How blessed we are to have friends who lift us up, who speak truth to us, who listen, give advice, encouragement and their constant prayers. This is richness; this is true treasure to have such wonderful women in your life.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sink and Know

Like the Titanic cruising across the ocean, I sank one day.  I had no idea I was heading for an iceberg, and though I had been warned…I steamed on at full speed.  I was, as Emily Freeman writes in her book, A Million Little Ways, “…bound to my own usefulness, big-headed with my own accomplishments, crushed by shortcomings…capable of making art, but also capable of turning the art into something it was never meant to be.”  There was no time for prayer or worship or reading the Bible…I was TOO busy making my “art.”  And it was beyond exhausting…it was literally killing me.

My doctor would tell me as I came to him with symptom after symptom, “This is all stress related.  You have to give up something or your body will make you give it all up someday.”   I would always smile, make some flippant remark, thank him for his advice and the prescription and walk out the door without a thought to heeding a single word he said.  I couldn’t…that would be admitted failure…”a shortcoming” and it would crush me for sure.

And then God sank me.   I guess you could say that the iceberg I hit was the biggest one you could hit…the “God one” but in my everyday living it was seemingly insignificant.   Like a listing ship taking on water, the tipping point was reached, and I went DOWN.

I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone…and yet…that sinking moment was my first gasping breath back to life.  It did not feel like felt like death.  In reality a fatal blow was given that day to my “addiction to measurable productivity” and the adulation of others.  Praise God!  When you finally see your weakness, your irreparable brokenness, there is nothing you can do but sink.  And sink I did into an inky blackness where no one could go except the One who is the Light and the Way.  What I found out was...He was already there just as Psalm 139 said He would be!   Slowly but surely, He "lifted me up"  like David describes in Psalm 40: 1-3:  

"I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned and heard my cry. 
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; 
He set my feet upon a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. 
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  
Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord."

You see?  Sink into finally knowing that HE IS GOD and He will lift you up giving you new art to glory to give:)

So why do I tell you my story?  Simply this…sink yourself.  Decide to sink into His story for your life…sink into His compassion for others…sink into His love for the lost…His compassion for the hurting, the heartbroken and the grief-stricken…sink into His ability to throw off bitterness and show undeserved forgiveness. 

I listened to my pastor, David Parker, talk about the “culture of Jesus” recently.  As I listened to him, I thought about the “art” in the life of Jesus while he walked this earth.  Though he was a carpenter, probably the best that ever laid tools to wood, no relic remains of his workmanship.  What does live on is how he interacted with people:  His truly unconditional love, His compassion, His acceptance, His forgiveness, His ability to impart value, His example to us of how to live art in our daily lives during this brief “breath” we are given. 

When I look at my sweet Savior’s life, when I read His Word, I can see clearly the way I ought to behave and react, but I am an imperfect, human imitator of this
Divine Life.  I am a messy thing.  I am a child copying Van Gogh’s Starry Night.   My canvas has the hint of the master’s, but the strokes are sometimes hesitant, too much paint or not enough or at times not even the right color.  Sometimes my frustrations rise and the canvas gets tossed aside.  Emily puts like this...we go to wash someone's feet like Jesus did and we spill the water or turn up our noses at smelly feet.  We are imperfect imitators of the art we see in the life of Jesus.   

“Be still…sink…and know that I am God.”  These beautiful, dropping to the knees, “I cannot do it” moments, these are the sinking times.  The sinking into knowing that even though I cannot forgive in my own humanness…I cannot love fully…accept unconditionally…live “a million little ways” consistently or perfectly…that God can and He can change a heart like mine to be more like His perfect one.

Let's keep sinking, my friends, into the safe and loving presence of a Savior who will bring His art into our lives in more ways than we ever imagined!

Love to you, dear friends!


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