one thousand gifts – a book review chapter 11 – afterward
the joy of intimacy
It’s impossible to give thanks and simultaneously feel fear.
I have recently come face to face with hidden fears. The fear of lacking in worldly security and the fear that I could be enough for him and Him…they both have overwhelmed my mind and spirit. Fear is a crippler. Fear is chains – a prison. Fear is deception. It is Satan’s tool to keep us from trusting in Him. I really am a daughter of Eve…fearing the unknown instead of trusting Him Who Knows. The only way to break past this mirage is to speak thanks…to pour real water into my thirst. Thanks uncovers where your trust lies…in self…in the disillusioned world…in Truth Himself.
Years of Christian discipleship, Bible study, churchgoing had been about me thinking about God; practicing eucharisteo was the first I had really considered at length what God thought of me – this ridiculous and relentlessly pursuing love, so bold. Everywhere, everything, Love!
“Gratitude is the most fruitful way of deepening your consciousness that you are…a divine choice,” wrote Henri Nouwen.
Am I enough? Will sinful, faltering, messed up me be enough for You not to leave? not to give up? not to move on to better? In a world full of stars and dots, could I dare to think You see neither? Instead of labels, You see Your Son…Perfection…Spotless…Blameless…You see Enough. And not that You just see, that you also Love. You are giving presents of Your Presence. 1158 – reading a letter from Dad, 1163 – a calm Saturday morning – breathe “yes”, 1164 – little girl in pj’s and slippers, playing with baby dolls, 1165 – 3 sparrows being blessed by my back yard…
Awakened to the chasm separating from God, one prays for divine assistance to purge the soul of self-will. And for me too, eucharisteo had gently slowed me down, opened my hand to purge me of my hold, my control, on the world.
1179- turning worry into wonder…as the basement has flooded
I empty to become full. Full of grace…to fully live.
Surrender. Letting go. Open hands to release and accept…whatever. It is the hardest of all hards of life! I long to be like Him though, and there is no other way than this.
As a baby He reached for the fingers and comfort of His mother. As a young boy He opened His hands to feasts and ceremonies and wood work. As a man He opened His hands to the poor, the hurt, the dejected, the despised. As a Servant He opened His hands to embrace dirty feet and His heart to love those who would scatter and betray. As a Savior He opened His hands to receive the nails. As Risen Lord He opened His hands to bless. As Immanuel, God with me (us), He opens His hands to mold me, shelter me, humble me, and lift me up.
There is no other way to be like Him, than to open the hands to God, and accept and release…whatever.
Euchariteo had been exactly this for me, opening my eyes to a way of seeing, to a realization that belief is, in essence, a way of the eyes. The one thousand presents wake me to the presence of God – but more so…had done the far harder work of keeping me awake to Him.
Elijah, Elisha, Moses, Noah, Adam: Men who walked with God, heard God, saw God, spoke with God, worked with God. I long to have that relationship with God! To wake up and take a walk with Him. To talk to Him and hear Him talk to me. To be the very hands and feet and heart and mind of God at work here…now! That was their now…this is mine…and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever…He was theirs…He is mine!
8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
10That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
11If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
12Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
13Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:8-14 KJV
…could I have unbroken communion, fullest life with fullest God?…Would it really give me, the empty-handed and close fisted, the gift of becoming fully alive, fully one? Do I even know what that really means?
All I can think: real communion terrifies. And who wouldn’t cower at the invitation to communion with limitless Holiness Himself?…”The shock of such a partner destabilizes us too much. The risk is too great, the discomfort so demanding. We much prefer to settle for a less demanding, less overwhelming meeting. Yet we are haunted by the awareness that only this overwhelming meeting gives life.” (Walter Brueggemann)…can I trust His love and part of me is right anxious to flee.
This kind of life that I long for…that I seek…it has eluded me for so long…or maybe I have run from it! He is my breath and my food – my life, but His life encompasses all…I can hang on to nothing of myself. It’s a life that requires constant laying down, so that I can pick up what He gives. It’s a life that requires “short-term pain for long-term gain”. It’s a life full of abundance…that requires that I always hold my hands open because it’s too much to close fists on, and I have settled for little because it’s what I can fully grasp. It is unsettling and uncomfortable to think about, but it is Peace and Safety when walked out. “Demands my life, my soul, my all.”
I can’t simply ignore His serenade because I’m unsure, uncomfortable, uninterested, thinking I’ve claimed Christ as my savior already anyways. God is relationship and He woos us to relationship and there is nothing with God if there is no relationship…If God, who could have any life of His choosing, finds the most satisfying joy in communion within the Trinity, wouldn’t I?…How receptive to God do I really want to be?
What a question! What a challenge! What a Truth! Do I realize when I think I’m ok, that I am the furthest thing from it? Do I realize I do live in a world where there are absolutes? There is absolutely a God! There is absolutely a Savior for the soul! There is absolutely a purpose to living! There is absolutely a choice…to live in Him or outside of Him/His will!
God makes love with grace upon grace, every moment a making of His love for us. And He invites the turning over of the hand, the opening and saying Yes with thanks…making every moment love for Him? To know Him the way Adam knew Eve. Spirit skin to spirit skin.
…anywhere I can have intimate communion with Maker of heaven and earth.
Is there a greater way to love the Giver than to delight wildly in His gifts?
So, when I choose to despair or grumble or worry over what is given, am I denying my love to The Giver? When I accept the good as if it were my doing or their doing, am I denying my love to The Giver? When I keep my lips closed and do not utter “Thank you”, am I denying Him? Will it take the call of a rooster to bring me to my realization and open the mouth? Will I thank Him? Will I love Him? Will I love Him? Will I love Him?
“Would a soul continually eye His everlasting tenderness and compassion..(then) it could not bear an hour’s absence from Him; whereas now, perhaps, it cannot watch with Him one hour.” ~John Owen…How badly to I want the deep communion?…Communion with God, what was broken in the Garden, this is wholly restored when I want the God-communion more than I want the world-consumption…How badly do I want to return to perfect Paradise, walk with God in the cool of the evening, be fully alive? “O my soul, thou art capable of enjoying God, woe to thee if thou art contented with anything less than God” ~Francis de Sales
Will I trade my reality with Him for the deception of this world? Over and over He reminds me that I am an eternal being, with an eternal life; how long will I live for the temporary as if it would ever satisfy? I truly have been far too easily pleased (Lewis) and because of my shallow delights I have missed so much! No more, I say, no more! If my circumstances require a miracle, I will NOT fret over how I will fix it! If my choices take me closer to Him and farther from them, I will not turn back! If my hurts are but for a season and my pleasures e’er more, I will not take the instant gratification! I will not trade my Father’s gifts for the decay of this earth. I will not deny who I am and so deny Who’s I am! I will live for all eternity, on earth!
…live fully, hand wide open…Counting His graces makes all moments into one holy hiss of communion and communion comes in the common.
Every breath’s a battle between grudgery and gratitude and we must keep thanks on the lips…
1184 – hidden rainbows, 1185 – living and loving with Nathan, 1186 – a kiss from Christopher
…though you tremble and though you wonder, though the world is ugly, it is beautiful, and you can slow and you can trust and you can receive each moment as grace.
1187 – sun shining through the curtains, 1188 – a wet world, 1189 – snow on the Peak, 1190 – tired eyes
…this I know: God is always good and I am always loved and eucharisteo has made me my truest self…”Loved one.”
1191 – the beep of the coffee pot, 1192 – a sister praying, 1193 – a cup of tea, soft music, a quiet house, 1194 – a morning with the family, 1195 – Granddaddy’s cup – good memories