Written on October 14, 2015. By Shari Norvell
I like presents, but I love presence. Little packages deposited along the path to encourage and inspire. Tiny “taste and sees” so we don’t lose our way to the feast. Treasures in the big wide open that allow us to see the Giver as He truly is.
The weeks of the Jubilee Journal so far have been laden with presence. It seems that just as one blog is near completion, a beat from the heart of the next one begins. It simmers and stirs a few days and just as I feel it is time to pour it into a pot for the table, I find a presence. Most often it has been wrapped in communication. An email, text, card or conversation that sweetly says “It was Me all along. Thanks for carrying it. Now, let’s deliver it.” Presence. Him in a way that can’t be mistaken.
This week, my presence came in the form of an email from someone quite precious. It was full of happenings and hopenings. I did just make that word up. It means “the telling of things one is trusting only He can bring to happen, which reveals hope.” Hopenings.
Arriving at the last paragraph, my breath caught. In three sentences, the author dove headlong into the pool I had been swimming in. I love that! Its one of the ways He brings us together.
The sentences encompassed a thought. One too important not to mention, yet one that must have felt a bit vulnerable to share. Unless you are learning to be bare. Sometimes sentences connected by periods tell the story of a season. And because a story needs paragraphs, you realize in the writing that the Author is reminding you that He placed it there to be an always not an add on. And important that keeps you from the insignificant.
With heart open, this incredible person spoke of a time in the midst of a giant risk. A risk that today, allows them to see the giant they have become. In the messy middle of the risk, a declaration came forth. Come what may. No matter what. I will be here. My life will be filled with hinenis – here I ams. Until the end becomes the beginning. It came through a song released at the top of their lungs, sung again and again.
We each have them. Sung, spoken, shouted or whispered, matters not. They are declared promises. Purposed proclamations. They are erupted offerings, not meant for a minute but for a life. Their happening in this way reveals what is in the depth of us. What He knows because He can see in the dark and the deep as He fills with light. He incites these lifelong moments.
They keep us from making our “I wills” instead of completing His. Our I wills look like: “Lord, if you will (save my job, child, marriage, life), I will (serve you always, give you this, tell, go…) One example, but I think the idea is more clear than we want it to be. We can’t keep them because they come from a place of bargaining and trading, not inheritance. Eventually, those “I wills” become debts within us that demand distance from Him when we feel we can’t pay up.
And so, He incites and ignites. He brings things before us that uncap and unleash how we really see Him, know Him, believe Him and long more than anything to reveal Him. I know a person, okay, he’s my person, whose “one of those moments” became “they’re all you brothers.” It changed him forever and I have gotten to watch and walk with him in that proclamation every day. It has challenged and cheered me to carry my own as an offering. To give again and again, so Pappa is added to. He is multiplied. And so He feels the weight of glory so strong that the angels have to hold Him up as they watch us cover the earth with HIM.
So mine. One of mine, because the truth is, we have many. He’s relentless like that, ever piercing us in order to give us more. Ever extending and expanding (those are fancy words for stretching us) to reveal what we struggle to see.
Love is already in us, because we were made from it. That auto corrected to “ made form it”. We were made to form it, express it. Not trying to make this like a Starbucks pay it forward, but that auto corrected to “made for it”. Being a terrible typist leads to amazing autocorrects (mostly).
The love we don’t know is there, is simply that which we haven’t expressed yet. The love we haven’t felt yet, is simply that which is growing still. But to Him, even the smallest thing is huge. Sprout means abundant. So what does harvest mean? Mighty, powerful. I hope that sweetens the struggle. You see, we will remain a people who trip, stumble and fall, unless we fall in love. Unless we fall headlong into the truth that we always have been, and give ourselves permission to uncover it, even as we are divulging it. To release it to others even as we are realizing it ourselves. That is what the unbidden, unrestricted words that catapult from the hidden even from ourselves places do. They reveal that we are in love. Surprise!! And we would do absolutely anything for the one we love.
So mine, lol. My mini of many. “Though none go with me, still I will follow” from the hymn (cuz I LOVE hymns) “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”. It flared and became active while I stood at Popsi’s crib as Axel Pearl and Toggle played nearby. I was preparing to leave them to embark on an adventure. It was my first time to leave Popsi, who was just a few months old. Light was streaming through the blinds across her, engulfing her. It was the first picture I had of being hemmed in.
A few minutes from that moment, I was leaving for my first homeschool conference. A whole crew had planned to go. But in the days leading up to it, their choices led them to something different. And I stood there. Tears streaming down my face, having no idea what I was doing but full of the reason why. He asked. And though I had been with Him for so long, and it was my favorite place to be, I was comfortable. If I was to be honest, I was complacent. I liked things how they were. But in my depth, I knew I wouldn’t love what they would become if I said no. And I was so grateful. Overwhelmed by the truth that He wouldn’t leave me alone and that everything precious to me was precious to Him. And that He was giving me an opportunity to express more of how I loved Him in a way I hadn’t expressed yet.
I sang my promise in the nursery and then in the car all the way to the conference. I sang it all the way home each day that weekend. I sang it for days and day. I sing it still when a new invitation to reveal my love for Him comes. I sing it alot. No turning back. I’ll follow him.
That day I was aware. Keenly. This moment was not just about homeschool, but my life and how I would live it. I proclaimed I would never allow following Him to be dependent on who I could convince to go or do it with me. I would go. I would be. I will go. I will be. I have chosen.
What a life we live. If we will live it. For a people who promise are rich in love and cannot be bound to debt. We owe nothing when we freely give. When we realize, we are a storehouse filled with love. That each day, we are simply carrying our offering, for that is what a promise truly is, to Him, together. And when one of us feels like we don’t have enough, one alongside gives until we find our way into our treasury once again.
Journal about a time you erupted in spite of yourself. When how you felt about Him came out unrestricted and uncontained. What promise came from that? What offering have you been carrying since that day, that you may have forgotten? As you write, let Him reveal the then and now of it. He never meant you to let it go or unknowingly give it away.
Journal the ways he highlighted you have been carrying this promise to Him. How has it changed you, led you to who you are today?
Sing or shout your proclamation. At the top of your lungs. Every day until He tells you not to. I know you caught that. Why would He ever tell you not to?