Tuesday, October 25, 2016

When Giving Feels More Like Taking

I stood in the shower,
my tears more of a steady stream
than the water running down my back.

The tile walls,
the light from the small window,
the pulling of the curtain,
the feel of the washing of the water,
the undeniable presense of my God -
this is what makes this space,
my sanctuary.

For eighteen years,
and longer than that -
just not in this particular home,
the shower has been the place where God and I meet.

It's the place where
I give thanks and He receives,
I sing praise and He empowers,
I rejoice and He delights,
I confess and He forgives,
I unload and He restores,
I wonder and He confirms,
I dream and He nudges,
I wrestle and He (sometimes, sometimes not) reveals.

Last night,
we wrestled.

With tears streaming down my face
(and admittedly, feelings clearly drowning out my faith)
I unleashed my
heartache,
disappointment,
frustration,
loneliness,
and anger,
on God.

As always,
He patiently and lovingly
let me get it all out.

It wasn't until I could hardly breathe
and I was completely worn out from purging it all,
that He graciously spoke
and tenderly revealed.

"You think I am taking, Stacy.
This is why you are so upset.
But, oh sweet child of mine,
I am simply longing to give."

8 months ago - the loss of my husband.
1 month ago - the loss of my job.
In the last few weeks - the loss of "fitting in" in familiar circles.

As His words trickled down from Heaven and flowed into my heart,
I was reminded of a beautiful truth He spoke into my heart on my 48th birthday.

Wanting to make a list of 48 lessons I had learned from life,
I had awoken early on this day that found me one year older,
and in the still of the morning hour,
I had prayed for God to remind me of truths He had revealed over the past 48 years of my life.

Now,
almost three years later,
in the middle of my outburst in the shower,
God brought #22 on the list back to my mind:

God gives. God takes. When we live life open-handed, it makes both easier.

"Look at the hand of your life, Stacy."

I didn't need to look.
I knew it was closed as tight as tight could be.

What is it about losing that makes you want to hold on tighter?

"Don't fight me, sweet child.
Just let it go.  Let it all go.
I'm not taking from you.
I want to give."

And honestly,
my faith knew this to be true.
My faith knew that it knew that it knew
God was in control,
God was moving,
God was up to something new.

It was my feelings, my emotions, my tender heart that was wrestling with all this loss.

"Don't resist it.
Embrace it."

"Don't feel as though you have been maligned.
Rather, see it as an opportunity
to willfully align your will with Mine."

It's so easy in the wee hours of your 48th birthday to write
about living your life open-handed.

Living it at 50,
here after losing my husband,
here after losing my job,
here after losing the "fitting in" in familiar circles -
this was where the rubber was meeting the road.

This was where God was revealing to me His plan.

This was where God was counseling me
to take what seemed to me to be "maligning"
and to turn it into me "aligning" my life with His plan.

As long as I refused to open my life -
all the way -
God couldn't truly take all the
heartache,
disappointment,
frustration,
loneliness,
and anger,
and
He couldn't truly give me all
the new
He longed to give.

"Remember when you wanted to give fruitcake, Stacy?
You thought I was taking from you then, too.
Remember, sweet child?
But, just look how I gave.
When your faith grows weak,
when your feelings start to overshadow,
look back and remember."

Tight-fisted?
Open-handed?

Heart closed tight?
Heart open completely in surrender?

The choice was mine and mine alone.

As I climbed into bed and turned off the light
I felt impressed to scroll down through my facebook feed one more time
before closing my eyes on this day.

Reaching for my phone,
I started to scroll,
one post after another,
until
my eyes landed on these words:

"Give me some cooperation, says the Father-
I will give you some change.
Align yourself inwardly, with my Spirit,
and your life with spontaneously come to blessing, and benefit"

And, I heard my Saviour's sweet voice once again,
here in the midnight hour-

"You think I am taking, Stacy.
But, oh sweet child of mine,
I am simply longing to give."

I closed my eyes
and once again,
I opened wide my heart.









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