Held

My Christmas holidays were quiet, beautiful, and if I may say, holy. Holy if we consider being held and nestled in love and warmth a sacred thing. But then I believe in the sheltering and sanctifying power of marriage, that process of two flesh becoming one. No, not in the physical sense only, but in doing life together.

Please excuse my messy illustration, but I have a surprise for you at the bottom of the post - my latest completed serious painting project.

Please excuse my messy illustration, but I have a surprise for you at the bottom of the post – my latest completed serious painting project.

So, the holidays were simple and quiet for us. There were no grand vacation plans as I still could not leave the house. I had assumed that the husband and kids would like to go out, actually, insist to go out and have some fun. But I was wrong. They didn’t have plans at all! Hannah was busy with rehearsals for our church’s Christmas concert (she played the piano in the Youth Choir special numbers); Tim was contented enough to play with his friends in the neighborhood (except when I sent him and his daddy for some errands, including visiting the Grand Canal at McKinley Hill); and the husband was happy enough to spend time with me.

I had wanted so much for Felix and I to spend hours together everyday when the office was closed and he did’t have to leave for work. Without me having to pressure him to do so, he did indeed sit with me, lounge with me, nap with me, that kind of languid togetherness when he lifts my feet onto his lap, or when he shifts his body to invite me to snuggle in the groove of his arm and chest, that space that had been chiseled out by years of marriage life. You easily slide into that place, like soft jelly flowing into its mold.

The days were restful and did good to our bodies, minds, and spirits. It also fed the marriage with fresh fodder to make it richer, deeper, fuller.

I have been thinking that perhaps that’s exactly what the Lord Jesus desires for us: to spend long, quiet, restful times with Him. We see His heart regarding this matter when He visited the home of sisters Martha and Mary.

Mary sat at His feet contentedly drinking up all His words like a thirsty fawn, completely oblivious of Martha’s solo ministrations with dinner. Martha eventually voiced out her complaints to the Lord, but He gently rebuked her and pointed out to her what’s really needful and good.

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:41-42)

Poor Martha! She just wanted to serve good dinner to their very important guests. But that is a challenge for all of us. Oftentimes, we choose poorly. We don’t seem to know how to wisely sift through the many tasks at hand and recognize that one needful thing and choose that good part. No wonder we feel weak and scattered sometimes. 

My illness and suffering steal so much from me. Because I have to stop and lie down for an hour or more to recover my strength (and breathing) many times a day, I don’t accomplish much. When I’m in that “recovery period”, I usually want to browse my social media feeds. My reason is that, I don’t want to “feel in full” the hardship I’m going through. I want to forget about it, hence, I browse and browse. I would prefer to read or pray or paint, but the problematic breathing, etc., wouldn’t allow concentration.

I hate it when I endlessly and aimlessly browse. I hate it that my life is spent that way. I am a person who wants to live a rich, productive life, nothing wasted. So I coax myself to just keep still in bed with my comfy day blanket and try to imagine that I’m snuggling in the loving arms of my Lord Jesus Christ. That’s hard to do, especially when I’m struggling to gain good breathing.

I also set my HDTV so I could listen to healing scriptures with relaxing music or an hour of praise and worship. I can only do that when my breathing has improved and I’m only waiting for strength to be able to stir. When I’m hyperventilating or when my breathing is not smooth because my digestive system works doubly hard, I cannot listen to music then or any words. I just want complete silence, a space where all my concentration is focused on breathing intentionally. The only rhythm that my heart and breathing can move in during those times is the word hallelujah uttered silently in my mind. Every single, important breath breathes in and out hallelujah.

When I listen to praise music, I think on the Lord Jesus. I strive to know Him deeper then, or know Him again and again. It would be best if I could sing in worship and enter the circle of His light and presence, but I can’t. So, I do my best to spend time with Him in the embrace of lyrics and melody as I listen. Sometimes, He brings me enough bodily comfort that I feel slumbrous. At other times, He stirs up my heart and tears flow.

During those times, I want to believe that I am being held. 

…I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:28)

Do you find it hard to sit still at Jesus’ feet and listen? To spend unhurried time with Him and just let Him love on you, whisper words of wisdom to you? Do you secretly enjoy more endlessly browsing your newsfeeds and watching videos that entertain you? I hope not. I pray that the Lord will give us wisdom and discerning spirit to choose that which is needful and good. And be held in the process.

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