"Once we clearly acknowledge the soul, we can learn to hear it's cries. - Dallas Willard, Renovation Of The Heart."

It takes courage to pursue our dreams. It takes time and patience to unearth buried treasure. But I believe with all my heart that we must do both.



I posted the excerpt a few months back.  I re-read the piece after some time with God, and doing this journal page.  It's an interesting thing to read something again, and have it speak to you in a different way because you are in a different place.  Maybe a little more willing to "see". 

There is an issue, okay lets call it what it is, sin in my life that I have struggled with for many, many years.  Probably most of my adult life.  It is one of the biggest ways I get my "emptiness" filled.  There are many reasons I can see that caused this to become what I use to fill myself, I won't go into that now. 

Why am I letting hundreds know this???  Well speaking it out loud takes some of the strength from it, and I do believe there are others that struggle with the same issue.

God and I have been working on this issue for awhile.  I can see a gradual releasing of my hearts grip on things, but I can also see how my heart can justify itself when I want something.  I am not saying that buying things is wrong, because we all know things in themselves are not bad.  It's our grip on them.  I don't hold things with a tight fist, I am a giver, I like to give, but I also like new things!!!  I like pretty things around me.  Again, beautiful surroundings are not bad.  God created beauty, abundant beauty.

But I am beginning to know my heart a little better.

Charles Ringma says,  "The changes that will reorient our inner compulsions that spring so often from our wounded self, come by way of purgation and painful transformations. Inner change involves self-confrontation, disarmament, relinquishment, and the journey toward wholeness. On this road there are no shortcuts and certainly no quick fixes."

I believe this.  I believe God does the changing in my heart.  But I also believe there is a place for me to say "No"!!!!  Why do I think this will be an easy thing to change, and that God will just zap me and make it go away???  He can of course, but usually he does not. 

I want to so tell you why this is an issue for me.  To tell you a bit about my childhood, and to say see, this is why!!!  I am not so bad!!!!!  But the fact is it does not matter.  Because I'm not so bad - I am loved, accepted, cherished as I am.  But I have things as we all do that God wants to heal.   Your way of getting that emptiness filled may be different than mine, but we all have them. 

I don't want anything to have a grip on my heart - except the maker of my heart. 

Compulsions-Transforming our inner motivations

The journey of transformation into the image and likeness of Christ is never a call for change that has to do only with spiritual activities such as prayer and meditation. The transformation that Scripture has in view is a full-orbed one. It is a transformation that has all of a person in view: the personal and the social, the inward and the outward, the spiritual and the political.

Some do not see this integral perspective. They hold that the following of Christ has primarily to do with the afterlife. Others see their relationship with Christ primarily in terms of developing inner virtues. Others again see Christian discipleship within the frame of the work for peace and justice.

But growth in Christ and walking in the way of Christ involves all of this and more. No human activity is excluded from God's concern. No part of our lives is out of bounds for the renewing and transformation work of the Spirit, including our genetic and social shaping and configuration.

While one may speak about a certain predisposition in terms of who we are physically, emotionally, intellectually, there is no suggestion that the human being is simply a predetermined and programmed. Change and growth are possible. And the gracious renewing work of God in our lives can bring about a shift in our motivations and orientation.

This is not to suggest that this happens overnight or comes prepackaged with our conversion. It is a process. God's healing grace is for all the areas in our lives where we have become wounded and things have become skewed and even twisted.

Henri Nouwen confesses: "I know too well how hard it is to live without being needed, being wanted, being asked, being known, being admired, being praised." And I can add: I know how easy it is for me to be functional rather than relational, overdoing things rather than balancing activity with Sabbath, activity-centered rather than prayerful, self-protective rather than vulnerable.

So there are things in us that need to change. Conversion and coming to faith are not the end but merely the beginnings of this transformational process. And these called-for changes in our way of thinking and doing won't come easily as scattered seed from the sower's hand.

The changes that will reorient our inner compulsions that spring so often from our wounded self, come by way of purgation and painful transformations. Inner change involves self-confrontation, disarmament, relinquishment, and the journey toward wholeness. On this road there are no shortcuts and certainly no quick fixes.

God's renewing work is not to do violence to us but to heal us and make us whole. This is the strong but gentle work of God. This is purging the darkness and healing the wounded places.

