*This is what it means to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell
We’d be held
It all falls. Eyes dart around frantically, desperately; looking, longing. Why? I’d held it in my arms so well. It rested there so safely, so snugly, in the clutches of my control. I liked it that way. Never mind that I was tired.
I bend down to pick it up—all of it, before it crashes, to stuff it back where it belongs: my arms. And I can’t grasp a single thing. It’s then that I glance at my hands, and see that He’s holding them. He pulls me to standing and brings my hands to His face, placing them on His cheeks. With His nail-pierced hands, He cups mine. I look down, and everything is swimming, swirling, out of place and unsafe. He tilts my chin upward, and I see Him. I look in His eyes; I am transfixed. I am held. I am loved. And I know. He’s here, just as He promised.
He bends down, scoops it all up before it hits, and slings it onto His back: where it really belongs. He bears my burdens, and yet He stands tall. He doesn’t grow weary like I did.
I bend down, too, and pick up what He’s left at my feet: His yoke. I slip my shoulders underneath it and stand back up, with ease. It is light. I marvel; I revel; I rest. So this is what I’ve been missing. This is what it’s supposed to be like. This is why He told me.
He turns around to walk forward, away from the place He met me with full arms and clenched teeth and tired eyes. With now-empty hands, I grab hold of His garment, like a child grabs hold of her mama’s skirt. Where He goes, I will go. And I know. I know He’s just enough ahead to lead, and close enough to remain by my side. I know that if I let go and start to pick the pieces off His back and carry them myself, He’ll turn around. He’ll gently peel my limbs away from around those things, leaving them to fall. And I’ll remember all over again that they’re safest, and I’m freest, when I let them fall back into His hands.
*”Held” by Natalie Grant
There’s something that seemsglorious about what we don’t have, the lives we don’t live—isn’t there? And glorious it is, I’m sure, for her, for him, for them. For those who live those lives, unlike me. They’re their lives—why shouldn’t they be?
But why is it so hard to see my glorious? Because Ann has kids and lives on a farm and peels squash and potatoes for meals she cooks like a good mother and wife does and has years on me and weaves masterpieces with words—and I’m just a twenty-three-year-old soon-to-be college graduate still living at home with no job and no.idea. what I’ll be doing next week, never mind next year—, I somehow think she has the right to offer beauty to the world, and I don’t. But she says that’s exactly the kind of thinking that gets me into trouble. That’s exactly the kind of thinking that has kept me from writing for so long. “Who am I to have anything to offer?” So mornings like the one I spent in the courthouse for jury duty, trying so hard to sit still for the bubbling of passion and inspiration and dreaming that erupts inside of me, His Spirit telling me He can make something of this, this desire to write and feeling that I won’t really be living if I don’t use it, they’re stifled by fear. And I let it triumph. It trumpets its victory over the mustard seed of faith that says, “Something great can come of this,” that knows it to be true even if the something great is impacting one person or simply stretching faith and awe of my Creator, who gave me the mind to create and the fingers to type the words that onlyIstring together. But fear, like the Enemy, declares victory too soon. It hasn’t had the final word. The mustard seed is still there. And though it’s small, it’s enough. That’s what my God says, and I’d like to take Him at His Word.
“…I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew
A seed is small, but it can grow into a tree, strong and steady and majestic. And then it can weather even the fiercest of storms. But it must be nurtured first, watered and tended.
It’s hard to see creativity as essential to faith until you start to practice it, and then you know how vital it is. Like Ann said. I’ve let the fear infiltrate the camp of my mind, weaken the morale with its lies, telling me I don’t measure up because I don’t write like her, or this one, or that one, and they get great reviews or tons of readers or any other tangible affirmation of their gift.
But I’ve seen, and today, I’ve allowed myself to remember. I’m cleaning up camp, driving out the traitor that pretends to be my ally, that tries to convince me it’s protecting me by preventing me from the disappointment of no recognition. I fortify the walls so it can’t come back in, at least not without fighting harder. Because I no longer believe it, no longer buy the lie that the recognition’s what it’s about. It’s about using what God’s given me, seeing Him bigger and proclaiming Him bigger.
So I pick up the watering pail, and start to faithfully tend. I start to create again, wait for the seed to grow into a shoot, then a tree, wondering what form it will take, but knowing it will be grand. And as it grows taller my gaze climbs upward until I’m looking Him in the face, the point of it all—to gaze right into the face of Jesus, to lead the eyes of others upward as they watch my tree grow, until they’re fixed right on Him.
Can I challenge you to pick up your pail, too? What do you need to do to start watering—write? Paint? Garden? Sing on the church’s worship team? Dance? Sew? Carve? Draw? Cook? Change jobs? Take pictures?
Who’s up to the challenge? If you’d like to join me, I’d love to know, and I’d love to know how you’re going to start watering your mustard seed. Will you share with me? Message me or leave a comment on facebook, or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
(Note: Bold words are links. Click on them to go to Ann Voskamp’s blog, and my facebook page. I don’t know how to change it so that they’re underlined, not bold.)