Friday, May 1, 2015

May 1st

Last year, on March 2, 2014

Last night, I said, jokingly, “Quick, let’s do something interesting, so that I'll have something to blog about!”

Jesus burst out laughing. Thank goodness for His sense of humor, it's such a relief. We talked about going here or there, but after everything, we didn't.

Then I had an idea. “Let’s play a game,” I suggested, excited. “You’ll be away and I’ll be here and You’ll come home!” Then I felt abashed that I was asking Jesus to play something so childish. “Do You mind?”

I would love to join in that game, Jesus assured me.

“Okay, okay,” I said, released, filled with joy and thinking how to begin. “You are away, but You come home and I am here and I will meet You.”

But before we began, I was overwhelmed to realize how loving and marvelous Jesus was- wonderfully kind and without any false dignity, willing to join in. I threw my arms around Him and poured out my thanks for this gift.

Then I walked to the step and looked out toward the trees, and Jesus was there. He was walking across the lawn toward me with swift, strong steps, His face full of joy.

I was filled with extraordinary joy to see Him coming toward me, because He is Jesus! That was Jesus coming so swiftly and with such loving intent and the joy was not possible to contain.

When He reached me, the joy burst out into movement; I reached out to Him with my open arms and He swept me up and we went spinning around and around on the lawn and the joy was like light that was cascading out in brilliance, breathless and without words, though I was trying to speak to Him, holding on tightly to Him as we spun, but everything was coming out in broken whispers. I could not hold onto the love or the joy, because it was breaking out in every direction, sweeping away all the words.

Eventually we settled down and Jesus set me lightly down on the top step and stood on the grass and I had my arms resting on His shoulders and I was looking fondly at His face and I said, “How was Your day- Your day at work?” And we both were caught up again in laughter, but Jesus said, it was good.

“Was it really?” I asked, curious.

It was good, Jesus assured me.

“What were You doing? Did You create something?” I asked, being struck with the possibility.

I’m always creating something, He replied, smiling.

Fascinated, I considered that, which is what I do whenever He says something quite interesting.

“What did You create?" I asked, thinking over the many possibilities. "Maybe You created an entire other universe!”

I might have, Jesus replied, His eyes twinkling, which is the answer He gives me when He won’t give me the actual answer.

This year, on March 16, 2015

It used to be that I blinded my eyes to the fact that it was through the Holy Spirit that I could be with Jesus, because I was frightened of the Holy Spirit. But now that I am growing in love and trust of the Holy Spirit, I have my eyes open to this truth, and in fact, I delight in it. In the quiet of the night, I open the arms of my spirit.

“By faith and the Holy Spirit, I come to You, Jesus!” I declare, with joyful certainty.

And I was with Jesus so suddenly and completely that it was heart stopping. The first time I did that I had to take several steps back in awe. Then I had to try it again, only this time, I remained. It’s like when a small child, positioned on the arm of the couch, suddenly throws themselves with perfect trust into the arms of the parent who is sitting there. Now the parent who was sitting there suddenly has their arms full.

This might annoy a parent who was trying to read or carry on a decent conversation, but it never annoys Jesus.

“By faith and the Holy Spirit, I pour out my love to You!” I declared, doing so.

Jenny, you are intoxicating, Jesus said.

We were in the inner house and we were playing a game which sometimes lately we are playing. This is the game where I try to grasp what it will be like to be in His full presence, in eternity. Jesus never gives me the full picture, but He always listens with loving interest and good humor to my many conjectures. Because of this, it’s more of a light hearted game than a lesson.

“When I am with You, I will peel and chop vegetables for Your dinner,” I said to Jesus, partly to tease Him and partly because I would love to do so, if such a thing were needed, which I doubt. The most I can do is serve Him here in that way, by serving others.

You will do more, Jesus assured me.

“When I am with You, I will hang the wet laundry outside to dry,” I offered.

There will be more for you to do.

“When I am with You, I could sweep the floors for You.”

There is more you will do.

“When I am with You,” I said, tossing aside the playful game and throwing my arms wide open, “I will see You clearer, I will know You as You are and I will love You, love You, love You with all my heart, with abandon, with joy, for eternity.”

Jesus was standing on the other side of the room from me and as I said this, His face fell open into undefended love. You move me so deeply, He said, His voice quiet.

March 17, 2015

“I saw a picture of You in the grocery store. I stood there a while, captivated by it,” I said to Jesus.

I had been standing in the bread isle. On the other side was magazines and there were a lot of them with His picture on it, for Easter. I stood there a long time, drawn to Him, fascinated by other people’s renditions of Him, which have a beauty and attraction of their own, because of the combination of their love for Him and their vision of Him. I enjoy seeing Jesus through other people’s eyes who love Him. I love seeing this in their writing as well; I learn a lot about Him that way.

