"Yet, even now, REPENT and RETURN to me with all your heart..."-Joel 2:13
I feel like I'm in a dream as I lay on this sturdy rock and let the sunshine wrap its light and warmth around my body. The water runs clearer than I have ever seen it through these mountains today, begging me to taste its pureness. Above me, the clouds play a game with the sun by trying to hide it with their thickness. Of course not even the biggest one can mask the rays, but still they play. The bare branches of the trees wrestle in hopes of Spring; of being full with leaves and life. The grass dances with the wind, longing for their flower friends to start blooming. There is no one in sight, just You and me here resting in the beauty of this day You have created.
I have no agenda. No one else to worry about today. No appointments to make or things to get done. I write that more as a reminder to myself than a statement. How easy it is, even as I sit here in the stillness of this beautiful day, to rush "to do" instead of just being. But still the water flows with a whipser that says "Be still, my Beloved."
I have spent the last few days, the first days of this Lenten season, reading Joel 2:13 and wondering where and how to go about the "repenting and returning" to You, my Lord. What to get rid of? What to add? Where have I gotten away from you and how do I get back? You have already taken me to some dark places in my soul that scream of ungodliness and self-centeredness. I feel like most of my time spent with you recently has been much of "repenting" but not so much of "returning." How, Lord, do I return to You when I have gotten so far away? When I have screwed up so much and tried so hard to be my own god? But here in the midst of sunbathing and escaping and reading and resting, it seems to be happening without me even realizing it. I smile and laugh at myself a little for thinking that You would have this "returning" be anything else but getting lost in you. What great JOY is found in your amazing grace and never ending love! Tears pour out of my eyes, reminding me of the blood that was poured that allows me to sit here on this Rock, on Your lap, in the first place. O Chirst, my Savior King, I adore you! My heart leaps at the thought of Your mercy! I am the "one whom Jesus LOVES," and how deeply that rings true in my soul today. Lord, may I, even now after all I have done against you and all I have failed to do for you, RETURN to Your loving arms and rest in the grace that washes me as clear as this water. Abba, you amaze me with your love for me! May today and everyday for the rest of eternity be about following you and loving you back. I throw myself in your merciful embrace... Amen."
[journal entry from 2/15/2013, a day spent at Greenbriar Park in Gatlinburg, TN]