Conversations

Prince Charming

May I have this dance?

I look up from my lonely seat at the table to the gaze of the One inviting me to dance. They are kind and gentle eyes. I’ve not ever been asked to dance before. I don’t know if I even know how to dance. Everyone else seems like they are having a good time, but what if I can’t dance? What if I humiliate myself? What if I step on his toes or trip over my own?

 

He extends His hand, waiting for mine. It seems like an eternity passes as I question whether or not I’m good enough to dance with Him. There is some reason after-all why I’m sitting here at this table alone.

I finally place my hand in His and He gently helps me to my feet and leads me to the dance floor. I sway nervously as He takes the lead and I do my best to follow. Somehow I’m not tripping over anyone’s feet! In fact, I feel like I’m gliding on air. A million questions begin to rush through my mind. The question on repeat is “Why did He invite me?”

 

I manage to make it all the way through the first dance without embarrassing myself, no doubt due to His tender and masterful leadership. We kept right on dancing. With each song that played, I felt more alive and calm all at once. Every dance seemed to be better than the last. As my eyes met His, I felt as though I was the only one in the room and again wondered, “why me?”

After a stop in the music, He invites me to rest for a bit with a walk and some fresh air. The night is beautiful – not a single star missing from the sky. I begin to get teary-eyed looking at the expansive night sky, considering how small I am in such a magnificent universe. Somehow He knows my eyes are welling up even though I am trying to keep it together. He offers me His handkerchief and asks tenderly “Why are you crying?

 

It is easy to talk to Him. Something about His presence has a peaceful effect.

“Looking at all the beauty of creation, this great display of The Father’s magnificent glory, I wonder how I could have earned this attention from you. I am not as beautiful as all of this, nor am I as good as you. How is it that you have shown your attention to me tonight?”

 

He motions to a place where we can sit to continue our conversation.

He raises His hand, gesturing to the sky, “Each one of these stars has its own beauty and should one of them not be there, the sky would lose its brilliance. You are like a star.  You have a beauty all your own that cannot be replicated or replaced. Without you, the world is not as wonderful. There is nothing that you did to earn my attention but rather, you have had my attention from the moment My Father pointed you out to me. I know that you are imperfect, but that is why I am here. If you were completely good and perfect, you would not need or notice me. Just like these shining stars don’t work hard to be noticed and yet they capture our attention, there is nothing you can do or fail to do that would take my attention from you. I am here for you. I am here so you can have peace, joy, and to give you what you cannot see or get on your own – unconditional and unearned love. My attention is for you not because you earned it, but because my heart is for you.

Kingdom Living

Banquet at The Father’s House

My most favorite memories are those around the holidays. Every gathering with beloved friends and family lights me up inside. Yes, there are some sad memories around this time, but the sweetness of good “old” memories and being surrounded by people I love overrides the bitterness of sorrow. I started imagining what a holiday gathering might be like at The Father’s house.


“Is there anything I can help with?” I ask The Father. He is making all the final preparations for our feast and there are lots of other people there helping as well.

The Father welcomes me in and gives me a big hug before inviting me to participate with Him in preparing for the feast (kids always want to help).

You can help set the table, daughter.” He gives me a purpose, and points me to the gold and silver dishes and utensils we will be using for our feast. 

I finish setting the table just in time for the food to start coming out. Finally, the table is fully set and the food is bountiful. There isn’t a single favorite missing! Turkey, ham, lamb, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and mashed, green bean casserole, casseroles of every kind, corn (we need a reminder), bread, even homemade cranberry sauce (don’t judge – my Grandma had the best recipe and I loved it!), and the list goes on! Drinks have been poured. We’re all ready to dive in.

The banquet room is warmly lit. Not from a fire, but by the glory radiating from The Father. The room is intimate, but big enough to hold all the people I know and love and the people they know and love and so on. Dimensions are a weird thing at The Father’s house.

The head of the table comes to His seat – Jesus. Looking at The Father, Jesus expresses His thanks for the feast we are salivating over and then proceeds to carve the turkey. He serves each person Himself before sitting down to begin eating from His own plate.

