My ‘one word 365’ for 2013 was/is ‘reclaim’. I had a neat little list written out of what that might look like. A list with a tick the box option running down the side.
I couldn’t have predicted how this pursuit of ‘reclaiming’ would have manifested itself (well actually, I thought I could predict it, hence the list and tick boxes).
But it would seem that there was always another agenda, a grace filled, bursting with colour agenda that God had always planned for.
For a long time much of my heart has been so wrapped up in what is expected of me that my voice has sounded been dull and tainted. ‘Reclaiming’ has become as much about throwing off expectations as it has been about chasing down hidden dreams and longed for hopes. It has been about seeing clearly, speaking louder and being brave and kind.
And in the midst of all that I have been learning that the grace of God is luminous and pervasive. There is a depth and clarity to the grace that God pours out that not only covers all disappointment, it lights up a room and pushes itself in to the dark corners. It creates a shimmer of glittering light and life over all that it touches.
Yep, ‘reclaiming’, so far, has been a journey of lost and found.
I am not called to perfection.
I am called to be brave,
Life is messier,
I am weak and flawed,
when courage reigns.
Life without courage is possible,
But the possibilities that bloom before you when your steps are forged with courage
-oh, what joy–
for then it is sparkling moments of deep-breathed freedom.
It is gleefully waving goodbye to unspoken expectations.
It is embracing your story without shame or fear.
It is whispers and giggling admissions of hidden delights.
(Courage might not be necessary,
but it is indeed worth it.)
‘She did what she could’. Mark 14:8
With her understanding, with her resources, with her hands and heart – she did what she could.
I hope I am not simplifying this. That blessed moment when Mary anoints Jesus before his death is heavy in truth and rich in the Kingdom of God. It is a brief moment amidst an epic story. But in that moment Mary’s heart is revealed and so is Jesus’. She did what she could, and it moved Him.
Last night I finished reading ‘Refuse to do nothing’, by Shayne Moore and Kimberly McOwen Yim.
While I was reading about the child soldiers in Southern Sudan there was a moment when I felt like there was a literal internal crash as my heart met with the reality of these children. These two worlds slammed together, mine in all its middle class comfort, and these stolen children. I hope it scarred me for life. I hope my heart is never the same.
It is overwhelming, complex and confronting.
As it should be.
This pursuit of understanding justice has unsteadied me. But it feels like the right thing to be doing. I need to delve deep into God and his word. I need to sit under a tall tree and expect the Spirit to come and share the deep truths of equality and dignity.
I will read. I will write. I will connect with organisations. I will get educated and I can share knowledge. That is a good place to start. This will be the beginning of ‘doing what I could’.
And I can pray.
I can pray that the kingdom of God is racing towards these children with a holy resolve and urgency.
There are some great organisations out there, please check them out. They are doing amazing work.
Free the Slaves
International Justice Mission
I stumbled over this verse this morning, and I am left gasping for breath and on my knees.
‘The thinking of principled people makes for justice; the plots of degenerates corrupt’.
Proverbs 12: 5 (The Message)
When I decided that ‘reclaim’ was my word for 2013, I believed that God ‘reclaiming justice’ was a part of that journey. I wasn’t sure what that meant, and it’s still a little hazy now. But I do think that it has to do with rescuing my interpretation of ‘justice’ from the mire of jargon and the layers of guilt it is buried under.
I also believe that it is a terrifying roar from heaven.
How I have ignored the simple request to ‘love them’. How I have defended my indifference.
I have hidden behind my books and study; I have lost myself in words and inaction.
‘The THINKING of principled people makes for justice’… Perhaps, just perhaps, all these words and books and thinking can be a stepping stone?
Perhaps this is part of the plan?
Gods kingdom come, His will be done…if I pray this, if I believe this, I cannot abide injustice.
God is not going to offer me an alternative.
With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2, The Message)
Oh I had grand ideas for my ‘one word’ for 2013.
Such grand ideas.
I came up with a list of possibilities, of words I was willing to commit too.
I had a plan. It involved quite times and gentle music. It engendered all that was virtuous and pertinent to ‘going deeper’.
But all those great words felt heavy and tiresome. They spoke of chores to be done, jobs to tick of a list. These were not my words.
So I did what I should have done at the start.
Reclaim what has been lost to you.
Reclaim what I have spoken and you have ignored.
Reclaim what I have given you.
Reclaim time. Reclaim family. Reclaim hope. Reclaim direction. Reclaim justice. Reclaim expectation. Reclaim your sacred titles’.
It is grittier than I would have chosen. It involves more of my heart than I wanted to give. But it also feels like opening a window at the end of a hot day and smelling the rain that is about to be unleashed. It feels like hearing church bells in the early morning, proclaiming the Sabbath, a new day, a new start, a new moment.
I’m not sure what it will look like but I am eager to find out. I want to know what it means to live under reclaimed truth.
God is already nudging and whispering. This blog is part of that whispering. This book is as well.
This is a journey I am willing to take.