"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.


Abiding Monday

I apologize for the length of this, but as I was reading "Allure of Hope" for the second time through I felt the pull to post this.  This wonderful book written by Jan Meyers is a must read for all women.

We put such a burden on ourselves in trying to live the life we think we are called to live.  In doing so I think we miss "real life" in the process.

From Allure of Hope:

You may not know this, but Christianity isn't meant to make you into an efficient, moral woman. Are we meant to change as Christ stuns us with His forgiveness? Absolutely. But the transformation that comes, impacting who we are as women, does so naturally as an afterthought of God's love for us, surprising us as it shows up. Our femininity, our artistry, is transformed - perhaps released is a better word - as our hearts are captured by the goodness of God in the midst of our hard-heartedness. If we attempt to be more feminine - if we strive to make "being a godly, feminine woman" our goal - we end up having the feel of a Barbie doll at a dance. Others around us are fluid and laughing. We are stiff and uninviting."

Recently a group of high-profile Christian women met locally. They were called together by one who is well know for her influential teachings on womanhood. Graciously, she wanted to get a sense of where women's needs were, where the direction of her work should head in order to address those needs. My friend Leigh attended this meeting along with about twenty others. Each woman had a chance to say what she thought was important. Leigh heard them say things like "Women are not disciplined enough. We try so hard to motivate them, but they don't have the skills to structure their lives to benefit from it." Another said, "We need to find a way to convince women they have something to give." Leigh patiently waited as woman after woman spoke of commitment and obligation, cheerleading women into enthusiasm.

Leigh began to deflate. She was becoming disturbed; something grievous was going on here. Then she realized that there was no lack in what was being said. She realized she was hearing everyone speak of being well on their way and needing to find a way to assist those who aren't. Leigh thought, I was a spiritual orphan who found a home in the heart of an older woman who loved me. That's where the love of Christ took root. I come here today with a great need. We all have great need, and we need to meet each other in the heart in order for God's love to take root.

When all had spoken their peace, one woman realized they hadn't heard from Leigh. "Leigh", she asked, "would you like to add something?"

"Yes," Leigh said with misty eyes. "Isn't all of this missing the point? I tried for years to be a dutiful, sacrificial Christian woman, and I always ended up feeling like all the activity was missing the point. I've realized in the last few years that our relationship with God is all about Him finding our hearts, and women are experts at keeping their hearts locked away. How can we know the joy of forgiveness if we don't see how hard our hearts are? How can we respond passionately to pleas for more involvement if our hearts aren't in it? I think we do an incredible disservice to women by adding to their burden rather than meeting them where their hearts are, in what they are thirsty for. Do we want to create women who are more active, or do we want to multiply women who are desperately thirsty for the heart of God?"

The room was silent, the other women remembering their hearts for a moment. It was clear where the beauty was in the room.

It's so very easy to forget our hearts, have you forgotten your heart?

As we head into this season of celebration may we slow down, may we refrain from entering the frenzied pace that has become "normal" this time of year.

When we slow down we realize just how very thirsty we are.

...If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.  (John 7:37, 38)

...but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. (John 4:14)

Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters...  (Isaiah 55:1)

Grace and peace


Debi From the Pacific Northwest said...

Mary, your post really spoke to my heart. The message was encouraging and the scriptures were meant for me to hear this morning. Thank you for posting such deep felt posts. You are an encouragement to others, dear one. HuGGs!

lailani said...

Mary, how perfect! I just sent this to a friend - so very good, had to share the encouragement and reminder that is so well written here!

Have a VERY Happy Thanksgiving!

mystele said...

thank you, thank you.

rachel awes said...

loooooooove this water!
& ohhhhhhhh, i think this
comment is going to work!

sharing living streams w/you! xox

Montgomery Family said...

Ah, Mary... You are that safe woman...who loves others, who has found her true self, who nurtures, who accepts others' imperfections. Thank you for being a safe place for my heart! I love you!!

katie purcell said...

Amen to all of the comments so far.
What a great thing to be...a safe place. You help lead our hearts to the only true SAFE PLACE.

camp and cottage living said...

I have been a supporter of Joyce's for many years. I haven't read this book, but I want to now!
Thanks for sharing it.

PaperPumpkin said...

Beautiful, Mary. And I am thirsty...

laurel said...

Wonderful words, Mary. Thanks for sharing this. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving too. Hugs and love back to you.

LeeAnn@Encouragement Is Contagious said...

Mary, those words are so beautiful and peace surrounds them. Thank you for being such a true grace and peace spreader. God's real love so resides on this blog and in beautiful Y♥U. Coming here comforts me so much!

Love you dear friend! I hope you have a very wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.
♥Lee Ann

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Mary every time you post on Abiding I am always struck to the soul of my being. I feel it always speaks what God is doing in my heart and puts it on paper. Then I look to your side bar at your hearts....this truly is your anointing. God has given you such wisdom in addressing our hearts before Him.

I can't put into words how this ministered to me today...I must get that book for this new year. What is funny is I started shaking my head no on the statement..."women aren't disciplined enough"...so glad it didn't stop there.

Thanks so much for sharing.

Hindsfeet said...

Thank you for this "permission slip" today, Mary......

My heart is tired and fearful and feels very small against the big backdrop of the world right now...More "Much-Afraid" than "Hindsfeet" these days.....

.....your post makes me feel as though I can curl up in the deepest center of God's heart for me and rest awhile, safe there, loved there, accepted 'just as I am' there......

thank you for this, my dear friend,


S. Etole said...

Thank you for this beautiful reminder of the important matters of our heart. Thankful for the way you share His grace with us.

Sarah (Nikki) said...

beautiful post Mary.....wishing you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving.

caryjo said...

Interesting. I'll have to seek the Lord to discover if my "heart" needs any further God-instruction.

Jennifer Richardson said...

gaahhhhh, this is SO fantastic!
So simple and true and dripping
with golden grace
that saves
and restores
and sets my heart free
and dancing!
Thank you for this fabulous share!
(will come back to slowly digest