Thursday, February 2, 2017

ETERNITY In Our Hearts and In Our Eyes





I will never forget that day.
My Mother had passed into eternity
just days before.
I was sitting on the deck at my brother's house, her last earthly home,
in the middle of a wind storm.
The trees were swaying so hard
I thought they might come
down to touch me.  





And in the middle of the roaring,
I was suddenly aware that something had shifted 
in my perception.
I felt a veil being lifted
for just a moment.

Heaven was closer than I had ever realized.

Jesus was at home with me here,
just as closely as He was at home
with my Mother there.


So, when the chapters for this week's study of C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces fell open to the picture Lewis paints of the thin veil between this earthly reality and that something more, I knew right where my heart would rest.  

Those memories of brushing eternity never fade.


Because Lewis was so very sure that all true myth is created from a longing put in the human heart to point us to the ONE TRUE STORY that God has created, I have been eager to unpack the myth that he re-tells through this book. I am so thankful for Michele Morin's online study over at her site:
Her discussion points bring so much fullness to the story! This week I was faced, square on, with Orual's own progression into a closed and hard heart.

When she crosses into that land of beauty that I mentioned here  last week, she is suddenly overjoyed by the sight of her sister, Psyche, long thought dead, just on the other side of the river. But when Psyche invites Orual to open her eyes and view the wonders of a land beyond this earthly plane, Orual just cannot open her heart. Even when a glimpse is given to her, when she is alone later that night, as she blinks her eyes and finds the image fading, then gone for good, her heart chooses to clamp down ever more tightly on the possibility that something beyond this NOW can exist.

And I wept.
Not just for Orual,
and not just for any I love 
who choose to remain in hardness of heart.

No, my eyes were also weeping
for my own heart.
Having once tasted of that blissfully
thin veil,
And having once rejoiced that
Heaven is HERE
just as much as THERE
although I may not see it,

How could I ever doubt my Sweet Lord's Purposes
in any pain this life might carry?

My mind was taken back, yet again, to an early morning Devotional Time, when my children were homeschooling, and I started my days by listening to Elisabeth Elliot, and her Gateway to Joy radio broadcast. The days were long and hard, with teenagers testing boundaries, unsteady finances, and preparations for traveling with our family's Drama Ministry.  So, when Elisabeth quoted this poem and spoke of God's ETERNAL purpose in pain, I held onto the last line of this verse. Just today, I was able to find a posting of that poem, and her article. You can read the whole article by clicking here if you desire.

The Thorn
I stood a mendicant of God before His royal throne
And begged Him for one priceless gift that I could call my own.
I took the gift from out His hand, but as I would depart
    I cried, ‘But Lord! this is a thorn! and it has pierced my heart.
This is a strange, a hurtful gift which Thou hast given me.’
He said, ‘My child, I give good gifts and gave My best to thee.’
I took it home, and though at first the cruel thorn hurt sore,
 As long years passed I learned at last to love it more and more.
I learned He never gives a thorn without this added grace:
He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil that hides His face.
--Martha Snell Nicholson



He never meant for the struggles and the pain to be the final vision for our days. No, they are meant to pin aside that veil. His Face is the JOY SET BEFORE US! And He is the one standing on the other side of the river, beckoning each one of us to come and see JUST HOW MUCH MORE HE IS WAITING TO GIVE US.


Would you join me in this prayer today?
Here in this place of STILLNESS
The face of Jesus can become
even more precious 
if we would let Him open our hearts 
to find the beauty of eternity,
the beauty of HIS Presence.



"I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,  and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength  he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms"
Ephesians 1:17-20 NIV 




If you are interested in reading any of the posts pertaining to the book study on C.S. Lewis' Till We Have Faces, you can find an index by clicking here.




I am linking today with
Suzie Eller, #LiveFreeThursday 

 

22 comments:

  1. What a blessing for God to reveal that "thin place" to you letting you know that He was with you here just as He is with your mother in heaven! I do want to be more aware of the "thin places" because they are here. God is here and is closer than we realize sometimes. I like the poem you shared esp. the part about the thorn being used to pin back the veil.

    Blessings to you, dear Bettie! xoxo

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    1. Dear Gayl,
      Yes, God is so good to bring us just the right touch of His Presence when we need Him so much! I too want to keep my eyes open to see more of Him in these days. I'm so glad I was able to find the rest of that poem, and even Elisabeth Elliot's article! Blessings to you too, Dear Friend! xoxo

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  2. What a beautiful post. Makes heaven feel much closer. Thank you! Joining you from #livefreeThursday

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    1. Dear Jenn,
      Thank you for stopping by. I am so grateful that God lets us know He is with us so close. --Blessing to you!

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  3. So beautiful Bettie. I love it! Thank you.

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    1. Thank you Kimberly! I am grateful you were blessed today!

