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If there is one thing I will always be able to say that my twenties taught me, it will be that it has taught me much about people and how to have (or how not to have) relationships with them. And what I’ve been taking note of more recently, is that though the human heart has amazing capacity to love and be loved, it is extremely fragile and complex.
Nevertheless, the intermingling of the two – humanity and the heart – are what gives life it’s meaning. It’s what makes it worth living. Without relationship, without shared love, we would find that life isn’t life at all, but rather just mere existence. The heart, love, mutual trust, these are the things that breathe life into the emptiness of the human soul.
Love is sacred.
The heart is sacred.
And when someone trusts you enough to hand you theirs, or even just a little piece – it is a gift. Much bigger and special than we tend to realize.
Sometimes we forget that every single time someone extends true friendship, they are in essence handing us their heart.
What would happen if we stopped taking friendships, marriage, parenthood and all kinds of relationships with others for granted? But rather chose to view them as the precious gifts they really are. To view them all as literal hearts, freely entrusted to us to be valued, honored, treasured and safely kept.
I’d say it would change everything. Choosing to change the way we view the people in our lives who have chosen to trust us enough to hand over their heart could change our entire lives.
I’d dare to say it’s where truth wealth in life can be found.
Over seven years ago when Anthony and I first began having our children, we decided it made much more sense for me to quit work and stay home with them full time. In all honesty, those four years of diaper changing, feedings, and cleaning up behind two babies, then toddlers was a bitter-sweet time for me. Don’t get me wrong, part of me loved being able to just be home and be “mom”. But the other part of me desperately looked back longingly at my other life of real jobs and being in daily communication with anyone taller than 3 feet. There were certainly days that I wondered if “Rachel” even existed anymore and found myself desperately trying to hold onto any remnant of my own identity (and sanity) that I could.
At times, loneliness seemed more like a companion and there were days that I found myself on the floor of my bathroom sobbing during their naptime or staring out my front door wishing I wasn’t on the inside looking out.
But today, now that that short time has come and gone, I’ve noticed that I find myself looking back fondly on those days at home in which it didn’t matter if I got dressed, or put on make-up or did much of anything that felt like normal adult life. And although I also love working and have learned that I need a balance of both; some weeks I crave a few days like that at home with my kids.
Like the way it used to be, watching veggi-tales with my kids on the couch in our PJs with little more our daily agenda demanded than meals, cleanups, naps, playtime and waiting anxiously for the sound of daddy’s truck to pull up the driveway.
Those were the simple days. And while at times I remember looking out the front windows of our little house wondering if life was passing me by while the rest of the world was actually “living” while I resided in yoga pants and baggy tee-shirts; I’m realizing more and more that they were actually some of the most precious days of our lives and they flew by all too quickly. Looking back, what I would desire for another mom to know that is in this place right now that I’ve written of, and what I wish I would have known back then is;
This is only a very small season of your life and it will pass quickly and give way to a new one; a different one. And despite how you may feel some days, it is a sweet season. Don’t spend this precious time you have here wishing it all away, for the day will come all too soon that your babies won’t need you quite as much and they will go off to school, and you’ll find the house quiet and empty for eight hours out of the day and your time to “find yourself” again will have come yet again. But for now, find yourself in the adoring smiles of your babies and let yourself find joy in the everyday mundane tasks of laundry, dishes and cleaning floors. For one day, you’ll long for more time to just stay home and enjoy the motherly tasks we women are hardwired to do. Just for now, I would encourage you to find yourself soaking up the simple things of life in visits to the park, wiping little noses and savoring the gift or motherhood and time with your children. Because chasing dreams, pursuing business endeavors and the rest of the world will wait for you …but once this time is gone you can’t ever get it back. So drink it up and remember that what you are doing in this season of life IS living….. and your daily efforts matter so much more than you can see right now.
So today, every single time I am blessed with a rare day at home with my children without the demands of schedules, work and outside pressures – I find that I couldn’t be more happy and content to be on the inside of my front door, looking out. Fulfilling my role at my first job….the one that matters most by far. And what I find there gives me a fulfillment that no other earthy pursuit will ever give.
Of this I am sure.
When we aren’t at peace, when we aren’t content, we’re triggered. We’re turned on. We’re seeking with skilled excellence to find that contentment, and it’s easier to find it in that woman eyeing you from across the bar, the boy offering you a drink at the party. But how will you feel in the morning? You’ll still be searching. ~ Rob Bell (Sex God)
I long for a life in which I am completely content, one in which I never believe that the hand that life has dealt me is insufficient or inferior in any way. One in which I don’t buy into the lie the situations I find myself in or the wounds my heart has sustained at the hands of others aren’t fair and I deserve better.
When I view my life that way, I am not at peace. And when I am not at peace, I am at war….. with myself and the one who created me.
I begin to believe that since I am not content and satisfied, it is my right to find ways to change that. So I search desperately for people, things, position, anything to fill the deep, lonely abyss that has slowly become my soul. In my search, whether I want to confess it or not, my actions scream out “Jesus what you’ve provided for me isn’t enough. What you’ve done for me wasn’t enough. YOU aren’t enough!”
When I live this way, If you could peel back my skin and see beneath the layers of who people might perceive me to to be you’d find
This is exactly what my soul has the natural tendency to be apart from understanding and abiding in the fullness of my Creator’s love for me.
