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The Home for Christian Writers! Matthew 6:33
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The lilting sounds of the harp, accompanied by the deep intonations of the vocalist, bade us come to the altar. The culmination of the weekend retreat was at hand and we lay before the throne, splayed in various states of abandon.
We’d arrived on Friday from near and far. Some of us racing to get here, running past illness, obligation and the needs that tried to bury us. Others kept speedometers at the lowest legal threshold all the way to the gates, hoping to find some sign along the way that would detour us, not ready for the press of flesh and the cut of the knife that touches the painful innermost places. Some were forced out the door by the One who loves us inhabiting the gentle push of the hands of a friend or a spouse. Then, there were those who had arrived expectant, hopeful, and assured that their deepest cries would be heard.
I was surrounded by women of all different shapes, sizes and colors with backgrounds and lives as diverse as the flowers that bloomed in the trees and shrubs that surrounded our gathering place. Some had grown in hot houses, protected from the storms and ravages of the heart, their strength yet untested, their roots yet unchallenged. Others bore the scars of every tempest imaginable, their branches stretched bare to heaven even as their trunks bent low to the earth, seeming ready to break at the slightest touch.
Why am I here?
Their unspoken words rose to heaven in the diverse sounds that hearts make. Like the harpist whose fingers drew out the sound of the string, the Spirit wove a song of intertwining lives and hearts of women who had come together unaware of the heavenly music they made.
The speaker shared her glorious stories as we sat enraptured by her words. Stories that told of heartache and happiness, of dreams lost and dreams found. Stories reminiscent of those the Master spoke that made truth a morsel delightful to the taste; sorrow a less bitter pill to swallow.
As she told her stories, as we shared one-on-one in groups, as we laughed till we cried and cried till we laughed, burdens began to fall to the wayside…
Our dreams, that had long since become root bound and stunted, surrendered to His dream for us. His dreams, not encumbered by boundaries of clay, plastic or wood, lay out before us; the choice to believe, or not, presented to us.
Would we choose shame, the kind put on us that we wear like cloaks, or would we choose grace, the kind that knows no bounds?
Would we choose hatred, of ourselves and others, or would we choose love, the kind that gives and receives and overflows?
As the harpist played and the vocalist intoned, questions in our hearts stirred memories of the moments shared over the course of the weekend; of quiet times in deep reflection; of fellowship of the purest kind, drawing us forward to the altar, or aside to pray with others.
Love and grace poured over us like water from the fountain of heaven and the storms of life became His showers of blessing.
The weekend was over. One-by-one we departed, going back to the everyday, to the mundane, to the lives that had left us confused in the first place. But, each one of us carrying within us a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over - the music of the harp still playing in our hearts, ready to dance in the rain of heaven.
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