Conversations around the table are sweet and the food unimaginably good. I stop for a minute to listen – it sounds like the whole room is singing. Though all the conversations are different, the song that is being made from it all sounds melodious! It’s not overwhelmingly loud either because no one has to yell to be heard. I realize I’ve been smiling since I got to The Father’s house. I pause for a moment to take it all in. The glow of the room. The beautiful decor. The “background music” from the humming conversations. And all these wonderful people. I look over and see The Father looking at me with a smile on His face.

All of this is for you, my beloved one. I am glad you came to sit and fellowship with me. I love watching you enjoy all that I have provided.

My heart is full (and my stomach too). 

But it’s time for desert and coffee! Not sure how I could fit more into my stomach, but this is one of the best times of fellowship.  I pull the comfy chair up next to Jesus who is sitting by The Father. Coffee steaming on the end table, dessert in hand, we talk for hours. I listen again to old stories I know, but there is always something new The Father tells me in those stories. Jesus patiently listens as I pour out my heart. I tell Him everything on my mind but nothing phases Him. He listens intently as if He didn’t already know all these things I’m talking about. And when I finally give Him space to speak, His voice and instruction are gentle and loving. I always learn so much from Him.

I’m grateful to be sitting right here, right now. There’s nothing better than feast-day at The Father’s house. I don’t want to say good-bye or good-night. I want to hold on to this beautiful thought. The Father reminds me that there are even more wonderful things, things beyond my imagination, in store for me in eternity.


This small imagination of mine surely pales in comparison to what it will really be like when we finally get to feast at the banquet table in Heaven. Would you sit for a moment and imagine with me? What does your perfect feast have that mine doesn’t? Who is at the table with you? One thing is certain, God The Father, and Jesus His Son will be there welcoming us with open arms and it will always be the best feast ever.

 

And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the Lord; I have spoken. And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land.
– Ezekiel 34:23-24,26-27

Conversations

What do I do with this hurt?

For Christmas one year, when we were dating, my then-future husband gave me a beautiful, blue topaz cross necklace. It was the envy of just about everyone who saw it. I wore it every day. It was priceless. It was beautiful to look at and was a frequent reminder of the love of God and the affection of the man who is now my husband.

A few years ago, I lost the ability to wear that one-of-a-kind necklace. Our dog at the time was a puppy and liked shiny gold things for some reason. I walk into our bedroom one day to find her chewing on something – it was my necklace! She had taken it off of my dresser and now it was a mangled up mess in her mouth. The topaz gems were scattered around, some I never found because she’d swallowed them. I was heartbroken! This was not just any necklace. It was specially made and specially gifted by my husband before we were even engaged. I had planned on passing it down to my grandchildren. I wore it every day and now this “crazy” puppy had ruined it completely! It may seem silly to cry over a material possession, but I did. It was broken beyond repair. The gems were gone. It would never be whole again.

To this day, I still don’t have a suitable replacement for that necklace. I’ve tried several other cross necklaces I already owned, but none of them were from my sweet husband and none were made so well and beautifully like the original.

There have been times that my life has felt a little like that chewed up necklace. Beautiful friendships and blessed relationships that have created hurt or become mangled, leaving my heart broken. The hurt hasn’t always been something I’ve had control over, like death of a loved one. Some hurts I have contributed to, and knowing that I’ve hurt someone else because of my pain has made it hurt worse. Some things I’ve shared with others, in the hope that they could help me heal, but just like those replacement necklaces, nothing was suitable. Many times, no one has been aware of my hurt…except The Father. He is the only one with full knowledge about all of my pain.

 

On one recent occasion when my heart felt shattered, I looked up from where I sat, tear-soaked face, feeling on the edge of hope, searching for answers from The Father.

“What do I do with this hurt, Papa God? The pieces of my heart are scattered all over the place. How can I get past this. I can’t fix it, Papa God.”

Every part of my body felt heavy. I picked up two of the broken-heart pieces. They felt like lead weights. My tears flowed like an endless fountain emptying into a bottomless bucket. Through blurred eyesight, I looked for The Father’s face again.

