Monday, January 6, 2014

Intentional

(via the ever-dependable Pinterest)
(written Sunday, December 29th)
I found myself speechless today. It takes a lot to quiet me, as I’m sure you, dear reader, are well aware. Today I was loved intentionally. I often am the one that starts conversations; pulls people aside when I need to talk to them … I rarely find myself singled out like I was today.
The first to draw me aside was the very One Who knit me together. I had already felt the seams of my day coming apart. My hair was frizzing atop my already pounding head, and my hands shook almost too much to open the pill bottles I hoped would help somehow. I still managed to pull my looks together in time to have devotions before we rushed off to church, though. You can imagine that as I entered into His presence, my attitude and demeanor were hardly ones of reverence or adoration. I sloppily scrawled out a prayer in my journal, too hurried to worry about handwriting. Looking over those words now, I can see I was near panic, and overwhelmed by the resurfacing of emotions I’d thought I had long ago overcome. The last words I wrote were, “Help. Please.” No “amen” from me, because I knew that though I couldn’t write any more without crying, my soul was nowhere near through its groaning prayers. I clutched my poor Bible like the lifeboat it is, and I was met there. He’d waited there for me, in Psalm 105. It’s funny to me, the last time I read through Psalms, I daintily underlined meaningful verses with a purple pencil, splurging on a star or a heart over a particularly encouraging passage every so often. This time around, my black pen underlined, circled, pointed at, and embraced many more words. It is a Psalm about God’s faithfulness, His power, His works, and a call to praise Him for them. I love how it is written. The psalmist starts by calling the people to give God thanks and glory; to call out to Him and seek Him; to rejoice and remember. And then, just in case those he is writing for have forgotten, the psalmist just bursts into praise and tells the people a history of wonderful things the Lord has done. He can’t contain His exuberance! At the end of the Psalm, it feels as though he has been overcome by emotion - he can say nothing more except, “Praise the Lord!” I envision him barely able to choke it out, so in awe of His Creator and Sustainer. I can picture this, because this is what I felt as I read his words. He has been there, time and time again, proving His power, His wisdom, His love for us, and proving that He can work all things together for our good and His glory. He sought me out intentionally to tell me this. I can’t even comprehend this.
Then I went to church, and He just continued to bless me. I sang songs of joy and expectation, then listened to one of our pastors preaching on waiting for God to move. I could feel Him saying that He already was moving. His thoughts are not ours, neither are His ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). And then my people. I never cease to be amazed at how He uses them. The way they loved on me today? Planned, intentional, gentle love that flooded me like an ocean. That quick “I know you’re busy but I need to hug you” hug, that look of delight when my eye was caught and the sweet hug and words that followed, being lovingly tackled from behind, that heartfelt note that was slipped into my hand, being given the chance to have my shoulder cried on - to be let in like that, and the way my hands were grabbed tightly - as if I might slip away.
The simplest of actions can carry the most meaning. That truth always baffles me. A little bit truly goes a long way, so how much longer does it go when we dare to give a lot? Unselfishly giving until we have none left over - the Lord loves a cheerful giver, and He is able to supply for our every need as we depend on Him to (2 Corinthians 9:7-8). Could it be that as we give until we are empty, we give others the ability to give of themselves, now that they find they have more than enough? This pay it forward mentality just might change the world. So I challenge you; I urge you to do this: love intentionally, with every ounce of strength you can muster. Let’s make the world a better place.