Month: March 2015

Picasso Jesus

Picasso Jesus

So I read it there – how in Cubism artwork, objects are broken up, analyzed and reconstructed. How an artist can change perspective with one brush stroke. And I think: don’t we do that with Jesus? Don’t we dissect Him, His words, and remold them […]

princess in the terrycloth robe

princess in the terrycloth robe

It was a bittersweet night when we first met her. I’d spent a fair amount of time that week collecting my emotions in the hall of the care center, choking back tears, swallowing past the lump in my throat that tasted a little like regret, […]

A Matter of Heart

A Matter of Heart

Nice matters.

Though the sign was moved periodically, in the house I grew up in, I always picture it hanging above her chair in the sun room. She’d sit there, and we’d talk. Sometimes the words that flowed weren’t nice…sometimes they were sharp words spoken by a tired mom and a moody daughter. Sometimes we plain gossiped. Sometimes we vented angry-red words, spilling from lips tasting the salt of our tears…words trying to find relief in the hurt of living in this broke-down world. But I always knew how she craved nice…from others and from herself.

And I get that.

I want to be nice…and I achieve it in an Instagram/Facebook/blogging world where I can edit and filter and soften the edges. But when it’s just me, sitting up at 2 a.m. sorting the thoughts, I know that my heart needs some doctoring right quick.

Of course it makes me think about her heart. How it just stopped beating one night. Just plumb quit. In that quiet, when the pulsing ceased, I know she found real rest and peace. A forever kind of nice.

But my heart is still beating. Sometimes it pulses nice and even, keeping time in grace and love and kindness. Resonating redeeming truth from the very One who created it. But sometimes? Okay, a lot of the time, it beats erratic, keeping time with the world. It pulses irritation and moodiness. It aches from hurt feelings and indignant justification. It’s enlarged with selfishness and greed and envy…when I just want the chambers of this life-giving vessel to be filled with peace and kindness and truth.

It beats to the tempo of: I. want. my. way.

When a heartbeat stronger than mine whispers the truth: You. must. die. to. self.

That’s the truth then.

If I want to truly live, I must die. This giving up of my rights…my whims…my desires. It sounds very cryptic. Scary. It goes against every self-help theology filling the bookshelves of our society.

Until you remember Who you are surrendering to.

I’m handing over this broken, messy, sinful heart…beating out envy, selfishness, failure, fear, beating to the tempo of anxious thoughts and worries… I hand it to the One who knows what I need more than I do. I hand it to the One who has the real cure for a broken, messy heart.

I hand this heart to Jesus, because He knows what it’s like to have a human heart beating in this fallen world. You see, His sacrifice wouldn’t have meant so much if He hadn’t chosen to take on human flesh with its fragile beating heart.

His heart beat too, pulsing red through His earthly flesh while He physically walked through brokenness and disease and chaos and death. His heart stopped while He hung from blood-stained wood, His heart pulsing out His blood. Pierced for us.

And couldn’t my heart beat to that tempo? Throbbing to the tune of grace and forgiveness.

She fought the good fight, and the Lord blissfully called her home one night. Her heart stopped beating, and her next breath was of Heaven’s air.

Not because she had it all right. Not because she didn’t sin…fall…fail. Not because she graduated to nice enough.

No, she traded her faulty human heart for glory and eternity and wholeness because, in her human struggles, she gave her heart to the only One who could fix its brokenness.

And couldn’t I give myself that grace? At 2 a.m. when I am recounting how I’ve failed, fallen, sinned today…couldn’t I just lean up against my Heavenly Daddy’s chest and listen to the tempo of His heart?

Forgiven.  Redeemed.   Beloved.  Good enough.

Yes, nice matters. But maybe another word for nice is grace. Couldn’t we give it to others…and ourselves? When this heart aches with the heaviness of my own falling, when it feels like it will burst or just plumb stop too, couldn’t I just match its tempo to His?

heart