Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Crossing the Line



The beautiful thing about this adventure called faith is that we can count on Him never to lead us astray.

Chuck Swindoll

Swimming. It is an expression of capability in the water. A word I write with regard and ambition.

I have never learned. I do not have the positive pleasure of using the word for personal description. I only can say, "I do not go swimming." and "I am not swimming."

When my doctor sent me to pool therapy, I knew a challenge lay before me. I nevertheless obliged, for I needed the prescribed care. Put wellness ahead of my fear. Pushed my comfort zone behind me while I waited weeks for an appointment. Dreaded the future proclamation I must make to anyone concerned.

When "the day" finally arrived, all my mentally rehearsed "can't swim" explanations were in vain. I did not have to wait for a proper moment to tell Andie, the physical therapist, about my shameful inability. She asked. I told. She replied that many who came to her did not either.

I felt better. But still looked at the vast body of water before me with a bit of angst and awe.

Andie calmed my fear. Reassured my safety. I accepted her words and felt relieved.

I entered the waters, at once filled with timidity and bliss. The pool was warm, waters a pale, greenish blue. The quiet surroundings, the soft background music, and jacuzzi bubbles gave me pause to wonder at anxiety I now thought silly. I felt embarrassed at my fear and lack of trust.

With floaters around my head and under my knees and legs, Andie guided me to water's surface. I was shy, but knew I was safe. "I won't let you sink," she said. I believed her, and so complied and focused on relaxation.

And therein found a historical precedent for myself at fifty years old, as I rested upon the top of water for the first time in my life. I was floating. Swirling about and hearing soft splashes surrounding.

What followed were days of therapy that challenged my fear, gave healing to my muscles, alleviated pain, and brought peace upon the water.

A door had opened. I knew a new world. Looked forward to each opportunity to face my opponent, the aqua, foamy sea.

But one day I did not remember a warning. Just simply forgot Andie's words, spoken on the first day of therapy. "Don't go past the blue line."

My fifth session had ended, and with time to spare, I decided to sit near the jacuzzi and enjoy its powerful warmth on my back. I walked across the pool, my eyes fixed on the prized place.

And then, it happened. I crossed the line. And dropped.

The drop was small. But I quickly found myself in water that almost covered my head.

I realized the power of tip toes, and used them to keep my nose and mouth above while I made my way back to my newly found comfort zone.

Resting at the jacuzzi, I heard inquiring voices. "Are you OK?" "Is everything all right?"

"Yes, I'm OK. I just forgot. I forgot about the line."

Enough said. I sat a few moments, regained composure, and soaked in the swirling waters.

And thought about the line. Wondered how I could forget such significant symbolism. In disbelief, I pondered my inability to see its bright blueness until it was too late.

The nearness of the safe mark made it invisible to me. Distraction drew my eyes away from danger. A present goal hid the purpose of a planned point.

And so it can be with lines. Even spiritual lines. Those lines put in our lives by God for our own good that for one reason or another are forgotten, ignored, or momentarily unseen.

God's lines are for our good. They are laid with purpose. They are points of demarcation. Progresses of movement. Courses determined for a specific reason. Sequences of related events that lead to a certain ending. *

God limits. Marks. Makes boundaries.

God draws our lines. They are very personal. Divinely His, and distinctively ours. Always thinking of our best, our heavenly Father carefully binds our borders and sets them in order.

Yet, when we fail to see them, deny them honor, desire greater distance, we challenge the Father's love that so carefully made these perimeters. Lines set to keep us safe, sound, unmoved from His will. Lines deliberately designed to dissuade fears, give liberty for worship, for service, for living the life of Christ, for walking His way, for sacrificing our hearts, for giving pure offerings. Holy, acceptable, works of love that are acceptable in His sight.

Offerings that overcome the ease of wood, hay, and stubble. Offerings that prove our testimony. Sweet sacrifices that speak a pure heart and fervent love for Jesus.

We are all guilty of crossing lines. From drawing too close to them to clearly see truth. From careless self-pursuits, from blind ignorance, from weak faith, from failed vision, from confusion, from fear, from egocentricity.

I have crossed the line many times in my life. I cannot return. Recross. Go back. Undo. See the uncrossed back then life.

BUT, I can see Jesus now. Listen closely for His voice. Wait for His ways. Worship Whom I have believed. Honor His wise words. Look for His lines today.

Lines of His Holy word. Lines of His lovely still, small voice. Lines of providence. Lines that close doors I must not open. Lines that open doors I must not close. Lines that lead me in the paths of righteousness. Lines that lead on lonely roads. Lines that bring me to high places. Lines that give me light in darkness. Lines of hope. Lines of peace. Lines of love. Lines that let me see Jesus. Keep my sight on His face. Keep my toes on the ground.

And, dear friends, please hear me now. We clearly know those lines that separate us from God. Lines that if crossed lead to sin. God has made brilliantly clear boundaries between good and evil.

How those must always in all situations be honored. But today I write of tailored lines. Those lines given us in our individual lives. Drawn just for us. Personally. Intimately. Lovingly. Written by God's finger in the sand of our own soul.

Several years ago, God warned me about an upcoming ear surgery. (It was not a life or death issue; the doctor suggested it to improve my quality of life.) I did not feel peace. Yet, I allowed my intellect, my own reason, to cry out and drown the voice of the Holy Spirit.

