“Softening, We Become His Own”, from L.Willows (a New Heart, Soft Love, God is With Us)

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Recently I encountered an old friend. In a conversation with her, she asked how I was now, as so much time had passed. “Softer, I said. “I am softer with time, after many years and experiences. Life had made my heart softer where before it had many edges and ridges. Now it sinks here and there.” I tried to describe to her what is indescribable.

Afterward, I felt thankful and filled with memories. I knew that she could not really understand. We had been separated by such distance, like the many mountains that I have traveled through in my journeys.

Life softens. God knows. He walks beside us.

Sometimes it takes time and ups and downs to soften our hearts. Only God sees our lives and our hearts in truth. Surely, He had known each detail along the way. He has been with us, beside us for every step.

What is a soft heart and what does that mean? Well, soft is new. We are born with hearts that need to become new. We need a second birth. We feel alone until we find it. We sense vulnerability and powerlessness until we find our true heart in and with God.

When I thought that I was alone, I tried harder, I often created much effort believing that I needed to do things on my own. I thought that I needed to form strengthening skills to survive. We all develop heart-survival skills because we forget that God is with us on the journey. He is our true and only strength in life’s journey. Everything else falls away or may fail. Real Strength was not even about me!

Real strength is about God, not us.

Psalm 76:26 –“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Philippians 4:13 -“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

As we find Him, we are given a new Heart.

Ezekiel 26:36 –“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

2 Corinthian 5:17 –“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Soft is the Spirit of Christ’s Love in our hearts.  

When the new forms in us, and we belong to Christ we, are saved by faith. The process of becoming like Him is ongoing, it is Sanctification. That new heart grows. It becomes our new inner Influencer!

We and our lives are never the same again. The ridges become containers that are filled with the pourings of God’s blessings, with His Spirit – like waters that fill us and our hearts with newness. Imagine a thirsty valley in the springtime receiving the rains of God’s love season after season. We Soften, we are fed and the fruit of His Spirit grows in us.

Galatians 5:22-23 –“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

When we become new, we live as His Own. We can live with hearts softly, lovingly. I am not there, I pray that I live a life that gives rich evidence of the fruit of the Spirit. I have a long way to go still. But the parts that ‘sink here and there’ are soft enough to be filled by God’s Spirit. I am so grateful for His Goodness, and for so many Blessings – surely there are challenges but the Lord is at my side. (and with you) This is the only journey that I would ever want to be on.

© 2019 Linda Willows

Pray Soft

I pray that we soften to the miracle of knowing God’s Love,
to the reunion of walking each hour of the day in His Mercy.

I pray soft listening for our hearts, that we hear His Voice
amidst the challenges of our lives; from the calls that we are each given.

I pray soft walking in this world as we journey with one another.
Let us find each other in His Arms as One.

I pray for soft forgiveness in our relationships near and far; help us
all to remember how much we have been forgiven, and open our hearts.

I pray soft tenderness so that we open doors for others; let us be generous
and gracious givers in this wondrous life that we have –

for the Lord God has been so good and kind to each of us.

In Jesus Name,
Amen

“From a Vast Honeycomb”, a worship poem by L.Willows

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Here from behind, here from between,
We, some, in the midst- bear burdened heart dreams.

Long-ago calls echo, they imprint, they rebound,
Like the years shedding, to find a new sound.
Some, like lost rising from a vast honeycomb,
Surge as from an ocean, like a wave coming Home.

Who leads the way, bears all at the fore,
Keeps heart in the midst of the cries at the door.
Hearing the calls, wearing the fray
all swell in tide’s mist, at such promise of Day.

Here from behind, here from between
We in your midst, bear the dream of Love seen.
Some, like lost rising from a vast honeycomb,
Surge as from an ocean, like a wave coming Home.

Long-ago calls echo, they imprint, they rebound,
Like the years shedding, to find a new sound.

