Aug 17, 2009

His kindness leads to repentance

For the last three days, I've felt like I received a spiritual spanking from the Lord. Not the kind of spanking I remember as a child - the hanging on to the bedpost in my parents room as the belt of correction was administered and my feet pranced like I was stung by hot pavement and my lungs exhaled sounds of excruciation as loud as any paid mourner could dream of exhaling. At 43, what the LORD has kindly done the last few days has literally caused me to finally cry out with crocodile tears flowing and my arms extended as I crawl back to my Father's lap and say, "Daddy, Abba, Father, I am sorry, so very, very sorry. Please make the gates that I've blocked so long, open like a flood and clean me from the inside out and set me up securely on YOUR narrow path."

Well, good morning. Let me just say that I've not been By The Lamp Light much this summer. God and I have really wrestled about wanting to blog verses following His leading and Spirit's direction. You know, I had it all planned out for weekly blogging:

Memory Monday
Weekly Word Wednesday
Fun Friday

Then this summer, the LORD really asked me to follow His lead and direction. So while flowers were blooming in the garden and we were taking some of the BEST TRIPS EVER, I did not feel His release to share them. What? Did this make sense to me? NO! I mean, we spent time with some of my favorite people (my family and friends) and literally, the LORD made it so I could not share - you would not even believe the story if I told you. But HE has a way of doing that.

I'm continually reminded that the LORD's ways are not my ways. So here I am by the lamp light on a morning that doesn't make much sense in the natural to me. We are officially starting another home school year today. I remember about nine years ago when the children were in private school and the Salesman needed my help at his office - and the LORD called me to spend time with HIM each and every morning. Time without looking at a watch. I had lunches to pack. Sleepyheads to brush and bows to match to outfits. I had to drive one way to deposit our little gifts for the day and another long, long way to the Salesman's office. But God was faithful then. I serve the same God today. He is faithful today.

I feel totally compelled by HIM to write today. No agenda, none of the normal today - not in any way. And it is one of those *things* that I would rather not air - you know, dirty laundry. I want you to see my cozy little home. But I'm writing by the early morning lamp light, to share what He asks me to. You may want to move on to another read this morning or if you feel led to stay, grab a cup of hot tea for the world's longest and most pin-ball-machine-like post.

I love pictures, art galleries, magazines - I'm a visual person. Yesterday, late afternoon, after worship, a nap, and a sweet time together as family, the children and I waited as the Salesman talked with a customer. While we waited, I had enough time to finish my book and was captivated by the LORD's beauty all around.

There were these lovely flowers and flags waving in the wind. (Thank you LORD for allowing me to somehow share flowers today too!)
The spot where we waited was picturesque and I tried to get the teens to let me take their pictures as we waited. They were too into their own books and music. (These little ear buds are like life support to this darlin' teen!)So I was left to enjoy the many beautiful surroundings including quaint red rockers and benches. At the very ends of the porch were these plastic lined boxes for trash. You can barely see one in the top right corner of this picture. I really tried not to get it in the picture.But you have a better view here of the trash receptacle at the other end of the porch. Aesthetically, these *things* were in the way of a good picture. Why would such a nice place put these plastic lined trash boxes on the ends of the porch? They were getting in the way of every good picture that I wanted to take. To get the beautiful flowers, the lamp light, the bench made from a tree, I had to deal with some trash. The LORD tenderly starts to speak to my heart as I start to hear what He is saying to me through what I am seeing. So many times, He just gives me pictures in the simple, everyday life that draw me back to Him. I've been in need of some drawing lately.From where I was sitting, there was also a view of a tent. It was not so out of the ordinary to see a tent. Inside the tent, there was a stage which was not so odd to me either. But I got hung up with one chair. I'm wondering - why one chair? Did the clean up crew get tired and forget to finish their job? What did this chair mean? I told the teens I would take pictures of them on the chair if they wanted me to. (They have been on several fun photo excursions recently and I thought this might be the reason for the chair.) No thank you mama. They read. One teen finished her book and came and put her head on my shoulder. So I sat and enjoyed the beautiful view and wondered if the Lord could be saying something to me through this picture.I could not get what I was seeing out of my mind enough to enjoy the benches or the rocker. Somehow, I was feeling called to this lone chair in the tent. His tent. Why just me LORD? I felt like I was going alone. The Salesman was talking with a customer, the teens don't want their picture taken. It's just You and me, Lord. But the watering can in the corner of this picture made me think of the Spirit, and how I am not alone and have been given the Spirit from my Father so that I may be Christlike no matter how alone I feel. I am not alone. Just Him. Just me. His Spirit.Finally, I got up and moved from my chairs of comfort, to the place HE seemed to be calling me so that I could see and hear what He was saying to me. It was like as long as I sat there in the comfy spot, I was not going to be able to receive what He said. And I was still a little disturbed by these ugly receptacles in this lovely LORD's day picture. Between the porch and the tent were flags of freedom waving over lush, lovely flowers. How do I get there? I was also visually bothered by a card board sign with a blue arrow on it near the end of the porch. But, this sign pointed to a very narrow pebbled path between the flowers that led to the tent. From this narrow pebbled path, I can see *the chair*. In my mind I start having a conversation with the Lord. It was Him and me. His tent. Me in the chair. The not so comfy chair. The chair intentionally there for me. The chair He called me to. The chair had purpose. The sign had purpose. The plastic lined trash boxes had purpose. But, I did not want to go to the chair. It was like I knew I was going to the principals office or being sent to my parent's room to hang onto the bed post till the lashes came. And if anyone is still hanging in there, now is where you may want to leave ---- but before you do, know that His story has a good ending - His kindness leads to repentance.

