The Heartbeat of Holiness

My mind meanders on paths less trod
Into the Holiness of God.

I muse upon the Tent of Meeting-
The gold, the blood, the lamb’s last bleating.

And peer behind the embroidered wall
Into the holiest place of all.

God’s holiness in Jewish law
Conveys a sense of fear and awe…

But as I gaze, my trepidation
Is transformed into elation,

For now I see what I missed here-
How God’s Mercy is so near!

Wrapped into the Ark’s heartbeat,
God has placed His Mercy Seat.

Gazing into holiness,
Brings to light my brokenness.

And yet instead of legalism,
Or expected criticism,

I find that every failing place
Is a vessel for His grace.

So let me drown within this wonder
That the veil was torn asunder,

And the blood of Jesus Christ
Has fulfilled the sacrifice.

 

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16

“But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.” 1 Peter 1:15

 

About this poem: My husband shared this thought about the Mercy seat a few days ago in a conversation with a friend, and I continue to be captivated by its stunning implications.

As a recovering perfectionist-addict, I too often find myself striving to achieve and perform. But when faced with my current inability to have children, along with ever-perplexing health concerns, and the recognition of how little control I actually have over these things, it’s easy to let my feelings of failure overflow into how I think God sees me.

And yet, I find peace (and truth to counter this lie) in remembering that the closer I get to the center of the essence of the holiness of God, it only brings me closer to His Mercy Seat. And instead of seeing my failures as cracks and flaws that push me away from God’s holiness and perfection, the reality is that these places of imperfection are where I see more clearly that God’s Mercy is sustaining and filling me.

“Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood. … And he made a mercy seat of pure gold. … The cherubim spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, with their faces one to another; toward the mercy seat were the faces of the cherubim.” Exodus 37:1,6,9

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Chisel & Stone

Stroke by stroke,
The chisel and hammer knock off more shards of the gem.
Soon, a shape begins to emerge.

Not all at once, mind you.
But in baby steps:
One loss at a time…
One month at a time…
One more doctor visit at a time.

“No, no! This sculpture looks all wrong.
She should have a pregnant belly…
She will be prettier and perfect that way.
This carving is just confusing and full of pain.”

I jump to the conclusion
That the end result of this chiseling
Will be a sculpture that speaks
Of sickness and sadness.

And then I hear my God whisper “No
He sees that the finished carving of this gem
Will be a woman who reflects
The Most Beautiful Person in all creation-
Jesus.

The Man of Sorrows, familiar with suffering.
He let go of more than I can fathom
To step down to be made in human likeness.
Jesus-
I want to be more like Him.

The next step I take,
The next doctor’s office I walk into,
The next strike of the chisel,
I’ll remember the ultimate goal of this carving.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Unspoken Expectations…

We carry around these unspoken expectations
Like black anchors on our souls.
Insidiously life-stealing
Their chains drag our hearts down.
We refuse to let go,
Insisting we must fulfill their impossible demands,

Loss creates a vortex that swallows whole
Our expectations and anticipations,
Leaving us empty handed.
I wish I could have said…
I wish I could have done…

In a frantic strain to patch
The gaping hole left by wounds,
We distort the “I wish” into “I should.”
I should be able to say…
I should be able to do…

Mistakenly betraying ourselves into believing
that others emphatically agree
With our self-imposed expectations,
We’re left with these anchors-
Unspoken, unmet, and ever burdening.

What is it for you?
Those secret, lurking lies
That steal joy and breath without us fully realizing it?

Fear of more miscarriages,
Barrenness, and the uncertainty of adoption,
Whisper reckless lies
That only in the “I wish” or “I should” world-
Can I find everything worth wanting…

Except, that’s not what God says.
God says, “I AM.”
And “I have redeemed you for a purpose.”
Everything worth wanting is found in God,
Not in chasing ever-elusive expectations.

What if we choose instead
to trust God with all these things?
What if we focused on where God has put us,
And do what we can with what He’s given us?

What if we earnestly ask Him to lift off of our hearts
These unmet and unspoken expectations that weigh us down?

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-30

The Best Anchor: “This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.  Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:19-20

The Master Fixer

THE MASTER FIXER

“Come this way, I’ve got the best cure.”
“Over here!” Another one waves.
“Those are all wrong, you’ll make it all worse.
Come buy my thing that actually saves.”

“Drink it right down, it’ll make you feel great.
I’ve got the right cup of mixes!”
I stand in the middle of clamor and conflict,
Surrounded by dazzling sellers of fixes.

I’m broken and lost and in need of some help,
So I fill up my stomach with healthy green stew.
But when that breaks me more, I run to another,
Consuming and grasping for anything new.

It’s really just a noble distraction-
All of these fixes with all of their clamor.
They don’t heal the root of my problem,
And just keep my eyes glued on their glamour.

But then my eyes are not fixed
on the One who has said:

I am the living one… I hold the keys to death and the grave.”
I have loved you with an everlasting love.”
I will carry the lambs in my arms, holding them close to my heart.”
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

The Master Fixer of broken lives,
The Ultimate Molder of everyday clay,
Holding galaxies safe in His hand,
The Mender of Hearts in just the right way.

The clamor around me slowly fades,
As I see the scars in His hands and His side.
I know that all of the fixes I wanted
Will never completely satisfy.

The things that I yearn for most in life,
The Fixer Himself offers to me:
Repentance, salvation, healing my soul,
These things that will last through eternity.

When the fixes run out and I’m left standing empty,
Or the fixes do work, and I’m filled to the brim,
Oh may I always desire the Giver
Far more than I want the gifts from Him.

Explanation of this poem I wrote: I feel like I’ve been on a rollercoaster these past few weeks, as I’ve tried a few different food plans and treatment options for my leaky gut, and made a million visits to my fertility doctor. (Ok, actually only like 7. But it felt like much more.)

I’m very happy to be pursuing these avenues to help my body be healthier and hopefully prevent any future miscarriages. But through my Bible reading and prayer times, I’ve been consistently seeing that I need to rest content in God as my sole sufficiency, no matter what outcome these treatments bring. 

I will still continue to search for these “fixes” for the brokenness in my body. But I know that healing and babies cannot be my idol. That would only make my spirit more broken and farther from God. So in the midst of doctor visits, bone broth, and bloodwork, the end result that I should be seeking is ultimately God Himself and a closer fellowship with Him.