Sunday, January 20, 2013

Where the Shadow Falls

As I ironed shirts that would be placed on the backs of my husband and son, I wondered if I was headed in for a scolding from HIM. I knew I had to face whatever consequences HE held for me as another week went by without me finishing what HE has asked of me.

I walked in that old church-house prepared for whatever HE saw fit for me this day. As the room filled and the hymns began, I could tell HE still loved me. One after the other, Blessings were pouring in every direction and I could hardly keep up. As a mother stood next to her son, joined in the song "Do You Know How it Feels", I could no longer hold back tears that wanted to flow. The sun lit their backs from the windows behind them, but The Son lit their faces even brighter, which cast shadows on the wall next to them. I watched those shadows as they sang with perfection only HIS gift could bring and I knew that there was a time when her shadow fell higher than his did. He has grown children of his own and his stood much taller than his mother's now, but I knew there was a time, his shadow fell short. I smiled as I knew what HE was telling me...I know how it feels to be a child of The King, and I know I'm alright when I lay my head on my pillow each night. I fall short often but HE keeps erecting my Spirit higher and higher no matter how short my shadow falls.

She spoke my heart when I couldn't. She told of how glad she was to be in that room, and how she understood why HE could only give us a tiny portion of what Heaven will be like because our flesh wouldn't be able to withstand the jubilee HE holds for us one sweet day. Three men stood near the piano and I couldn't wait for my ears to hear their voices. I fully expected them to sing with a thousand voices but just as they began, HE gave me more than my expectations could predict. The totally different voices blended as one and no matter how hard I tried to hear them as individuals, for the entire song, they were as one.

Two little girls soon sang, again with all the perfection only HIS gift can bring and by the end of all the music and Praises, I could hear myself shouting even though my voice was stricken with silence. I heard a voice cry out from the other side of the church and there stood a tiny little teenage girl with her hands raised in praise. My heart was consumed with love for HIM as HE placed me on that pew for a reason.

It wasn't long when the pastor stood and my friend and her family walked up to the front, asking to join as members. I felt the warmth of the droplets that had formed riverbeds in my makeup by now but I didn't even care. He held his daughter with one hand and gave The Lord his other as it lifted in the air. He closed his eyes in prayer and thanked The Lord. As soon as his hand came down, his wife's went up. I looked over at the piano as the song continued and the tall man singing closed his eyes too, and I watched him thank The Lord as well.

I am very honored that HE continues to give to me, and our entire little country church. There is nothing like it that I've ever seen and I am Blessed HE has chosen my family to sit among the gifted of those four walls. I must do what is asked of me, HIS perfection will see me through. If I must sit in silence until I finish, so be it. I can no longer tell HIM no. He's never reached for me with an empty hand and I have no right to keep offering HIM only that. I must give HIM my best, and HE will show me the way. I don't want to slump my shadow when HE lights me. I deserved a scolding today, but HE had better plans for me, and I am so glad HE did.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Heart of The Altar

"I can't wait until tonight's service," are the actual words I spoke as the road led us to church this Sunday morning. I hadn't even spotted the steeple yet, and already I wanted more. The parking lot was half full as eager Christians made their way into HIS house this common day of worship.

I shook the hand that was outstretched in my direction. A certain amount of excitement could be seen on his face as he walked around greeting those who occupied the pews. The bright blue shirt upon his back was no match for the gleam that brightened with each hand he shook. I saw a man sitting on the front row and he looked as though he was praying, or perhaps just lost in thought. I felt a love as this brother held that space on the pew. My eyes drifted to the young teenager behind him. His innocent eyes looked around the room as his large family of grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles flooded in, to find their seats. In Spirit, he too is my brother, and I could feel love for him as well. I spoke few words and one after the other made their way inside our little country church. I didn't even turn around to see who was there, I could feel them, and my heart loved them too.

