting new life elsewhere.

It was time for my heart to be mowed over.

Cut down. Tossed. Shredded. Torn. Thrown about all over the soil of my heart. Some things, must be cut off and left to rot. Yet others, need to be mowed down and their roots extracted so that they never see the light of day. Ever again.

This, THIS, was my threshing floor. A place where the sheaves of thoughts that scurry around in my head can be laid out bare upon the floor, and beat upon and crushed. Like the lawn mover cutting grass down to it’s roots, so too is the Word of God as it pierces our very thoughts and mind.

God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.So that piece of truth could emerge. Hebrews 4:12 – 13 

My heart had been thrown open and trampled upon. The Hands of the Almighty picked up my heart and cut it open, laid bare, for the ugly truth to be seen. Like the Master Surgeon He is, He was gentle, He was skilled, but He was truthful. I couldn’t get away from it, it was time to listen and obey. This heart surgery extracted kernels of truth, His truth, which I didn’t know even existed. I was past due, to be mowed over- so that new life, found in Him, could be restored.

No matter what I might doubt, what my defense could be or whatever the explanation. He knows. He knows what’s growing in my heart. He knows what’s growing in your heart too, dear one. That is what’s so beautiful. He knows. Oh, how He knows!

He’s seen your doubts as they drop like freshly fallen leaves. The moment you rake them up, more scurry to the ground anew. He’s seen your overgrown field of fears.  It’s time to saddle up to face them. He’s felt your pain and what you’ve endured. He wants to perform heart surgery so the pain is gone, for good.

He’s seen your precious heart – oh your heart! Will you grant Him access? Will you allow Him to come inside, cut down your grass and lay you bare on the threshing floor?

After all, it’s just grass.

5 Minute Friday ~ Grace

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Grace.

It’s time. It really time my friend, my sister. Time to give yourself grace. To bless yourself, to love yourself, to accept yourself  – to receive this precious gift of grace. That gift that offers hope to a wounded, hurting soul. That moment when nothing else can satisfy your heart than the touch that comes from the Master’s very own Hand.

Grace.

A touch, a smile, a common tear shed. It is the balm of a gift that wraps you up in it’s embrace. Comfortable, pleasurable, warm. Inviting you to sit in the light of His Presence and wait. Soaking in the grace as the waves of His love wash over you. Gently pulling away your self defeating thoughts and allowing His grace to cover you and complete you.

It comes at times we don’t think we deserve it, when we want to walk away from it and deny it. Maybe we want to offer it others but not accept it for ourselves. We share it with our friends, our sisters, our children – it’s time, long past time, we give it to ourselves.

Grace.

My friend, it’s time you receive. Receive His grace, drink from His cup. Be filled. Let His grace fill you to overflowing.

This post is part of Five Minute Friday’s, a five minute weekly reflection on a word prompt. No edits, no do overs, just write.  “No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.”