"I came to love you late, O Beauty so ancient and new; I came to love you late. You were within me and I was outside where I rushed about wildly searching for you like some monster loose in your beautiful world. You were with me, but I was not with you. You called me, you shouted to me. You broke past my deafness. You bathed me in your light, you wrapped me in your splendor, you sent my blindness reeling. You gave out such a delightful fragrance, and I drew it in and came breathing hard after you. I tasted, and it made me hunger and thirst; you touched me, and I burned to know your peace." - Augustine
Still deep in this valley of the heart...of time in my life....I realized something I thought I'd share. Here I am, 23 years into this journey of faith....many of those years spent in childhood innocence and ease of faith...and as Augustine so beautifully wrote, God just sent my blindness reeling and for this first time, I tasted, drew it in and was touched only to be left panting for more. I have shared with a few that through this valley, I have been able to boldly proclaim how much pain and suffering is worth when the veil between Heaven and earth becomes more transparent....and even more exciting, the face of my Father has become unmistakable. My faith, which is worth fair more than gold, is being refined....and this temporal world, though hard to live at times, is passing away. I told B through this that though this is hurting terribly, I would so much rather know the One who stills the pain rather than have no pain at all. It is so easy to begin to think highly of yourself. To think subconsciously that we are not as desperate for grace...for mercy...for forgiveness. That we are above the need for fire to refine. A closeted prodigal. Talking the talk, checking the list, making appearances, blindly lending your time...missing the passion in your words, the hunger in your time in the Word, the humility in knowing you need a Savior more than anyone else, the knowledge and depth of insight coming from sitting through a church service, the joy in serving as Jesus did when completing a task....why is it so easy to get comfortable and saying, "okay, this is enough. Thanks for the blessings Lord, but I am good here." Accepting greedily the good He gives but angrily demanding "WHY?!" when pain appears. In my case, perhaps the why was as easy as Him saying, "No daughter, I had bigger dreams for you when I dreamed you into being. Here is not enough. I have so much more for you....comfort is part of the way I bless you, seasons of stillness for you to enjoy....but you are not meant to stay there. Not meant to accept it as a more perfect blessing than growth and knowing Me." In brokeness, we remember our desperation, our utter need for Him. But more sweetly, my Father that was happily discarded as my life got easy, was standing in the road with his hand cupping his brow earnestly watching for my return. And as I saw Him there, I began the humbling sprint to the Daddy that never left. And as His strong arms picked up my broken heart and body, I was reminded of His love for me....so deep, so long, so high and so wide that I could not take it in....and this prodigal was reminded that I was one indeed.