Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Can you see? The process is beginning - the leaves are not as vibrant as they once were, dark green against an endless blue back-drop. If you look closely, you will spot a few sprinkles of brown scattered through the branches.
It is time. Since last spring they have clung tenaciously through gusting winds, scorching sun, freezing nights and battering storms - the towering oak clinging to them, giving them life. But it is time, and now she will begin a season of letting go. Slowly, inexorably, the color will drain, their grip will loosen, and they will fall to the ground. Just a few at first and finally they will come down in a crinkly shower of brown.
In no time at all new life begins to form in the empty spaces - fresh and green - that indescribable shade of new. Without the dying of the old, there would be no place for the new. They cannot co-exist; they cannot take turns, the old there for a few days changing places with the new every now and then.
I am undergoing this process. It is not an easy one.
I was in the second grade. We moved a few months into the school year, and I was the new kid. Shy and quiet - desperately wanting to be liked. I was all alone in the girls' room when a few of the other girls came in. They didn't know I was there. I heard them talking about "her." They thought her stuck-up and conceited. She didn't even talk to anyone. They were talking about me.
Their words slammed into my seven year old heart and left a wound that has never quite gone away. I've carried it around with me for nearly sixty years - that heart that yearns for the approval of others. The one that longs to belong, to be well thought of, to be part of the "in" crowd. In all honesty, it was there long before the words in an elementary school restroom were spoken - a part of my DNA.
It seeped into my relationship with the Lord - this striving to please, to be good enough so that this huge God would look at me and be pleased. In my own skewed estimation, I simply never measured up. And still I clung to the old - to this trying.
Gently, the Father, works in our hearts to make all things new, but there are times when only drastic measures will get the job done. There are times we must be broken, die to the old, so healing can come and something new born.
I have been broken in recent months. There has been rejection; there have been words spoken, cutting right to heart of the matter. The striving to please, the need to be well thought of, the compulsion to prove myself right all began to tremble under the pressure of what is true. I felt it all falling to the ground.
I come broken into this season. Broken but filled with peace. He is making all things new. I come with open hands, releasing the need for the approval of others into the hands of the One whose approval is the only one worth having. He tells me there is nothing I need do to make Him love me more. He loves me.
Jennifer has offered us a place to tell our stories. Please come visit her warm, welcoming blog. She has written a beautiful story and there are others. Maybe you have a story you'd like to share. Your story will be a blessing to others. That's just the way of good stories.