 

The Father sat down next to me on the floor. Putting His arm around me, He comforted me. He didn’t tell me everything was going to be alright. He just sat there with me. He let me mourn the hurt. His presence and the embrace of His strong arms quieted my weeping and slowed my tears.

He whispered,

I know it hurts. I’m right here. You’re not alone, little one. I’m holding you and won’t let go. Sit here in my lap, my precious one. I’ve got you.

As my tears finally ended and my breathing slowed to a normal rhythm, I looked around at the mess. I looked at the broken-heart pieces I was still holding. Then I looked at The Father’s face. It was wet with tears of His own.

Opening His hands and motioning for the pieces I still held of my shredded heart, He said

Give it to me, little one. Give me your hurt. Give me the pieces. I will make it better than before. It won’t be the same, but I will make it more beautiful. I will mend it. I will heal it. I will restore it to the greatness you cannot yet see.

 

…He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
~Isaiah 61:1-3

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
~Psalm 34:18

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
~Psalm 147:3

Conversations

Museum

I am a pretty analytical person. I think a lot about things. I probably think too much about some things. Last week I had one of those thinking days. I was analyzing my thoughts in fact! I was struggling with my love language, words of affirmation. I was trying to understand why I had a stronger draw to help someone who affirmed me than I even wanted to be in the same room with someone who hadn’t. I was a little disgusted with myself because I knew the feelings creeping in to my heart had been poisoned with pride.

I grappled with the questions “Why am I like this? Why is this my love language?”

Father, can’t you just take away this driving desire for affirmation from people? Why can’t my primary love language be something else that isn’t driven by such pride?

That last one was kind of a silly question because anything that deals with feeling like I’m loved has the potential to be twisted by pride, even acts of service.

The Father had an answer already prepared for me.

I put that desire for affirmation in you, it is a piece of myself that I put in you too. Come to me when you feel that desire for affirmation go unfulfilled. I love you and am always cheering you on, loving you perfectly and completely. Listen for my affirmation, especially when you need it the most.”

I want all of my affirmation to come from The Father…so why do I struggle with this? Why do I still feel this longing for people to acknowledge or appreciate what I’ve done? I feel wrong or broken, like I’m not doing something right…

The Father tenderly takes my hand and leads me. We are walking through large hallways with marble floors and high ceilings that looked like they went on forever. This was a museum of the great things The Father had done! There were mini replicas of the story of Abraham and Sarah, Jacob fighting with the Lord, Moses, Noah, David… so much to see! But we kept right on walking. When The Father’s pace slowed I was able to see some of the names of people He created and clearly delighted in along with little notes of their accomplishments and proud moments, like a mini scrapbook. I glanced up at The Father. He was smiling, as if He were recalling the notes He’d written about each person. When we finally came to a stop, The Father told me to come look at what He was standing in front of. I noticed there was a frame around it just like the others and some of those notes too. I looked up and I saw … me. The Father wanted to show me something He created, that He was proud of, and it was me.

Kneeling down to make His eyes level with mine, He placed His hands on my shoulders.

You are my very own amazing creation.

That desire to be affirmed – I put that in you. I made that a deep part of who you are. I know you are wondering why I made you this way because you don’t see it as good – but I do.

I gave you this specific desire to be affirmed so that you could enjoy my affirmation and so you could use it to affirm others. People need encouragement and to feel loved, especially when they don’t feel lovable or acceptable. As someone uniquely created to be filled up by affirmation and encouragement, you are specially qualified to give it and receive it when it is given.

I don’t do anything by mistake, precious one. Creating you this way is just one of the great things I’ve given you out of myself. There are even more great things still to come, little one. You are my prized and treasured creation and I’m still writing these notes of wonderful things you are doing and have yet to do.”

By now I was wiping tears from my face and threw my arms around The Father’s neck. He did it again – He showed me His love for me.

 

Precious reader, I’ve shared a little glimpse of my heart and conversation with The Father but I know this message is not just for me. There is a place in His museum where your picture hangs. You are His prized and treasured creation. That thing in you that gets ugly when pride leaks in has a more beautiful purpose. What is The Father whispering to you? Let Him show you your place in His museum. Let Him tell you the story of how He wants to use that piece of who you are for His more beautiful purpose.