Saturday, October 27, 2007

*open hand*

I've been thinking a lot about Hannah from the Bible these days. I've been remembering 1 Samuel and how Hannah gave both physical and spiritual life to Samuel. What's amazing about Hannah is her endurance in asking the Lord for what is heaviest on her heart.

*She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly.... Hannah answered, "No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD."...the Lord remembered her. And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son.* 1 Samuel 1

What impresses me the most about Hannah is that she releases any hold she has first on her heart. Ah, that is so important to remember! I cannot ask my hand to let go when my own heart refuses. I must remember that my heart is God's. That my wellspring of life is the vessel God is pouring life and love into, that I may pour onto others. If I cannot open up my own heart, I cannot allow for the fullness of God to pour in.

Think about this: picture me, stumbling into my kitchen at the crack of dawn to start my coffee. When I pour water into my coffeemaker, it is so much easier if I open the back lid all the way. However, some times when I am too tired in the morning, I don't realize that the lid is only slightly ajar, so when I start pouring the water catches on the back of the lid and pours onto my floor...

so it is with my heart. If I only allow certain areas of my heart to be opened, then only those areas can be fully satisfied by the Presence.

How many times have I let my heart be opened only halfway? Begged it not to open with desires because I was afraid I would be disappointed? I love (LOVE!!!) to remember the days of when I would literally cry out about returning to Japan. I would beg the LORD to hear my heart but in the next breath, deny my heart to return. Tell the LORD, "I really want to go but...." Why do I do that?

Oh my heart!!

So Hannah "admits" to God her desire and cries out to Him, which signifies the release of her heart to God. This release enables Hannah to release her hand when her son is born. This time it is physical. When God remembers her and gives her a son, she does not turn and forget the promise she made, but honors that her son rightly belongs to the Lord and so dedicates his life to God.

Hmmm.... interesting.

Jin pointed made a good comment on Friday she said, "Many of us will just keep our secrets and desires to ourselves because we would prefer to stay in this 'safe' zone where we don't have to let anyone know, least of all God, what we want the most. BUT God wants us to take our desires before Him."

Soooo many tears, prayers, and the releasing of my own heart and hand to my dream to be in Japan... and now here I am... writing about desires and dreams in Japan... ha ha! If I lived in the old Testament I would build a stone rememberance right outside Gurasu Toppu like Abraham and Jacob did when they "met" God.

One time of opening your heart, sadly doesn't always enable the next one to happen as easily. Thinking about Hannah made me look into my life now and where I sit with my dreams and desires. Am I quick to hide them again? Try to deny my very heart...


unfold my hand and release the hold I have on my desires, dreams, and what I would call "mine"? Only when we admit that all things come from God and most things will one day end can we fully enjoy them. Things like my time in Japan, my time as Mary's roommate, the fall season...

how can i live a life of holding my hand loosely and trusting God more fully?

Remaining close...

*Open up, O silly hand,
that's clenched so tight!
Forget the dark, forget the night.
Open up and grasp the light,
that beckons you so gently.
Open up, O tender fingers,
one by one see your length unfold!
See that what you grasped had become cold.
Never fear to open up,
oh, oh! fingers be ever so bold.
Open up, O smooth palm,
awake and see You were made
long ago,
by a Hand that formed you so.
Oh, won't you open up?
Grasp instead His hand,
by letting go.*


Christy said...

You're a beautiful writer and have beautiful things to say.

Joanna, thank you for this post.

Love you :)

jamie said...

hey jo- great thoughts- i wrote something similar on my blog a while back "don't wanna waste it" basically the same theme here- the same thoughts and desires. it's true- and i think you just have to keep going back to the cross continuing to give it all up- offering up things that are hard and laying them down- it's not easy cause i quickly wanna go back and pick them up- it feels like i have more control when their in my hands but it's not true- that is the enemy telling me that- it only causes more worry and grief.
keep processing like this sister- this is a life-long lesson.. a good one
love you

Kelli B said...

we are like one in heart! this ministered to me in an area where i needed to hear....thanks friend.

i'm going to chew on this for awhile.