His love is greater
Over the years I have built up this wall. A stronghold that would seem to be a refuge, but is actually a prison. I didn’t mean for it to be. But I just figured that if I would start to build, then I would also be protected. I guess I was tired of the harsh cold winds, the tossing around and the crying out loud. If only I were alone, in my own box of protection, then everything would be okay.
This construction started when I was still young. Where at school I sought out friends and thought I had found some form of safety. But more quickly than I had imagined even they turned their backs on me. Friends became foes, I became a little lost. But my hopeful spirit didn’t give up as fast as that. I tried some more and got hurt a bit more. Even though I often portrayed myself as a joyful little girl, completely carefree, there were many moments that shaped me and made me pick up a new brick and put it into place. I fell and broke my wrist, later on I was punched in the stomach, twice. I was bullied and pushed to the side, or pulled to the side, whichever way pleased them more. Often in pain. The harsh words from that time can still cut deep.
Good things happened, but the weird thing about pain is that when you don’t give it time to heal, it simply accumulates. For me it was in the form of a wall. Growing steadily taller. When I reached high school you could still easily peak into my safe place. It wasn’t too high yet. If you wanted to, you could probably even step over it and come in. I had been hurt, but I was still open for inviting people in. I had felt protected, but this was about to change. Of course there had been hurt, but I had not yet been introduced to it as deeply as I would thereafter. No, anxiety crept in. As did trauma, fear, depression, agony. Not inflicted by those around me, but by circumstances that I could not avoid. I could not. They happened and left me weeping. People reached out, but didn’t always persevere. Slowly I felt more broken and weird. All I could see was backs. The hands disappeared, the sorrow appeared.
I felt alone.
And so I gathered more bricks and built my wall a little higher. Until I couldn’t see over the top of it anymore. I was finally surrounded and I hoped that this would now protect me. In my own little bubble, no one could harm me. They already didn’t care, they already rejected me, why would I then continue to open up my heart? I found it harder and harder to trust. On the outside, I might not have appeared to be as hurt. I was still able to love and laugh, to wonder and enjoy. But not as fully, not as whole, not as well. The hurt had entrapped me, until I was screaming out for anyone to hear me. I didn’t want to be noticed, but was afraid to be alone.
My heart was scarred. I sat on the floor in my tower, my back against the cold stone and I wept. Legs tucked in, arms hugging my knees. At times I would look up and see the starry sky, so far off and I wished that I could be up there. Floating into space, free to fly. I thought that this prison would be permanent. All I could do was sit and wallow. There was no hope. I was made to live in this box of built up pain. Rejected, forsaken, lost.
And yet, I still thought that I was safe. I believed that the wall would protect me. No matter what they would try now, they could never harm me. So I tried not to make a sound, because then they wouldn’t notice me. Not the wall, not me. I was able to disappear. Until I could disappear no more.
After my barricade had become an enclosure, I could hear people hammering on the bricks. They were trying to break it down. Somebody had noticed the wall and had pulled others in to cut it down. I wanted them to, yet was scared of them succeeding. Would they hurt me after freeing me? I didn’t expect them to get very far. I had worked long and hard on this wall. I knew it was sturdy and that it would take a lot of persistency to make it fall. Well, I had never found persevering love with others before. Rarely, at the very least. But ever since they started it has been a constant deconstruction. They haven’t stopped and I started to wonder why!
One day, close to the beginning of the constant hammering, I heard someone speak. He told me that He was the one who had started the dismantling. It was all His idea. But then He told me that He was doing it in order for me to be safe. I couldn’t understand. I had built this wall so that I would be protected! After all this time of construction, someone who I hardly knew wanted to break me free. To make me whole or to hurt me more? I didn’t know. But His voice returned day by day. Every day He told me that He cared, that He didn’t want to hurt me, but that He wanted to take the pain away. He gave me promises and I started to hold onto them. Slowly I started to believe Him.