It only took minutes into the service for the proud to stand. One after the other, those who Testify stood and claimed Victories already won, over battles fought daily. My heart heard many weeping behind me, and strangely, tears poured from only one side of me. Though I held my head up, part of me collapsed each time I thought of HOME. Warmth continued to run down the right side of my face while a smile held my head up from the left. Each song heard, each voice that spoke, each heart that felt, an overwhelming sense of love filled that room. HE was stirring and soon I found myself at The Altar with my hand upon her back. I could feel her heart beating and I was thanking God for giving her that beat. She could have already been an Angel by now but HE left her here as my friend, and I felt love for her too. Each beat of her heart felt stronger and more profound than the one before. The Altar felt many hands, many tears, and many hearts this day. There's a growth we all can achieve as each sincere prayer was answered.

The only words spoken on the ride home from church was from our son, "That was a really good service, wasn't it." Our reddened eyes drove us home and again all I can say is, "I can't wait for tonight's service." I love my little country church but most of all I love The One that placed us there...always Blessed, always Blessed.

Friday, January 4, 2013

If You Could See Me Now...

A box of old photos sits in the floor next to my bed. I know my youngest child has been peeking at the past again. I can see her half attempt to put the top back in a hurried rush but it has fallen in the floor. I can see myself in that box. I have felt The Lord all morning, in the house, at school, outside, everywhere, and my heart slowed to a deep beat as I approached the photo box, and I took comfort knowing HE was there.

I smiled at an old photograph of me when I was a little girl. I knew she had been looking at this one since it was near the top. In that picture, I saw my two older sisters at a family dinner as we all had gathered at my grandmother's house. I could hear the clatter of large spoons clinging against the metal pots on the stove, my teenage sisters exchanging giggles as they often found humor in everything, and I could hear the chatter of extended family as everyone reunited from near and far over a feast. I could see the plastic fruit arrangement that sat on Maw Maw's table for years. I looked at the child in that photo, who shared my breath, who shared my heart, who shared my spirit and with a tear I said, "If you could see me now..."

I saw my husband hold the hand of his bride as we were just wed, some fifteen years ago. I smiled and told that girl, "Love that man. He's way more than you even know he is...if you could see him now..."

I looked through a few more pictures and came across one with a date posted in the bottom right corner. The swell of my belly told me that it was just days before my first child would enter into this world. With tears flowing I tried to speak to the young mother I saw before me...
      "In a few days, your life is gonna change. It will be not only be the hardest and scariest of your days to date, but it will be one of the most joyous. You will receive a lifetime of gifts from this one day and you just hang in there, God will see you through it."
I put the picture back in the box carefully, and my hand moved throughout the box in search of more.

Some pictures made me laugh and some made me cry. I soon found myself holding one in my hand and I was looking down at the little boy that was born to change my world. His smile filled the picture and his love brought warmth to me on this cold January day. He was just a tiny baby who had been born into a world of pain, and a world of hurt and I spoke the same words I had told him time and time again as a child, before each test, before procedure, before each surgery...
      "Trust that this is for your own good. Mama loves you, and one day, you'll look back and see how much tougher, braver, and stronger you are than even I."

I soon came to a swollen belly again, only this time, I had aged a bit. I could see my Maw Maw in the background this Christmas day of 2003. I looked tired but happy. I saw the relief I had already claimed knowing that the very next morning, I'd be on an operating table, welcoming that beautiful baby girl. I looked at the womb which held that unborn child and I said...
     "If you could see you now...you are the completion to this family that we all need. You have no idea that you will wake one day, and no longer hear my voice, but that's okay, you'll be just like your brother. God will bring you through it."

I quickly put that box of old pictures away. I had seen all that I could take for this one day. Sometimes we all get so consumed with small incidentals, that we forget what is waiting for us soon. I am beyond Blessed how HE has crafted my little family. I know today is just a picture, and tomorrow will hold new things for us and we will say, "If you could see me now..." I am so glad HE is everywhere, He is everywhere in my little world.