Like an animal hide that is stretched and pulled in the heat as it is secured to a tent peg; my heart is swollen. My heart doesn’t swell in pain, necessarily, but with the juxtaposition of an “easy burden”, or a “liberating mantle”. My heart is swollen with the truths that I have learned and discovered this past year. If I had one, just one thing that I could miraculously communicate to all of the people on Earth at one time; it would be this:
I would travel village to village in remote places; setting aside my Instagram and Facebook account, and my photo-ops; and simply wash dirty feet. I would hug lepers, and rescue children caught in sex trafficking. I would punch their traffickers in the face, and remind them that their actions are deplorable. I would reaffirm the value and worth of the innocent and shame-filled, restoring their decency. I would call out the crooked money makers; seizing their ill-gotten gain; and restore justice to the widows, poor, and the orphans. I would take down the drug lords who seize food and commodities that the poor are dying for. I would stop the murder of the innocent; whether their blood screams from a foreign land, an inner-city ghetto, or a clinic. I would cry daily as I was reminded of how deeply I am loved; faults, shortfalls, insecurities and all. I would advocate for justice while fully understanding that we are to live out the following:
I would listen. My silence would communicate love. My tears would speak empathy. My heart would be moved with compassion. My advocacy would be tireless and courageous. I would face corruption with a relentless determination to restore justice. I would bless my enemies, and pray for revival in those who persecute me and my loved ones. I would walk where I was directed to walk, fixing the eyes of my soul on the author and perfecter of my faith. I would bask in HIS love for me, and stand my feet so securely in HIS love, that no matter what, my heart would be tethered and fettered to HIS character.
My identity would be found in His character. Everything else in this life would be viewed as “petty” and “trivial” in comparison to being lost in the love that He has for me, and living out that love so that others may see it tangibly!
My heart is full, so full; of the goodness of the LORD. His love NEVER quits!
This last year, we have lived through homelessness, being entrusted with a beautiful rental, more car repairs than we can count, four hospitalizations, three road trips of faith, being given money THREE DIFFERENT TIMES BEFORE WE EVEN ASKED FOR IT, the privilege of meeting and encouraging members of a persecuted church (here in America!), the honor of worshiping together with tens of thousands of people who simply wanted to celebrate the worth of Jesus (Yeshua), seeing miraculous healing in many different people, being surprised by food and grocery deliveries, being brought through horrifying situations only to discover that God’s love never quits, and in all things; seeing the tender goodness of our loving and kind Abba God.
As we look to 2018, may we ALL, no matter our religion, skin color, culture, persuasion, age, class, spirituality, gender, ethnicity, upbringing, beliefs, or dogma; be blessed on this earth with a fresh revelation of the great love that YHWH has for us. May HIS love open our eyes, restore our faith, and redirect our gazes where they belong…on HIM. May His love overwhelm us and flow through us EVERYWHERE He takes us. May our pierced hearts be captured and mended by HIS love. May HIS peace push out the chaos of this life, and may we be vessels of justice, kindness, and humble mercy as we are forever taken hold of by His love. May His love change us, renew us, and restore us. AMEN.