Transplant Recovery

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. – Ezekiel 36:26

Have you ever wondered what it would look like to get a brand new heart? Do you ever think about the promises of God and consider how He might do those things He has promised? Have you ever considered the process? When you imagine Him giving you a new heart, is it something that you imagine happening in an instant or does it take time? Is it a painful process or one that brings relief? Does He need your help? Do you even need or want a new heart?

I’ve pondered this scripture, along with some others, for the past couple of months. It’s interesting how a scripture can come alive when you commit to spending time with it and God. It’s interesting to sit back and look at the world around you thru the lens of a scripture to see what God wants to tell you that may not be completely clear staring at the ink on the page.

I recently attended an event specifically designed as a place to meet with God over matters of the heart. It was hard and beautiful and glorious to name just a few things about it. He did things in the hearts of every person there that will change the course of their lives if they allow them to. He spoke deep truth that many of us may have heard before or for the first time, but He spoke it deeper into our hearts than ever before. At least that was my experience and judging from the eyes of my friends, that was their experience too.

He spoke to me thru eyes of compassion and love and acceptance and forgiveness.

At the end of our week together we were encouraged to guard our hearts. We were encouraged to guard the new work that He had only just begun. The analogy of open heart surgery was given and the need for protecting that. It made perfect sense…and then we all went home.

I came home and stayed in a protected cocoon for a couple of weeks. I stayed inside my head and my heart with the things He had spoken to me. I shared my experience with “safe” people who I knew would encourage and celebrate the things I was ready to share. And then you have to start moving…

At some point you have to begin to walk out the new things God is doing in your heart if you want to keep them. At some point you have to actually test them out in your relationships and your day-to-day interactions. And that is when I realized a heart transplant isn’t the same thing as removing a splinter or putting a little dab of neosporin on a scraped knee.

I was watching Grey’s Anatomy with my daughters and they were doing an open heart surgery. It was bloody. It was tedious. It took skill and precision. It took a fully submitted patient…

They didn’t have time to show the recovery process on the show, but I can only imagine what it would be like. They couldn’t stay in that hospital bed forever. They couldn’t stay in the care of the doctors and nurses forever. Eventually they would have to get up out of that bed, leave that hospital and go on with their lives. I’m guessing there would be hours of rehab and follow-up appointments to check on their progress. I’m guessing with a heart transplant there would be testing to be sure the new heart was compatible and not being rejected.

I’m also guessing that as the days and weeks and months go by after a surgery like that, the heart becomes stronger and stronger.

They go from strength to strength,
    till each appears before God in Zion. – Psalm 84:7

Do you have a new heart? What did it take for you to get it? Are you tending to it? Are you allowing Him to tend to it? Are you exercising it so that the new is allowed to grow and strengthen and serve you and others the way it was meant to?

Here’s to a life time of glory to glory and strength to strength!

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Beauty for Ashes

I have a puzzle in the other room waiting for someone to get back to it. We started it just after Christmas and then life got busy and the puzzle has been mostly forgotten. The edge is mostly finished and the pieces for the red chair have been pulled out of the box and placed on the table waiting to be connected. I want to finish the puzzle. I certainly don’t want a wayward chocolate lab or a fire to destroy the puzzle before we get to put it together.

But, my life? The pieces of my life? I’ve tried to piece those together without His help before and that didn’t work so well. I’ve try to do it on my own before. I’ve tried to hold on to my plans and my ideas and the pieces that I was sure I couldn’t live without….good and bad. I’ve tried to hold on for dear life and control everything and everyone I thought I could.

One day He asked me to trust Him with the pieces. One day He asked me to give Him those things I held so tightly. One day He promised me beauty for ashes. And He faithfully kept His word and asked me to do the same again tomorrow and the next day and the next day…

Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life on your altar and watch for fire to descend (Psalm 5:3 MSG)

Hide or Go Seek?

It’s November and I’ve been on a break from Facebook for the most part except for posting my daily occasional blog post and a shout out or two. You just don’t skip your child’s birthday! If you are desperate for a place to board your family canines, Facebook is the quickest place for a shout out.

The purpose of this break was/is twofold. I wanted to spend the time I would have spent on Facebook connecting face to face with my family. I wanted to spend that time face to face with God. After all, when I asked Him what He would like me to fast, putting Facebook down was His idea. Seriously, I asked Him for plan B and heard nothing but the creaky noises between my ears.

So, how has it gone? Well, I’m 21 days in and I know a little more about the things going on in the lives of my family members than I did before. I know a little more about me than I did before. I know a little more about what works when we communicate with each other and what doesn’t work. I know a little more about what is getting in the way of our communication with each other and what things work to bridge that gap. I’ve been able to practice those things more. Uh, yeah, this means I’ve practiced some of the wrong ones a little more too, but, hey, how do you think I’m learning those don’t work so well :/

What about that extra time with God? Well, lets just say I’m glad this fast isn’t over just yet. Lets just say I need the discipline. Lets just say I’ve already been considering asking Him for something else when I feel released from this one. Lets just say I’ve got as much to learn about my relationship with Him as I do those around me, or more.

Removing a major distraction from your daily routine may take time to get used to. It may knock you off your feet for a little while. It may send you looking for another distraction if you aren’t purposeful about it. You may discover why you chose that distraction to begin with. You may find it was a great hiding place. You may find you’ve been missing out on both good and bad things while you’ve been in hiding. You will have choices to make. You will have messes to clean up. You will likely find you have relationships in need of repair.

It will take time! But look on the bright side! Without that distraction…you will have the time you will need for all that you see.

What is your distraction? What have you been missing out on? What have you been hiding from? Ask Him! I promise He is faithful to answer!