Thursday, January 07, 2010

DUST DIVINE


"All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired." 

 Martin Luther

It was up to my knees!  My four year old feet, donned in little girl boots, struggled to keep up with my dad as we made our way to the basement of our Atlanta, Georgia, home, looking for a shovel.  The grounds of our little Cape-Cod cottage on a hill were covered in snow, and with each step, I felt a candylike crunch beneath my feet.  I had to pull my petite self along through the frozen slush.  It must have been one of those Southern snows that is first a lovely, fluffy white but then becomes a nightmarish, slilppery, four-inch-thick cake, iced with sheer ice.

The cold and the wet white did not delight me then.  I had not yet learned the blessing it could be.  I wanted to be in the warmth of my cozy, lavender bedroom, surrounded by my dolls and tea sets and other toys.  Why in the world I was helping Daddy look for a shovel I do not know.  All I know is that tiny snippet of shovel-searching is my first snow memory.

Many snow memories have followed, and all of them have been joyful events, including the newest one, which occured today here in northern Alabama.  If I gazed out the window once today, I did so about thirty times, and by now, I know my friends who live in a proverbial blanket of white each winter must be laughing or shaking their heads in disbelief.

But a snow day in the Deep South is a gift of true luxury.  Children, of all ages, pray for it and wait for it each winter with great expectations, and when the sparkling specks of white begin to drift from the heavens and cling to the earth, we are overcome with joy and thankfulness for a few days of snowbound life if we're twice blessed.

You see, the rarity of our white blessing does not justify the purchase by our cities and counties for enough  trucks and plows and whatever it takes to clear the roads and keep them safe.  Henceforth, when snow accumulates, roads, schools, and most businesses close, and you hope you have been to the grocery store, for, short of an emergency, you may be homebound until temperatures climb above freezing.  A day that begins in normality suddenly turns into a new beginning of a blissful mini-vacation, as you are tucked within your home, nestled wtih family, food, and fun.

And, if you happen to have an empty nest, you have a lot of time of think.  Today was opportunity.

I am a constant analyser and assessor of self.  I observe my own motives.  Listen to my own voice.  Search my own soul.  Hear my own heart.

It is not easy.  It hurts.  It is exhausting.  It is costly.

For part of my morning devotional today, the Lord led me to Psalm 51.  It is David's offering of repentance after his sin of adultry with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah.

What impresses me most with the Psalm, are David's brokenness and honesty.  His words are woven with grief and watered with remorse.  His desire for God's grace and mercy rings with desperate appeal.  "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" (7, NKJV).

I imagine David's painful prayer.  I see him walk and raise his voice to heaven.  I see him lie in dust and declare his demise.  I see him, in despair, rue the day of his birth.  I see him sink in sorrow, his face drowned by hot tears.   

I hear David cry and beg for God's mercy, and I hear the King weep and wail for his sin. 

David's guilt and pain gripped his life and tortured his soul.   

Through his own guilt, through the painful suffering of personal remorse, David discovers the true values of God.  As the psalmist experiences the reality of his own sin, as David faces his own failure and looks at that sin and failure through the eyes of His Redeemer, David has an incredible moment of truth.  "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart - these, O God, You will not despise" (17, NKJV).     

What an awesome moment of revelation!  What an awesome moment of relief!  God does not desire burnt offering for the sake of the offering.  God desires brokenness.  Humility.  Our own realization of our own spiritual helplessness.  God desires remorse.  Real repentence.  Deep sorrow that makes you want to change your life and never be the same again.

David found that humility and repentance for his crisis of sin.  We can find it, too, for any and every moment in our lives, even though what troubles us may seem so small.

How can we find brokenness, humility?  How can we experience great depth of sorrow for our sins, faults,  failures, and needs?  How can we grow into the reality of our weaknesses?  How can we have Holy Spirit transformation in our lives?  How can we change?

As David did - only through God's creation.  What emotion the psalmist must have felt as he wrote, "Create in me a clean (pure, holy, free from corruption) heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (10, NKJV). 

Listen, friends!  The Hebrew word David uses for create is the same one used in Genesis 1:1!  The psalmist confessed his inability!  The psalmist proclaimed God's ability!

David's answer, our answer, is the creative voice of God spoken into our lives.  The same voice that said, "Let there be light" (Genesis 1:3), is more than able to speak His power into our lives and give us whatever we need, including a new heart.   

A new heart!  It's what I'm seeking this year.  I want a heart like Jesus' heart.  Honestly, it intimidates me to pray for it.  I know it will not come cheaply.  In fact, I am very sure it has great cost.  I hope I am ready to pay the price for a new heart!  To sacrifice for God's miraculous moving with power! 

