This post is different from any other on this blog. It is a copy of words penned in my journal during a time of prayer. I am posting it here for two reasons.
The primary reason is a simple but challenging act of obedience. God has called me to share my words- both the well planned and the one’s I hold close to my heart. So, I am trusting Him with this.
Second, these words were given to me the day before God presented me with the opportunity to go to Greece. These words explain why I came to Greece and reveal one of the ways He prepared my heart for this trip.
I pray these words give you a glimpse into my relationship with our Father and that they encourage you in your faith.
I had a dream this morning.
All around me was an expansive meadow with grass so lush it felt like velvet against my toes. The meadow was surrounded by trees whose canopies stretched as far as my eyes could see. The trees were in full bloom, weighted down with fruit on every branch. The forest was anything but ominous; it was alive with life. Birds sang. Squirrels gathered. Deer played. Flowers lifted their petals to the sky. These woods were a place of exploration.
The vast meadow lay peacefully under a sky feathered with the dust of God’s footprints in the shapes of bunnies, horses, and whales. They played as the sun’s rays danced in an array of colors among them. The meadow was a place of rest.
The meadow is where I am, but I am not alone. My Father is with me.
My Father is tall with broad shoulders that evoke power and protection. They offer both an invitation to fall into them and behind them, but it is not His strength that captures my attention. It is the love written across His face.
Hair, dark and tussled in a disarray of curls, crowns his head. A salt and pepper beard surrounds His broad smile which booms with joy, laughter, and wisdom. His skin is a deep, rich olive. Its texture is as soft as worn leather and bears all of time within its lines- story lines that trace eternal experience, everlasting love, and grace which has no end.
My Father’s eyes are a blue so deep I wonder if they are actually gray. I believe I could dive into their pool and never reach the end of His love. His eyes see and know. They enrapture me, and I am enraptured in them.
His hands are strong and hold a firm yet gentle grasp on everything they touch.
His feet, clad in well-worn sandals, always seem to be on the move, dancing for joy in a sure direction. Yet they manage to rest peacefully on the green carpet covering the meadow.
My Father sits with His legs crisscrossed in front of me. His beard is turned up with a smile, and His eyes are focused solely on me. His ears are bent my way. He has invited me to share all of my words.
Every rambling that crosses my mind.
He responds with laughter and lite.
A thoughtful nod.
A furrowed brow as He makes note of my needs.
He does not interrupt. He is not worried about time, and why should He? Every moment in His hands. His only desire is to listen.
My Father does not move until the well in my heart is emptied. Then He takes my hand and invites me to walk with him. As we walk, He responds.
He shares his heart.
He acknowledges each word, from the silly to the complex.
He bends low. We are face to face, eye to eye, nose to nose.
I love you, my daughter. You are so good. You are so beautiful. I love all of your words. I love your heart, your desire to know, your desire to share, your thought provoking questions that invite relationship. I love your stories. I love your concerns- they are mine too. I love your dreams. I love that you see people, that you want life and freedom for them. I love your laugh and how you make me laugh with your child-like sense of humor.
Amy, I love you.
Then with fluid movement His bones unfold. He stands tall and extends a new invitation. He invites me to play. To dance with him. To run and skip and jump. To be silly. To tumbles and roll across the meadow floor. He lifts me high, spinning me in circles until my head is dizzy with His love and laughter. He runs. He plays. He jumps. He holds me tight.
Then we rest and read and draw. And dream.
We snack on apples while watching clouds float across earth’s ceiling. We become so enthralled that we ignore the sweet juice running down our chins. We marvel at the seed hidden within the apple’s core. And then my Father teaches me lessons about the seed.
He explains how the seed must be buried deep. How it must crack open and spill out all everything hidden inside. How it must die to bring life, to become one of the giant’s bearing fruit which surround the meadow. My Father asks if I understand. I think I do. I am trying. He says that is ok. He tells me to stay teachable and inquisitive. To pursue truth and knowledge. To be willing to grow. To be willing to bear fruit.
He doesn’t say it directly- not yet anyways- but I know He is asking me to be willing to go deep, to crack open and spill out all that is within me, to die so that I can bring life and bear fruit.
With a smile so broad the oceans could fit inside, my Father takes my hand and says He has something for me.
Gifts! My Father has brought me a gift! He knows how much I love surprises.
We walk to the place where the meadow and woods collide. He reaches behind an ancient oak for His gift, and yet all I can do is look at Him. He is the real gift. I wonder if He knows this. I suspect He does. My Father is the prize.
He places an exquisitely wrapped box in my hands. It is so beautiful I don’t want to open it. Every piece of the wrapping was chosen specifically for me- the white paper embossed with the watercolor swirls, the pink ribbon tied in an intricate design. My Father reminds me gifts, like seeds, are made to be opened.
At His prompting, I tear into the paper with energy and enthusiasm. The ribbon catches in the wind before floating to the ground. Wrapping paper, ripped in two, settles in a small pile at my feet. I open my present with fierce joy and anticipation. My Father is right. Gifts are meant to be opened!
My breath gives way as I look inside the box.
On top is a silver pen with a tree full and in season engraved along its slender body.
Underneath is a leather journal the color of my Father’s skin. The paper is as soft as a warm blanket with infinite space for infinite words.
Tucked inside the journals cover are two more surprises. A map and a well-worn key.
I look quizzically at my Father. The journal and pen I understand. The map and key are a mystery.
My Father opens the map, laying the creased image on a tablecloth of moss spread atop a nearby log.
It is a map of the world.
My child, I know you love the safety of your meadow, but I want you to see my world- all of it. I am sending you on an adventure. The world needs you. I made you to tell them about me.
I want you to share your words with everyone. Don’t hold back a single one.
This key is to my children’s hearts. You are one of those keys.
You, my child, are a beautiful gift, a beautiful woman. You see people. You see needs. You love well. You see hearts. You are lovely and so are you words. They capture hearts trapped behind gates and walls, hearts hidden in dark forests and under piles of rubble.
You are like a young tree filled with life, ready to bear fruit. You have been broken and cracked open wide. You absorbed the rich nutrients of my words. You are ready to be planted in the world to grow as these strong oaks have, extending shade and comfort to those in need.
My eyes mist over with tears. These are my dreams- my Father knows this. But to see my dreams become reality I must leave the comfort of my meadow.
My Father lifts my chin and looks into my eyes.
Oh, Amy! Do not fear. I am going with you. In fact, I have gone before you. The way is ready. I only want you to come where I am already going. I want you to meet my other children and help me love them.
Brothers and sisters. My father by my side.
A world for my words. A key to set prisoners free.
I am beginning to see more clearly.
LIFE! This is abundant life.
I look back at my meadow and imprint it on my heart. Then I look at my Father and say, “Where shall we go first?”
He laughs as he says, I thought you would never ask!
He rests his finger on a place in the center of the map as though it is the center of His heart.
Without a thought or glance back at what I am leaving, I fold my map and place the key on a chain around my neck so it rests near my heart. I gather the pen and journal in one hand and place the other in my Father’s.
“Lead the way. I am ready.”