Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Gate is Called Beautiful {Enter In}

Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.

When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Acts 3:1-10

So often, I sit outside of this place called Beautiful, but I don't look up, and I don't make my way in. I watch the passing feet, hold out my hands for a plate, wipe faces and hold books and stir pots.

Eyes down.

Look at me! He calls.

Oh, but just a moment- perhaps this other little person needs me, and you know- it's really in this small act of sacrifice that I find my fulfillment. I'm sure you understand. Could you perhaps find a way to bless me while I work, so I don't have to stop?

Look at me! He calls again, firmly.

And my eyes find His.

It's a beautiful thing, this gaze turned up and out.

So, before I leave my bed in the morning, pen forms gratitude words in a journal; five thanks before I rise. The sun between blind slats and fuzzy slippers-in-waiting and imprint of husband's head on the pillow make quick work of the gratitude, but I've looked at His face first today, and oh, it is lovely.

Before dinner, when lights are turned out and candle is lit and even before the fresh cups of milk have a chance to be spilled, we look up for His coming. Reading in the dark, His great light kindling in our hearts.

And I turn the story page slower, when really, it's past bedtime for her and dishes lie in wait and husband is long gone to his meeting and sons battle with lego swords across the kitchen floor... I just do. I turn it slow, and linger to look with her, and we make a rhyme of our own before I slip away with a kiss and a prayer.

And I set down scrubber and pot to select the best cookies and trot downstairs to boys and their legos and smile my offering, and when water is requested I trot back up and fill and trot back down and young-man arms encircle and I linger for moments longer.

I could sit outside the Beauty every day, all day, and never look up to pause, to hear, to feel.

To live outside of Beauty is to live inside myself, and really, what kind of living is that, anyway?

I'm just a mess. A jumble of expectations and easily-dashed-hopes. Sin.

I see best when my eyes are fixed on Him. And even though I may often sit, crippled, outside of the Beautiful Gate and hope and beg for answers from passing feet and try to search and find fulfillment in service to my husband and children, He still calls.

I'm trying to look up, and enter in. Perhaps, when you see me again and I'm walking and leaping and praising God, you will recognize me as that woman who used to sit outside of Beauty and struggle to raise her head...

This is a quiet attempt at explaining why I will not be posting in the month of December, except for perhaps some pictures of our Advent. He's calling me to enter into some quiet, and I willingly, gladly answer Yes!

I look up to see Him and I find you, too, kind friends, nodding understanding and folding gentle hands in prayer.

I'm so thankful for you.

Be blessed!

{The picture in my kitchen window is a commissioned piece, a combination of the calligraphy talents of sister Bethany, and the artistic talent of another sister, Abbie. The poem is George Herbert's, way-words while we work, and the illustration is a constant example of diligence for my kitchen helpers.}

7 fellow travelers shared:

I Live in an Antbed said...

So very precious! May your Advent be filled with His Presence.

Andrea said...

your words.....and heart.....exude peace. I love to come here. But you go back into the quiet, letting go of your expectations and look to Him. And I'll be waiting!!!! I love you dearest friend!!!

Kristin said...

Precious words, Elise. My heart is raw from a disappointment this season, but I pray I can go beyond myself and enter that gate called Beautiful with you. You are a blessing, Friend.

alli said...

thank you again, Elise. i needed these words, as today, i sat outside and found myself angry and frustrated because of it. and i even wonder, "is it even possible for me to enter in?" i am but a poor beggar with nothing to bring. but He does beckon, and so i will go and find in the act of faith to enter, the praise does flow from my lips.
gratefully, alli

Linda said...

I don't know why it is that I think the "doing" is what He desires. Perhaps it is too wonderful to think that what He really wants is to spend time with me. And so I keep doing and trying to please.
I take these precious words to my heart Elise. I pray for you, and for me, that we will find Him in the quiet and only then live it out.
I will miss you, but I delight to know what you will be doing.

cathy said...

Looking at you this morning draws my gaze instead to Him. Thank you, dear friend. xoxo

Carrie said...

My dear friend, Wishing you more of Him this Christmas season.

Merry Christmas!

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