Month: June 2014

The Music In My Heart

He placed a joyful song in my heart which had been so filled with sadness and hurt. But He didn’t take away all the pain. Instead, He tapped the joy that lay beneath the ache and tears in the well that was even more fathomless than I imagined. He overwhelmed me with love. My wounds were no hindrance to His love or to the love He brought me in Christian community — I am still just a people and I need people. He knows that and provides brothers and sisters who love me as if I am one of the family. It still boggles my mind but I’m learning to accept it. My family is dead. My family is alive and much bigger than I knew. It breaks my heart in the best way possible and releases more joy. The pain, while real, is, in comparison, tiny.

My Friend isn’t what we’d call nice. (But then, neither would Phronsie more than 100 years ago.) In fact, I can only claim Him as “my Friend” because He chose to befriend me and I said, “Yes.” But I can’t pretend I knew what I was doing. He didn’t choose me because I’m anything special; He is the same God who told me my life is worth no more than the lives of every other person He has created, the same God who left me with hateful people for eleven years, the same God who allowed others to kill my family. And, He is the same God who values me as much as every other person He has created, He is the same God who used those eleven years to teach me to fight my own sadness and protect me from pain I was much too small to face. He is the same God who used my curiosity to help me forgive, love, and pray for those I wanted zapped out of existence. Not nice. Glorious. Before I was old enough to understand, God took my hand and brought me into the heady swirl of His banquet. We’ve danced and feasted and waited for the next course together. He trusted me to see that He has done well. I do see it. Thanks be to God! I do see it.

He chose me for the same reason He chooses everyone else. I need Him. That’s all I have, all I’ll ever have. Need. My need is as deep as my joy. I need the One who loves me even though it’s not always pleasant, for Him or for me. I need the One who trusts me to turn to Him when I’m in pain, when I’m happy, when life is mundane.

“When a woman is in travail she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but when she is delivered of the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a child is born into the world.” (John 16:21) That’s what I needed, the tremendous joy that comes after great travail. That’s what He made me able to accept and what He gives me. Isn’t that what we all need? Don’t we all long for the joy that is infinitely greater than our pain? Don’t we all long for “the glorious liberty of the children of God”? Don’t we want to blend our voices and sing the music in our hearts as we dance with joy?

When God asked me, “Can you be happy without knowing everything?” I said, “Yes.” I had sung and danced and swum joy, even with pain in my heart. Of course, I could be happy. I just didn’t know how to do it when not singing, dancing, or swimming. He did. He does. And I am happy again. The music in my heart is no longer limited to dirges. To a Bossa Nova beat, eminently suitable for dancing, I now sing, “Heaven and earth are full of Your glory! Hosanna in the highest!”

Five Minute Fridays: Hands

In my life, hands have been terrifying and grand. Mr. E’s hands made hot cocoa for me when I was five and four twelve year old boys beat me up. The school nurse’s hands took my temperature, placed cool cloths on my head, held the paper as I pasted my kite in her girl’s club. But the man’s hands hit me. The dull thud of his hand against my cheek still surprises me. In films. on TV, slaps are a loud smacking sound. The woman’s hands hit me, cleaned my ears with sharp bobby pins, held me when I tried to get away. The hands of the other children hurt me, touched me in places they ought not have gone. But always, God’s hand has comforted me and held me up when I knew I would fall. Hands always respond to the intent of the heart.

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Five Minute Friday is an ever-growing group of bloggers who write for five minutes flat each Friday on the same prompt that Lisa Jo Baker posts each Thursday evening. It’s five minutes to see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused writing. Those without a blog can post their five minute piece as a comment on Lisa Jo Baker’s blog. For more details, visit Five Minute Friday.

Excerpt From Last Chapter: ‘Might I Be One Of Them?’