“I wanted to take You home with me…” I confessed. I had picked one of the magazines up and flipped through it, considering putting it some place where I could always see it, but in the end, I didn’t.

But you have Me, Jesus pointed out, which is why, in the end, I didn't buy the magazine.

This month, on April 10, 2015

Last night I went to Jesus, and was standing on the stone floor of the front room. I threw my arms around His shoulders and leaned against Him. “Thank You!” I declared, realizing that if I had said it before, I couldn’t remember and I should. “Thank You for making this place for me! I love it! I love it very much! Thank You so much for going away and preparing this and then for coming and bringing me to Yourself, so that I could be with You where You are,” I said, each word deliberate, and as I spoke those words of His back to Him in gratitude, in trust and love, it seemed we were standing in a fire of love.

I love you, Jenny.

“Do You remember?” I asked Him, caught up in love, bringing up memory after memory of how He taught me that He loved me and was with me.

I remember. I remember it all.

I remembered the hidden lake with the clear green waters, which we had not been to in a long time. “Shall we go there?” I asked Jesus. “Shall we go there just for the pleasure of it?”

I would love to.

So I took His hand, but then I remembered also that sometimes in the past Jesus was filled with grief, so I turned to Him and searched His face. “How are You? How are You doing?” I asked, earnestly, giving Jesus all my attention.

I’m doing well, I’m fine, He assured me, smiling. In fact, His whole was of being was comfortable, full of ease and laughter.

“Before, sometimes You were grieving and wept,” I reminded Him, seeing it again in memory. “And I cherished those times… not that I want You again to feel that way, just so that I could have that experience again,” I assured Jesus, hurriedly, looking at Him again and He laughed.

I would share that with you now if I were feeling that way, Jesus assured me tenderly, this communication tumbling into my heart from His.

I took His hand again and went through to the fountain room. As we walked, I remembered earlier in the evening, being in the backyard pulling weeds.

“I was thinking about You and Your beautiful creation earlier,” I told Jesus.

You think about Me all the time, He said, His eyes twinkling.

“Yes, I do!” I laughed, blushing but thrilled to remember that He knows these things. “Or I try! I would like to think about You all the time, acknowledging You in all my ways…”

I was about to ask Jesus for help in getting me there, but then I thought the better thing to do would be to thank Him for the help He was already giving me, so I did that.

“Thank You for helping me to acknowledge You in each task and all that I do each day,” I said to Him, and I was caught up in a wave of His love. When this subsided and I could think again, I remembered again the grass of the back yard.

“I love what You do, I love it so much, even with the grass, there is artistry. You do even the smallest things so beautifully,” I said, thinking of the delicacy of the grass and their tender white blossoms that misted the backyard in the twilight.

As we were walking I was remembering things from before, looking around at how there were some small changes, and Jesus pointed out that there were always those sorts of small changes and that they reflected the way my relationship with Him deepened and grew.

We stood on the lip of the fountain and looked at the foliage, the line of the leaves against the sky and the detail of each thing. I looked down and saw the water pouring over the step as we stood on it, the water surging smoothly past our ankles and I was fascinated and drawn by the beauty of the water.

“Of all the things You have created, I think water is the most beautiful of all,” I said to Him quietly. The light gleamed on the surface of the water, smooth as glass, but rippling slightly, the light moving, reflecting.

“And there You stood,” I said to Jesus quietly, looking up again. “There You stood barefoot in the koi pond and You said, Hello, Jenny, and smiled. And I said, “Hello… Jesus,” in wonder to think that I was seeing You and You knew me… And You called me Your own.”

You are, Jesus said, with a rush of reassuring, familiar and warm love.

We stepped down into the pond and as we did, all the dense rhododendron bushes and trees that had made that path narrow, winding and hidden, suddenly untangled and rose up, making an open path with a high ceiling of green branches. It was as if the branches, interwoven and bent inward before, had all straightened in one beautiful gesture, reaching their branches like arms toward the sky.

“They rose up!” I cried out in surprised delight. It was such a movement of joy and praise, as though the trees were rising up in praise of Jesus and for joy of Him.

We went part of the way through and then I turned around to look back at the rooms. I could see down the avenue of trees and through the opening of the path to the koi pond and I could see where it had overflowed and soaked through under the house, so the house sits down on pilings above a shallow, still pool full of life and growing things.