Light came through a crack in the wall. It touched my face and I felt comforted. I hadn’t seen this light in a while and was relieved to see it again. More cracks came and I was beyond thrilled. It gave me hope and I picked up my hammer. This time not to build up, but to demolish. I wacked away, smacking it ever harder on the rocks that had been my only view. But it took so long and I didn’t see the amount of progress that I had expected to see. I thought that once I would turn away from the past, that everything would instantly crumble down around me. That didn’t happen. The light crept in more and more, but I sat down again. A little discouraged.
I pondered, I thought things through and fear came by to say hello. Outside I could still hear the voices from the people trying to get me out. But suddenly I felt cornered, as I remembered why I had started building in the first place. I needed to protect myself, but now my fortress was being taken down. I felt cornered, unprotected, vulnerable. ‘Don’t come in! I don’t want you to see me like this!’ I was scared and thought how much better it would be to pick up my tools and start building again.
But I knew that I couldn’t. Because that voice that had promised me safety was still clearly ringing in the back of my mind. I knew that He wanted more for me than this cage. And I suddenly remembered the different moments where He had come into my life before it had become an enclosure. I hadn’t even remembered, but now I understood why His voice sounded so familiar. I had met Him before.
When my wall was only knee-high, He had stopped by once and had sat down. On the wall. He had talked to me, that was all. He didn’t do much more that time. But I recall that His smile had filled my heart with peace. Or that other time where I was working hard on putting more bricks up on the wall. Tears were streaming down my face. My mom was in the hospital and I was afraid. Terrified. He had come by and had placed His hand on top of mine. My bloody hands did not appal Him. Rather, He looked straight into my eyes and I saw that tears were running down His face too. Another moment. I had laid down on the hard floor and stared at the stars when suddenly a dozen shooting stars whisked across the sky. I hadn’t known it then, but I knew now that He had done that. To show that He still cared.
Now I was faced with a decision. With a brick in one hand and a hammer in the other, I was ready to work again. But I knew that He was handing me the invitation to let go and hand the tools to Him. I stood there, thinking it over. Tears were streaming down my face. I didn’t know what to do. That is when I heard His voice again, assuring me: ‘I am here’. I loosened my grip and let go.
Gently he took a strand of hair between his two fingers. He looked at it, raised his hands and cut off the end bit. Then he took the next lock and proceeded to cut away the dead ends, leaving beautiful flowing locks. As he worked his way through, his hands at times gently touched my face. A loving approach.
His hands took hold of the locks and weaved them together into a beautiful braided crown on top of my head. With a hot iron he curled the tips of my hair until they flowed softly unto my back. He sat in front of me looking me into the eyes and he carefully applied make-up onto my face. A light line of eyeliner, mascara, pink lipstick. He chatted with me and told me how proud he was of me and how excited he was for this day. He had waited a long time for this. I smiled as I looked into his eyes, feeling so secure as he continued to care for me.
Red nail polish on my toe nails. He presented me with the white dress and helped me in. As I looked at myself in the mirror, marvelling at what I saw he did the buttons at the back. Gently and lovingly. The shoes went on and the final touch as well. He took hold of a bouquet of wild flowers and picked out the ones that bloomed the brightest. One by one he put them in my hair, a crown of flowers for his princess.
My father was preparing me for my wedding day.
Arm in arm we walked out to the big hall. As we slowly approached the altar I looked around and was amazed. In the stands were angels, glowing with glory. They were singing beautiful songs. I looked up and saw him. The groom. I looked into the eyes of Jesus and knew that I had come home. Me and him, for the rest of eternity. My father stood at the altar to officiate the wedding. The Holy Spirit was right by my side as the witness.
We said our vows and I was embraced. Tears streamed down my face as the brightest smile appeared. My husband led me back down the aisle, hand in hand. After he placed a gentle kiss on top of my head we proceeded to dance. Our first dance. To and fro we stepped, closer than ever before. I was able to gaze into his eyes and find no fault. I belonged.
