Monday, October 29, 2012

Look Up!

Here is a picture of my little, two-year old.

I had been busy taking pictures of my brother-in-law and his new, precious wife when I heard my little one calling, "Mommy" I looked down and saw THAT delicious face!
(I had to take a picture of her before putting my camera down and scooping her up into my arms).

I love that she knew that no matter how busy I had become she could come to me, call mommy, put up her one little arm, and know that I would stop everything and pick her up, comfort her and kiss her. Her confidence in my love for her impresses me. There is nothing that is more important to me than my family and she knows it. As much as I enjoy taking pictures, or whatever it is that I am busy doing, she can always come to me, call mommy, and know that I will pick her up and love on her.

How could I ever refuse her? LOOK at that child. You can see a yearning in her eyes for me and for me to hold her. Why would I ever reject her? 

When I took that picture it was simply to take a picture of her sweet face, but when I see this picture now I think of how we must appear to God. He looks down and sees us looking up to Him with that same face and look in our eyes. How much He loves us and how much He gave everything up to reach down and hold us. Jesus will never refuse us. He will never say, "I'm too busy, come back later." He looks at the one He created, His child, and is moved with compassion and love.

That is the 'God' side of this picture-now for the 'us' side of this picture. As my daughter is holding onto her treasures in one arm she is left with only one other arm to stretch up toward me. We are much the same toward God, aren't we?  We are holding all the things that mean the world to us in one arm and with the other arm we hold it up to Him.

With all the different trials I have gone through the most important lesson I have learned is to surrender all. I mean it, surrender all things to Him. All the things that you are holding on to so tightly, lay them down at His feet and then with two outstretched arms raise them to the Lord. I was homeless and had to lay down ever having a home again, reach up to God and allow Him to shelter me. He did. I loved my parents and sisters, but had to lay them down and reach up to God for family. He gave me a new family. I have wanted to be a published children's book author so very badly I could taste it at times, but I have had to put it down and rest knowing Jesus' timing is not my timing. I have looked up to heaven with two outstretched arms and have found contentment in knowing that I can trust His plan. I even held onto my church so tightly, but I have had to lay it down at His feet and look toward heaven and stretch up to God.

Laying down the things I love hurts more than I can say. The ache is great. The sadness is deep. But the healing comes. The joy returns. My faith is deeper in the One I love most and my two arms are free to reach up to heaven and receive all that Jesus would have for me. I will say that my journey with Jesus has been true of 2 Corinthians 4:8-9: "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." You may think me crazy, but I am now grateful for all the 'pressing', and 'crushing,' 'persecution' and 'striking down.'  Without it I would still have one arm filled with things that God did not have for me. Things that were actually causing more harm to me than good-that I couldn't see. Without it I would have eyes only for the things that bring me pleasure or comfort, but not for the things that only Jesus knows that would fill my heart with true peace. 

I think of what Abraham endured and thank God that the testing of his faith will never be asked of me. To be asked to sacrifice his son, and to be obedient to that calling, would be too much for me to bear. Yes, I have gone through trials, and like Abraham, my faith in God has only grown deeper. Then I think of God's sacrifice. He sacrificed His one and only Son for all of us. He gave His most beloved possession so His two arms could be outstretched to us. I will never be able to out sacrifice God, I'm glad I won't have to. So with the things I am asked to let go I gladly give it- to have more of Him.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." Jim Elliot

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