Welcome back to Week 2 for this new site’s launch!
(Remember to read through to the end of this post to find more details about the giveaway that I am hosting.)
I had been blogging for almost 2 years when I felt God nudging me to make the move over here to WordPress. And in the process of setting things up, there were a myriad of questions to be considered. What color, what font, what title, and then what tagline? I wondered why I would need a tagline, and if I did, what could it possibly say? After all, wasn’t my main purpose here just to be obedient to tell the stories that God put on my heart?
ahhh there’s the kicker. My heart . . . It’s not the same as it was 2 years ago when I began this blogging journey. And it’s definitely not the same as it was before Chronic Illness joined me a little over 3 years ago.
But I thought my heart was made new when I first began to live for Jesus all those decades ago as a little child? How can this be?
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
There is a process that is supposed to be happening as we look at Jesus. We are not supposed to stay the same. This new heart that is birthed within us, is soft and open, ready to be transformed as we contemplate HIM. We are being made new every day.
At least that is how Jesus wants our hearts to be.
And that’s how I long for my heart to be.
But this journey into Chronic Illness has opened my eyes to see just how many hard and stony places have remained in my heart. Where I thought I was willing to be transformed, I have seen stubbornness and a hard-hearted turning away instead.
Perhaps you can relate?
What hope is there for us, we who are the children of rocks and gravel?
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;
I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
And I knew that it was actually JESUS who was asking me to choose a tagline for this site. I am not the one who is trying to manage these days with chronic illness. I am not the one who can even begin to know how to sort out which medications, which lifestyle change, which pain relievers, and which attitude needs to be mine. Only He can keep changing this heart of stone into a tender heart of flesh, soft and open to His Love. Only He is sufficient for such a task as this.
A few weeks ago, I was reading in Lisa Brittain’s wonderful devotional, 31 Days of Gleaning with Ruth, and I came to the portion of Ruth’s story when Naomi’s next of kin gave over his right to redeem the land. (If you aren’t familiar with the story, I highly encourage you to read the book of Ruth in the Old Testament. You will not be disappointed.) While we normally focus on Boaz redeeming the land, someone else had to give over their right to the land first.
And Lisa’s questions for that chapter touched something deep in my heart:
“I am reminded of these words of King David in 1 Chronicles 21:24 NLT:
“No, I insist on buying it for the full price. I will not take what is yours and give it to the Lord. I will not present burnt offerings that have cost me nothing!”
1) Is there something Holy Spirit is stirring in you, as He is certainly stirring in me with regards to giving up first rights?”
(Brittain, Lisa. 31 Days of Gleaning With Ruth: Questioning My Way Through a Famine Season Kindle Edition.)
And I knew what the Lord was asking me to give up. After all this time of living for Jesus, I know what it feels like to surrender my own heart to the King of the Universe. He gave up His own dear Son for me. And His Son gave up His life for me so that I could receive His Grace. But there are still things in my life, things that are only mine to give, that I have held dear. There is something that I have felt I needed to watch over, to maintain, to try with all my being to make better somehow.
My health is what He is asking me to give. It is wholly mine to give, but it is to be HOLY unto the Lord: given over totally to Him. And in that giving He wants to bring me to a place of sweet trust in Him.
All these days recently, when I have felt that I am living a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” kind of existence, I take my little prednisone pill and find a measure of relief in this Rheumatoid Arthritis roller coaster, so I have a relatively “nice day.” But then as the relief wears away, and nighttime approaches, the pain and the swelling cause me to feel “ugly and pitiful” as I realize that the new injections are not working at all. Every night it’s the same, and I hear myself crying out to Him, “Jesus I need You!” again & again.
But as I laid down my own rights to my health, I heard Him whisper:
“My daughter, you’ve had it all topsy-turvy. I look at your “nice days” and see your flesh taking over, getting by on your own. But those night-times, when you feel so ugly, those are the moments when you depend fully on me: your true sufficiency. I see no fault in you as you lean on me. You are beautiful to me.
And I knew who the tagline was meant to define: this daughter of the King, walking a pathway that she would not have chosen on her own, but one that is bringing a refining that could not have been known any other way.
“Finding a new heart while walking through chronic illness”
Is there something that the King of Kings is putting His finger on in your life?
Is there a costly gift that only you can give to Him?
I found this old song from the 80s that reminded me of many other costly gifts He has asked of me. But each one is now a milestone: one more place where Jesus brought softness to this cold, rocky heart.
If you hear the call of Jesus, will you join me in this prayer?
Dear Lord Jesus, Will You put Your finger on those areas in my life where I am clinging to my own ways? Will you show me the beauty of surrendering to You? I confess that so often I am hard-hearted and stubborn. But I thank You that Your precious grace and mercy will drop like dew, softening my heart, as I offer myself back to You. Thank You that You count every tear that falls, and You are so pleased with every small gift that I bring to You. In Your precious name I pray, Amen.
Please leave a comment or email me if you would like prayer for any area in your life that you feel you need to surrender. I love to connect with you, my friends.
And, remember that next week I will be sharing my thoughts on Chronic-Joy Ministry’s latest book, Finding Purpose, by Cindee Snider Re. If you leave a comment between now and February 16, I will enter your name in a giveaway that I’ll be sharing here then.
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