"We only are broken and this is beautiful: in brokenness, we are instruments in the hands of the Wounded Healer. It means in our brokenness, we share in the sufferings of Christ, and this is communion. God, He calls His people to share – not out out any sense of perfection – but out of brokenness, patterning life after the God who broke Himself and gave." -from Ann Voskamp's writing today. worth the read: What the New Year Needs Most.
what does it need most? a new year mixed with the bitter-sweet angst of living in less than eden, when we were made for heaven. of being far less than eve, in a life without an adam. no one to blame her other than herself and four pairs of eyes.
she sat on the wooden pew, in the shadow of candlelight and dark distance, far in the back. her toes curled-under, trying to shrink.... shrink her big ugly feet. who, in December, the month of thick socks, and clunky boots, unshaven legs and pedicures long-gone, would think of a foot-washing... the words from the gospel, the night before he died, still hanging over the sloshing water.. like Peter, her soul cried...wash all of me....
she watched as the kneeling leaders moved to the next set of bare feet. Wringing the damp washcloth in the basin, suds swaying, towel-wrapped feet patted dry, moving closer...
tears quietly fell toward her heart broken, fear-wrung. she could not. her feet were too ugly. no one sees her feet...no one cares in the privacy of flannel night-gowns and worn socks. and she thought, far sadder, I am even more ugly inside....if you could only see, my inside is far uglier than my feet could ever be....
why would Jesus want to wash my feet? embrace my heart, see-through to my inside? why would he NOT want to give up on me? so broken for so long...unwanted in the season of wants...
she was the last one in the room, all else were done....she whispered as the leader's down-turned head, kneeling over the eager feet of her young daughter, toes wiggling......she whispered above the little head, "no, not me, thank you."
the moment passed....the ugliness remained. others shared their thoughts of the year, their hopes for the new....their giddiness for Jesus. she sat quiet, shamed, hopeless...she wanted giddiness. She would have loved giddiness.... but hopelessness is not giddy. shame is not giddy. unwanted is not giddy.
desperately waiting for time to pass. unwashed feet, unwashed soul....she gathered her belongings and children, to slip out the door....
not unnoticed, a kind heart stopped her...children seeing the open gate, scattered. "you are a good mother. your children are so good. kind. you are doing a good job. I think you don't see it. but you are." she nods through tear spilled eyes...not in agreement, she feels it is not true, but in the hopes to end a conversation touching the pain of real, and escape to the car. pain-smiles....disbelief nodding.... if only you knew. if only you knew the real brokenness. a soul beyond hope of anything different. beyond hope of a new year holding any promise. a soul doing what it does, what it must and walking on through time, until the season when it has something else it must do. filling the real with the busy...
she thought of the story from the week before...of lazarus, raised from the dead, new life in veins which a moment before were four days into decay....alive..yet still wrapped in burial cloths...and Jesus...instructing those around him...to unwrap him. set him free..Jesus gave him life, but instructed those around him to help set him free from his burial wrappings....
she quietly moves toward the door, corrals again her many into the car..and drives home....
to a long night and a new year....
with only one thin, raveled, worn thread in her mind.....
the word. more of the word. maybe..with the word...maybe she could be different? maybe this year could be different.
she does not know...she does not hope....but she holds onto that frayed thread - a whisper of perhaps-hope.
could the word do it? once again? in this year....like it did 10 years ago. 10 years ago the word changed a life...could it again?
"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." (Hebrews 4:11-13)
maybe even sharp enough to cut-away some burial clothes?
O God, I have tasted Your goodness,
and it has both satisfied me
and made me thirsty for more.
I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace.
I am ashamed of my lack of desire.
O God, the Triune God,
I want to want You;
I long to be filled with longing;
I thirst to be made more thirsty still.
Show me Your glory, I pray,
so I may know You indeed.
Begin in mercy a new work of love within me…
Give me grace to rise
and follow You up from this misty lowland
where I have wandered so long.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Some would gather money Along the path of life Some would gather roses, And rest from worldly strife. But I would gather children From among the thorns of sin, I would seek an ebony curl, And a wide and toothless grin. For money cannot enter In that land of endless day ,And roses that are gathered Soon will wilt along the way. But oh, the laughing children ,As I cross the sunset sea, And the gates swing wide to heaven ,I can take them in with me! ~Author Unknown~
“God wins us, not by shouting, beating us up, or starving us into submission, but by asking for an invitation to enter.
We are loved into surrender. The more we accept that he operates out of love for us, the more we will entrust ourselves to him.
Fénelon expresses this truth beautifully: "God is not a spy looking to surprise you. He is not an enemy lurking in the shadows to hurt you. God is your Father who loves you, and wants to help you if you will but trust in His goodness."