© 2019 Linda Willows

In each of our lives, there are heart callings, needs, trials. We are beckoned to boldly lift our vision above and beyond what is “shedding” and loosening itself before us. Much cries out to be sacrificed. We are faced with difficult choices yet we often don’t realize that there is always a choice, that nothing ever stays the same. We discover the ‘new sound’ that compels us to step into something that is different than before. We are constantly reborn to deepening expanses of love and awakening to God if we walk with courage. The Psalms speak of God’s nearness to us from the beginning. His promises are true. He goes before us each. When we reach out, there is a mighty arm reaching for us.

Psalm 75:1
We give thanks to You, O God; we give thanks, for Your name is near. The people declare Your wondrous works.

Psalm 145:18
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

Psalm 46:1
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.

Psalm 119:151
You are near, O LORD, and all Your commandments are true. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

Lamentations 3:57
You drew near when I called on You; You said, “Do not be afraid.”

“A New Heart, a Willing Spirit”, from L.Willows (restored, renewed)

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This morning, I did not know what to write or present on this precious forum on “Beloved”. There seems to be so much need for peace in our hearts and minds- most especially in my own. A week or so ago, I specifically prayed for a ‘new heart’. It was a bold prayer. But it was not one unfamiliar to me. I have often prayed to our Father and asked that he search my heart and help me to come to him with renewal and restoration as in Psalm 51, especially verse 10-12.

“Create in me a clean heart. O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.”

After this prayer on that day, the floodgates opened up and it seemed like chaos came. My eyes were opened in new ways and it became painful to see what I saw. It actually felt like a kind of death. Even many deaths inside of myself and in circumstances around me in life. It shook me to the core. Yet that was what I asked for because  I asked for renewal. In order for something to be born, something must be removed; the old, the past and whatever is not true needs to die.

What is left standing is what is real and cannot be shaken.

All of me turned to Psalms of faith, the stillness of waiting on The Lord and the Power of his Spirit.

Psalm 62

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
he alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.”

This morning, I woke with a sense of being a witness to the chaos that is everywhere in the world, all around me, around us. I was aware of a heart perspective to suffering and gentle tenderness at the same time. It felt as if my heart was not only singular but enlarged; it included everyone. Further, it seemed as if ‘this world’ were like a door that could be pressed and, that it was in great pain.

I did not know how to respond. “Wait, Lord,” I thought. “This is not what I asked for in my prayer. I did not wish for a heightened sense of the suffering in the world around me”. It was enough to feel my own. I wanted a “new heart”… A joyful NICE heart. What is this one? It was grieving at that moment.

Then there was a shift. I remembered that there was a Promise placed at the core of my heart which was stronger than anything that was witnessed in this temporary world.

Revelation 21:5

“And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Did I say that I did not know what to write? These are clear instructions on what needs to be written and recorded. These words are trustworthy and true!

“Behold, I am making all things new…these words are trustworthy and true.”

Big sigh. My heart is new and my joy is complete. While this world may suffer the pangs of mortal life, we also suffer as we, in this life we are made new in Christ. In the sermon, this past Sunday my Pastor, (Tom Holliday of Alexandria Presbyterian Church) eloquently spoke about this very topic. “He wants to be our joy and our delight. We have the privilege of suffering for Christ,” he said. “Come and die. The cross comes before the crown.” This, after speaking of our inheritance from God. “Is the Gospel singing to you that you are God’s beloved? Can you hear it?”

1 Corinthians 15:22
“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”

For Christ, in Christ

Each day and each hour, I pray that my heart is made new by Our King, seated on The Throne whose precious words are trustworthy and true. Born into his Kingdom as a daughter gives me joy at this moment. My heart and mind are restored to a peace that delights from a perspective of what is eternal and true. I will be listening to God’s Promises as I walk forward even though I, like you, am walking in this world and it does at times feel and appear to be grievous and troubling.

We need to remember who our Father is and that he is leading us all, and all of this; this world. I pray that in Christ and for Christ we live with bold and truthful hearts, given to him.

© 2019 Linda Willows