We danced and we danced until we were in the most beautiful field. One filled with flowers. We looked at each other, smiled and ran. We laughed louder than ever before. We danced some more and then proceeded to work. Writing stories, feeding the poor, singing constantly, loving other people. We did it together. He never left my side.
It was a whole new life. One built upon love, fellowship and honour. We continued to dance from time to time, never forgetting the day that had united us together.
He took a hold of my hand and led me up a mountain. We walked higher and higher and in the end reached the top. Before us was a beautiful sunset. The last rays of sunlight lit up our faces. I could see stretches of land, forests and waterfalls. As I looked to my left and right I realised we were not alone. All over the mountain there were people, all of us staring at the magnificent scenery in front of us.
That is where he spoke: ‘This is heaven. I will take you there.’ My eyes were opened and I understood. I was forever welcome in his kingdom. Never would I have to leave his side. ‘Till death do us part’ became a line that was no longer applicable. He drew me close and held me as I silently wept. Forever cherished, forever protected, forever loved. Here in his gentle embrace.
Two people walking down a road. On different sides of the street. A girl in a red dress and a boy in a simple white t-shirt. Many people pass them by. Those that have places to go and make haste or those that have come out of their houses in search of a bit of sunshine. The two people are like those latter ones. Seeking the outdoors to find what cannot be found inside. Lost deep in thought, they do not notice the people that surround them. The people going to and fro. The woman in the red dress, with the golden hair spots a blossoming tree. One where the birds are circling around it. The sun casts a yellow beam upon its leaves. She approaches, as does he. She sits down on the bench, in the shade, as does he. As they sit down they both close their eyes for a moment. Breathing in the warm air. Enjoying the feeling that it gives them. As he opens his eyes and looks to his left, he sees the girl in the red dress, with the golden hair. As her eyes open she is captured by the eyes that had already settled on her face. The two smile.
Two people walking side by side. Smiles on their faces. Two sweaters walking down a long and winding road. With the sound of their feet crushing leaves. Some people pass them by. Most of them on their way, going places. Others look up to the trees with their vibrant colours. But the two have not come to go somewhere or to solely enjoy their surroundings. They walk to walk with each other. Maybe that is why they don’t seem to notice the other people, because they only have eyes for the other. At one moment they stop, right underneath a tree. As they are silent they look up to the sky, up to the tree. Leaves are falling down. The boy gently plucks one of the leaves of of the girl’s shoulder. One hand touching the other face, followed by a long embrace. As if it was bound to happen.
Two people walking hand in hand. Red noses sticking out. Two jackets, two scarves, four gloves walking down a long and winding road. Where there is no sound they walk down an invisible road. Only made clear by the previous person. But now, there is no one. Just the two of them. No people that have to get somewhere, no one to enjoy the magical scenery. Only the two. The two that walk to walk with each other. The two people hold each other’s hands, to keep themselves warm, to feel close to each other. The woman in the red jacket, with the white hat points at a tree. Slowly they walk towards it, with their heads against the wind that is trying to pull them backwards. They hold onto each other. They approach. As they let out a sigh the two of them look down and then up. Looking into each others eyes, a grimace slowly growing on their faces. An idea has popped into their minds. Suddenly they dive towards the ground; forming white, cold balls with their hands. To be thrown. A fit of laughter can be heard from many miles of.
Two people walking down a road. Smiles on their faces. A girl in a red dress and a boy in another white t-shirt. The sound of birds everywhere. A soft sun strokes their skin. Many people pass them by. None of them in a hurry. Almost all enjoying their surroundings. Looking at the trees, the birds, but mostly at the many flowers. The two are enjoying their time out as well. But that is not why they are here. They walk to walk with each other, or so she thinks. The boy in the white t-shirt with the golden hair sees the tree and points it out. The girl smiles, while she remembers that first day. As they approach, the boy slackens his pace whilst the girl approaches the tree. Her hand touches it ever so slightly. As if she would want to feel the life that was inside it. Looking up to the tree she remembers the leaves, whilst the grass is tickling her toes. She smiles as she tries to take in this moment. To never be forgotten. She turns. Stops as her gaze rests on the boy in front of her. The boy on one knee.
