Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don't squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us. God reminds us,
I heard your call in the nick of time;
The day you needed me, I was there to help.
Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped. Don't put it off; don't frustrate God's work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we're doing. Our work as God's servants gets validated—or not—in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly.
Even in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we're beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we're telling the truth, and when God's showing his power.
Even when we're doing our best setting things right; when we're praised, and when we're blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all.
Dear, dear Church, I can't tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn't fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way. I'm speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!
(2 Corinthians 6. The Message)
You were created for Joy, no matter the situation. Jesus has created you for a life of love and fullness. If we can learn to praise him in the hard times, than he will bless us with the good times. As my mom often says to me, "Happiness is situational....But Joy is relational."
Meaning, despite situations, if we have a relationship with Christ.... true Joy will surround us.
I was taking a walk today and I saw this story taking place in my mind’s eye. Jesus showed me this and I felt the need to share with you. I know that is kind of strange, but maybe it will mean something to someone out there reading it. I do not think I did what I saw justice, but here it is. Please excuse the grammatical mistakes, as I wrote it as I remembered it.
Close your eyes for just a second and picture it.
You open your eyes and orange light blinds your world. The ground is soft underneath you. You feel warmth, something lapping at your feet and slowly engulfing your legs and stomach. You sit up and find you are in a foot of water, the temperature of a bath and the color of the clear, blue sky. The sea stretches out in front of you and the waves hitting your feet make the most peaceful noise in the world.
You look around you. The sun is setting and the world is pierced with an overwhelming display of colors. Oranges, pinks, purples and soft golds paint the sky softly. The beach you lie on is white and the sand is soft, molding around your body where your weight sits. You get up quickly, confused. Where are you?
To your left, cliffs stand straight to the sky- green trees and long grass blankets them. To your right, you see the beach stretch on in a milky strip, seeming to disappear into the golden horizon. You see others waking up next to you, looking as confused as you are.
You see your son. Oh, and there is your beautiful daughter! And your mother and father, all sitting up and brushing sand off of them. Then you feel a hand on yours, your husband sits next to you. He looks different, younger. The sun behind him gives him a glow, or is it he himself glowing? He suddenly laughs and kisses you, and you kiss him back. You are both strangely joyful and do not yet know why.
Your daughter approaches you. She looks no younger than your husband, or your mother for that matter. And yet, she looks the way she has always looked. Same quirky grin. Same green eyes as her dad. “Strange,” you think in your head.
“Darling.” You hear quietly. What was that? You see your husband’s head perk up too and wonder if he heard it as well.
You look around at the magical beach you have arrived on. Just a moment ago you were in a hospital bed, kissing your aging daughter goodbye. Where have you arrived?
“My beautiful one. Come to me my love.” A man’s voice calls. At the sound of the strange voice, a love so fierce floods through you and makes you fall to your knees.
You are desperate to find the man behind the voice. Desperate to touch him. See him. Speak back. Your husband grabs your hand, “Sweetheart, do you hear it too?” He smiles at you, and you cannot withhold your joy.
“We must find him!” You say. He nods. You look around at the rest of your family and unknown people on the beach. They are gazing around, as if trying to put a face to the lovely voice.
"It's is coming from over there!” Somebody points. You look away from the hypnotizing sunset going down over the sparkling waters. A path is made in between the beach reeds and gorgeous purple flowers growing around the sand. Slowly, you and the others make your way to the road.
The path is made out of pure sand, but footprints can be seen along it. Thousands of footprints. You take the first step, with your husband’s hand in yours. The rest of your family follows.
The path is winding, and sometimes all you can see are reeds and flowers. The air is sweet with the smell of the beautiful purple plants- but also something else. The foreign smell fills you with a feeling you felt once before. As you put one foot in front of the other, you think, back to when you were a child and you played in the woods for hours. You remember how you would pretend you were in a far off kingdom and that you were a princess waiting for an adventure. The feeling that made you almost sick with longing, with discovery, with hope. But you never knew what it was exactly that you were hoping for.
You felt that discovery again when you met your husband and fell in love. The feeling of pure love, that there was something greater than yourself at work in your life. The feeling when you first stepped into church, and knew Jesus was real. The feeling you had when you held your babies for the first time. And the feeling you had when you saw them fall in love with their husbands, their own kids and Jesus. Discovery…..awe.
This whole, wonderful place was sweet with the smell of awe. But awe of what? You needed to know! So you started running. “Silly. Come to me. I am calling you.” The man said again, this time yelling. His voice loving, but urgent.
“I am coming!” I yelled. I wanted the man behind the voice so bad it hurt. And so I ran, laughing and weeping. My husband’s hand in mine, as I heard him crying and laughing as well. I looked behind me and saw us all running. My daughter. My sisters. My daddy. My great, great grandkids who I had never met, but recognized somehow. Love for them overwhelmed my heart in such a way that if I were not running so hard, I would have fallen again. That’s when I knew.
Love. The love I had for my family. For my husband. For my memories. They all came from this place. From this voice. Everything led back to him. The man speaking to me. I knew he was the creator of all love. From him, passion stemmed. He had made this beautiful place I was running through right now. He had weaved my heart and every memory I’ve ever had, and given me a life to enjoy the fullness of his love.
I ran. I have never run faster. He called my name over and over again and I ran to him. There are no words to describe it. You know that feeling you’ve had your whole life…the feeling that you were made for somewhere else? You were made for something great? And sometimes, even at the end of your life, you think, “Where did it all go?” The time slips away like sand- and even if you did everything you could to please God and live life to the fullest- you will still feel a part of you missing. Because it is. The truth is….you were not made for the world. You were made to be part of the world I had woken up in. The air sparked like electricity and love was a tangible, whole thing - not just the watered down, broken version humans have mangled it into.
I rounded bend after bend, seeking, searching for my caller. “My love. I will make you whole again.” Those behind me pressed on even harder, leaping and skipping and shouting at the tops of their lungs.
And then……I stopped. Silence. The path had ended. I was once again on a beach, one more beautiful than the first. A castle bigger than any I’ve seen before lay ahead of me. The shores were white and the ocean was vivid colors I’d never seen before.
He was there waiting on the beach. His arms were open and he was glowing. The most beautiful man I’ve ever seen. “You enrapture me.” I ran to him sobbing. I fell at his knees and told him of all the reasons I should not be in his presence, of why I should not be in this glorious place.
He looked at me in all his glory, eyes kind, and said, “You called to me. I answered. I have made you whole.” He took me into his arms and kissed my head. At that moment, I remembered every pain I’d ever felt, every tear I’d ever cried, every hurt I’d endured and it was all worth it to be in his arms. My Jesus. I repeated his name over and over. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus….
He let me go and gazed into my eyes, as if he thought I was stunning. “Play. Dance. Sing. Explore. Discover. You are free.” He said as he took my hand, and I shockingly felt the rough scars underneath my fingers. He laughed and I fell in love again. Together we walked toward the Castle by the Sea. And like he said…..I am free.
But there's far more to life for us. We're citizens of high heaven! We're waiting the arrival of the Savior, the Master, Jesus Christ, who will transform our earthy bodies into glorious bodies like his own. He'll make us beautiful and whole with the same powerful skill by which he is putting everything as it should be, under and around him.
Hey, friend! I'm Chelsie!
Stay a while and get comfy. <3