To open the heart

sunset in woods

the woods at sunset

…He knew all people… He knew what was in man [in their hearts—in the very core of their being}.

I was drawn back to that verse from John 2 again and again last week when I was still in Scotland. I assumed it was related to the ministry we were involved in, but I also felt there was something in it for me personally—something significant for me. But I didn’t know what.

We returned to the States, and I plunged back into my normal life, which is oh, so good but can also feel oh, so scattered.

And my transition back was rough.

Our normally chaotic but happy household felt a little edgy, and I couldn’t figure out why. I felt edgy myself and walked through each day tense, just waiting for the next small trigger. I tried to “fix” it, but the grumpiness—which was largely my grumpiness—got deeper with each passing day.

Thursday morning I planned to go to my church’s women’s Gathering. I looked forward to some forced reflection time.

Margie taught on the phrase “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” focusing on the completion God works in each of our lives as well as the completion He will work in all of His creation. Following the teaching, she instructed us to get in small groups and share a gap we were trying to fill by ourselves. I looked at my group members and said, “I’m trying to make it all work right in my household. I’ve taken on the responsibility for everyone’s happiness and I’m trying to make everyone get along.”

I grimaced. “It’s not working.”

PJ and Chai

my youngest and the dog on the frozen pond

Another woman shared that she had a loved one she was unable to forgive, and the third woman in our group shared that she was struggling with shame over past sin. As we prayed for each other, the word “heart” came up again and again.

We stumble around in the dark in the cluttered mess of our hearts.

The roots of our bitterness and brokenness and shame are hidden in the depths of our hearts, and we can’t discover them.

But to You, Lord, nothing is hidden. Your light shines in our hearts, and You see all. You don’t deal only with the symptoms of our sin and brokenness; You go right to the source.

I remembered the verse from John 2, and with it another image came to my mind, of a heart locked tight, barred and shut with complex mechanisms and powerful deadbolts.

It was my heart.

It seemed strange to me that I could return from a time of focused ministry and sweet dependence on God and almost immediately shut up my heart, but it’s what I’d done. It was as if I’d said, “Lord, I needed your help for all that, but for this, my normal, ordinary life—I got it!”

Slam.

And now that I’d shut the door and shot the bolts and twirled the combination lock—and then realized I’d been very, very wrong—I couldn’t figure out how to undo it all.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…

But the opening was beyond me. I needed the Lord not only to knock but even to unlock my heart.

Come in, Lord! Come in!

No door stands in his way when we cry out.

I will come in and eat with (you),

and (you) will eat with Me.

His promises are good.

And they are sure.

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