I was in the dark, waiting for a better day to come, though I didn’t think it would ever show up. I was alone and hopless. Afraid, there was no way to turn. Trapped, broken, lost. No end and no beginning. That was me. Looking at the mountains, not thinking it was worth it to even try. I will never make it to the top.
I was in the dark, waiting for a better day to come, though I didn’t think it would ever show up. Until it did. A little bit of hope came back into my heart, because I discovered that I had never been alone. There was one who stood next to me, holding my hand. Protecting me when I was afraid.
God? ‘I am here.’
Slowly I became more free, because someone started to heal my heart and show me what to do. I couldn’t fix myself. He did that. He came and showed me a past and a future, a way of living in His presence. Completely safe and secure. No worry in the world.
That is me. Looking at the mountains and knowing that He is the one who will carry me to the top.
That is not who I am. I am more than you might make of me. I have potential, beware. Dig and find a gem. Get to know someone and see past the pain, into their heart to discover, well… More.
A depth that can only be seen from up close.
There are images we project, flashes of ourselves we show. Those might be truthful, maybe not. But at least when we continue to search and make our way past the barriers that are put into place as false protection we see a new beautiful reality. One of specific design and creativity. Carefully thought out and pieced together. Unique.
I am that. Pretty darn special.
Entirely woven together with golden thread. Just watch and see. I could surprise you and myself. Intristic value designed to give life. Potential is being capable of more than at the present moment.
That is me. Let me show you.
In my moments of crawling out and displaying goodness. A smile here and many there. Because something joyful is shared and identity is built up. Out of one person saying: That is not who I am. I am more than you might think of me.
Stepping out to show.
A girl sitting on a bench. Sideways with her legs stretched out in front of her. She is silently perceiving. In this serene environment she has the room to think. The chance to get a better look at circumstances, her decisions, most things right in front of her. In the busyness of everyday life there is usually a lot of clutter. But step outside, walk around, take a seat and then… Do nothing. Just think and let it all unravel itself.
Especially this girl. When out and about there is something in her heart that just clicks, makes sense, brings her home. At times she might forget this real need for the calm moments. Spent on a bench, sitting sideways, legs stretched out in front of her. Entering into a new season. One of new groth, of learning to love. Maybe this would be something to invest in. Sitting, thinking, writing.
She used to do it so much more often. Finish a day at school, bike to her favorite spot by the river and just be. Even though that spot was taken away from her at one point, that opportunity of exploration and meditation was never forgotten. Because sometimes for her to take good care of herself also meant stepping out of her comfort zone. Daring to go to new places, even if that meant going on her own. You see, she might be shy, but often in her element she blossoms. So bright.
Belong and then bloom.
Though I walk and hope to find an answer to all of my questions. A reason, an explanation, but mostly purpose. I know who I follow and He shows me how to keep on going. No setbacks, no times of giving up. Remaining in His love. But I don’t yet understand who I am, where I am going, what I need to do to find…
I understand that I don’t have to understand. Be satisfied with what you don’t have or do. My mind is searching and my heart is wanting to run to a safer place. But little do I sometimes know that the destination of my flight is not even a step away. It is right here. Closer than within grasp. I can feel and know.
I belong to and with One. He isn’t far away. Run and you might catch up?
I can sit down with questions, riddles, frustration and most of all desire. I can look up and find Him, which in this case also means rest, freedom, peace, joy, love and forgiveness. Just maybe there will be some answers too, maybe not. I know that presently I might yearn for such a promise, but His presence will be more satisfying.