Will you please join me in this journey?  If not, will you please pray for me?  Ask the Lord to give me the tenacity and faith to allow Him to speak His creative word and do His creative work, so I will be a vessel that pleases God. 

The Lord is so good!  He has prepared our steps!  Each part of our day was planned and written in His book before our very conception (Psalm 139:16). 

Today was the day that snow would have new symbolism for me.  When I awoke this morning, I had no idea God would bring such a prolific metaphor into my life!  The clean, white dust from heaven tells of a merciful God who purifies and renews and speaks creative miracles into my life and your life.  Falling snow is new hope.  New hope is new creation.  New creation is new life.  New life means a new heart.  Praise His name, Elohim, the God Who creates! 


27 comments:

  1. Beautiful writing. I've come to expect nothing less.

    I will pray for you, Andrea. Your prayers sent upward in my behalf would be equally wonderful for me. I have many decisions to make...

    Love to you~Rebecca

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  2. What another rich post this one is, dear friend. I missed reading I think one or two before this one, but in due time I will be able to catch up and read them, that's for sure.

    But this one strikes me... because it speak of something that I also want to have. A new heart. A new perspective. A new way of seeing, and understanding.

    And yes, you did mention how it comes about. It comes from a humble heart, a heart that is empty of self, and hidden agenda, hidden motives.

    A pure heart comes from a humble heart.

    I echo your desire for this year. Let's pray for one another, dear Andrea.

    Love
    Lidj

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  3. Powerful; and I dare say a precious peak into the lamp that lights your heart (and parlor). I believe it's one of your best posts!

    This has been a season of snow-days for me. Though I live near Phoenix and have seen not one lacey crystal fall from the heavens, I have spent many a day sequestered as if a blizzard had hedged me in.

    It's been such a remarkable season, though at times chilly. Yet I rejoice in God my Savior, knowing that His mercies are new every morning, and so am I/we - His beloved creation.

    Blessings & hugs,
    Kathleen

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  4. I had a lavender bedroom, too! Happy snow!
    I'll try to appreciate it today when I'm sweltering in my classroom (something's wrong with the heating system and this granny is melting!)
    It's freezing OUTSIDE though!
    The Lord's so gracious. My conversations with Him are often so self-centered, but He's my Savior and I need saving.

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  5. Andrea, you continue to paint the most beautiful word pictures in your writing. It is always a pleasure to be drawn so beautifully into your childhood memories. I had a lavender bedroom growing up that was a haven for me. Our little area of the world has come to a halt with the beautiful blanket of snow here. I loved how you put it "the rarity of a white blessing!"
    Wanting to be a creative vessel for Him too,
    Lora

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  6. A new day and a new heart. HIS blessings are new each day..... Praying that 2010 will be a year of "be ye doers of the word and not hears only"

    Sending warm hugs

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  7. Enjoyed your reflection on Southern Snow Days...what an adventure!

    I am totally blessed by the words you shared about David...and desiring a new heart...

    New hope for the new year....

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  8. So true....... your words shared today. As always ,thank you for the manna passed out to all your readers today.
    Blessings,
    Rae

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  9. "...my sins are white like snow!"

    What lovely picture you have painted in my head right now dear friend...it is not so far fetched here in the North. I am right now more than knee-deep in winter wonderland.

    And everytime I see it, I get the same thoughts running through my heart and my mind - He has washed my sins and now I am white as snow! Amen!

    Yes, I will pray for you but even better, I will join you. He has an ability to purge everything that is blocking His way. And yes, it is very painful - but the challenge is exciting!!!

    Keeping you always near my heart dear friend,

    maria

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  10. I too had a lavender room (with white eyelet bedding) as a child growing up in the Atlanta area!

    Such a rich post my friend and as a fellow analyzer and assessor of self your writing so ministered to my heart! Praise Him for evermore that my sins are washed whiter than snow!

    Sweet Blessings!
    Jackie

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  11. Andrea,

    What a beautiful message! Thank you so much for sharing God's Word with us! I pray that God lead and guide you in all of your endeavors and I thank Him for blessing me with such a wonderful friend as you:).

    Blessings,

    Kim

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  12. Andrea,
    I will be praying for you,me, and others to be more pure hearts....a new hearts. I have been focuses on 2010..for me to have more understanding,more love,and peace. Each year..I grow closer and closer to him..Like the song 'The Closer Walk with Thee' I will join with you through this "New Hearts" Journey...May the Lord bless you this week...

