Missed It By This Much

Do you know what happens when perfectionist tendencies crash into ordinary realities?

Opportunities happen.

More specifically, growth opportunities.

The kind of opportunity that allows a human to make the choice to forgive oneself for “not getting to it” or “not getting it done perfectly”.

Or not.

I choose to let it go.

That Elsa… she gained some valuable wisdom through her ice crisis.

Today’s Best Book Ever is going to take a page from Elsa’s book.

Or, rather, her story’s author.

Hans Christian Andersen wrote more fairy tales than a person can know what to do with. Each tale was woven with lessons humans are constantly experiencing. I have a favorite, though. And that’s the book for today. (It was also my favorite Disney movie of all time.)

The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen was a fairytale I read as an adult because I was so taken with the Disney movie.

Being a Fisherman’s daughter, I was raised in and on the water. If you’ve read around here for any length of time, you know that the Ocean is woven throughout all aspects of my life: my favorite place to be, where I find solace, part of my identity, my awe of its power, just to name a few.

Babysitting during my summers home from college provided me the opportunity to watch a lot of Disney movies. The summer I watched The Little Mermaid, though, was different. I wanted to know more about where this story came from.

Mr. Google was not a fixture in our culture yet, so I resorted to Mrs. Google, a.k.a. The Librarian at our public library.

When she pointed me toward the Hans Christian Andersen section, I couldn’t wait to read the original.

The most notable differences in the animated movie version and the story, as written by Andersen, are the Sea Witch and the ending (heartbreaking). 

The Little Mermaid is never actually given a name in Andersen’s original, but her fascination with the human world and her love for the prince remain the same.

One element of the original story that drew me in, though, was the little mermaid’s fervent desire for a human soul that goes to Heaven.

And on that intriguing note (as I hope you’ll pick it up for yourself, if you haven’t read it yet), I leave you with this quote:

“She laughed and danced with the thought of death in her heart.”

Indeed.

If you’ve missed other posts in my Best Books Ever series for the Write 31 Days Challenge, click the button below. 

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The Gold of Repair

Nourishment comes in many forms. For the body, we can all point to the brilliant spectrum of colors that we should be eating from. For the soul, though, a different kind of care and feeding are required. We sometimes seek the physical to fill the spiritual, and find that we never quite feel satisfied. On the other hand, the line between filled and overflowing can sometimes be blurred. And it is good.

One of the Internet homes that I visit is called Be Small Studios. Although her artwork originally drew me to her site, it was her words, though written infrequently, that held me captive. And, although this post of Annie’s was written back in April, it is one that I have bookmarked to read over and over.

Lately, I’ve been thinking on the ancient Japanese practice of Kintsugi and wondering how much more beautiful the cracks that only Jesus can repair.

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When others, who watched us shatter into a hundred pieces over the affair, the death, or any other number of life-altering events – when they see that we are restored, what must they think?

Do they see the grace in the golden overlay?

Almost like a wounded animal, I find myself hunching over my cracked places and trying my best to hide them. Don’t we all turn our hurt places away, even just a bit, when others come too near to them?

Then, someone comes along, modeling Jesus with their kindness and gentleness, grace and compassion, and attempts to bind that cracked place. I find my soul deeply nourished in the process. Even just the sitting with me, the not-leaving-even-though-they-see, is taken in as much-needed sustenance.

Afterwards, I find myself treating those places, that have been bound up, with extra care. Knowing that I’m cared for, despite my crack-pot ways, seeing that there are others willing to stand next to me as they cup their hands under All The Leaking…that is the very best goodness for my soul.

God, working through the prayers and ministering shoulders and softest touches and endless hand-offs of tissues, shows me that He will make beautiful the cracked places.  And watching others go through bitter battles that they never wanted in the first place – seeing how Jesus can, and will, woo a hardened heart back to Him in the midst of it… that is like seeing the gold of repair melted down and drizzled out.

I look for the cracks in others, a little more intently, now. Certainly, I recognize them far easier. Some of those little fissures zig and zag almost exactly the same way some of my own do.

And, I long to come alongside, gently, with my cracks outward facing. Exposed. So that they can see. How I long for them see how The Only One Who Can has repaired some of my own broken places!

With restoration comes the ability to be filled and nourished. Sometimes, even, full to overflowing! With goodness and mercy spilling over the sides and spreading all over that gold of repair.

What grace!

 

 

Filling the Void Within

Rick Warren said, “Your sins don’t define you. What you worship does.”

I’ve been chewing on this for about a month.