I can know God and even belong to Him, but when I’ve never truly had an encounter the grace and love of God for me they are of no personal worth. It can’t change who I am. Those life saving, life altering miracles become reduced to nothing more than words in a book and lyrics to songs I sing.
So I prostitute my soul out to temporary worldly satisfactions only to come up more empty than before. Searching to fill up the emptiness, my heart abandons the pure and authentic for filthy, cheap substitutes.
Somehow I don’t think I’m the only one who’s found myself in that place. I doubt I’m the only person who was raised on a church pew, knew all the right lines, believed they had all the right theology but somehow, had never allowed their self to have a true encounter with the love of Christ.
There came a time in my life where nothing but a face to face encounter with who I am outside of Jesus could change me. A time in which something in my life broke me of my pride, compelled me to let down my walls and let Him show me who I am without Him.
The painful brokenness that followed that realization would actually save my heart. That kind of brokenness is beautiful because it changes us. It is impossible to have a face to face encounter with the barrenness of our own soul apart from Jesus and then watch Him cover everything over in His love and grace and walk away unchanged.
Only one love has that kind of power. One we cannot afford to live without.
We end up “prostituting” our souls out to other people or things because we have never really allowed ourselves to wholly be filled up with the agape love that comes from God alone. Being filled with that kind of love and grace demands something of us, hunger and great humility. When we aren’t willing, we go through life missing the extravagant love Jesus gave up His life to clothe us in.
It’s time to stop searching for what will never be found from this world. We came into the world empty and broken, and there is only one love that can change that.
For me, it’s not enough anymore to know, talk, sing or just write about it. Finding my life instead of losing it means that I live every day, allowing my heart to have an intimate encounter with the love of Jesus. And in His great love, I encounter Him.
His love is drawing me in, filling my soul, whispering gently, “I am enough.”
This love is for you.
If you know what it is to experience this kind of love before, I’d love to hear your story.
“The God who slung the stars across the heavens….the same One who shaped the mountain and valleys with the palm of His hand…the God whose very breath gives life….that God, the King, has always been taken with you. ~ Angela Thomas
It’s been one of those weeks. You know the kind? Where you just can’t seem to get anything right and you are far from having it all together. I’m so there. My heart needed this reminder today.
You see, the deeper beauty I long for is really about complete acceptance…even in the midst of all my imperfection.
I like knowing the answers. I like having an intelligent way to respond to the questions others ask when something in my life doesn’t make sense. I like having things all figured out….or at the very least feeling like I do. But sometimes I find myself in a place where I am forced to admit that I don’t understand all the whys of why things happen the way they do and why God allows the course of our life to change without showing us the whole picture and laying out directions for the whole path in front of us.
I wish I understood everything, I wish I could say I’ve seen the blueprints for my life and I know exactly what’s around the bend, and exactly which steps to take next. But I don’t. I wince as I’ve listened to myself say others recently, “I have no idea.” But then I realize that to say anything different would be a lie.
The truth is I don’t know all the answers, I get confused, I even feel a bit like I’m lost out on a huge turbulent sea praying that my Heavenly Father sees me, knows I’m in over my head, and in His mercy already has plans in the works to throw down a lifeline I can grab on to and lead me to a safe place of refuge He has already prepared.
One thing my heart rests in is that God is not like us. Nothing, and I do mean NOTHING in our lives takes Him by surprise. He redeemed us knowing in advance that we would fail, dissapoint, walk away, and in our human foolishness get our own selves in huge messes.
But He loved us anyway! And we can rest assured that before it ever even happened, before we ever attempted to screw everything up, He had already decided He would redeem the wreckage of our lives and He already had a plan in place to turn around mess we’ve made for His glory and His own purpose.
So, it’s okay to throw up our hands; or if you’re like me wave your arms ferociously in surrender and admit that most of life is bigger than us. In fact, it’s a beautiful place to be. Because when we admit that we don’t have it all together, and we don’t have all the answers, we are admitting that He does. We acknowledge that we have no choice but to relinquish control to Him if we want life to work. Maybe that’s the point of it all.
Things happen, things out of my control. Things that aren’t fair but could never be undone no matter how much forgiveness had been extended. Words get said. Actions get done. Hurt gets underestimated, overlooked and eventually pushed up under the rug of my soul. Over time, the wounds scab over, appearing to be healed on the outside. All the while the infection hidding beneath was very alive, and it wasn’t just going to go away. All along it was poisoning and destroying from the inside out. And no one even noticed. Not even me.
Over time little things added up to big things and before I even realized it, resentment had blanketed my entire being – choking out life, choking out joy, choking out destiny, choking out faith, choking out love.
All the while, I’ve wanted to be near you but felt feel so far away. I wanted to hear you but the silence is deafening. I’ve been barely hanging on and I wondered when would you come to me?
Then you showed me that nothing could separate me from your love, and yet there’s been so much coming in between my love for you. So much junk that I had neglected to just pour out at your feet and let you take it on yourself.
I’m ready. Ready to pour it all out. Every hurt. Every lie. Every failure. Every sin. All my pride. Everything that resides in my heart robbing it from being filled with you.
Jesus I empty me, begging for you to fill me up again with everything that you are.