Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Alive.

I have struggled with how to put into words what happened to me two weeks ago.
But, I took a chance and I followed God.
I felt Him telling me to go.
So I went.
Trusting.
Believing in His Promises.

No one knew except my sister, Amelia.
I went to my real father's farm in Tennessee.
The last time I was there, I went to take him to rehab.
I was desperate for him to be well.
But, he was sick.
And I wanted to save him.
He had a loaded gun.
He wanted to kill himself.

I have not been back since.
But, I have been visiting that place in my heart where the fear has gripped me for the past four and a half years.
I miss my dad.
I miss him terribly.
I have always missed him.
Always.

Especially when he was suppose to be there.
Whether it was to pick me up when I was four.
school play.
graduation.
my wedding.
So many special days he just didn't show up.

A longing in my soul for him to just love me.
To hold me.
To want to be with me.
Love.
Security.
Safety.

And the only place I have found all the things I have searched for my whole life,
is in the arms of Christ.

So, I drove to the farm.
The roads that I have loved for 20 years.
It was the most beautiful day.
I drove with the windows down.
Hair blowing in the wind.
Soaking up all of God's beauty.
Praising Him.

I drove down my dad's long driveway.
I took pictures.
My heart was beating out of my chest.
I pulled into the driveway.
And I reversed slowly.
Knowing that I would not see him, although I know he was there.

I drove off in peace though.
The Peace that can only come from The One I love.
I kept driving the roads.
Breathing and taking it all in.

I went to a hill I have always wanted to climb.
For 20 years I have dreamed about climbing this land.
I pulled in and stared up to where I have longed to run.
I parked the car.
Got my book, One Thousand Gifts, and stepped out.
Stepped out in faith that this is where He was leading me.
Confident in Him.
But, still not so sure.

A dog starts to bark.
I attempt to go back to the car.
But, I keep going.
Confident.
Sure of His love for me.
Because it is all around me.
Breathtaking.

I get to the top.
I turn around.
Look at the hill I have just climbed.
I take pictures.
Breathing in the wind that is coming from Him.

I open Ann's book.
It opens to page 178.
I read it.
Tears start to flow.
Beautiful tears.
Of joy.

These are the words I read.  And read aloud on this hill.

"All light seen is light from the past and light now old from the sun streams through the window, glints off the glass shards.  Broken glass ignites in light and there it is, the secret of joy's flame:  Humbly let go.  Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control...let go of my own way, let go of my fears.  Let God blow His wind, His trials, oxygen for joy's fire.  Leave the hand open and be.  Be at peace.  Bend the knee and be small and let God give what God chooses to give because He only gives love and whisper surprised thanks.  This is the fuel for joy's flame.  Fullness of joy is discovered only in the emptying of will.  And I can empty.  I can empty because counting His graces has awakened me to how He cherishes me, holds me, passionately values me.  I can empty because I am full of His love.  I can trust.
I can let go.
I hadn't know that joy meant dying.
What did I think hard eucharisteo and the table of the Last Supper meant?
But, dying to self demands that I might gratefully and humbly receive the better, the only things that a good God gives.  To be nothing in the flesh and Christ might be everything in the soul, to follow after Jesus who "humbled himself and became obedient to death..." (Philippians 2:8 NIV), to follow Christ to the table of eucharisteo, the table of surrender that gives thanks for what is given - this is joy!  True humility is self-smallness to the point of  "blessed self-forgetfulness" and what could bring more happiness than emptying of self-will and being wholly immersed in the will of God for this moment?  Joy - it's always obedience.
I know it deeper now: This eucharisteo is no game of Pollyanna but the hard edge of blade.
Only self can kill joy."
Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts p. 178-179.

He is Good.
He died.
But, He is Risen.
He is Alive.

As we approach this Easter, I am taken aback to the glory of His resurrection.
His power.
His love.
His mercy.
His grace.

Humbled like never before.







"The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; 
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.

I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; 
my flesh also dwells secure.

For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

Psalm 16:6-11 (ESV)

I love you, Daddy.  I miss the mess out of you.  I love you.
Missing you and loving you has been a gift from the Gift Giver.  No matter how painful the ache I feel for you.  He uses things in life to give us the better.  And that better is Him.  Only Him.

7 comments:

Lisa notes... said...

Wow. I am taken aback by the emotions this stirs up in me. May God bless you for giving Him control, for loving your earthly dad anyway, for sharing this with us. This is a special post.

patricia-cox-hatch said...

I don't know what to say, but that I love you;)

Margie said...

You are an amazing inspiration to me, my dear friend.

Lorien said...

that took my breath away. i love you.

sbo said...

So proud of who you are!! I love you!

Brooke Turner said...

wow, that was beautiful. I just love your heart for Him!

Amelia said...

absolutely beautiful...love you dearly.