What followed was two months of misery and a reversed surgery. But God, in His sovereign teaching, in His mercy, through His lovingkindness, has used that situation many times to whisper the importance of hearing Him.

Oh, to always hear my God! To "Hear Him!" In Greek, "hear" means Akouo, to understand, to attend to, to consider what is said. And it appears 402 times in the New Testament! Allow that emphatic retelling echo through your soul!

To consider Christ's voice! To understand His will! To attend to His words! To see His lines!

To see Christ's lines that we may ever obey Jesus, knowing that the desire of our Shepherd is for our good and will always lead us to a certain end. His perfect goal. His best place. Made just for me. For you. Because Jesus cares. And loves us so.

Follow His line today, friend. It is a straight path to peace. It is a clear way of life that gives fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). Now. Today. Forever.

*Taken from definition of "line," found in The American Heritage College Dictionary
Greek terminology is from e-sword

Thank you, dear friends, for your thoughts and prayers for my mother. The surgery was a great success! Glory to God! I thank Him for His close presence and healing touch. She continues to do well. I also thank Him for safe traveling to Georgia and back again and for allowing my dear aunt to return with me for a visit. The Lord is good!


19 comments:

  1. Amen. HE never leaves us or fails us. Amazed by HIS grace, andrea

    PS: You have an award at arise 2 write

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  2. Again, let me thank you for your timely post. It is so wonderful coming to your blog. I just wanted you to know that through this site the Holy Spirit is strong and always gives peace here. I just hope others feel this too.
    Rae

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  3. Thank you again, Andrea for sharing your heart. The Lord has been speaking to my own heart on this same issue of listening to HIS voice and relying solely on Him!
    Praise God that your mother is doing well!
    Blessings!

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  4. I loved this...

    My Granddaddy always said that if you draw a line in the sand and never put even one foot over it, you will never have to worry about the other foot...sadly, I did not always heed this advice and had to learn the hard way that those lines were there for a purpose...

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  5. Lines are put there not to cage us, but to keep us safe. I used to do it on the beach with my children, who grew up respecting the boundaries....most of the time!
    Thank you for beautiful writing again.

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  6. Thank you for this writing. It is so true that the Lord puts lines there for our own benefit. I need to remember not to cross His lines.

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  7. Dear friend,

    How good it is to know with certainty that we have a God that loves us and shows that love in numerous ways.

    Those lines that you were describing are some of the ones HE is showing me now...but unfortantely, I am having a bit of a trouble staying within them.

    Thank you dear friend for your words...

    lady m

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  8. Thank you for sharing your heart,
    dearest Andrea!!! :) Indeed... what
    a Marvelous God we serve... :)

    Love in Him~ Miss Jen

    Proverbs 3:5

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  9. Andrea,

    Another beautiful and inspirational post! It is so hard at times to not cross the line but how wonderful to know that even when we do He still loves us!

    I am so glad to hear that your mother is doing well:).

    Blessings,

    Kim

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  10. Lines and boundaries: we can either find peace and safety in them or see restriction and feel frustration. I'm wrestling with a few of my God given lines lately as new opportunities come up and I need to say no. Thank you for your vulnerable story and your new found freedom.

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  11. This is such a timely reminder, dear Andrea. I know I have crossed many lines I shouldn't have, and your post written so honestly personal, just encourages me to go back within the boundaries that God has set for me.

    Oh, how my favorite verse of scripture resonates in my heart just now:

    Psalm 16:6 - The lines have fallen to me inpleasant places...

    Thank you for another good post.

    Love
    Lidj

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  12. What a beautifully written post.
    Amen and amen,
    d

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  13. Dear Andrea,

    I am always blessed upon entering here. Thank you for that post so full of wisdom. May the Lord impress it upon our hearts.... His lines.

    Blessings,

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  14. I love thinking of surrender associated with that "deep end" feeling. I remember it as a child - there was fear involved and then the sweet realization of salvation, too. Such a great lesson. Thank you, sweet and wonderful one!

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  15. Just checking in with everyone and give an update.
    I have a new party starting- Wed Sept 2. So each week I will have the Knock Off Knock Out party on Mondays and the Holiday/Seasonal party on Wed. I hope you come for a visit.
    Cheri
    Its So Very Cheri

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  16. Andrea,

    So many times, I've crossed lines that He set in place for my protection.

    Then He graciously draws me back to safety.

    To Him.

    Such a meaningful post

    Sweet dreams.

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  17. What a beautiful devotion, thank you so very much for this. I,too, have crossed many lines throughout my christian walk. As my faith has matured through the years, I've learned to walk more carefully. But seems like no matter how careful I walk, once in a while, before I know it, I step across the line.

    My prayer is that the Lord will give me better line vision, so that these occassions of stepping across, will become less and less.

    Blessings dear friend,
    Debra

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  18. Glad to hear your mother's surgery went well and that this therapy has given you some relief. We live in a world where playing near the line is considered o.k., but those lines are there to protect us from harm and draw us closer to Him, not a line to flirt with. What a message that the whole world needs to hear.

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  19. Dear friend,
    Please hop over to my Aug 31 post, there is something there to encourage your heart.

    Love
    Lidj

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Thank you for visiting. I cherish your thoughts. You are special to me, but most of all, you are special to God, who loves you with everlasting love. May your life be swept into His joy and peace.

In the Wonderful Love of Christ our Savior,

Andrea