Where oh where has the time gone? Each day I wake to the wonders of the world – the brilliance of every living thing created by a God who loved it into being. As I write today I look out at a cloudy white sky with a mirrored ground of snow. It is winter in the mid-western United States and the temperatures are below freezing. It is a time of stillness, of emptying out of self.
You will seldom hear the neighbors voices on days like these; instead maybe a snowplow or shovel against the ice will echo in the distance. It is a good time to gather with a cup of hot coffee and a Bible and sit to contemplate holy scripture. What will I find the Lord is speaking to me about today? I am sure it will not be long before I find amongst the words both questions and answers; always moments to ponder and wonder.
I’m in the last of 16 weeks in assigned scripture verses given by my instructors. Today’s verses came from 2 Corinthians 3:12 to 4:6. Paul is talking about our being ministers in the New Covenant. Paul identifies “our being ministers,” as you and me. We are meant to be these ministers of the Holy Covenant – those not afraid to profess Jesus Christ as Lord! Can you see it on me as clearly as the sweater I am wearing? Is Christ seen in my words and actions – oh, even my thoughts? When I think back on the last few days….. could others see Christ through me? Lo, my heart sinks; I reflect where my examination prayer at night has fallen short of not reflecting Him. Truly these last days of December are a good time to take inventory of my spiritual life.
Reading the whole section of the holy scripture from 2 Corinthians; from chapter 3 on to the end of 4, I underlined several phrases. Things stuck out to me like, “You are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God…. not on tablets but on human hearts.” I am a letter written not with ink….. I digress; who doesn’t like to get a letter? You can keep the bills but letters are so seldom sent or received anymore. I love letters. I never thought of myself as a letter. And if a letter, then, having been written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God. His Holy Spirit is written in me and delivered to you as a letter! What shall this letter say? When I started out wanting to blog today, I was in a not so great place. I fear it would not have been a very good letter.
The word vulnerable keeps popping into my head. I’ve always been a “ready to tackle” whatever is needed type of person. Bring on more, I can handle it, no job too small, too large or difficult. My plate is never full enough that sure, I can add one more thing to it. But being vulnerable to Christ, surrendering to Him all my control and personal power; trusting Him totally to heal and bring me forward with His new spirit – His plans – to write upon my heart so others can read Him first; well, that’s really letting go. Could I do that? I pause and muse on all I “think” I am in control of or responsible for.
A close friend just wrote about detaching as a challenge for January. Is that my issue? Maybe not vulnerable but to detach so that Christ can be closer? If so, now I have to consider, what am I holding onto? A feeling of being lost since my husband died. Confusion as to what I am supposed to do – this unsure, trapped, anxious, expectant like spinning tires ties my heart up in knots. I have a new vocation as widow, but what does that entail? My type A personality struggles with this. I think and think; desiring answers, fortitude, prudence. And yes, hope is there. Fear has always played a part in my life – so is it fear of the unknown that I grasp so closely to instead of letting Christ show me the way?
And Paul goes on to say “Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.” In my first thoughts, it’s hard to consider freedom could include being vulnerable where more damage could occur. So let me state this correctly, my desire to become vulnerable is so that Christ can come closer and heal all those hidden wounds that are still there. Freedom provides that choice to be vulnerable and trust. If I am vulnerable to Christ, I would cease to be this shell waiting to be filled. I will recognize His presence in my heart, see the writing of His love upon it and surrender to the healing of wounds uncovered.
This ministry, as Paul says we are a part of as followers of Christ; this is a ministry we choose when we recognize the letters on our hearts being written by Him and not ourselves; with vulnerability at it’s height because we have chosen to trust Christ with our brokenness. Yes, this ministry – the Apostolate of walking with Christ – points me to the one and only truth, hard as it might be to accept.
I am nothing, He is all. Without Him, my breath would fall flat, my eyes cease to see. There is the one and only truth that brings true freedom – it is because of His love for us that we can even be. His light which opens the truth in our hearts, minds, thoughts, words, actions and yes, even feelings; all these can and will always bring peace to us. It brings true freedom from sin. I see now that the restlessness inside of me is from me, not Him. Let go, let God. This I need to remember.
I am confident His light will shine past me and go on to you. We are the treasures of His heart. We can choose this in every waking moment. That is the freedom I seek and hear in His message for today.
Be free to always choose Him and see His hand on your heart; there will thy treasure always be. Happy NEW year in Christ our Savior!
Photos by Cathy Trowbridge