but what does it look like?

I want a tender, juicy, dripping, messy-making heart.

God knows this, and He created me this way.

Sometimes we go through the desert to prepare for new growth.

You know, kind of like when I “three-quarters kill a plant” because I didn’t water it for a month or more. Then, I have to slowly encourage it back to life. The dead parts get cut away and new bright green things appear, fresh and tender.

From dry to fresh and new could happen in any length of time, a day, a year, five years……..over and over, a cycle, a weather cycle of the heart.

I woke up this morning thinking about the heart.

And a Christmas hymn that always squeezes my own.

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.

That last line.

The loving heart MUST give. And what does it give? Itself. But what does it look like? “Open my eyes that I may see, glimpses of truth Thou hast for me”. An unexpected note in the mail from a friend, a smile right into the eyes, being vulnerable, reaching out, opening up. A song, a dance, a painting. Being thoughtful. Knowing someone, learning them. Words, The Word, gold, frankincense and myrrh, an alabaster jar of perfume, a seat at the table, death on the cross, a tomb for His body, The body, blood, sacrifice, resurrection, eternal LIFE, a place in Glory…….. “For God so loved the world, that he ……..G A V E.”

*********

This is Grace’s fourth year of college and the youngest ones look at her with such adoration. They admire their big sister and seeing this love between them is one of the biggest brightest gifts of my motherhood journey. Having her home over Thanksgiving added sparks of joy for all of us, but I wonder if it was deeper and truer coming from the hearts of the youngest ones, who aren’t busy with “things to do that must get done”. (  “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,  but few things are needed—or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”). Children seem to naturally choose “what is better” and are watching, playing, carefree. Behind those glowing eyes is a thoughtfulness that gives birth to the sweetest moments.

Seth has been sleeping with the same brown, loose limbed bear since he was a newborn. Mr B has been with him every night for the last 11 years, except for the times when Seth, in his excitement, forgot to take him on trips. He is Seth’s most valued possession and has a very friendly and knowing face. I have made Mr B dance for him, talk to him, walk into his room for him, put clothes on him for a surprise, and we make up stories, all of which has, to Seth, made his Bear very real indeed. (“When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”~ VR) By the way, when he was very little, Seth pronounced “Bear” like “Beer” and a few of us still call him Beer at times, because it’s cute and funny.) So you see, he has a whole family presence.

Imagine our shock on Sunday afternoon, when Grace skipped out the door to go back to college, WITH MR B held in her arms. What was happening? Did she take Mr. B? We whirled around to look at Seth, who was at the door with us, waving goodbye with pride. “I want Grace to take him with her to college,” he explained. “I gave him to her. To borrow.”

He gave his most precious possession; his heart.

And he gave it with joy and an open hand. Mr B was going to visit college with Grace! Oh the stories he will tell when he returns………..

The next day he sought me out and confessed that he had woke up in the night, feeling around with his hand for Bear, and then remembered he was gone. “So I went back to sleep.”

“Oh! Seth! come here, Seth!” I said, remembering a photo I had gotten from Grace while he was at school, “I want to show you something!”

He held my phone and I looked at his face.

“Bear,” he sighed, giving me back the phone, and turning away with a smile on his face. He was ready to get back to his busy day.

10 thoughts on “but what does it look like?

  1. Lovely post…and so relatable. This is such a sweet story and I love the analogy of the plant, too. I’m glad you are not in the dessert today, and I pray today is the entry into the lush valley of your journey.

    xoxo Kara

  2. I love the beer,I mean bear story! So adorable!
    Merry Christmas to you & your family!
    (It’s December so can I say Merry Christmas?)🎄🎁

  3. Wonderful story! Seth will appreciate Bear more when he comes back home at Christmas time. I’m sure Grace will take good care of him. They will have adventures together.

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