    Thank you for stoppping by...I love in Laurel,Mississippi...(33 miles North of Hattiesburg) Wow! small world of Assembly of God..You are the second person i met today of AG. My sister live in Chapels Hill,TN (south of Nashville) We go through 65 North...through the exit that go to Huntville,AL Small world...Nice to meet you ..Have a Bless week...suppose to warm up..Yay! Smiles and Hugs Kathy

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  13. Andrea,

    This is a beautiful post. I too feel as if this New Year means a new heart. Blairsville has been snowed in for a few days and it has given me much time for introspection.

    I will be praying for you.

    Cindy

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  15. Just read the blog -Meditation from the Cardinal Nest - by Ruth !
    At January 7 post ,you will see one amazing story about one amazing sister .She`s looking for founds to feed some hungryes childrens .
    I just thinking how i can realy help !??
    I pray that Joy For All will minister to it's visitors
    and will encourage and bless everyone in some way.
    We can identify with the disciples. At times, we have
    a tendency to focus on the things that are going on around us instead of the One that is in control of all things. When that happens, reality may seem overwhelming, and the problems appear unsolvable. However, we must realize to be fearful
    is to lack faith in God and in His provision for us. True faith focuses on God, not on the things that are happening.Psalm 139:11-12
    If I say, surely the darkness shall fall on me,
    Even the night shall be light about me.
    Indeed, the darkness shall not hide
    from You, but the night shines as the day,
    the darkness and the light are both
    a like to You.
    in Jesus love >>
    Kelly

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  16. The two words that make this mother cry in this season is "snow day" on the radio. That being said, you almost make me want to have one with my kids! The white has been absent this year but God's presence alive and active and at the ready to create in us a "clean" slate for the day ahead! Everytime. Not just once. Everytime we ask.

    I want a clean heart this year; a clean slate. Too often I glance back and yesterday and become mournful all over again for the sin I have committed.

    Thank you for the reminder that what's in the past, what's been forgiven, is done. Time to move on.

    Beautiful writing as usual.

    peace to you this week~elaine

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  17. Andrea:

    I think it is a heart cry' for so many on these blogs, a new heart, a fresh beginning, and I am one of them. It's my prayer. And yes, there is always a cost. This was a beautiful reminder of what I am praying for this year.

    Love you my friend,

    Sonja

    P.S.... How is 'the actual dust' settling in the rebuilding process? I'm still praying for this transition time for you.

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  18. What a beautiful post! Joining with you on this adventuresome ride! It's so worth it all!
    Thank you for the pleasure of reading it.
    Julie

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  19. Andrea,

    Your message today reminded me of this verse:

    "Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool"(Is 1:18).

    White as snow. Wiped clean. Forgiven.

    Given a new heart. To love Him. To obey Him.

    With our whole heart.

    You shared so beautifully the character of our loving God.

    Sweet dreams.

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  20. I love this idea! Of comparing the snow day to what he does for us, newness of life, cleanness of heart, and Rest in Him!

    So glad, Ya'll got some snow! What a blessing indeed!

    Maria

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  21. "Clean, white dust from Heaven -- divine dust." What a beautiful metaphor!

    This was beautiful.

    I just wanted you to know that I mentioned your lovely blog in my FFF (Friday's Fave Five) yesterday. This place is a blessing, and I wanted to share it.

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  22. Hi Andrea,
    Just wanted to pop by really quick and see how things are in your part of the world...and everything seems "well"...especially with your soul!! Nice posting and nice thoughts to pass along on here for all to read and be encouraged with...thank you!
    Be blessed,
    Joyce

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  23. I will never complain about snow again! What a wonderful post, full of wisdom.

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  24. Andrea, I too live where we get very little snow, so when we see it, it is a wonder to us! May we all seek for the pure hearts that only He can give. May He bless you throughout this coming year.

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  25. I join you AND I will pray for you, Andrea! Even as I prepared this morning for the S.S. class I teach - on the "hallowed be your name" part of the Lord's prayer - I am struck by the absolute holiness of God and the accompanying need to appeal to His mercy and wrap myself in grace. You say it SO well here. And though I am reading it "late", it is just-on-time in God's economy....

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  26. Snow is rare for us as well and everything shuts down too. As I'm not an empty nester I help my kids bundle up and we venture out in it. A block or two away to a small hill that will hopefully have enough snow to sled down. I get exhausted and tired and we come back for hot soup and such. So, our snow days, are not days of reflection just yet...but I manage an hour at least.

    Thanks for the beauty of this post. Wishing it would snow today and keep the kids in school!

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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