Year of Invitation

A lesson I am forever learning is: there is only one opinion that matters
– one judgement, one approval, one acceptance, one favour,

Each year I pray to surrender to the Lord all that lies ahead.

Last year was my year of invitation.

Yet. In opening my heart to the fullness of ‘yes’…. I encountered hopelessness. For the endless cycle of ‘yes’ does not end in success, in security, in intimacy, in understanding, in …. whatever word is sufficient to capture what the soul longs for. There is only one YES that frees man and that is responding to the call of Christ. Not listening to the questions of man. Not even listening to the question of my heart. The wonderings of my worth.

If I tune into questions instead of truth,
I will look for answers to find truth,
Instead of turning to the truth to find answers.

In hindsight, I embraced more than my arms anticipated. In being a woman of invitation, I exposed myself to more pain and sorrow. I opened my heart to others, at the risk of rejection.

I was vulnerable. I felt more broken than beautiful, more fragile than fearless.

I allowed myself to express emotion. To freely cry for the first time in eight years. To access parts of myself that I had closed off a long time ago, fearing the darkness would surround me again.

But. Closing off in fear is the same as inviting in consuming darkness. There is no closure in the darkness, only a need for exposure. And. In the darkness I found brokenness. I discovered that my bandaids of self-protection weren’t sealing me, but preventing my healing. I had trauma and insecurity, wounds, that could only be brought to light by the grace of knowing and being known by the Lord. And what light there is in such a love!

Everyday I had a choice, whose opinion would I listen to? what lies would I believe? or what truth would I receive? What was I inviting in that would influence my identity?

Inviting is opening. Jesus tomb’ was closed, sealed, a place of darkness. But the miracle was the opening; the revealing pointing to healing, where light entered, eyes opened and death was defeated. 

The invitation to life – eternal life – is an invitation to death. An invitation to Jesus’ death. Though that is not the end – it is only the beginning. For following is the invitation to Jesus’ resurrection.

 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”  – John 11:25-6            

Do I believe this? Do you believe this?

Our hearts are hardened, we are blind, and so often the softening that leads to seeing is a breaking. When we fall to pieces, the light can peek through the cracks of our calloused hearts. But. This is hard.

Hard because of the death that comes before new life.
Hard because wounds are raw, but wounds release life.
c r i m s o n   t e a r s
Reminds me of the scars of my Saviour.
How he bled. How he wept.
How he invited suffering. How he invites us to suffer.
But greater still.
How he invites us to be with him.
To remain with him.
(John 15)
As a part of his family.
As a member of the household of God.
(Eph. 2:19)
As a coheir of the riches of his glorious inheritance.
(Rom.8:17, Eph.1:11,18)
What an invitation.
And how to RSVP?
What is the guarantee?

“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance, until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” – Eph.1:13-4

To think of what is ahead, and not what is behind. To think of what is in store, the riches of his glorious inheritance. Oh! The immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe (Eph.1:18-9).

I have realised that, in desiring growth, I cannot strive for strength. Rather, when I breakdown, there is breakthrough. When I fall at the feet of the One who washes dirty feet and ask him to come, rescue me. That. There. Is when I am done with striving; when I am a woman of invitation because I accept Jesus’ invitation. His invitation to come to him, to believe in him, to find life in him. That. There. Is where I surrender. In the brokenness is where I grow.

I don’t fall apart, I fall into God’s invitation. I invite him into my brokenness and belief. And. He transforms my faith into a seed. Where he starts to water me, nourish me and slowly, oh so slowly, I start growing. A sprouting seed, more and more ready to bear fruit for his name.

My prayer is that we would be built on the foundation of Christ alone. For in him we also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit (Eph.2:22). May we not invite in the influences of this world or the fears in our minds, but instead welcome God alone into our hearts.

Below is a prayer from my heart journey last year. I read this now and there is the familiarity of meeting with an old friend. I share this so you might see the strong need for our hearts to be found in Him. For otherwise the heart is wandering. And when left too open, the heart is filled with other weights. Other cares that do not concern Christ. When he is everything.

Lord, bind my heart to thee. Help me. Enable me. Bring me into the light of your truth, you Son, what HE has done. Bring me into the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I look forward to the day where there will be no more pain, when the old order of things shall pass away. I thank you that I am being changed, that you are working in me to prepare me for this day. The day you will return – according to your will.

Lord lead me to you – let my life be a reflection of saving faith. I do not wish to live in vain. Forgive me Father for all that is in me – for the evil desires and selfish ambition. I thank you for how you care for me, and how you KNOW me. How you can anticipate my emotions before I have them, my reactions before I make them. Please help me where there is doubting, where there is anxiety.

I trust you.
I do.

So I surrender to you my fears, knowing I do not need the approval or acceptance of man. Lord discipline me according to your plans, strengthen me by your hand – that I might live for you and practice truth. How blessed I am to come to you as Father, and for how you strengthen me, and shape me more and more into the likeness of your Son.

Until he comes,
All my love

Respond from the Heart