Monday, February 13, 2012
My Heart Grew and Grew
Most of us remember the cartoon each Christmas (for those with TV's and who watch Christmas specials) or read Dr. Seuss's book, where the Grinch's heart was measured to reveal it was three sizes too small. Through a series of events, his heart grew and grew... so was the month of January for me, a month of heart expansion.
You couldn't see it enlarge, as was revealed in the Grinch's heart, but if there is ever a way to feel it, I felt my heart grow. It expanded through tears. I am sure hearts grow (an illustration here, not factual), through loving events, but this past month that love came through pain. Losses became a daily event. Hospital stays for our parents, funerals, diagnoses given to friends and neighbors of cancer, financial struggles, operations and unanswered questions to health issues. Each time I had a choice to let my heart swell in tenderness and compassion, or shrug my shoulders with the sentiment that this is life.
God wanted to enlarge my heart. He wanted my compassion to grow. He needs His Body to be able to tenderly extend caring hands to a hurting world and to each other in the Body of Christ.
I found myself hurting...a good hurt. I thought of Jesus as he wept when he reached the grave of Lazarus and yet, He knew He would raise him from the dead. He still entered the grief of those experiencing the pain of loss. God's promises are still true for each report we heard. God is still sovereign, but for me to turn away a tear and not enter into their grief would not reflect the heart of my God.
During the month of "heart expansion," I was reading The Allure of Hope, God's Pursuit of a Woman's Heart, by Jan Meyers. NO! I didn't pick this book out because I knew in advance God was going to develop my heart. NO! the events didn't turn me to this book....past events led me to the book. I thought I was reading because of the trials I had experienced. Yet, I was also reading for the trials those around me would be facing as well.
In her book, she talks about the alleyways of our life. Here we can come out bitter or be used by God to reflect a beauty the world can't give us. Here is where we learn compassion or withdrawal to ourselves.
Being fully alive for others in the alleyway is being who Jesus was for us, a servant. And the most radiant service flows from our deepest place of need.
When a woman's heart rests in the truth that the only thing left in the alleyway is to love others, then she lives from the allure of hope. And this comes only after a deep acknowledgement that God must find her and must love her in spite of herself.
It means Jesus calls us to give of our hearts in ways we can't . - Jan Meyers
"Put your hand into my wounds," said the risen Jesus to Thomas, " and you will know who I am." The wounds of Christ are his identity. They tell us who he is. He did not lose them....If sympathy for the world's wounds is not enlarged by our anguish, if love for those around us is not expanded, if gratitude for what is good does not flame up, if insight is not deepened, if commitment to what is important is not strengthened, if aching for a new day is not intensified, if hope is weakened and faith diminished, if from the experiences of death comes nothing good, then death has won." - Wolterstorff
I can truly confess I don't understand all that this expanded heart means. God is still chiseling away at this each day through His word and through other readings He has directed me to absorb. I do know that I want to allow my heart to expand. I don't want my "alleyway" experiences to leave me on the sideline of the work God intended to be the fruit of those experiences.
So as we all enjoy sharing heart candy, wonderful loving cards, red and white, beautifully decorated tables and nights out with our Knight in Shining Armor....I am rejoicing in the expansion of my Heart.
Posted by Janettessage.blogspot.com at 7:16 AM