Why did I need to sit in this chair and have a full view not only of the lovely flowers and rockers and benches; but those trash receptacles on the east and west ends of the porch? Why was everything in the center so lovely, but the bookends of my picture were garbage? And not a pretty container; but a *thing* - plastic lined boxes. You may get the picture, I was BOTHERED by those *things*.
Not fully understanding what trash the Lord wanted to deal with, the Salesman was done and it was time for our drive home. Tummy full, book read, all these sights to think about. It was the early morning hours today that the Lord revealed what He had been speaking to my heart for the last few days.

In the very early hours of Thursday morning the LORD and I had what I would I would consider a spiritual marker together. He gave me a treasure. Then Friday, His loving hand of conviction fell on me. I went to a Bible seminar all day Saturday and it was like the LORD was pulling me to the front row with no distractions to hear what He said to me. Tears fell as I wept before the Lord. God was dealing with me. And it really didn't matter who was there because I was in that chair. The chair the LORD was calling me to. His tent. My chair.

But, you know, God's kindness lead me to repentance. At the seminar Saturday, two dear godly women, who I'd gladly adopt as spiritual mothers, blessed me. One by her words, the other by her touch. I'm going to focus on the one who touched because it's where the LORD has me today. And the one who spoke, oh my, it deserves a post to itself. I had a wound on the palm of one hand and as I was talking to one woman and she grabbed my hand to hold it. I wriggled a bit, not wanting her to even get close to the band aids. But, lo and behold, it was like she was after the very spot I was covering up. Hard to have a conversation when all this is going on in my mind. She said not A WORD. Just smiled, nodded, held my hurt.

Sunday morning when I woke up, I looked at my hand and literally thought "LORD, You allowed Ruth to heal my hand!" For the first time in over a week, it did not hurt when I woke up. In amazement I got ready for worship and once again as I sat under the TRUTH, very clear conviction fell on me. I felt as if I was being faced with the same topic over and over again. Does the LORD ever do that to you? He was not letting up on me. Yesterday the pastor mentioned a narrow path they had been on and how they were behind one big truck and how they could see the highway (the right road) from where they were and how they were so close. It made me think of the time we were part of a rolling roadblock and how frustrating it was to go slow when the road appeared wide open. God needed to slow me down on the lovely wide porch to even see the pebbled path - the narrow path - it was where He wanted me - He needed me to sit in the chair and see what roadblocks were in the way of dwelling in His abundance. My roadblocks were going to be disposed of in those plastic lined *things*.

A glorious weekend ended when I got frustrated last night. Do you ever do that - a mountain top experience with the LORD and then let one decision pull you back to the wide road? In my mind last night I was frustrated. I didn't even need anyone else to get into the flesh. As I picked up a wet towel left in the rest room, I crumpled it onto the towel bar. I thought I felt better as I basically stuffed this big, wet bath sheet into the towel bar. Mind you, I'm a neat nick. In my perfect world, the towel is neatly folded (in thirds) and hung over the towel bar. Not last night though.

The LORD awakened me this morning to the final piece to my puzzle of the trash *things* and the chair this weekend. He gently spoke to my heart this morning. He had some *things* he wanted to take as far away as the east is from the west - even the placement of the trash receptacles was important. And the fact that they were lined with black plastic bag was important too. Once He had them, they were not visible to me. I'd been holding on to other people's problems and anger. When I thought I'd been given dirty laundry by someone else in the form of any offense, instead of bowing and giving it to the Father, Son and Spirit (gave new meaning to my tri-folded towels!) and placing it back on the towel bar to allow the LORD to straighten out any stains, wrinkles or imperfections. I'd been taking dirty laundry that wasn't mine and wrapping and folding the offenses and stuffing them in my temple - which is HIS HOLY TEMPLE. I had just put unholy, not for my hands, dirty laundry in the eternal, everlasting temple of my body's heart and mind - my soul. The LORD reminded me my soul was eternal and it was not meant to house dirty laundry.