Because I’m into clutching the hem of Grace’s robe, I think I finally understand why this was such a hard thing for me to read and accept.

Grace finds you out. It looks you dead in the eye with unwavering compassion and almost dares you to look away. That’s one of the things that I most admire about Him.

Saying that my sins don’t define me almost feels as if I’m shirking away from Grace and saying, “I don’t need  you!”

But, of course, that wasn’t Mr. Warren’s point, was it? He wanted us to zero in on what, exactly, we worship, and maybe, who.

Perhaps that is what really rubbed me wrong.

The dark truth in this heart of mine is that I don’t want to have to acknowledge the times I chose Other over Him.

The times I still choose Other to fill my void.

My heart has only begun to grasp the truth of what C.S. Lewis meant when he wrote that, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” That yearning that we feel was put within us by the Creator of every living thing.

Craving something that defies explanation isn’t new to the human condition. We’ve been warned against trusting the ‘sweetest frame’ for a sweet forever. Chasing the satisfaction I think those frames and things and people will provide never ends well for me. I’m only left with a more intense hungering.

And, oh, how I want my God to be the one I seek to fill the emptiness! Because, the longer I walk this earth, the more obvious it is that I will, indeed, worship whatever it is that is filling me. My depraved humanity sometimes denies my very Creator entrance into my heart. I begin to see all of the Other Things, and people, that I have allowed to fill in the void as more worthy of my worship than the one who fashioned me as He did.

Most of those on the outside, looking in, wouldn’t necessarily see my sin, and therefore define me by it. Sometimes they might, of course. But, what those watching will always see, is whatever or whoever it is that I’m worshiping.

Allowing God to pour into the empty pockets in my heart provides me with the opportunity to renew my love for Him. My desire to worship Him and Him alone!

It reminds me of my profound need for the Solid Rock on which I stand. Because, truly, all other ground surely is sinking sand.

When does Grace enter in? I can’t answer that for anyone other than myself. But, He most assuredly does come, filling the void within in ways that are often unexpected: a comforting word accomplishing what was sought through physical touch, the desire for meaningful connection achieved with a brief encounter, or the sudden longing for old friends being met in the introduction of new ones.

Each one provides for a deep soul-hungry need.

And, as I am filled, I am defined.

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This post is day 29 of the Write 31 Days challenge. Click my 31 Days of Grace button above to see the other posts I’ve written.

All In

Have you found it?

That thing that you’re looking for.

Are you inching any closer to grabbing a hold of it?

I don’t know about you, but my soul has been longing for more lately. Anyone else?

Maybe it’s this new season of parenthood that’s upon me or the new life stages; It could simply be that for the first time in a long time, I have the time and space and desire to examine those things that my soul has been lacking.  I’m not really sure.

But, this I know. While my days may indeed be filled with the mundane, that does not mean that life, itself, is mundane.  Oh, no!

In Lysa TerKeurst’s book “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God”, she states that,  “A holy God in the middle of life’s mundane activities will change your life.” 

Whether you’ve just started walking with God, or have been walking with Him for decades, I think it’s a pretty safe bet that you know pretty stinkin’ well that life with Him is anything but mundane. Amen?

Blessed? Sometimes. Adventurous?  If we’re so blessed. Peaceful? That depends on whether we’ve got our eyes set on external peace or internal.

But life with God is never mundane.

Even in the mundane.

In fact, I wonder what my God thinks of all this soul hunger I’ve suddenly developed; this deep desire that I finally have to be radically obedient to whatever He has for me.

Whether what He has for me is located in the bunk beds down the hall, or in the marriage that takes constant tending and dying to self, I pray that my heart cries “Yes!”. It may be that God has a mission for me in the halls of my children’s school, or in a place that is more than I can ask or imagine. Or maybe, it’s simply in a place that beats wildly right underneath my very skin and bones. . I still pray that I am able to cry “Yes!” with everything I’ve got.

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Whatever God says to do, I realize now, I must do! And He is waiting for me to surrender it all – heart, soul, and strength to Him to make of it all what He will.

For His glory.

That excites me.

My soul finally longs to be all in.

And that’s exactly where you’ll find me, my friends.

In the midst of figuring out how I can say YES to God.

Wanna join me?

I’m participating in a weekly blog hop over at Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Online Bible Study.  If you’d like to read how other hearts are responding to the book “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” by Lysa TerKeurst, click the button below! If you’d like to join over 22,000 women from 120 countries in this Online Bible Study, click here.

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