Literature, My Thoughts, relationships

Not Empty Now

***MAJOR SPOILER ALERT***

-Do not read this unless you have read Little Women


 

Josephine March and Friedrich Bhaer (from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott) taught me something very important.

 

I was actually having a bit of quiet time with God and was listening to the song “Empty My Hands” by Tenth Avenue North when it all occurred to me. I was sitting there, begging God to empty my hands of junk: dreams, ambitions, and distractions. I wanted Him to empty my hands and fill me up with Him.

 

In Little Women, when Bhaer comes to Jo to ask her to marry him, the end of their conversation goes like this:

 

~”Ah! Thou gifest me such hope and courage, and I haf nothing to gif back but a full heart and these empty hands,” cried the professor, quite overcome.

 

Jo never, never would learn to be proper, for when he said that as they stood upon the steps, she just put both hands into his, whispering tenderly, “Not empty now,” and stooping down, kissed her Friedrich under the umbrella.~

 

I suppose it was because I was singing about empty hands that I thought about this particular happening (it is one of my favorite romance quotes), but a new view of this suddenly opened up to me. I realized what a beautiful picture this truly is of us and God. We are Friedrich Bhaer. We come to God so full of love and longing, and feeling so unworthy. We wish to give Him something in return for all His love and goodness, but we find only ourselves. We have nothing but full hearts and empty hands. Then God reaches down and places His hands in ours and tenderly whispers, “Not empty now….” He gives us Himself and then we are full. Full and overflowing. We are so overwhelmed by His offer that it only fills our hearts further with love. I am close to bursting….

 

In that moment, I realized that He defines ‘lover’. He is the Creator of romance, and He is far better than anything we could ask for or imagine. And I look up adoringly into His loving face and echo His reply, “No, not empty now, or ever…..”

 

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relationships, testimonies

Testimonies of the “Civilized”: Part 1

As the darkness crowded around me, I hugged my covers closer. But I couldn’t shake the uneasiness. This wasn’t new to me—it’d happened a million times before. So, I decided to listen to my ipod. I plugged the earbuds in my ears and laid back down. But what to listen to? I’d listened to most of these so many times I’d nearly gotten tired of them. I wanted something fresh. Something that would touch my heart. I needed something to take my mind off the spiritual failures and the clenching in my throat. But what? As I flipped through my playlists, I saw two letters:

“KB”

Ah! Now there was a christian rap artist I hadn’t really listened to much. We only had a few songs of his, and I hadn’t really ventured out of Lecrae yet. So, I hit it. A list of songs popped up. Not many. But enough. One album’s worth: “Weight & Glory”. But I had heard some of these before. They were really good songs, but not what I was in the mood for. Something else. The problem was, I just didn’t know most of these!

“Open Letter (Battlefield),” I read. It sounded vaguely familiar but I didn’t remember anything about it.

“Well, there’s nothing else, really, and I don’t want to wait much longer to pick one!” I thought, the feelings only tensing more. So, I hit it.

My eyes opened wide.

There, inside my head, was playing a testimony I had heard only too often. Much of it my own. As the girl’s story played, I kept rewinding the song, not believing what I was hearing. I was trying to soak it all in. Even the second testimony was so familiar to my ears. How many guys had I heard vent over the same problem, crushed by the culture’s over-sexualization? As I listened, I recalled them. Time and time again. So many hurting people….

I thought the song would be over after the second verse. But it wasn’t.

As the music artist started to pray, tears sprang to my eyes. Because he was praying for me. For friends. For family. For so many broken hearts. I was hearing the words of so many unspoken prayers. And I felt strengthened and uplifted by it.

Seeing the need, I wanted to share the song with you. You are not alone. You have to know there is hope! There is love! And there is immeasurable grace waiting to be lavished on you! Just take a moment. Listen to the testimonies of the “civilized”:

——————————————————————–

“Open letter (Battlefield)”

By: KB

[Intro: KB]

I really appreciate ya’ll coming out to pray with me, man!

My heart’s just been real heavy here lately, man.

I got a stack of letters here, and I thought we should read a couple of ’em,

And pray at the end. So I got one right here from Atlanta.

It says:

[Verse 1: KB]

Dear KB,

What’s going on? It’s Ashley from the show

That you was doing with Trip Lee.

The Crew and the Spirit was moving, man! It was really dope!

When y’all left the A, I was so encouraged in the faith!

And I blessed the Lord for HGA—

I wanna start this off by saying thanks!

(There’s a battle going on)

But, lately, I’ve had this struggle with

Secrets of my past in the past five years of singleness.

(I know it) I’m lusting. I’m sinning, but my lust here is different—

Since I’ve been so alone, I kinda long for the touch of a woman!

(There’s a battle going on)

And I know it’s wrong, but dudes never ever show me attention!

I go unnoticed, it was a joke but girls show me interest!

Dudes at my church say that I’m the type of chick that they want,

(they lie)

But when I see the girls they date I know they really don’t!

I get jealous quick. I hate the mirror—I don’t feel pretty!

I’ve even contemplated surgery to feel skinny!

I know it’s real silly. The world tells me, “Just embrace it—you were born this way!”

(that’s a lie—it’s just lust)

I tried talking to the people at church,

But they just look at me funny—only adding to the hurt!*

Now I’m torn, ’cause the other day I stumbled over porn!

I’m supposed to be a leader, man! How can I move on? I know.

(this is a lie)

That’s why I’m coming to you praying.

I’m praying that you can pray for you sister to make it through.

I’m crying as I write, cause I wanna be right!

