God in all His glory invades our lives with a summer bonanza that stretches long into the mists and mellow fruitfulness of autumn. One day we read in Amos 9:13-15, “Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim, one thing fast on the heels of the other. You won’t be able to keep up. Everything will be happening at once – and everywhere you look, blessings! Blessings like wine pouring off the mountains and hills” (The Message version), and we are indeed inundated with provision and abundance in our new jobs, finances and home. Our heads spin at God’s assertion that we need only stand and watch as He shows us how He loves to bless. We gape in awe as doors of opportunity swing open easily and our lives flood with relief and answers to prayer after such a time of battle and wondering.
And God doesn’t leave it there…..the blessings stretch far and wide. Determined to do a fully restoring work in us we go on a work-holiday trip and He continues to bombard us with blessings; unpacking and unpicking our battered hearts in the process. Release and relief must be a 360 degree work this time as God shows us how our thoughts and self-pitying attitudes have strayed from the lightness of his Word. I find my hard shell of a coping mechanism begin to crack beneath the weight of the Father’s determination to love me back to life. My tough exterior cannot withstand the pressure of wave after wave of His eye for detail and attention. Like a lover wooing His intended, He romances us with our favourites, though we don’t expect or see any of them coming. No matter that we have needed to be frugal on this trip, He is unwavering in His decadence and our eyes leak in surprise, humility and gratitude.
My dreams during this time are vivid prophecies of new life.
And yet, now so out of practice in the yielding I find I don’t know how to submit to the lavishness of His goodness. It’s been so long in fully letting go, I find I have forgotten how to. I forget that grace means that we don’t deserve this; He simply delights in showering us in confetti-kindness anyway. It’s not a reward for our performance or recognition of some sort of achievement for we fall so far short every day anyway. This is simply outrageous, eye-popping, freely-given favour by a Daddy who loves to give good gifts to His children. But my zipped-up heart struggles to receive it and it is not until the flight home that I am undone.
As I watch an in-flight movie I hear His voice translating the scene before me. As the action unfolds I see my previous state for what it is – a frightened, vulnerable warrior, surrounded on all signs and determined to fight her way out of any scenario, whatever the price to be paid. The injections and invasiveness of IVF, the heartache of infertility and yearning have made me tough to life and willing to fight – even fight against my darling heavenly Daddy. My eyes have become wild from the need to survive and I cannot see clearly who is for me or against me anymore. I have resolved to put my fists up and take on any opponent, no matter how mighty the opposition – and in it I have lost my ability to surrender, to be comforted and to let Him lead me.
But there it is – the startling truth that I hear in His whisper to my weary warrior’s heart…. and the alternative option: I watch the screen as a team of eleventh-hour rescuers fly in from nowhere and square up to the Enemy. I sense the atmosphere shift and the warrior’s instinct to fight diffused. I hear God’s voice as He gently tells me to put my fists down, to relax my stance; to let Him fight for me and to allow Him to be for me, to let Him bring in His heavenly resources. And I sob as I understand that I have not become strong but hard and brittle and tough. I feel Him massaging my heart in His soft, warm, huge hands and I yield to the need to let go, to let Him in.
It’s as though in this moment I sense God’s hands leaning on the fresh cracks of my thawing heart and I must give way to let the fleshy softness beneath be reinstated again. I love that He loves me too much to leave my heart encased in its thick armour and I shed my chainmail skin in final relief.
Life makes us hard. Self-pity wheedles its way amongst the flowers. The need to survive can bring out the very worst in us. There are times when we know that we are wandering away from who and how we want to be but the path back home seems to have disappeared. Whether we are the prodigal child, the lost sheep or the woman at the well, Father God will not let us stray too far from Him. I sense that as God urges us into a new season ahead, the warrior woman can be left behind for a time. She is not needed for where we are headed with Him next.