Patience to wait when there is nothing clear

Monday, February 8, 2010

The morning was unusually quiet. Purposefully scheduled. A week's intention rising from months of wishes, years of preparation - reparation, really.

It was time.
Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea:
A great High Priest, whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on his hands,
My name is written on his heart;
I know that while in heaven he stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.
Clothing myself in this grace, and fixing make-up, hair, and nice-ish clothes that fit my post-pregnancy frame, I climbed into the car with husband and babies, trembling a little in soul.

I'd not faced this yet. Was I ready? I had known forgiveness myself; had I forgiven yet? Could I even acknowledge the hurt that had driven me away, acknowledge its source, open my heart again to the possibility?

Yet I had gained so much from my time away. I found Jesus. I learned to speak His name, albeit quietly yet - still I am so tentative to stand fast in Him. I learned deep what the Gospel is, what it is to me.

Maybe I could just stay where I was, leave off the horizon that drew closer the longer we drove.

I shed a few tears past the lump in my throat, trying to talk, listening, strengthened, quietened by worship, by heart-vision:
When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see him there
Who made an end of all my sin.

Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.
My hunger deepened, fellowship-hunger whetted and refined over months of interaction with people who know Him, people who live in different places than I live, who receive the same grace I have come to know.

They had not inflicted the wounds I had suffered.

There were others who had not, either. We were going to meet them. There was fear, rising, falling, like heart-palpitations.

Then we were there, and there was noise and greeting and hasty introductions echoing too loud around foyer and fainting, determined heart. Piper was happy to stay and play - a change from her must-have-Mommy cries of the past - and I slipped into a seat, with my hand in Pete's, my baby at my feet.

I didn't know the songs; had I been gone too long? No, I wouldn't have chosen or remembered them - they were a bit wishy-washy for my taste. The lump in my throat was too large for singing anyway. I looked around, wishing for a familiar face.

And I encountered Jesus.

There He was, Immanuel, God come in flesh, Holy Spirit templed in the dust around me, in the dust in me. I was not the only one in the room receiving His grace. I was not the only one who knew Him. He was here.

There were tear-tracks in my make-up now; Pete gave me a tissue. I had forgotten my purse.

"Humble us... Show us what You want us to see today." A prayer I prayed, because my spirit knew I must, because His Spirit in me responded where I had no courage. And show me, He did.

It wasn't the sermon about money, preached by a pastor younger than me. (Oh, I felt old!)

It was this: that I could not say that "I adore" Jesus, when others were singing and saying they did, truthfully from their hearts; I still measure my love for Him - I know much; I consider myself accountable, because with me it is all or nothing. There is no in-between.

It was this: that I could not look down on them because of the grace I myself had received, in which I was that moment dwelling silent on holy ground.

It was this: that I had dismissed. (It hurts to write these words.) That I had judged. That I no longer had to judge, because I was no longer judged - not by Christ, not by the One who could judge me.

I was confronted with Love, the love that sent my Savior - their Savior - to cover me in His righteous. My reactionary fears were shattering, left as ashes in my mouth, the tears I was shedding, healing tears, welcome restoration.
Behold him there, the risen Lamb,
My perfect, spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I Am,
The King of glory and of grace!

One with Himself, I cannot die
My soul is purchased by his blood
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Savior and my God
And He had not wasted my fear-time, wasted me. Instead He had come to me, met me where I was, afraid as I was, opened me to His heart and given me brave grace to live and to give what will be my whole life one day when I wake satisfied in His likeness. He had taught me to worship, to joy in His goodness, to labor and live and deliver my work for His glory, learning to do the will of God from my heart.

He was more than a Sunday morning worship time, more than a sermon application, more than small group and potlucks and Sunday School. He is more. He is Life. He is my life.

I am not yet what I will be. How can I be less patient with others than He is with me?

We have none of us arrived, but when we see Him, when we see Him as He is, then... Then we will be like Him.

Twila Paris sings, "This is the Faith, patience to wait when there is nothing clear..."

