A few months ago I moved a picture over so I could hang this up.
This is pretty but I can assure you this place in my heart is not. Yes, it is being formed into b e a u t y but the working out of it feels a little bit like the legend of Michaelangelo. It is said that as he chiseled his sculptures, the rocks guided him into what they were. As in, the form was there it just needed to take shape.
I think that's a good way to think about our (re)formation in Christ. It's happened because Christ has literally given us a new spirit. The working out is this little phrase we have adopted called spiritual (re)formation, God chiseling out his life in us. My friend, Ken, has a whole book about this called Shaped by the Cross.
But back to my cage.
See those cute little birds in there? It's an art piece by Papaya and the caption reads "Life is meant to be shared." I talk about the shared-in life here a lot. That Jesus wants to share in everything with us. He is "Immanuel, God with Us." He is in our comings and goings. He prepares the way. He is the way. He IS!
But I think He does this a million little ways (and not so little). And one of the primary ones is relationship.
You and me. Me and You.
And here I will say it, yes I will say it, significantly so in marriage.
Husband and wife.
Some will not get married. I may be that some.
I don't know.
But I do know my life is still meant to be shared.
But I also know the love between a man and a woman seems rather unique, imperfect but growing, it's...
Truly. It draws my heart back to The Story. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit---abiding, enjoying, laughing, creating, sharing in, inviting in...inviting you and me to join in.
So when I write about the tension of my longing and my reality, this unexpected singleness I'm in, it seems you want to hear. Like 3x's as many blog hits compared to anything else I write about. And I'm not exactly sure why, only that you are curious like me. Maybe you're curious about me? Maybe you just relate? Regardless the "shared-in life" with a physical person hits on something for you.
It does me too.
So back to the cage. I hung it up there because sometimes that part of me--the single, want to be a wife, be a Mama, debrief my days with someone--feels like it's in a caged in chamber.
Margaret Silf in Inner Compass helped guide me into this:
Is there a situation in your life that feels like the "lock chamber," where you feel trapped, and where all your efforts and desires seems quite meaningless, and there seems to be no way out? You may like to lay this situation before God in your prayer and ask him to show you any ways in which it has meaning and significance beyond results (or lack of them) that you are able to see...
...God is in all things and therefore God is in the "lock chamber." Try placing some symbol of your faith in the place where you feel trapped.
This is where I got up, grabbed that card and the birdcage and moved it over. Then I reached for the yellow rose that's usually up there with the cards.
Jesus perched right up there in the center of my chamber.
"Let this become a constant reminder to you that this place of your apparent imprisonment is a scared space because God is there."
He is there. Right there at the heart of it.
"Try taking five minutes every so often during the day to be away from your work..."
I do it when I wake up, am reading, or before bed. And it may not be everyday but a few times a week. I admit it's been more like a few moments rather than five minutes, it deserves more space and time for intentional reflection and more importantly His presence.
"...perhaps just by taking a short walk in the garden or down the corridor or around the parking lot, or even to the coffee machine and back. Be deliberate about taking this time just for yourself alone, but, equally deliberately, ask God to walk with you. Don't try to make it an elaborate prayer. Just let it be a time when you remember consciously that you and God are in this thing together. In this way, your five minutes will be sacred, and the whole day will be touched by this sacred time, as the Sabbath touched the whole week into sacredness." (pages 64-65).
Now here's the confession. I have not gone on intentional walks, probably because I look at it in bed. But I think she's got a good point of doing it in the day, when I'm going about my workplace. Telling y'all about this has served as a good reminder to share this space with God in the midst of my day as well.
So I may not have answers to my singleness, only the ways in which Jesus is meeting me here, in the beautiful mess of a life in process. I have soaring moments of flight and times I feel stuck with a clipped wing, but most the times I'm perched, waiting and wondering, chirping then quiet...
In all of it, one thing is clear, the rose always remains.