Free At Last!!

FreedomGod used the image of an invisible fence to help my heart get where He knew it needed to be. Assertive pups quickly learn that the shock of the fence is temporary and well worth the freedom that lies beyond that invisible line drawn in the lawn. Other dogs find contentment in their confinement and learn to live within the space given. I was like the latter until last week when I finally found the courage, or maybe the faith, to cross lines I’ve allowed to confine and define my heart all my life. I learned that pleasing others is not the same as loving them, and that beautiful lesson freed my heart in a wonderful way.

God doesn’t want me to please Him or others, and He certainly didn’t create me to be a happiness slot machine. He created me out of love and simply wants me to love Him, myself, and others. The invisible fence wasn’t His; it was one I installed early in my life in order to keep my heart safe. Boundaries are important in life. They keep me from straying into unknown territory and help me know who and where I am, but the heart is not designed for any kind of fence.

God’s love knows no boundaries, and He expects my love to be like His. I crossed lines last week that I’ve never dared to cross before, and I have to say it felt great. I stood up for what I believed and for those I love. I felt an immediate sense of freedom after an initial shock of leaving the known and heading into territory I’d always considered too dangerous for me.

At the heart of loving and being loved as God desires is a willingness to know and be known in ways that shock my heart. As I ate and talked with a new friend yesterday, she expressed her reluctance to allow herself to get to know someone too deeply and her struggle with allowing others to know her deeply. I knew exactly what she was feeling because I had been there myself.

I allowed myself to be deeply known decades ago and again a few years ago. Both friends changed me in a beautiful way. I’m blessed to have three sisters who know and love me deeply and friends who do the same. Their love encourages me to continue to reach out and to be who I am. That level of love enabled me to take a flying leap at that electric fence and head out into the world in a way that is sure to make a difference in my heart and in the hearts of those I love.

Loving & Swimming Lessons:)

We opened the pool on Monday when we celebrated Memorial Day. I was, and have been, very nervous about having the girls around the water. My fear of water is deep within my heart, and I was afraid of passing along that fear to the girls. I steered clear of the pool when they were in the water, but today was a beautiful turning point for my heart as God used the pool to give me loving and swimming lessons at the same time.

This morning was a turning point for my heart as I decided to accept and embrace the love God placed in my path, and I did so with a true non anxious loving presence. My heart was light and as full as it has ever been. I relaxed, let go, and “simply and bravely” loved. That was the title of the baccalaureate message Pastor John delivered to the graduates last Sunday; and while I was getting the message into pamphlet form this morning, I realized the title aptly described the lessons God had for me this week.

Lillyann swam on her own for the first time Monday, but she truly got it this afternoon. She just wouldn’t quit swimming back and forth across the pool. She had her water wings on, but she let mama let go and took off on her own.  Mama’s lessons finally clicked for her, and God’s lessons in loving and swimming finally clicked for me too. We both simply, and bravely, let go:)

After lunch, I decided to swim in the pool while the girls were napping. I prayed that I would not relay my fear of the water to the girls and asked God to please help me. An amazing thing happened when I got into the water. I started swimming, floating, and playing with abandon. There was no floundering, flailing, or thrashing about. I swam and played until the girls got up, and then I played for another hour and a half with them. They saw my excitement, and it was contagious! They especially loved it when I swam under the water and tickled their toes:)

God took away the fear I so worried would be passed along to my sweet little grandbabies and replaced it with delight. I am still in awe and don’t understand exactly what happened today, but God used Lillyann’s letting go and delighting in her new found freedom to get across His lessons for me. My heart has had on its water wings (the Holy Spirit), and my body had all the right motions for swimming. I knew what to do, but knowing and doing are two different things. Today, I loved and swam with abandon as I let go of my fears. I was as close to God as I ever have been in the process.

I shared Lillyann’s delight in a beautiful way because I knew exactly how she was feeling. That’s the way it is with love, as well. We laughed and loved each other as we played in the water, and we shared a very special moment. She kept telling me that I was her best friend while we were swimming together, and that was icing on an already amazing cake today. Love is like swimming; God waited for me to let go of the fears that were keeping me from loving as He desires. Just as mommy and I delighted when little Lillyann took off across the pool, I could imagine God doing the same when He saw that His swimming and loving lessons had finally paid off:)