Spiritual Practices

Never did I not belong

Then little children were brought to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and pray for them.  But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.  Jesus said: “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.”  When He had placed His hand on them, He went on from there.                                              Matthew 19

There is a big crowd.  Adults and children, from crippled old people to weaned babies.  People are happy; Jesus is among us. He is in our presence.  The countryside is beautiful with the absence of buildings.  There is one big tree that stands out.

Children are invited to come to Jesus.  The adults tell us to go.  No one is paying attention to Jesus’ friends who want to keep us children away.  They feel the need to protect Jesus; He probably does not have time for this.  But the children run ahead, so happy to be with Jesus.  I don’t run.  I simply let the crowd push me up, unsure I am allowed there too.  The children are running around Jesus; playing and laughing as He interacts with them.  I keep my distance, I feel uncomfortable, still not sure of my place.

Jesus catches my eye and He smiles at me.  There’s comfort.  I watch everyone play and have fun.  Sometimes I laugh at what I see happening, it sure is a fun sight.  He catches my eye again.  No matter how busy, no matter how much is happening around Him, He spots me from afar.  I smile back at Him and I have a warm fuzzy feeling inside.  Yet, I am still not playing, still not sure where I belong.  I feel out of place, and scared.

Over the next little while this keeps happening, as if Jesus is playing a game with me, without anyone knowing it seems.  Joy inside my heart.  And then, then Jesus motions me to come.  Very naturally the children jump in, they hadn’t even noticed I was not with them.  “Maddy, come on” they go, “Maddy come…”

Still unsure I get closer and when I am at arms length Jesus pick me up and sets me on His lap.  He puts His hand on my head and pushes me gently against His chest.  He knows.  As He continues to play, laugh and talk with all these children I just sit on His lap, His chest and hand being my comfort.  I find Rest and I fall asleep.  After I stayed there for some time, Jesus carries me over to the tree.  Without waking me up He lays be down.  There’s more children there, lovely resting. Children play, children sleep.

I belong.  Never did I not belong.

The tree is a comfortable place.  I am not bothered by it’s stature.  When I wake up I know it a lot better, I belong.  Now I giggle too.  I join in!  I don’t feel out of place at all.  At times Jesus still plays the eye game with me.  He still happens to catch my eye at the right time.  And He winks.  Him and I know.  There is this sweet connection and it tells me I can trust. I can enjoy.  I can play, and cry, and sleep.  I can talk, or be quiet.  Whenever I look at Him, He notices as if He was waiting for it.

I have grown.  I still sit on Jesus’ lap, listening but also chattering a whole lot.  I am not that little girl anymore, still a girl, always His little girl, but now, I notice.  I notice the Maddy’s in the crowd.  And with Jesus I play the eye game with them.  I wink them in.

 

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In His eyes

The lady who touched Jesus’ cloak and was instantly healed.  Jesus stopped in His tracks and asked: “Who was the one who touched me?” This woman had to confess it was her, in front of all the crowd.  Rising shame.  Would He be mad? Would the people laugh?  Would they make fun of her?

I am watching, I’m part of the crowd.  I want to choose the woman’s side and stand by her but I am too worried about the crowd singling me out with her. So I don’t.  But I know what it is like to stand alone.  Surely she shouldn’t have to.  But I am too scared to be made fun of.  I won’t risk it!  So either way I don’t feel good. It’s either pain and quilt or shame and fear.

But there is a good I can choose.

Good.

There is good.  What is it?  Surely walking up to this woman laying in the dust, feeling so alone… afraid… ashamed… not knowing what she did was allowed.  Shame weakening her.  I reach out, one arm reaching underneath hers, one hand reaching for her hand.  She gets up in the steadiness of my body.  I let her lean into mine.  She’s no longer alone.  If there is to be any shaming, we’ll be shamed together.

We’re deadly afraid, not knowing what’s to come.  Both trembling on our feet, our hands shaking.  And then… there He is. We face the Lord.  And even though the crowd is loud and rowdy, mocking us, we see it in His eyes.  The woman, now my friend, has done what is good.  And I have chosen what is best.  We no longer hear the crowd.  The crowd has no meaning to us.  Because… it is in His eyes.  Her and I are one.  I’m grateful for what she did, her courage.  Without her I would not know His eyes.  I did not lose out.  I guess I was courageous too.

~ For I know the plan I have for you.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future. ~

 

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