Many girls have fallen, and I don’t wanna fall too!

[Hook: KB & Jai]

There’s a war inside my heart and mind! Every day, I fight it!

So make me align to the Truth and rely on your Spirit inside me!

(It’s time to make) war war war war war war,

Cause life is a battlefield!

War war war war war war,

Cause life is a battlefield!

[Verse 2: Swoope]

Dear KB,

We’re big fans of yours—me and my lady!

When you came to the show, we was in the front row

Screaming “one-one-six!”, going

Crazy all for the HGA—was a crazy night.

What’s even crazier is the girl I was dating then is fiance now—

I’m engaged to her!

The words that you left, man, rocked us!

So I went and got her left hand rocked up.

But, if I could be honest,

I’m trying hard to abstain and not get her knocked up!

Of course I want kids,

But even more than that I wanna please the Father!

But when I look into her eyes, I can’t concentrate!

Man, I can’t even lie—I wanna consummate!

She’s the one I’m sure, but I wanna stay pure!

Scary the way that I’m yearning for her!

Getting married, but I’m burning for her!

Hard for me to wait till she walk in that aisle

Down in a white gown—I’m thinking night gown!

Man, I wanna do it right now!

Why wait when I feel like she my wife now?

The way that I’m feeling is natural, but, KB, is it godly?

Is it wrong lust, or strong love—this feeling inside for wifey?

Honor the Lord in dating her.

Wanna do the same in waiting, but

This temptation’s a beast!

Please pray for us!

[Hook]

[Verse 3: Trip Lee]

Dear God,

We come in His name,

The slain and risen

Who’s running this thing,

Christ the Lord—

The one who can bring

Healing the hurts of the ones that He claims!

We think we got nothing to gain

By clinging to Christ, the love of the King.

But He was under the same—

Tempted and hurt—He’s accustomed to pain.

Though they feel it feel it—

Pain, but they joy can kill it kill it!

Feeling like life been pillaged.

Can I please intercede for a minute?

This is

Not out of Your grasp!

Your grace can shake! Your power can smash!

I pray this hour and ask—

Allow them to see Your power surpass

That sin! Devour their past!

Drowning with mercy, shower them fast!

Give them the faith to follow the Father!

He’s Abba! Your Honor, please swallow the trash!

Dear Lord, you were never gone!

You promised You’d make ’em forever strong!

Your arm isn’t short—it is very long!

Make ’em like Christ—You get ’em home!

[Hook]

——————————————————————–

*I know the pain…To be discussed later.

★DISCLAIMER: All images used on this blog are strictly copyrights of their owners. I do not claim credit/ownership for any images used here in my blog unless stated otherwise. If I have offended anyone by posting any images on my blog, please contact me via email and I will remove specified image(s) ASAP.

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Lord, I am a Blind Sheep!—A Prayer from Kinuko-san

[Picture not mine]

I was so touched by dear Kinuko-san’s recent post—a poem that she wrote. I asked her permission to reblog her post. You can find the original here: http://japanesebiblewoman.blogspot.com/2015/10/lord-i-am-blind-sheep-my-poem-and-prayer.html

Please go check out her site. She is such a tender maiden for our Lord. 🙂

“Lord, I am a Blind Sheep”

————————-

Lord, I am a blind sheep.

A dull sheep who runs about thoughtlessly.

Even truth-seeking heart would lose its power in front of this dullness.

The tragedy is that, though I know well that there are various wolves with sheep clothes,

walking about, seeking whom they may deceive,

I cannot hear Thy voice very well!

One day, am I going to be eaten by one of them?

Since I am blind and cannot hear very well,

would You do me a special favor?

Even after calling me by name and leading me out to the pasture,

Lord, would you continue to carry me through to the final destination?

Because of Thy servant’s dullness and weakness,

please grant me Thy special mercy.

[written by Kinuko]

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The Sight of a Blind Woman; A Simple Prayer to Turn our Hearts

The picture is not mine...

The picture is not mine…

Fanny Crosby was rendered blind at a young age because of damage done to her corneas. However, she never let her blindness hinder her in any way. At a young age, she memorized large portions of the Bible, rode horseback, played, jumped, ran, climbed trees, played several instruments rather well, and wrote many poems. Later in life, she travelled, became a professor at an institution for the blind, and wrote many hymns. She has been one of my major inspirations over the past few months. She refused to count her lack of sight as anything but a blessing. Despite her lack of physical sight, she saw more spiritually than most see in all their lifetime. O the sight of this blind woman! Let us now incline our ears to one hymn she wrote. It is a prayer to turn our hearts. This has become my prayer every day. Let the words soak in….

“I am thine, O Lord. I have heard Thy voice,

And it told Thy love to me;

But I long to rise in the arms of faith,

And be closer drawn to Thee.

Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,

To the cross where Thou hast died;

Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,

To Thy precious, bleeding side!

Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord,

By the power of grace divine;

Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,

And my will be lost in Thine.

Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,

To the cross where Thou hast died;

Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,

To Thy precious, bleeding side!

O the pure delight of a single hour

That before Thy throne I spend;

When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God,

I commune as friend with friend!

Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,

To the cross where Thou hast died;

Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,

To Thy precious, bleeding side!

There are depths of love that I cannot know

Till I cross the narrow sea;

There are heights of joy that I may not reach

Till I rest in peace with Thee.

Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,

To the cross where Thou hast died;

Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,

To Thy precious, bleeding side!”

—”Draw Me Nearer” by Fanny Crosby

The picture is not mine...

The picture is not mine…

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