Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The ache that never goes away.

One of my favorite people in the world got married last weekend.

God gave me the gift of being present.  To share their joy.  To praise Him for His kindness and love in bringing them together.  The simple beauty of one heart being joined to another for forever.  The joy beating in them -in their faces, in the way they touch, in the way they walk together, in the way their eyes soften when they glance at one another.

It was the perfect wedding - not too fancy, but elegant, not too casual, but fun and people friendly.The loveliest bridesmaids on the face of the planet, with groomsmen to match (including her brother, looking grownup and solemn.)

Like I said, perfect.

I first saw her when she was 3 days old - when I took her in my arms, newly minted, her eyes never left my face. For at least 15 minutes. She had never seen me in her short life, and yet she connected - and stayed connected.

That's unusual in a newborn.

And I thought, "We're in for it now..."

And I was right.

She grew into a horse loving girl and a ribbon loving young lady - with a sharp wit and a generous heart, loyal to her friends, and - eventually - proud of her younger brother and careful of him.  She has grown into a young woman who works hard and plays with abandon . She chose a profession in which she could serve others.

And so did her groom.
The new Mrs. Northrup

Of course, she was the loveliest bride. Ever.  

And her joy when she finally reached her groom was evident.

As was the groom's when he first saw her.

She married a prince of a man - so, although I knew it all along, that officially makes her a princess.

Why is it so hard to let them go?  Is it the way God sees us - making decisions, waiting for us to make the right ones, the ones He can bless freely, the ones that further His plans for us?   Does His heart ache with joy when He joins two of His children forever?

It's a good ache.

But an ache, nonetheless.

We older folks know hard times will come to them - as they do to everyone at one time or another.  We pray for their ability to submit themselves to God and each other.  We pray we can somehow help them on their way.  We pray they will grow in wisdom and trust of each other, that they will use adversity to grow them closer, not apart, that they will always remember the love that drew them to one another, and not forget it in the midst of mundane, nit-picking everyday irritations.

And the ache - well, it never seems to really go away.  I look at  her and still see that five year old munchkin, and the seven year old, who had to learn to live with asthma, the new teen navigating all those foreign interactions with the opposite sex, her first boyfriend, her struggles and triumphs.  Her heels got higher, and her loveliness kept pace.  I looked away for a second and she had become a grown woman, with an open, giving heart. From her infancy I prayed that God would bring her a man that would love Him, love her, and have a good sense of humor - and that He would break any relationship that was not of Him.

He faithfully answered .

 I do not know Josh well yet, but I recognize that all important heart, open and willing to give, loving Him, loving her.

And I thank Him for sending the prince He had created for her - and for creating her for him - and for giving them the wisdom to recognize each other in a world that increasingly locks Christ out of its affairs and decisions.

And tho I keep tearing up just remembering the wedding, my heart is full of joy for them, impressed by the girlfriends she gathered round her and the colors and gowns she chose.

Impressed.  But not surprised.  She did it her way - and it was lovely.

Congratulations, dearest Munchkin. May you and your prince walk together in joy forever.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Where my heart has been

I have been withdrawn a bit lately - reading, praying, yearning for more of the One Who bought me.  Doing amateur Hebrew word studies of the Word, reading along some that have been done by others far more trained in translation and connotation than I.

The more I read, the more I realize how far from His heart I am.  How my Christianity has been more preoccupied with me than with Him.

I want to change that.

That is the reasoning behind choosing the word "attention" to focus on this year.

I want the attention to be on Him.

More specifically, I want it to be on His heart - the great Father heart that beats with so much love He traded His beloved Son for my salvation - and the Son willingly joined the love fest, by allowing mere specks of dust formed into ungrateful beings with sin-stained hands and hearts to mount Him naked on two pieces of wood, and hung before the world He had created with His own hands.

That is radical love.  It is as far above me as "agape" is from "fileo" - from "sacrifice Yourself for the ones, mad with frenzy, who crucified You" to "what's in it for me?"

The difference is in the domain of the heart.

And the cry of my heart has become: Papa, teach me!

It has become this deep longing that draws me to the Word, to His presence.  And it became this poem:

Papa, teach me!

I want more than seeking You.
I  want to know Your heart -
To become so familiar
With Your ways and words
That I will never risk distance -
Never be farther than a bear hug
From You.

Let me learn
The secret Way
The desires and joys
The nuances of Love and Being
That make up each beat of Your heart
Each breath
Each move.

Show me how to step back
To let You live in me
Through me
I want to train my heart
To lie prostrate before Yours
To have Your will and mineSo mingled
That separating them
Becomes impossible.

Let me learn how
To recognize each impulse
To see no other path
But the one
That wears bloody footprints
And triumphal glory.

Teach me, my King
How to obey.