Monday, October 3, 2011

Time is the Currency of Love: A Jesus Story Box Story

The husband read this to me last night, from a book I love and highly recommend:


"All of us are given exactly the same amount of time each day-24 hours, or 1,440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds. No matter how you look at it, it's the same for each of us. The difference lies, however, in how each of us deals with it... What would you do if every morning your bank phoned, informing you that your account had been credited in the amount of 86,400 pennies($864)---but with the stipulation that it had to be spent that very day? No balance could be carried over to the next day. Every evening canceled whatever sum you failed to use. Think about what you could do with such a gift. You would probably draw out and use every cent every day."
~When I Relax I Feel Guilty by Tim Hansel


It reminded me of this Jesus Story Box story, as time seems to be slipping away at alarming rates as my toddler nears her 2nd birthday, and I find my self surprised to be already in my 33rd week of pregnancy.




                                                      ***************************

In my ninth month, on the ninth day after my due date, swollen and exhausted and increasingly anxious with anticipation I rose early to meet with Him.

The memory of my twenty-six and half hours of labor with my firstborn stretching tight and thin my peace about the imminent pain.

My body groaned for sleep. The sound, deep, restful kind I hadn't had for weeks. But I ached for His face more. I needed His voice and His hand holding mine through every bearing down and breathing through the burning pressure that births new life.


I read this, hear His voice of Truth behind the ink, and have to stop because I don't know exactly what it means. 

"Time is the currency of love. "



I cradle her close, the wombed one soon to be seen face to face. The incarnation of love that has been growing these last nine months, thousands of pennies of my time stacking up to this: the glorious moment He's had planned from the beginning when she breathes earth's air and clutches tight in fisted hands the first currency of her time in this world and let's us know in no uncertain terms that she is here. A wealth of Him to enrich this poverty stricken place.

This follows: "The greatest temptation of our time is impatience, in it's full, original meaning: refusal to wait, undergo, suffer."
~Eugen Rosenstock Huessy


I shift but cannot find a comfortable position, cannot rush this current condition. Pain, discomfort, and exhaustion team up against me to stretch me thin with discouragement. I say it to Him raw and plainly. It hurts to wait. To undergo. To suffer. 


For His response I reach for His words and He speaks as the One who lovingly endured more than I can comprehend... all for the joy set before Him. 


And the Word takes on flesh and sits with me, making alive the words I've heard often. 

"Every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful..."

I breathe that much needed encouragement in deep and hold it long. You are working on me because I do bear fruit... so I will bear more fruit...

But what does it mean that You will prune, clean? Can this ever be separate from some kind of pain or discomfort? Some cutting off what obstinate clings, or scrubbing clean the stubborn dirt from the deep crevices?

I whisper it quiet to the gentle Gardener tending this impatient patch of weeds in my tangled, anxious heart. I'm a mess and I don't know how to stop this impatience from springing up headstrong and choking out the tender shoots that would eventually grow into fruit. 

How can I bear more spiritual fruit through the pain and discomfort I am experiencing?

He answers my questions with a question. What is spiritual fruit? 

I know this. I rush. "The fruit of the Spirt are love, joy, peace..."


Slow. He says. Slow. 


Love is listed first. And what are the defining characteristics of the only Real Love that you long to be like? 


My heart has learned from having lived and experienced the opposite. "Love is patient..."

How often have you prayed to spirit-learn and live out patience? I am giving you what you've asked of Me. 

I don't know if I've ever looked it up before, so I do: What is patience? What exactly have I been asking for? 

The definition reads: Patience: is the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties.

I think of my brother who half-jokingly says he has learned not to pray to learn patience. And I begin to wonder: why would any sane person want to do this? Why pray this prayer for patience? A fruit that can only be borne under difficult circumstances, that requires perseverance through delay, provocation, under strain? And then in the bearing fruit to know I will be further pruned to bear more fruit? 


I turn to His words again. 


"Apart from Me you can do nothing... This is to my Father's glory that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to be my disciples... if you obey my commands you will remain in my love... I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete."
~John 15:8,10-11

Joy. 

In the fruit of the spirit... joy is listed on the heels of love. I think it again: The very first biblical description of love is patient. Can one have joy without love? Without being patient


And Love whispers to me: "My command is this: love each other as I have loved you."
~John 15:12


That is a lot of patience. 


He encourages me that He would not ask me something which I could not do. He reminds "you did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit---fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name."


Can I ask for anything correctly without patience? 


Again, He restates it to me: "This is my command: love each other."


This fruit is meant to nourish others, for His glory, that my joy may be complete. 


I will patiently wait, LORD, learning to love and bear fruit for your glory, until whatever time You decide to bring this baby into the world. Thank You for the gift of this lesson I would not have learned if she had been born sooner. 


An hour and a half later, labor began. 

All the straining, persevering moments (28 hours/1,680 minutes) added up to the astounding wealth of this:












                                          *******************************


What I am thinking through again: How do I spend my time? Is there anyone I have been impatient/unloving/not bearing fruit for His glory/not showing myself to be His disciple towards lately? 


Taking these next few moments to stack up praise to Him, giving back some of the time, the talents, that the Master entrusts to me...  I pray to hear well done for how I invest them...


#692-708


*the house cleaned and ready in time for the social worker visit


* our spirits and attitudes--clean and ready to greet her--to share our experience of Christ's grace and redeeming love through this broken situation


*Selah's child filter and what stands out to her from conversations, situations


*stacks of library books


*getting kicked dozens of times a day by the active daughter in my womb


*squash plants growing big enough to "eat our BBQ pit" as the husband says


*window light diffused through white curtains


*a passionate husband--about hobbies, family, me, the children, God's word, the truth


*the sweet goodbyes before he leaves for work


*all doors and windows left open and fall breezing through


*brilliant electric storm reminding our smallness and His power


*cheery candles when the lights went out


*God providing above and beyond through work


*waiting patiently, trusting that the baby will turn exactly how God wants her to


*iron helping the anemia


 *He prunes so His joy will be in me


*It is His joy that is my strength 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Elise,

Oh, how I always wanted that to be my name growing up! I am just over from Freedom Journal to thank you for your sweet comment. Also, I am the 7th of nine, and am praying whole heartedly for my parents and my siblings to come to know Jesus. Because...HE ROCKS! Also praying for the rest of your pregnancy and your life at home with your family. God is good. You are lovely...maybe in heaven I'll get your name??? Loved this post...I was thinking this morning about time and how it's the most precious commodity on this earth, but in heaven, it's not even an issue. Everything flipped. Can hardly wait!

A Diamond in the Rough said...

I think I like your list as much (maybe more) than you like mine- and I am so hearing you on the baby girl kicks (dozens and dozens right now as I type!). Maybe we can start a girl's soccer team or something?! I truly love your writing and I'm so glad that you commented on my blog so that I could stumble my way over here and read your's and be so so so so blessed. Much love new friend.

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