I watch the way she hides her heart, tenderly tucking her gift inside. She longs to feel invisible because it feels better than feeling alone in a room full of people. My heart hurts as I see it, because I know that feeling. I understand the loneliness in the crowd and I can find it fast when I scan the faces of those who wear peace as a battle shield. This defense mechanism we put up, to shield us from the arrows which are but toothpicks against the armor of God, are all a tactic to keep us distracted from the Truth.
I need you to know something today, friend. If this is you. If you are part of the misfit crew, the artsy eclectic, the outspoken rebel, the gentle bookworm, the intellectual introvert, the unsatisfied bench warmer, the lonely pew dweller.. you are among a company of plenty. You are not alone. You are seen. You matter.
When you think you are missed. When you feel forgotten. When your reasons for holding back are more than for stepping out, remember: There is one who can’t forget you because your very image is engraved upon His hand.
Behold, I have indelibly imprinted you on the palm of each of My hands; your walls are continually before me. – Isaiah 49:16
Know this truth, know it deep in your soul…The world is an unfit judge of beauty and the crowd has no place to choose who receives the accolades of grace; there is a gift within you that is a seed of greatness.
A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men. – Proverbs 18:16
Sometimes we need to lift our eyes to see who is beholding us. As in a reflected image, perceive the promise of being held close to the Father. He has already made room for you to enter in and rest, so choose to embrace His acceptance and shine the like the diamond you already are. He has already filled you with these gifts that are beautiful and abundant from the very beginning, from the moment when He saw your unformed substance and smiled because he saw you.
I have spent a lot of time on the bench of life, hiding from the crowd, waiting to be seen by someone; just waiting to be reminded that there is a light that glows underneath the surface. There were a few pilgrims on the journey who have taken the time to invest grace in my heart, they planted seeds which were watered by the rain of His Mercy and they are growing steadily towards the Light.
That light, is not of my own doing, it is all His. He is the power source within that picks me up off the bench and allows me to walk forward untouched by the heaviness that threatens hope. I was reminded of this truth wading through the gentle moments memories create. Waiting in the projection that basking in His creation displays, soaking up dew-drops of grace, I realized that grace tugs us off of the bench so that we can be close to His heart even when we are in the crowd.
Grace reaches low and touches deep as the longing to pull beauty off the bench and polish it off tugs me close. Grace always reflects His heart so we don’t have to fear its pulling us near.
Recollecting grace with my daughter reminded me of a deep truth that all daughters of Eve need to remember.
She was busy in the process of investigation. The intricate shape of a red bog lily lulled her close as she compared it to similar flowers in resurrected awe. The invitation to bend low inhaling the sweet perfume of each distinct rose, relishing the difference in each, was powerful strong. Listening to song she scribed in laughter as she retold her revelation of planting life in a cup of reused plants dried hard, life grows out of death, I heard fascination echoing in her words. I was mesmerized by the fearless way she demonstrated this beholding He does with our hearts. I was enticed to escape the bench so that I could take in the gifts she so easily received. I was inspired to investigate this grace seed that we are called to plant deep in the soil of hearts nearby. I was reminded that when we investigate the beauty around that we, too, can relish the resurrected awe of difference and embrace the powerful gift of community.
Beheld close in the grip of grace, if we listen we can hear the sacred whisper and see the beauty of His magnificence mirrored in our discoveries because the bench is only meant as a place to rest in Him, not hide from fellowship.
Childhood seems to hold a magic wonderland that keeps us from even considering the benches that are littered on our pathway through life. Do you know the benches I am relating? The ones that say you are not enough.
As I watched my daughter marveling in the glory of creation, worshiping His handiwork in the simplicity of seeing through young unaltered eyes, she showed me how to keep searching for the hidden glories He has concealed deep. Walking in the natural art of enjoying herself in His World and sharing her light with others, effortlessly enticing them to walk with her.
Freedom to be ourselves allows us to lift others up off the bench, too.
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward fro their labor. For if they all, the one will lift up his fellow. – Ecclesiasties 4:9,10
In freedom we can appreciate the gifts of God in the very simplest, yet profound, ways… we are getting up off the bench and we are joining in with the crowd of witnesses that are cheering us on but we have to stop hiding from the game that He has called us to play.
Friends, sometimes the witnesses are not just in heavenly crowd, but instead right next to you, seeing you seated ,shielded from the multitudes, and pulling you up.
If you are hiding today, behind the shield that is keeping you from shining bright, let me remind you today that you are not hidden from the very One who has seen you fully and is pleased.
- He has investigated the depths of your frame and rejoices over you with joy. (Zeph 3:17)
- He has thought deep and weighty thoughts that have included you. ( Psalm 139)
- He has engraved your image on His hands so that you know you are remembered. (Isaiah 49:16)
My prayer today is that you are encouraged to stand strong and tall so you can walk away from the bench that has kept you back. Grab a hand and pull someone else off that bench as you go. Don’t be afraid to shine bright so the world sees the gift He has placed inside of you. Pouring into others gives us the courage to step out boldly, to share with others who are waiting to be lifted off the bench, and reminds us all we are being held securely in the grip of His Grace.
What is keeping you on the bench friend?
Journeying with others in grace:
SDG Gathering, Playdates with God, Unite, Reflect His Love and Glory, #TellHisStory, #RaRaLinkUp, Coffee For Your Heart, Three Word Wednesday, Me,Coffee and Jesus, Thought Provoking Thursdays, Grace and Truth LinkUp, FaithBarista, EverydayJesus, Counting My Blessings, Missional Women, Faith and Fellowship Blog Hop, Dance with Jesus, Saturday Soiree, My Freshly Brewed Life, Still Saturday, Give Me Grace.