One day, Robert, who is given to voicing insights about Scripture and faith off the cuff, told me, “Jesus didn’t mean the gates of hell would be attacking us. He meant the Church would attack the gates of hell!” I nodded in agreement as tiny stars exploded across the screen of my mind, Of course! Gates don’t attack! They are attacked! They prevail only when the attackers can’t pull them down! But I had always seen myself trapped behind towering, black, iron gates. Gates about to fall on me and crush me. Gates about to open and devour more unsuspecting prisoners. The stars became a bright light shining in my heart, illuminating my mind. I saw the Church pulverizing those huge, impenetrable gates. The pile of rubble was astonishing. More astonishing was the immense crowd of freed prisoners making their way out. Might I be one of them?

From Last Chapter, Excerpt From “Five Little Peppers Grown Up”

“Phronsie sat quite still, and folded and unfolded her hands in her lap. ‘Why did God take away Helen?’ she asked suddenly, lifting her head. ‘Oh, Polly, it wasn’t nice of him,’ she added, a strange look coming into her brown eyes.

“‘Oh, Phronsie!’ exclaimed Polly, quite shocked, ‘don’t, dear; that isn’t like you, Pet. Why, God made us all, and he can do just as he likes, darling.’

“‘But it isn’t nice,’ repeated Phronsie deliberately, and quite firmly, ‘to take Helen now. Why doesn’t He make another little girl then for Mrs. Fargo?’ and she held Polly with her troubled eyes.

“‘Phronsie’–cried Polly; then she stopped abruptly. ‘Oh, what can I say? I don’t know, dearie; it’s just this way; we don’t know why God does things. But we love him, and we feel it’s right. Oh, Phronsie, don’t look so. There, there,’ and she drew her close to her, in a loving, hungry clasp. ‘I told you I didn’t think I could say the right things to you,’ she went on hurriedly, ‘but, Phronsie, I know God did just right in taking Helen to heaven. Just think how beautiful it must be there, and so many little children are there. And Helen is so happy. Oh, Phronsie, when I think of that, I am glad she is gone.’

“‘Helen was happy here,’ said Phronsie decidedly. ‘And she never–never would want to leave her mother alone, to go off to a nicer place. Never, Polly.’

“Polly drew a long breath, and shut her lips. ‘But, Phronsie, don’t you see,’ she cried presently, ‘it may be that Mrs. Fargo wouldn’t ever want to go to Heaven unless Helen was there to meet her? It may be, Phronsie; and that would be very dreadful, you know. And God loved Mrs. Fargo so that he took Helen, and he is going to keep her happy every single minute while she is waiting and getting ready for her mother.’

“Phronsie suddenly slipped down from Polly’s lap. ‘Is that true?’ she demanded.

“‘Yes, dear,’ said Polly, ‘I think it is, Phronsie,’ and her cheeks glowed. ‘Oh, can’t you see how much nicer it is in God to make Mrs. Fargo happy for always with Helen, instead of just a little bit of a while down here?’

“Phronsie went over to the window and looked up at the winter sky. ‘It is a long way off,’ she said, but the bitter tone had gone, and it was a grieved little voice that added, ‘and Mrs. Fargo can’t see Helen.’

“‘Phronsie,’ said Polly, hurrying over to her side, ‘perhaps God wants you to do some things for Mrs. Fargo–things, I mean, that Helen would have done.’

“‘Why, I can’t go over there,’ said Phronsie wonderingly. ‘Papa Fisher says I am not to go over there for ever and ever so long, Polly.’

“‘Well, you can write her little notes and you can help her to see that God did just right in taking Helen away,’ said Polly; ‘and that would be the very best thing you could do, Phronsie, for Mrs. Fargo; the very loveliest thing in all this world.’

“‘Would it?’ asked Phronsie.

“‘Yes, dear.’

“‘Then I’ll do it; and perhaps God wants me to like Heaven better; does he, Polly, do you think?’

“‘I really and truly do, Phronsie,’ said Polly softly.”

(Margaret Sydney, Five Little Peppers Grown Up: http://www.readprint.com/work-5664/Five-Little-Peppers-Grown-Up-Margaret-Sidney/contents)

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