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  4. I've said it before, but I'm just amazed when I come here to read at the different points that God lays on our hearts as we read together. I had never once considered that idea of the "thin place" separating the two worlds. The material and the numinous were touching the same river, and (in my opinion) Orual hardened her heart against the gods, against Psyche's new life, and refused to see. Heartbreaking.

    You and I share a love of Elisabeth Elliot and a history of listening to her daily radio broadcast. I mourned the ending of that program as if it was a death, because the input was so helpful to me in raising my kids and in learning to love God and my husband.

    So glad that you are on this journey, Bettie.

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    1. I hope you don't mind if I share this on Facebook along with my post. Are you on FB somewhere?

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    2. Dear Michele,
      Oh, I am glad to know that you appreciated and listened to Elisabeth Elliot! I too mourned the loss of her broadcasts--it felt as if a whole season was shifting, didn't it? In case you didn't know it, there is a website that airs the shows, I can send you the link if you would like. Yes, please share this post however you feel it would be helpful. I am just so thankful to be on this journey also. God is so good to bring us step-by-step just where we need to be,to see what He has to show us, isn't He? --Blessings to you!

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  5. I've said it before, but I'm just amazed when I come here to read at the different points that God lays on our hearts as we read together. I had never once considered that idea of the "thin place" separating the two worlds. The material and the numinous were touching the same river, and (in my opinion) Orual hardened her heart against the gods, against Psyche's new life, and refused to see. Heartbreaking.

    You and I share a love of Elisabeth Elliot and a history of listening to her daily radio broadcast. I mourned the ending of that program as if it was a death, because the input was so helpful to me in raising my kids and in learning to love God and my husband.

    So glad that you are on this journey, Bettie.

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  6. Thank-you Bettie for sharing this perspective and the closing passage in Ephesians. It is one I quite needed to hear just now. I can relate to Orual--distrustful, wary of being deceived and thereby hurt, quick to harden her heart. This is something God is bringing to my attention these days and he's using Lewis' book TWHF, the discussion at Michele Morin's site and your thoughts as well. Thank-you for being vulnerable and generous with your heart. I've been stopping by each week. --Linda

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    1. Dear Linda, I am so thankful that you were blessed here. I love that passage in Ephesians, and have been so touched by it this week. When God began pulling my thoughts together for this week's chapters, I understood why the verses had struck home so vividly with me. Isn't God amazing, how He uses so many different things, and then pulls them all together to bring His Holy Spirit nudges to our hearts? May He continue to speak His Will into your life this week!

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  7. Wow, what a beautiful word, powerful poem and prayer you have shared here, Bettie! They all add up to a grace feast for the soul. It's a sweet gift to be able to discern those 'thin places' where heaven seems to touch earth. I've long yearned to actually visit one and mourned my inability to do so, until God revealed to me that He lets the veil slide a little for all with hungry hearts, and we can catch a glimpse of His glory right where we are. I'm in awe of the great things He is showing you, dear friend. Enforced stillness and pain seem like such harsh thorns but oh the beauty they bring forth from a sweetly surrendered soul like yours! Blessings and hugs to you. xox

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    1. Dear Joy, Your words bring such encouragement to my heart! I know you understand these places of "enforced stillness" so well, and have found those "glimpses of His Glory right where (you) are." So, yes, I want to learn more of being surrendered here in this stillness where He calls me also. Isn't He so gracious to us, to soften these days with the blessings of His Presence? I am so grateful for your presence as well, Dear Friend, and the words you share that point to Jesus' Grace. Hugs and Blessings to you! xoxo

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  8. Thank you God for this exactly what I needed on a day like today

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    1. So grateful that God brought a blessing to you today, friend!

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  9. OH this is so beautiful! Thank you for reminding me what the thorn is foreally and how he is in the process of revealing to us who he is. Hugs

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    1. Dear Wendy, You bring tears to my eyes, knowing that Jesus would touch you here. Your words of His Grace and Help have touched me so many times! What sweet reminders He gives us to call us deeper into knowing His Love for us. May He Bless you today, dear friend!

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  10. What a beautiful grace God gave you that day. I love this truth and agree so much: "Heaven was closer than I had ever realized.
    Jesus was at home with me here,
    just as closely as He was at home
    with my Mother there."

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    1. Dear Lisa, Yes, isn't God's Grace such an amazing gift? When He shows us His Presence, we are truly blessed. Thank you for your kind comments! --Blessings to you!

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  11. This is lovely....opening our hearts so we don't miss it.
    I'm really blessed by this. All the pain here is but temporary. In him we have no fear just perfect love.

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    1. Dear Ifeoma,
      Oh, you are so right: "In him we have no fear just perfect love." He has told us this, but if we focus on the pain, we need to be reminded to "open our hearts so we don't miss it." Thank you for sharing His love here! Blessings to you my friend!

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