It feels as if months have passed between us and this morning, I feel as though I’m groping about, trying to find the most right words to lay down here. As a blogger whose audience is most likely the next visitor at her church or the next mom to register for MOPS, I find myself in the messy middle of it all.
The whole of life is messy though, isn’t it?
When we left for Boone ten days ago, there was a rumbling in the very pit of my soul that I tried in vain to silence. I baked for two days prior to leaving just to give my hands some meaningful task to complete while freeing my mind to meditate on the things I knew to be true. I flipped back through pages of journal entries in-between batches of cookies to trace the spindly threads of intuition and discernment all the way to the needle that kept pricking my soul that something was not quite right.
And I loathe that pricking for it always demands an unpleasant movement toward making something wrong, right again.
Angst set in hours before we ever left Rocky Mount and as we left the county headed somewhere west of here, I unraveled my thread into the lap of the Man who knows what to do with all my threads.
As we bypassed Raleigh, he looked at me and asked me to pinpoint the last day I felt the prick.
“Thursday night,” I said. “But I’ve been feeling this way for weeks and weeks.”
He kept his eye on the road while I searched his face for some understanding.
We spent five hours of drive time and 192 hours of mountain time in deep thought and deep conversation as we hiked up God’s green earth. The kids waded in slow moving streams and romped in the woods and we talked through the hard stuff. I snapped pictures of fences and cows and more fences and then more cows as we wound ourselves round and round what God made. Clouds like creamy shades of chiffon dropped low into the valleys and we spent long stretches of time pulled over on the sides of bendy roads soaking in sheer stokes of majesty.
Afternoon and evenings were spent on the wrap around porch sipping mugs of coffee and watching the rain beat the earth into ribbons of verdant. The kids were wild like banshee, howling into the expansive forest, and we cared not. We held hands and held books and held loosely the threads that now held two needles piercing us both.
We like to think our hearts are good, that the evil slivers are barely present, but only God can know a heart and it takes time to sort through the caverns that are hiding away things we alone can’t see. But the gift of time sprawled out in front of us for days on end and for days we soaked it up, giving God space to search our hearts.
Fear and freedom mingle closely in this heart searching business, but in Christ, all fear is cast out and only freedom remains. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain.
So, in the empty days of our family getaway, we moved to be near to Christ, inviting Him to shed light into our dark parts.
A few days before leaving town, I hastily threw together our community newsletter/vlog. I waited for the kids to go down for nap, and then slipped into the office for a ten minute taping. I shared with you, how in my pursuit of Jesus, I have been drawn to solitude and quiet and in that quiet, I was convicted of the things in my life that were killing me slowly. Things that I had been doing that Jesus had never asked me to do.
But lately, I’ve been convicted of how often I have a slow response to the quickening in my spirit when I sense that things in the Body of Christ are not right. I’m slow to speak up or gently warn or call others to respond. I ignore the unsettled feelings, chalking them up to personal preference or individual experience, and turn my head, unwilling to risk losing face or reputation or community standing. And I sit by idly, not giving the Body the use of my limb, thus doing damage to whole person of Jesus.
The thing pricking my soul this past week is a result of many months of sitting idly by and hoping things would just change or disappear or not affect myself or the larger body. I’d been hoping Jesus would just right the wrong so I didn’t have to engage the messy and the hard and the painful.
But we’re called to the messy and the hard and the painful.
We’re gifted with things the Body needs us to use and to give in order for it to be a healthy and thriving organism about righting the wrong things in this broken down world in the name of Jesus.
And it is our responsibility to lay our lives down as living sacrifices, always preserving the purity of the whole Body, no matter the loss of reputation or face or community standing.
So, I encourage you, the peeps who choose to spend your precious time here, to get alone with Jesus. Spend time listening to that still small voice. Spend time fleshing out the things that tug at your soul. And take stock of the gifts that you’ve been given. Are you doing wrong by the Body by sitting idly by and not using what you’ve been given?