None of us can escape this sculpting of God's Spirit within our lives. We may long be oblivious to our own needs. We may long resist the gracious healing hand of God. But finally we do need to yield ourselves into the hands of the One who made all things and seeks to make us whole.
By Charles R. Ringma, "The Seeking Heart - A Journey with Henri Nouwen"

Blessings, and may what Jesus Christ gives freely be deeply and personally yours my friends.


Denise said...

God bless you dear one, appreciate your open heart, love you.

Butterfly Works said...

Oh Mary, you are speaking to and about all of us....we all struggle to fill that void in our hearts that only God can fill.....we do it in different ways but we all do it.....I so appreciate Henri Nouwen's words you quoted....

Many of us had less than desirable childhoods and as a result we have some deep holes we are trying to fill.... Some of mine seem to mimmic what I am reading between the lines....but girlfriend, one thing is for sure.....God will never leave us or forsake us so as we cling to Him, He will do the needed healing and gently take those things from us that keep us in bondage....I know you know all this, but I needed to hear it....

Thanks for causing me to ponder today issues that God is bringing to my heart.....

Hugs and blessings

Joji said...

Thanks for sharing that with us Mary. It is powerful and I'm sure will touch many. It did me....God Bless.

jgr said...

yes! Powerful is the word I was thinking of as I read your post. Thank you for sharing your real self with us and for such valuable insight(s)!

Bren said...

Well girl you know how to get down to the heart of things. Sharing your heart as you have allows all of us to recognize our own compulsions and various ways we have of filling ourselves when we feel empty or in need of nurturing. Food, stuff, it's a battle and we all have our histories. Thank you for your open, honesty for it allows us to be real as well.

Emeila said...

Thank you for sharing your open heart to all of us. Your blog touch me in many ways, thank you. hugs and prayers

PaperPumpkin said...

Thank you for sharing this and for speaking to me, too. ♥ You are such a dear.

sarah said...

your so amazing! thanks for sharing! we all have our little things we cling to, but i close my eyes and i see the image of Christ on the cross and i remember how to open my arms and let go..... your doing a great job! (stop by my blog and see the little gifts star discovered in our back yard! watch our 30 sec video/miracle!) it will make your day!

Just Be Real said...

Mary, as always thank you for sharing from your heart your work and your words. Blessings to you dear one.

DJ said...

I wrote down the sentence "No human activity is excluded from God's concern." There are so many facets of life that keep us in bondage. He wants us to be free.
Praying that God will bless your bravery.

Ophelia said...

Thank you so very, very much for sharing this!

Buffy said...

Mary,thanks for being so real,we all struggle with something in daily walk with him. Alot of people especially Christians don't like to share this.Nobodys perfect except him. And He loves us and forgives us everyday. Thanks for sharing. Oh and your journal page is gorgeous!

Bren said...

I'll be sure to pass your comments on to Gracie, she will be pleased :-)

LeeAnn@Encouragement Is Contagious said...

Dear Mary,

You bless my heart so much because you aren't afraid to be REAL. You bless my heart because you share the REAL you with us and choose to allow what you are feeling to help us...and yes, "Us", have many of the same issues and concerns and feelings. You bless my heart because you share how God is transforming you and that alone is such an encouragement to me especially on days when I wonder if I'm the only one dealing with a certain issue. You seem to hear through to the heart of others even when they can't voice it through words! Now that's a huge gift from God you have and give.

You are such a beautiful person Mary! God knew without a doubt when He was molding and creating you, that you would be special to more than just Him.

You are special to ME!
Lee Ann

lori vliegen said...

oh, mary......i wish i could tell you how many issues i wish God would step in and zap for me! i could go on and on of the learning and the growing i have to do! thank you for sharing your heart once again.....we're all blessed by that!! xox, :))

Bevie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bevie said...

Mar we all have grown from coming here and reading your posts...you not only share your awesome art, but you share your whole heart. God is using you while healing you!

love you so much sister!!!

Jennifer Richardson said...

My oh my can I relate to this! Thanks so much for sharing your gorgeous heart, Mary.
So much healing happening.....just because you're being you.
Love and hugs,

Marsha said...

I can so relate to this, Mary, but with another sin. Thank you for your honesty and the challenge to conquer. I'm going to order this book.