Strengthened by Grace


FullSizeRender.jpg-5As I walked Angus along the familiar neighborhood tree-lined sidewalk, my mind flitted around as usual from ideas to memories to plans. All of a sudden, I felt two heavy, cushiony blows on the back of my head. I stopped.

I suddenly felt as if I were starring in an episode of the Twilight Zone. I stood still, confused and totally disoriented. 

I looked behind me. No one. Nothing. I looked up and around. I saw some birthday balloons tied to a mailbox. Although the blows felt soft like a balloon, balloons weren’t the culprit. Perplexed, I stood there determined to figure this out.

In curiosity, I retraced my steps and soon heard in a tree the loud fussing of a mocking bird directed at me. I laughed out loud as I began to understand. Apparently, Angus and I had walked too close to her nest and she had dive-bombed me twice on the back of the head to protect her turf.

There’s a first time for everything.

But wait. I could have mindlessly shrugged that off as coincidence. Ha! But I know, for certain, that at this point in my life, nothing happens by chance. I belong to the LORD who controls all of heaven and earth. Not one speck of dust can move one inch without His permission. So, if He controls everything, then He controlled that mocking bird.

What was His point in all this, I wondered. 

Could the LORD be speaking to me through a mocking bird?

I reviewed my steps along that stretch of the sidewalk and nothing significant came to mind. Then it occurred to me that my inner life is always much more significant to Him than my outer. So, I reviewed my progression of thoughts during that stretch of the walk.

What was I thinking right before the blows hit me…? I wondered.

I remember! I was recalling a conversation my friends had at church the previous week. They commented enthusiastically on how very handsome this man was who we see there every week. As I recounted their excitement, I had agreed with them in my heart matter-of-factly that he was very handsome, and in so doing “entered into” their hormonal stirring… Ah-ha! That was my thought the moment before the blows hit me.

Realizing that my thought instigated the blows, I laughed out loud. I felt delight in God’s creative correction of me in keeping my focus and guarding my heart. I continued walking along feeling elated that He would care enough for me to speak directly to an indiscreet thought in such a playful and surprising, and impactful way.

When I got home, I immediately sat down at my computer to search for something more, but I didn’t know what. I wanted to go deeper with this, but I had no path to run on. So I just sat there.

shaft of light

A moment later as the sun continued to rise over the back of the neighborhood, a shaft of light beamed into my office over my desk. Suspended in stillness in the light shaft were the usual nondescript tiny specks of dust and lint. In the middle of them though, a large figurine-like shred of dust took center stage and in slow-motion floated toward me.

As it did, it rotated carefully as if on a display case for me to examine.

As I became enthralled with this image, I sensed a distinct uplifting impression, “This is for you.”

 

As I noticed this brilliant image, I was so surprised because I recognized it as resembling a letter from the Hebrew alphabet. Could the LORD be speaking to me through a piece of dust? I eagerly googled the Hebrew alphabet wondering if this could possible have anything to do with the mocking bird.

Bingo! There was the Hebrew letter that resembled the large shred of floating dust. The name of the letter is Lamed.

LAMED

I now had a path to run on: Lamed! 

The pictograph for the letter, Lamed, looks like a Shepherd’s staff or a goad. Lamed is the tallest Hebrew letter and the middle letter or “the heart” of the Hebrew alphabet. It means “to goad, prod or prick” as a Shepherd would do in guiding His sheep. Lamed represents authority and heart knowledge and its root meaning is “to learn or teach.” Lamed is not meant to lead us to merely head knowledge, but to spur us on to action in heart and deed.

“Governing His territory: is my favorite meaning behind this letter.

Could the LORD have used a mocking bird and a piece of dust to bring attention to my meandering (and potentially harmful) thoughts?? Yes!

I know He owns me and my mind. This lesson showed me just how much He owns my mind, and how important it is to Him. Through this penetrating experience, I feel deeply loved by Him, protected by Him and inspired to abandon even more of myself and my mind to His constant care.

I have always viewed men through the eyes of a very heterosexual woman. Now that I’ve been married for nearly thirty years, I don’t lust after them anymore, but I have a lingering tendency to make an idol of them because of my history. With all of my healing, I know that the domineering idol of “men” fell years ago, but maybe in all this there were a few broken fragments still left lying there on the altar of my heart. And maybe the enemy had an evil plan to lure me to tip toe toward a particularly handsome one.

Who knows??

The LORD does. And He took care of it.

This  “bird and dust” lesson showed me also how much the LORD desires purity in me throughout. And that it’s His job to do and complete that sanctifying work in me from head to toe. From the softness of the blows to the allure of the floating Lamed, His grace rules.

When I take the time to listen to Him and view life through His lens, He speaks to me clearly, and always with such grace. I suppose “Like Father, like daughter” is His goal.

Thank you, LORD, for your attention to me. Your grace always strengthens me.

 

Strengthened

Hebrews 13:9b It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,

Ephesians 2:7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

 

 

 

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About ashleydwille

Author Ashley D. Wille was always searching for spiritual answers. “True and lasting satisfaction always proved just out of reach. Now, in midlife, I have come to find my soul satiated in God. Through sweet surprises, difficult climbs, and excruciating valleys, the Master’s hand has shaped me. All along the way, God has taught me many things. What He has taught me most is that many of my beliefs about Him were wrong.” Her book, My Journey Through the Cross, is a personal insight shared by an amazing woman. Through her profound experiences and inner struggles, Wille shows how she was able to break through false layers of thinking and move into a deeper relationship with God. Her beautiful journey is just waiting to be shared. If you are ready to live your life free of guilt and shame, you too can learn how to walk in spiritual freedom.
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