“You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done.” Ps. 92:4
He’s faithful, in the full and the empty.
Because an empty cup isn’t the mark of an unfulfilled promise, but the readiness and the thirst for more: righteous, goodness, joy. Less of me.
He sets his empty mason jar with a click on the counter and looks up at me with a milk mustache before bedtime and asks for more milk. The hollow ring reverberates off my ears and we traipse down 2 flights of wooden stairs and a spiral staircase to that cold box and pour a big, chilled glass of milk while I ramble on and on about how big and strong he’s going to grow.
Isn’t it the ache of a head full of knowledge that means our experience is broadening? Or the familiar strain and pull of muscles after a rigorous workout that define our muscles and induce the painful growth? The heartache of leaving others behind and paving a new way.
No, the empty cup is just waiting to be filled. And sometimes it just takes a dumping it all out to start anew from scratch to get the crowded things out.
He’s faithful. The empty is waiting and expectant to be transformed to full.
I’m left speechless at the end of each day and the daybreak of morning as I sit in wonder of how a life can be so full. How so many lives can be so full. How His handprint, His thumbprint leaves its mark over all of my days. Over all of my moments of all of my days. And when I doubt my ability, or my attention span draws to a close I kick the dust and notice his footprint right there in the dirt, going before. I haven’t walked here alone and the mark of His beauty is discreetly all around me. Discreet maybe to my unbelief, but glaringly obvious to my hungry heart.
I laugh to myself as I find joy in things I never once thought possible. How it’s easier for me to find joy in living in Uganda, less than ideal to most, as opposed to a high-end apartment in the greatest city in the Southeast, walking distance from everything I ever could need, ever WANT. But even here I suppose I learn to find joy. I grow to blossom even in these surroundings that feel forced upon my boxed in, suffocated skin.
How he hears our cries and our laughter too. He joins in our songs, and dries our tears. How the smallest details are the most important parts of the intricate pattern. And that this city isn’t my box. My box is the limitations that I put on myself. And my God.
We are empty for the purpose of being filled, for the intent and preparation of growth. For the PROMISE of new life, and the declaration of glory. And with baby steps we make our move forward, because it isn’t about the leaps that send us jolting forward, but the slow pace of a familiar dance and the learned ability to open our hands to everything that may come. Learning to glorify Him in the good and the mess we make of ourselves, realizing, again, that He is the one who actually holds the pieces together. That truly the only good within me may be Jesus.
Thirsting for more than what I had before limited myself too, as the fading gerber daisies by my bedside begins to wilt, they stretch and expand their petals curling back to the stem soaking up their last few drops of water, their vases empty to be filled.
Readiness for the morning light and a brand new day to mess it all up again so that I can further prove my need for a Saviour and He can further prove His grace and make me small.
Smaller, smaller is my prayer. Reveal to me in new lows so that I may know the grandeur of new heights.
“Higher, higher, higher higher higher higher, higher higher, higher Jesus HIGHER.” The sweetness of African accents ring in my head, asking that Jesus name be made higher above all else.
“Sing to the Lord a NEW song, for He has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.” Ps. 98:1
To sing a new song daily of the marvelous things he is always doing, continuing to do. The filling of cups, the working of his salvation.
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Phil. 1:9-10
That LOVE may abound, through growth. That by expanding our view of the world, we can truly know the joy of walking with fruit. Expanse is the answer. To the bound up, prideful, self-righteous arrogant older brother in the story of the Prodigal son I so alarmingly often find myself akin to. It’s not about the wandering son that finds grace, but the miraculous act is in the freedom of his older sibling. To expand the people he is surrounded by because of a deep rooted security in HE who is greater, not a threat of grace.
The homeless man on the street corner and that girl, and that old person, and that jaded friendship and the fleshly labels I put on God’s children.
And I keep turning back here for almost 5 months now, remembering that “He offends our flesh to stretch our hearts.”
Perfectly timed conversations, four wheelers and deep ravines, one way streets and new street corners to learn. Uncomfortable encounters and the overused word “new”. My messy closet that I still haven’t moved in and my lack of caffeine and country music. Old friends, and new relationships. Empty gas tanks and full journals. 6 mile walks and video calls thousands of miles away. Bucket lists and syllabuses alike.
Grow. In ways I never foresaw, or could have known or dreamt for myself.