In my naivety, I thought I was just asking You to come into my heart so that I could sit with You. When I said two weeks ago that we should “make room“, I truly did not understand what I was saying. As I have learned in the days since, there was a lot that needed to be removed from my heart in order for You to have room to roam and dwell. ABBA, today I remove…
It was Saturday, December 12th. I had been anxious for this day for many reasons but now the day was here and it was time for me to embrace whatever God had for me. I’m a planner and I have OCD so I had meticulously mapped out the day’s events. I was doing 7hrs of volunteer portrait photography and I had reached out to every single family to inquire about their COVID-19 status. I had packed wipes and spray, a mask (actually, I had well over 10 in my possession), and a CDC inspired screening sheet. I booked appointments in a way that allowed for social distancing of families and offered me time to clean in between. I ensured that families were always in masks right up until the actual snap of the camera. I had thought of and planned for everything. Yet one phone call and two text messages on last Sunday evening revealed that my intent and plans couldn’t supersede God. One of the mothers had received a call stating that she tested positive for COVID-19.
Can I be honest here? I was pissed. Yes, there are other words that I could use to describe how I felt, but truthfully, that is exactly how I felt. I wondered why the mother/family had lied to me in my initial screening and while filling out the form? I was worried because I had been around my mother and niece that day and I didn’t want to get them sick. I thought about me- and only me- as I began crying on the phone. The day had already been frustrating for other personally dramatic reasons and now this! Even when the mother herself had texted me, I offered a dry, “thank you for letting me know.” I was upset and that’s all I had- deeply embedded sarcasm.
It wasn’t until I had time to process the prayer that someone had rendered on my behalf that I realized how I had behaved. The family in question was at the beginning of my day- what if someone else had been exposed? What if I didn’t clean as well as I had thought and someone else got sick? What about the child that was in that family? The precious little toddler who wanted nothing to do with that photoshoot, what if she was sick, too? And what about the dad? He had blessed our hearts by saying that he was off to work to provide a Christmas for his young daughter. What if he, too, was sick? As I processed the depth of the matter, I texted the mother back to talk to her. In my initial response, where was the human? Where was the Christian? Where was the woman of God? Somehow, she was hidden behind her own fear… and her own selfishness.
On Monday morning I did rush to get tested and even as I listened to the nurse tell me later in the afternoon that my test was negative, I couldn’t help but think of those who did not receive the same news. This is a devastating disease that knows no color or creed, taking the lives of whomever it so pleases. Truly, my prayers are with America and the world.
I can recall as early as middle school when I had a slick mouth. I have never been in a physical fight, but the amount of times that I have cursed someone out but good are far too numerous to count. My tongue has a mind of its own and I have struggled for years to tame it.
As I grew in Christ, the odds of me cursing someone out decreased, but something else replaced those harsh words- sarcasm and stinking thinking. I called myself a realist, seeing and saying things as they truly were. Turns out, all I was doing was spewing negativity and toxicity. It took someone in my circle saying that 80% of conversations with me were filled with depressing/sad words for me to see just how damaging I truly was. I realized that every time I reached out to my friends and family, I always had something negative to say. Something on me was hurting. Someone had hurt me. Something was always wrong. I wasn’t a realist. I was a pessimist, hiding in sheep’s clothing.
Again, how can I sing the praises of God and pray over the situations of others with the same tongue and heart that holds onto negativity? The book of Proverbs is a great place for me to go to see what God truly thinks about matters of the tongue, heart, and mind…
As I think about making room for God to dwell in my heart, I realized last Sunday night that I had to remove other things. It’s not enough to want God to dwell in my heart and it’s not even enough to sit at His feet and invite Him in. I must truly make sufficient and adequate space for Him by removing the things that prevent Him from getting comfy. And Beloved, God cannot get comfy around my worry, selfishness, stinking thinking, doubt, sarcasm, etc.
I must say, it is never my intent for you to read these #MondayMessage posts and get so caught up in my story, that you miss your own. It is actually my prayer that as you read, God would continue to unfold your story and work diligently within your own heart. My desire for you is that God would grow you, stretch you, and further develop you as His child. Today’s title is “Create in M.E. a clean heart” and like any time that I use my initials, I use it here so that you can simply substitute your own in place of mine. Join me in this prayer:
Creator of all the heavens and the earth, I come to You today, humbly asking that You would do as David requested in Psalm 51 and create in me a clean and pure heart and renew in me Your steadfast Spirit. Let me not be consumed by the cares of this world but transformed by the renewing of my mind in You. You, Abba, are all that I need so I invite you into my heart and I make room for You to dwell there eternally. In Jesus’ name. Amen.