"Show me Your strong love in wonderful ways, O Savior of all those seeking Your help against their foes. Protect me as You would the pupil of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings as You hover over me." Psalm 17:7-8

Friday, January 7, 2011

I Received Joy for Christmas

This evening the Lord built a fire for the two of us in the western sky.  The sun set like a molten tangerine while my family and I traveled I-35 home from Arkansas.  Lovely does not begin to describe the backdrop to the skyscrapers of Dallas.  Due to an accident in the road ahead we were detained and the view blocked for a few moments.  When the wreck cleared and we moved forward, I looked to the right of the car and the sky burst into flames.  It wasn’t long however before red and pink embers glowed hot on the horizon.  After a few breathtaking minutes, the vibrant colors faded and purple smoke rose in their place.  The sky then turned to pitch and filled with stars on this last night of 2010.

The Lord made certain I spent several evenings stilled before a fire over the holidays.  For three glorious nights I lingered long before a soul calming blaze in a cozy cabin on the White River.  He set the tone for sweet communion with Him and with my family.  Best of all, He invited me HOME to be with Him, to that place deep within me where He dwells.  There He spent hours tending the fire of love between us.  He spoke to me, interpreting past experiences.  His perfect timing and ways never cease to thrill me.  Obviously, He planned down to the finest of details how He would deliver His messages of love and emphasize key truths through symbolism and repetition.

The cabin itself, sandwiched between a railroad track and a river, served as a megaphone held to the lips of God.  Situated in the midst of continuous movement, this cabin rested quiet and still, save for the gentle vibrations created by passing trains.  Inside my family relaxed, dreamed, and deepened bonds.  Personally, I came HOME while inside a home not my own.  I drew near to my Lord, got VERY STILL, and knew myself better in the process.  This equipped me to love my family out of the overflow of His life.  The Lord spoke to me on a number of subjects:  true sacrifice (what it is and what it isn’t), the importance of stillness, creative grieving (which bears much fruit), and transformational darkness.  What He emphasized most was JOY.  He didn’t just talk about it either.  He gave of His own over and over and over.
Loft I Shared with The Lord and My Daughter

There were messages hidden in the décor of the cabin, in the floor plan and in the manner in which it was lovingly and thoroughly stocked.  There were messages and opportunities in the last minute changes which made possible more family joining us at the cabin.  There were “mini-retreats” – little private campouts with God and at times with family members in cabin lofts.  God graciously taught me more of what it means to become like a little girl, thereby continuing to mature as a woman loved by Him.  He also spoke to me about the deeper meaning of entering the narrow gate, and I couldn’t help but notice that all the little narrow doors in the cabin were made to look like gates, complete with hardware.  God repeats His invitations over and over!!  The bathroom where I dressed and prepared for the day had numerous black bears frisking about, on the shower curtain, bath mat, in pictures and in items about the room.  God spoke to me through these little figurines and pictures.  One particular morning, I couldn’t help but look deeply into the eyes of two black bears looking up at me interested and concerned.  One held a Christmas tree, the other a bell, and both wore their winter scarves and holiday hats.  They seemed to affirm that I was to continue to listen to the Christmas bells within my own heart – to really “get the message in full” from my Lord during this brief holiday interlude.  And in their playful poses, I heard God’s appeal to spend time engaging in play, play with Him and with my kids – to join them on a horseback ride, to follow His prompts for building community.

Good and Faithful, Father, Lover, Best Friend, Playmate, … thank You for resting and loving me so well!  And thank You for the gift of JOY!!!

Rest in the shadow, Terry

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