Friday, October 12, 2012

Becoming Real

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

I've been thinking about gardens today. I had a lovely photo of some white roses that I took a few days ago. Since I was not really sure what I wanted to write about I decided to play with the photo for a bit. Photo editing is something I enjoy doing. You can take a fairly ordinary photo and turn it into something special.

So I started with the photo that you see to the right and created what you see to the left.

I wanted a verse that talked about things blooming and I found one in Song of Songs 7 that I liked.

I guess my devotional thought for today is that we are not often aware of the work that the Lord is doing in the hearts of others. Sometimes we need to get up early and go see if the vines have budded and if the blossoms have opened up. Sometimes we need to allow the Lord to take us into the gardens of our own hearts to see what things have come into bloom and what things might need a bit of tending and tidying up. I've included a few quotes from a favorite book, The Secret Garden that tie in with my thoughts today.

“The Secret Garden was what Mary called it when she was thinking of it. She liked the name, and she liked still more the feeling that when its beautiful old walls shut her in no one knew where she was. It seemed almost like being shut out of the world in some fairy place. The few books she had read and liked had been fairy-story books, and she had read of secret gardens in some of the stories. Sometimes people went to sleep in them for a hundred years..."
― Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden

“However many years she lived, Mary always felt that 'she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow'.” 
― Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden

I am a very good wall builder and I can so easily shut others out. I enjoy my own company and am by nature more of an introvert. I believe that the Lord does not intend for us to live in isolation - we need others to truly bloom and grow. So I am learning how to let others into to my secret gardens. It was at first only the Lord that I could trust enough to let it but I'm learning to not be afraid to let others in.

Secret gardens are odd places once the Lord helps you clean them up. They are the places of memories and broken dreams of lost loves and friendships that are no longer possible.  Places I once thought easier to lock away and forget - "just let it go and move on", I thought. The Lord began a journey with me several years ago to beging to unlock those trunks of sorrow, pain and regret. I've found that once you work through forgiving, those memories finally are able to heal. I thought having forgiven and repented and put them away clean that now healed I could be done with them and move on. Perhaps grieving, which I have discovered can be delayed and put off a very long time, is even so, once embarked upon a longer process than I first imagined.

The feelings of shame, guilt and fear would trap us in darkness and in isolation must be overcome by letting others in. I am finding as I share my writings that there are many people who read the things that I write and find the courage in knowing that they are not alone. That others struggle with many of the same kinds of feelings. We don't have to stay locked in darkness or journey to freedom all by ourself. It does however take courage to let others in. I am finding we are all broken in one way or another and we all think for a time that we should hide it and try to appear to have it all together.

Anyway so I will end this with a couple of quotes from another favorite book, The Velveteen Rabbit. I guess my quest is that of becoming "real". To discover more fully who God created me to be and what He created me to do.

“Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.” 
― Margery WilliamsThe Velveteen Rabbit

Lord help us to become real, to take off our masks, to unlock the bars and doors and to allow you in first and formost to bring much needed healing. Then Lord help us to let others in that we and they might discover that we are not alone. We all have places that hurt and places where we don't live up to our own expectations. Things that we try as we might, we still manage poorly. Lord help us to put down our pointing fingers and instead take someone by the hand and walk together in love in spite of all our flaws and failures to become the people you call us to become through the power of your resurrection.


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