This post was written for Kate Motoung’s #FiveMinuteFriday Link-Up on the prompt Surprise. Please note that I broke the five-minute limit today…couldn’t help but keep writing as I poured it all out. It is also linked up to Barbie’s Weekend Whispers:
You know when something cracks within you? When the tears flow relentlessly, despite your best intentions? When the curtain is ripped open and you sit there trying to cover yourself shamefacedly? That’s when I’ve been met by the most unexpectant, knee-bending, awestriking wonder, too beautiful to ever fully comprehend. And even though it’s become a repeated occurrence in the past year, still my heart opens in wonder: every, single, time.
You see, I never understood this beautiful, beautiful truth and still struggle to comprehend the wonder of it, even now (Psalm 139: 1 – 6, 13 – 16 MSG) :
… I’m an open book to you;
even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say
before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
I can’t take it all in!
…Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day.
When I wept behind closed doors, You were there. When I hid in shame, You were there. When I ran from your arms in fear, You were there. When I choked back the tears to be strong, You were there. When I pressed down the grief and trauma too scared to feel its depths, You were there. When I fell into a deep dark pit of despair as you turned me to these depths, You were there. When I ran out the church doors, to hide the relentless tears streaming down my face, You were there. When I hid in shame from the torrential downpour of inexplicable feelings, You were there.
And You keep drawing near, even as I turn back to numb, run away and hide. And the biggest surprise of all, when You embolden me to draw near – undone – You do not turn from me, You do not unleash Your deserved wrath upon me, You do not even wag Your finger at me. No, as I dare to draw near, You come even closer to me, draw me up on Your lap and wrap Your strong, safe arms around me, cup my face in Your hands and sing – gentle Love songs over me, over and over again.
“I’m now starting to see that it … is [all] about that little girl, about letting her weep before Her Saviour and letting Him take her in His arms” (Anna Louise Smit, Love Embraced: A Journey in and through Suffering, to be released on Mother’s Day 2016).
It’s not about being strong, it’s not about being good, it’s not even about being there for others: my mantra of perfection for years. It’s about drawing near, completely and utterly undone: the curtain ripped, the heart broken right open, the dirt exposed, the aching, yearning longing drawn into the Light … so that His Love can pour right in. Into the crevices of unbelief, of guilt, of grief, of rejection, of fear, even of distrust…so that His Life and Beauty might grow right into the broken-open crevices and pour out over those around me, those who God is waiting and yearning to draw near to also.
So, the biggest, greatest, awestriking surprise of all is that I can be me, just me, no matter how awful, broken, selfish, exhausted or guilt-stained I am. That, you see, is the true beauty of grace: all we do is drop to our knees before Him as – us – just us.
We yearn after Love because we’re so incredibly desperate for Him.
We feel that yearning because He placed it within us from the day He grew us in our mother’s womb.
We open to that yearning, as He draws back the curtains and breaks open our numbed, grieving and stain-covered hearts.
We start to lean into that Love, as He keeps chasing after us, keeps pursuing each and every crevice of our heart.
We begin to receive that incredible, unbelievable Love because He emboldens us to draw near – as us – just us.
We begin to give true Love, as His Love pours out of us – out of the utterly undone and broken crevices of our hearts – crevices being soaked in His sacrificial blood and being covered, more and more, in the bright, shining Cloak of His Righteousness.
We begin to shine His Light, as bright as the star-cloaked night He placed before Abraham, as we stand together. As we stand, side-by-side, in knee-bended, awestruck wonder. Undone, utterly so. As ourselves – just us.
That is my definition of – SURPRISE. The greatest SURPRISE I will ever, ever keep unwrapping, until the day He comes to take me Home. For then, He will unwrap Himself, fully, in me.
Thank you, thank you, LORD!!!
Note: all photos were taken this morning while out running with my wee girl in the buggy (except the final one: which is from a few weeks ago).