Sunday, December 5, 2010

the gift of receiving

I am constantly humbled by God's crazy love. And I'm constantly convicted by my apparent lack of ability to receive. I wish I could say that by some noble mark of humility, I have found myself in a position more comfortable with giving, but the truth is, I've forgotten how to receive.

My kids have no problem receiving. Kids are spongy in ways that make sponges look inferior. My three expect to be given things. They expect that their needs will be met, that there will always be an overflow of abundance, and that their hands will always be full. In handing a sweet treat to my little girl, I have never heard the words, "No, thank you. I don't need that, momma." But how many times do I hold up my hand and look at the ground and say, "I'm fine, thanks. I don't need that, Lord."

Before jumping to the conclusion that I am insane, think back on the times we couldn't forgive ourselves. I've made a mistake, and even though I'm broken with the pain of regret, I refuse to be comforted. I deserved this. I shouldn't have... I wish I would have...I can't believe that I... And God is standing with His forgiveness wrapped up in a golden ribbon, waiting.
The times I didn't rest when I should have. When I was lead to those green pastures, but I shook my head and kept on walking. When I collapsed on craggy rock, frustrated with God for my lack of energy after He had offered respite but I refused.
The times He poured out love on me - tangible, thick, and more than I deserved. But my heart was guarded and afraid to feel, because I've been hurt so many, many times. So the waterfall of grace rolled off of my back, and I stood numbly reaching, but never receiving. 

I get uncomfortable when I am complimented "too much". I shake my hand and turn down "Thanks" with "No need to thank me" instead of a gracious "You're welcome!" Am I always the first to pull away from a hug? Why am I so afraid to be loved?

Of course, there is always the flip side. The wealth of things I have received and never given thanks for - things I have taken for granted. But it's the love, for me. It's the things that speak, "I'm here. You're Ok. I love you. I delight in you." (He whispers these things to you, as well.) These are the things that meet a weathered wall, and I must somehow choose to be vulnerable to pain in order to receive the love that heals it. 

I find myself wrapped up in the arms that hold no conditions. Sweet words sung over me, sweet whispers of promises I want so badly to believe. At first, I'm tense, because I'm sure this feeling will end and be followed by immense loneliness. I won't be fooled, I've been betrayed before. But the arms remain far past my comfort zone- into eternity -so I dare to relax a bit and then rest. I'm praying there is safety here - praying to the only One who will never, ever disappoint.

acrylic pastels by abbEy

"The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."  - Zephaniah 3:17

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16

1 comment:

jenstoakes said...

AWESOME! I so needed to read this today; it's almost like you wrote it for me. MUST - LEARN - TO - RECEIVE! It evoked a rather interesting physical reaction... a chain of events, you might say. You'll have to ask me about that though... not "comment appropriate".