this, my friends, is Avalanche Lake, Glacier National Park. it's less than an hour from where we live. each summer we hike here, camp here, explore here, listen here.... just breathing in the beauty of God's epic creation. recently, on one of our hikes, our conversation turned to things of a spiritual nature.
[*side note* i'm of the school of thought that our conversations SHOULD turn to spiritual things. i know that in some cases theology or viewpoints are not always on equal footing, and that the topics of 'religion' and 'politics' are more often considered 'issues' to be avoided in social settings. however, deep relationships and enduring friendships can handle those kinds of subjects... dare i say they need them to grow! we have to roll up our sleeves and do the hard work of listening, sharing, being vulnerable, being honest and letting go.]
as we hiked, we asked each other what was going on in each others hearts and lives; what was God saying, showing, revealing NOW. in essence, "what did you write in your journal this morning?". my dear sister-friend Ashley Rodriguez shared something so insightful and perfectly applicable to my own life, that i asked her to share it here because i know that if God was speaking this truth to her AND to me, then most likely some of you will relate too:
let it go...
i can just imagine all of us singing that song from frozen now, throwing our arms out in icy freedom! ha! that princess elsa makes ‘letting go’ seem so easy, doesn’t she? but goodness gracious, letting go is so difficult. most of the time i don’t even realize how much i’m holding onto, how much i need to let go, because it’s so comfortable to hold onto things - whether it’s bitterness, anger, jealousy... or even good stuff like our own gifts, our families, our homes, our opportunities. anything has the ability to keep our hearts bottled up from loving God fully and approaching Him with open hands with what we’ve stored inside.
“And [Jesus] being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head.” [mark 14:3]
if there’s ever an example of letting go, this is it. she didn’t pour just a few measly drops on Him, cork it up and save the rest for herself... no, she broke the entire thing and gave it all to Him. who knows how long it took her to save something like this, how hard she worked to preserve the flask and accumulate all the oil, how much she valued her possession and what lengths she went to keep it safe. it was something so incredibly priceless to her and yet it had to be broken in order for the best to be exposed and for Jesus to be worshipped.
isn’t that amazing?! brokenness is so vital to our walks. our best work as artists, as business women, as wives, as moms, and whatever else we may be called to, only comes when we’re broken - when we’re humbling ourselves so that He can be glorified in whatever we’re doing.
our gifts, talents, health, and home are not ours, and though they’re good things, they belong to Him. when we start gripping onto our gifts, our focus quickly fades from Christ and we soon begin to think that our identity lies in our own hands, in what we’re holding.
if our hands are so tightly clutching the alabaster flask, they can’t be covered in oil, worshipping at His feet. we have to let it go.
letting go is definitely a sacrifice and not everyone is going to be supportive, but it’s a sacrifice worth making, no matter what other people think. i love love love the fact that this woman didn’t worry about what others thought of her as she sacrificed her prized possession. while the rest of the household [mostly His disciples, by the way] whispered pretentious judgements about her and the use of her gift, this woman’s face was turned toward Christ. she wasn’t looking around in search of approval from His followers. she didn’t ask permission from her fellow believers and friends. she didn’t say a word, she went in faith and continued her work, letting Him handle the fight for her...
“But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. [...] She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint my body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” [mark 14:6,8]
she didn’t shrivel back from insecurity when no one supported her, and she didn’t boast with pride when Jesus honored her. she did what she could, she didn’t let anyone stop her, and she remained humble so that He could be exalted. so encouraging!!
maybe you’re going through a night season right now, a season of hurt where you feel alone in your brokenness....it’s so hard, but don’t lose heart, friends. these dark times will allow His light to be magnified, and out of your brokenness, the best will emerge.
“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” [psalm 27:13-14]
if we’re obedient in what God has called each of us to do, He’ll not only find pleasure in our worship and fight for us, but He’ll take our temporal gifts and give them eternal value.
let go of all you’re holding onto, and He’ll be glorified as He does great things in your midst.
you can read more of Ashley's writing and see her beautiful illustrations and designs on her blog: Thorn and Sparrow