Monday, October 18, 2010

Hearts, and A Special Night

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Philippians 3:12

When I write about things of the heart here, things God is showing me or teaching me, please know that I'm usually thinking out loud about as God speaks to me - I have not mastered or obtained all this, as Paul said. Not even close. I'm not writing out of mastery. I'm speaking here out of desperation to understand and become all He is and wants me to be...

Today during worship at our church, God hit me with a piece of truth. He connected two thoughts, one a comment on the state of my heart and the other a prayer, and showed me that the comment is, in fact, the answer to the prayer. Brought me to tears there in church, as I stood between two of my girls.

Uncertainty, yearning, and waiting will stretch a heart. These things have stretched my heart and the hearts of my family members over the past year and a half or so.

The stretching, it hurts. It is not comfortable.

So that is there, in me. It is something God has ordained.

Switch gears to another train of thought with me for a minute. I'm standing at the sink washing dishes, a good, mindless occupation sometimes, but lately what comes into my mind as I work (in the moments when little people aren't calling on me) is this, a prayer: Enlarge our hearts.

It's my prayer to Jesus right now, as I look around me and see a man and five daughters who need a godly, faithful woman intimately involved in their hearts and lives. But what if that's not all God wants me to be and to do? I'm not talking about getting busy-busy and dreaming up lots of things that I think of as service to God.

What I mean is this: the temptation is to be so completely absorbed in me and mine that I live my days thinking there isn't more. I am asking, What if God wants me to love more people, more deeply?

Enlarge my heart.... love better love more love the lost by speaking the gospel of Jesus to them love the hungry, the poor, the unloved minister to God's people, to His servants around the world love by putting others above myself

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. I John 4:7

Now let's go back to my original thought, which was, Lord, all this uncertainty and waiting and yearning is stretching my heart. Oh, Lord, it hurts.

Ah, yes, but today He showed me: A stretched heart is most certainly an enlarged heart, is it not?

I was standing when that truth came to me, and I could do nothing but plop down in my seat, cry quietly, and thank Him for showing me this. And my heart has only been stretched the tiniest bit, enlarged just a little, but I pray that by His grace and power it will continue to grow so that I love more people with His love.

God is showing us practical ways to act on this call to love more, and I hope to share some of those in coming days and months, but this has gotten very long already and I still have pictures to show of a very special night!

Speaking of largeness of heart, I thought mine would just about burst on Saturday night.

I was just plain giddy on the way home.

Saturday night, I got to take my three oldest girls to see a local production of Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. It was performed at a tiny, charming theatre, and the cast included dear friends of ours from church. They did a fantastic job. I wish we could see it again!

This was the girls' first experience attending a live show of any kind, I believe. When the lights went down and the performance started, I looked at their faces: just rapt expressions of wonder! (the beginning of heart-swelling for me, that was!)

Each time the lights went down after an act or song, MK would ask, Is it over? She didn't want it to end.

After the show, EG told me, That was way better than the cartoon kind, mama!  

When we got home, MK ran into her daddy's arms, spilling out the whole thing to him in her most animated way. What a joy to see their joy.

I just kept thinking, What a blessing to have these daughters and to enjoy something like this with them, to grow in friendship with them. What a privilege and gift to know them, and to have the opportunity to do something so special together. They are precious people and we had a happy, happy night. God is so very good. Thank You, Lord, for all of this.

There wasn't time for us to get a group shot before the show, so I snapped this one at an intersection on the way!

Don't tell anybody I was taking pictures while driving. Shhh! I rarely do this, I promise!

The show was excellent. The handsome Prince Christopher was played by our just-out-of-highschool friend from church. The theatre people were so laid back and sweet about inviting the children up on stage for pictures.

The sweet sad little girl is another church friend's daughter. Believe it or not, she knows the prince quite well in real life, but it just upset her to be put into his arms up there on stage.

LC and EG checking out some of the scenery

In real life, this fair maid is Prince Christopher's sister, and often babysits the girls

Downtown at 10pm, three very happy girls running up and down the sidewalk, with a happy mama watching (and then having to caution them not to run toward the intersection!)


  1. Tears in my eyes!

    Rejoicing with you over how God has and is speaking to you, and for the this heart-work.

    Thank you for sharing the happy evening. Beautiful, beautiful girls, with a beautiful mother. I love the car photo.

  2. Thanks for sharing Beth. I thanked God for you (and Christian, lol) this morning, for they way you encourage my heart towards obedience by what you share, and I prayed that you would be encouraged too. So I'm really pleased to read this, that God is encouraging you by helping you to notice him working in you. xo

  3. Beth, it's so neat to read this post as I have been wrestling through similar thoughts as Troy and I seek to lead and encourage families in our church and school. I completely agree that we are in a season of life that where home is our ministry and mission field, and yet, I'm constantly reminded that encouragement in Titus 2 doesn't all of a sudden begin when we are empty nesters. But, that we can ask the Lord to give us a greater capacity to care and invest in others WHILE we are fulfilling our roles as wife and mothers. Hugs to you!