If someone had offended me, instead of picking up the towel of insult and wearing it like a robe, I needed to give it to the Head Laundry Chief - The Lord Jesus Christ - He had been taken ALL offenses for me.
If someone had wronged me, instead of hashing over the wrongs over and over, I needed to cast them off and return the gavel of a towel to the Judge who will right all wrongs.
If someone had frustrated the beejeebers out of me, I needed to take the towel that was marred with the track record of it all and release it to the one who irons out all frustrations.
If someone had hurt me, I need to humbly bow with my bloody towel and fellowship with the One who took all my hurt.
If someone had disrespected me, I needed to take the towel that had disrespect smeared all over it, and bless that person and wash their feet, with the Lord's help.
If someone had disappointed me, the towel that seemed so worn from being re-folded with each disappointment, I needed to release and re-focus on the One who is I AM.
If someone had burdened me with darkness, I need to take it to the LIGHT who bears it all.
If someone had burned me, I turn my singed towel to the ONE who can make me a watered garden.

You get the point, for a while, quite a while, the LORD reminded me of people and offenses and hurts and pains that I'd angrily thought I could hold onto and not be affected. It was in confession and blessing those who had offended me, that I found a sweetness in His kindness that leads to repentance.

I see now LORD, the damp, dank sin like dirty laundry, I'd collected
How pious of me to think I could touch sin and not by its poison be infected
I did not want to move to THE chair
My soul exposed, before YOU made bare
I did not want to sit in THE chair
Why do I fight? YOU know even the number of each hair
Still I did not want to go to THE chair
But You bid me LORD, I heard You call
You said You'd go, support me, not to fall
Your Spirit is with me, each step of the way
Even when dirty laundry is aired like today
As I take each towel wet with my hurt and tears
Towels soiled and stained throughout the years
You allow me LORD to move from my comfort place
To be in YOUR tent, to see YOU, face to face
My reactions and reflections, though not lovely, in form or face
Now seen before Your eternal majesty with mercy and grace
I lay my dirty laundry LORD out before YOU
Do the cleaning from the inside out, as only YOU can do
Thank you for the road signs that bring me to the narrow path
Sin calls me to live in anger and repeat wrongs and rain wrath
As Your handmaid, I leave with a basket unleashed of woes
Lighter, yet fuller, brighter now, I'll sing as I go
And You will take those black bags of trash
What has had me angry and signed to ash
You will get all the glory
You will be exalted as I tell Your story
You remove sin as far as the east is from the west
Sitting in THE chair with YOU, I can honestly say, is best
I did not want to go to the spiritual wood shed Lord
All the dirty laundry, my flesh desired to hoard
Afraid you'd beat me with a cat of nine tails
Ready I was to scream and my appendages flail
But, it was Your kindness that lead me to repentance
Sin and anger was the nasty, dark, dank jail sentence
Thank you for removing what was causing the stench
In You and Your Word, help me to battle-on in the trench
Let joy flow through the channels once clogged
Where demons threw darts and kept me feeling dogged
Thank YOU LORD for taking me to Your tent and THE chair
And that for my dirty laundry, today, You have tended and cared. Amen.


an encourager said...

Don't take this wrong, but I chuckled through so much of your day's blog. Your questions, mostly, were humorous because you wondered if God did the same with those of us out here in blog world. My answer, "OH, YES!" We have all things in common... If you could read my journals, you would laugh, too, over how wonderfully faithful the Lord is to get those jumbo thumbs of His on our shoulders and turn us in the right direction - towards Him. Anyhoo, that lone chair sums up the picture of our Lord wanting some solitude with us. I think I better go find me a chair!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

By the "lamp light" is a good way to begin and end each day, bringing forth all sorts of feelings and thoughts that need to be dealt with through the power of God's illuminating touch.

Sounds like he's working, friend. Keep to it. Keep to his light.


B His Girl said...

Wow Lora....I just told my son earlier to move his laundry basket ... his dirty laundry basket back in his room so it would not be seen by his friends coming over. I thought someone may stumble on it. It gives that scene new meaning. How special to be invited to meet with Him, that He reserved a place for you. He disciplines who He loves. I think it was today that Oswald Chambers said in My Upmost for His Highest that if you have never heard something 'hard' from God, you probably have never heard anything. I agreed with Him and today is an example from you. Aren't you glad all your laundry is straightened out now? I just hate it when it piles up and so does He:}

Robin said...

Lora your pictures are beautiful!

this good: If someone had offended me, instead of picking up the towel of insult and wearing it like a robe, I needed to give it to the Head Laundry Chief - The Lord Jesus Christ - He had been taken ALL offenses for me.

Judy from NC said...

Bless you, dear, Lora for being so transparent and having a heart to hear and heed the lessons He wants to teach. Indeed, He served with a towel!