This morning, I found this on facebook:
"Lord, I am yours,
and I must belong to no one but you.
My soul is yours,
and must live only by you.
My will is yours,
and must love only for you.
I must love you as my first cause,
since I am from you.
I must love you as my end and rest,
since I am for you.
I must love you more than my own being,
since my being subsists by you.
I must love you more than myself,
since I am all yours and all in you."
-Francis de Sales
Yesterday, Keith came home early after five hours of working in the motor pool, laying out tanks for inspection in the pouring rain. He was soaked to the skin.
We curled up together and watched some TV, had left over lasagna for dinner and went to bed early.
In the quiet night, Jesus was very close to me. It was as though I were enclosed and held up and surrounded by His love. I surrendered my tattered, torn and confused self completely to Him, and was comforted.
I have a hard time describing my experiences. They come out sounding so dry. But I can't capture them every well in words. What I'm experiencing is happening in my spirit, and it's alive with emotion and nuance.
The entire time that I am speaking with or resting in Jesus, my whole being is full of worship and adoration. This doesn't come across very well in words.
This sort of experience used to throw me for a loop, but now I welcome it with open arms. It is exactly this sort of experience that makes it impossible for me not to long for Him.
When Jesus spoke, His voice was full of love.
What did you learn today? He asked me.
This is a question He frequently asks me at the end of the day, which is interesting, because He was with me the entire time. But usually, thinking back over it helps me understand it better.
Last night, as I thought back over the day, it seemed like a wasteland of nothing but confusion and dissatisfaction.
"Not very much," I was sorry to admit. One thing occurred to me. "I learned all over again I'm an incredibly emotional person."
I made you that way, Jesus said.
"Yes, I am Your creation," I affirmed, feeling better about myself.
I thought of the walk I had taken in the rain, and the swollen river in the park, and how in the afternoon I had been dissatisfied with the television, with my writing, and hadn't wanted to read anything, even the Scriptures.
"I learned that my longing for You can make the entire day miserable," I confessed, feeling very badly about this.
Instead of judging me, Jesus sympathized with me. He reminded me that He also is waiting and He knows what it is like to feel longing. He is waiting for the time when His judgments will make all things right, and there is no more pain and no more sorrow, and He can wipe away every tear.
Even after all this time, and seeing it in the Scriptures, and experiencing it in my own life, I still have a hard time recognizing the fact that we make a huge emotional impact on God.
My mind tends to get stuck on the erroneous idea that God is impervious to us- it probably has to do with my childhood. But Jesus is not impervious to us- His heart is wide open.
But I have to learn this lesson over and over again.
Sometimes I think we run up against the same things over and over again because of those gently winding paths of righteousness. As we go around and around, we see the same pit or boulder, and maybe get discouraged.
But we aren't seeing it in the same way- we actually have a slightly higher perspective on it than the last time we came across it, only it's so subtle we may not realize it at first.
Sooner or later, it will drop from view entirely and we will forget about it. Sometimes Jesus reminds me of just such a thing- something that I have forgotten, because it has ceased to trouble me. And it fills me with wonder to see how far He has taken me.
I remembered yesterday that faith grows by being stretched out of its comfort zone. So, feeling stretched and confused can actually be a sign of impending growth. I hope so.
Weeks ago, I asked Jesus to help me balance my longing for Him with the ability to live fully in my present life, which He has given me like a gift.
Clearly, I'm still very much a work in progress in this, but I know Jesus will continue to teach me.