Aug 24, 2017

Faith Designer Jan Hess: Graveyard Grace

Graveyard Grace

Do you remember your first car?  How about your first date?  And then, of course, your first kiss?  Firsts are almost always memorable events.  Like the “first” I experienced recently:  being locked inside a cemetery!  I would never have dreamt of such a first but it was truly memorable in more ways than one.  Let me explain…
A friend and I were walking together in one of her favorite places…a cemetery near her office.  We had met up after her workday to walk and talk and share what God is doing in our lives.  As we stepped briskly up and over the hilly graveyard, laughter and praise, sorrow and tears, flowed out of our hearts and into the ears of our Faithful Father.  Being 
authentic with each other and with Him was as life-giving as 
the walk itself.
When we returned to the car, the heart-to-heart dove even deeper, as my sweet friend elaborated on memories that still taunt and haunt her.  Memories that still hold her in fear.  Memories that still cause her to question our Heavenly Father’s love.  This was not the moment to unlock the car and leave.  Taking our seats on cement steps nearby, we continued to speak in the presence of the Wonderful Counselor.

So much trauma.  So much brokenness.  So much woundedness had shaped the heart of this sister in her childhood years.  Much of it visited.  Much of it dealt with.  Much of it healed.  But not all.  As she spoke, she seemed oblivious to the anger rising up in her face, in her gestures, in her tone.  When I brought it to her attention, she remained unaware.  Recalling the words of another sister in the LORD, “We are blind to our own blindness and need each other to help us see,” I gently but persistently refused to let it drop.  I sensed that the LORD wanted her to “see” this blindness.
Moments later, as she began to open her heart to the idea, the Master Artist provided a “painting of promise” right before our eyes:  looking up at the sun’s setting on the horizon, a brilliant sun-dog appeared within a swirling tunnel of clouds.  We thrilled at the sight of His handiwork, and in tandem scrambled for our phones to preserve this artwork…and the moment…for time to come.  It was as if He was inviting her to face the flood of anger with an assurance that she would end up on dry ground! Don’t continue to stuff it.  Deny it.  Dance around it.
The Apostle Paul tells us to “be angry, yet do not sin.  Do not let the sun go down on your wrath.”  (Ephesians 4:26)  Not to face it in the moment almost guarantees that bitterness will spring up, cause trouble, and defile many (Hebrews 12:15). Many years of suns had gone down and she had been trapped by stuffing, denying, dancing around it.  If there were such a call to be angry, God seemed to be calling her to it. 

Suddenly, she hollered,
 “What time is it?
  They lock the cemetery at 8:00!”  Scrambling for our phones again, the clock had struck 8:00 many minutes prior.  Rushing to the car and racing down the hill, our fears had been realized:  the gate was locked and we were going nowhere.  
A 911 call, followed by a time of waiting for the grounds keeper to release us from our “cemetery cell,” provided some moments to reflect on all that had transpired.  It seemed clear that until she faced the anger, it would not be fully “laid to rest,” and the memories would continue to be a grave of emotions buried alive housing her wounded heart.
Once we were on our way, I prayed that the LORD, in His grace, would give her courage and willingness to face the pain she had “buried alive” so long ago.  Remembering His promise painted in the sky, I left her with the assurance that His mercy would meet her, release her heart from crippling emotions and lift her into complete conviction and confidence of the Father’s love and affection for her. 
Is your heart trapped in a cemetery of “emotions buried alive,” tormented unhealed wounds?  Are you willing to turn FROM stuffing, denying, and dancing around them, choosing instead to turn TOWARD them?  You will not face it alone!  Jesus our Savior, the “Man of Sorrows, acquainted with our grief” (Isaiah 53:3) has already borne the penalty and pain of all your brokenness, all your woundedness.  He will walk with you through that cemetery and will bring you through to freedom. 
Let’s pray.  Father, I pray that each woman sensing Your call to face the brokenness from her past would come boldly to Your throne of grace where she will find mercy and grace to help in this time of need.  Thank You for Your Son, our Savior, Jesus, Who still carries our sorrows.  Who still feels our griefs. Who still heals our blindness. Because of Him, we are assured of Your unfailing love.  Within Your affection, we are safe and we are healed.  Amen.

So blessed to share the words of my friend and sister in Christ, Jan Hess. My prayer today is that each of your lives is full in Him, completely free and whole as He intends it to be. 
If this bless you today would you share it with a friend?
Creative Blessings!
Jessica Urrutia

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