With faith not my own, I waited on God; here He bent low to wait on me.


Shared in this week's "One Word at a Time" Blog Carnival at Bridget Chumbley's blog.

(Image © Informal Moments Photography)


Kim said...

I too, stand with you in awe at a grace that is greater than all my sin.

Shelli Bourque said...

This is stunningly beautiful. Not simply the words, but the message of redemption.

Bina said...

Ah...such joy to see Him alive and well in the hearts of the faithful.
While I hadn't been gone physically...I found yesterday morning, as my butt warmed my pew, that my heart had been gone mentally...and then, I was back.
Real. Alive.

Beautiful, my always. He has graced you with a lovely heart and I thank Him that you use it. :)

sarah said...

Like they said. Beautiful. It's my experience that it doesn't matter what you think about the whole thing, once you're there with him, you go straight to the heart - beyond thought, into understanding.

Danielle Jones said...

Beautifully shared.

"He was more than a Sunday morning worship time, more than a sermon application, more than small group and potlucks and Sunday School. He is more. He is Life. He is my life."

That's how it should be.

"I am not yet what I will be. How can I be less patient with others than He is with me?"

Yeah, that's the hard part. Where the rubber hits the road. Living in fellowship with each other. All of us in the "not yet" stage. It's hard. It's humbling. But it's worth it.

Maureen said...

"You see, the big thing for me is to love reality. . . and then discover that God is perfect."
~Jean Vanier

He is the reality and so to love reality is to love Him.

Cassandra Frear said...

I have felt this way. I still can. Even now, when I have been years in the Lord's service and helped many others, bound their wounds, and spoken words of life to them.

It isn't easy to be present among fallen men and women. We all need Jesus so much, yet we take pieces of him and, partly sanctified, pierce one another.

But it's good. It's very good. And, as you said, he bends low to meet us there. Emmanuel, God with us.

livingpalm said...

Kelly, thank you for this post. May God bless your obedience.

Vonda said...

Don't ever forget this moment! Years later when you have grown so much closer to your Saviour, His Spirit will remind you...and you will remember...and be humbled by His Grace through the years.

I remembered and I could feel your every breath...I remembered...thank you...

Gina said...

I was just worshiping with this song today. I am always undone by the line that God looks on HIM and pardons ME.

I also had the thought this Sunday after the third "I love you, Lord" (the first two came out thoughtlessly) that I could not sing the repetitions that followed because I know what love is and what love does and how dare I call my pitiful offering of the week "love"?

Thank you for the beautiful thoughts.

Corinne said...

What a blessed moment...
Thank you for sharing the beauty of discovery.

Glynn said...

And His arms are always open, to welcome, to comfort and to love.

Janet Oberholtzer said...

Excellent ... love this line,
"I am not yet what I will be. How can I be less patient with others than He is with me?"

Those are wise words to live by!

Bonnie Gray said...

"He had not wasted my fear-time."

It's all Him, not me, I am finding. Really. Thank God. Really.

deb said...


Your posts are stunning,
Stun me.

I'm smiling for you as your joy seeps through in the pictures and words.
I've been reading, but rushed to comment properly or email some thoughts I'm still holding from weeks past.

Have a wonderfully unfolding perfectly gifted Tuesday.

katdish said...

Dang, Kelly...

That was incredible.

Anonymous said...

You had me hanging onto each and every word, Kelly. This was beautiful, and such an amazing message. Thank you!

Mary said...

my dearest kelly...
welcome home my friend. may you continue to encounter Our Savior and Lord each and every week through whatever means he provides.

"I love you Lord and I lift my worship you...oh my soul...rejoice"

Blessings and Grace...

Anne Lang Bundy said...

You touch my soul when I'm here.

I'm so blessed that you're in my life.

M.L. Gallagher said...

this was really, really beautiful.

and inspiring.

and awesome.

thank you!


Rich Dixon said...

You've painted a wonderful word picture of the difference between "Christianity" and "following Christ."

Thanks for the grace you shared here.

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