I could see the opening into the fountain room; it was shadowed and large, the whole of the wall opened as it has been now for a long time, and water was pouring smoothly out over the steps down to the pond, a pouring of pure water gleaming in the light. I could see the low line of the roof in the sunlight and the rough wooden back deck.

“I’ve never seen the rooms from this direction before,” I said to Jesus, quietly, lost in thought and moved to see it that way. It was peaceful, hidden and lovely.

When I turned to continue walking, I noticed the bushes on each side of the small stream looked different. They didn’t look like rhododendrons anymore. The trunks were slender and branched, so there seemed to be one or two per each tree and the bark was smooth and grey and rose up into a profusion of green branches at the top.

“What are they?” I asked Jesus.

Crepe myrtle, Jesus said.

“Crepe myrtle,” I repeated, in wonder. “I think I’ve been seeing those. I think they are in bloom right now, with lavender flowers like lilacs.”

Looking down, I saw that the bed of the small stream was paved with river rocks, each about the size just to fit into the palm of my hand. They were lavender grey and silver and rose colored. Reaching down, I pulled one out of the water and sat with it on the bank, my feet in the stream. Jesus sat down with me and we looked at the rock together. It was a pale shade, but when I dipped it back in the water, the color deepened.

“How did you think of that?” I asked Jesus. “How did You make even that happen- that water should change the color of rocks? That is such a beautiful detail. How did You think of water? How did You create water when there was no such thing before?"

I can’t explain that to you now, Jesus said gently.

“That makes sense. I suppose I just couldn’t understand it. But I love it. I love so much that You created it this way.”

We stood, but I stopped to look at Jesus. At each point, my understand that I was with Jesus had deepened and grown, awakening love and worship in me. I took His hand in mine and saw where the nail had gone in, and moved by adoration and wonder, I put His hand against my cheek. I threw my arms around Jesus and poured out love to Him, amazed that I could do so.

“This is all that I want, to be with You and to love You is all that I want to do and it is what I was created to do,” I added slowly, remembering this. “Thank You for giving me existence! Thank You for creating me as You did! I would not want to exist for any other reason but to be with You and to love You!”


This is not the story of how much I love Jesus, because this is not the beginning of my story. The beginning of this story was when He poured out His love on me when I had done nothing for Him and felt for Him nothing but fear, resentment and mistrust.

Seeing this clearly, I was crying out to Jesus to fix the terrible state of my heart, which held those ugly things hidden underneath the nicely arranged Christian exterior of my young life. I was not crying out to Him to fix it because I felt any attraction toward Him. I wished sometimes that I had not been born to a Christian family so that I could be in what I thought must be blissful ignorance, free to enjoy my life without this burden of always having to be obedient and  yet always failing.

I was crying out to Jesus because I was ashamed to be revealed as a failure and I was terrified of Him. The Lord was, I thought then, aloof and perfect like a marble statue on a high throne, disdainful of me, constantly demanding and constantly disappointed.

It was in that state of pride, fear, shame and desperation that Jesus poured out His love on me in a way that was palpable. I felt His love as a warm, thick liquid that was running down over my head- so much that this love filled my entire self from the top of my head to the soles of my feet, so much this love seemed to be breaking out like light even from the tips of my fingers and toes.

I sat quivering on the edge of the chair, seven stories up in what was once a prayer tower in a building constructed by the church when my great grandfather was a young man. I felt such joy that I was unable to remain seated. I leaped up and ran down all the flights of stairs and out into the twilight and went leaping and running around on the grass.

That was how I met Jesus. He was not a marble stature on a terrifying throne. Jesus was not a theory or a figure head of wrath or a vague figure from long ago. Jesus was a living Person, and He knew me and loved me as a person, for no reason. He just loved me. His love for me was endless, unconditional, real, up close and personal.

This is how He loves you. This is how He loves you right now. That is how He will always love you.

We do not serve Jesus to earn His love. We do not love Jesus so that He will love us in return. We do not become good so that we can finally receive His love.

In all things, His love is first and His love is the summation. In between is the growth of everything else- in the sweep of His unfailing love grows our character, our purpose, our service, our worship and our joy.

We cannot earn this love because it is already given to us. We cannot lose this love because it is unfailing, set in an unbreakable and eternal covenant of His sacrificial life.

What we can do is give up all our striving, all our guilt and shame, and fall back in perfect trust into His love, life and strength. We abide in Him and grow in appreciation and trust of this love and we can gather up, treasure, and share the fruit of this love.


"And now just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust him, too, for each day’s problems; live in vital union with him. Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him. See that you go on growing in the Lord, and become strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with joy and thanksgiving for all he has done.

-Colossians 2:6-7, Living Bible