Anyone who knows me knows that cardigans are my favorite fashion staple. I have an arsenal of 10 or 12 of them that I mix and match faithfully Spring Summer and Fall to ward off the excessive Texas air conditioning. Like all good fashionistas, I have a favorite- a 7 year old grey and white striped AE boyfriend cardi... with a hole in the elbow. The thing about it is that I always forget and wear it anyway. The hole has a way of completely disappearing until it's stretched. It looks all cute and amazing until I slide my arm into the tiny sleeves. And while its slimming form fitting design is part of why I love it, I kick myself every time I realize, which is usually when someone else points it out. :/
True to form, God uses this cardi to speak volumes of Truth to me about my own ugly heart. There are so many "holes" that go unnoticed, tiny snags in my character that no one sees... but only till I'm stretched. Then those things present themselves as blazing badges of honor whether I want them to or not. And I have a choice. Keep ignoring them? Keep letting them shrink back into the threads on good days? Or do I let my Dad mend them? The thing with unmended holes is that they grow. And before you know it, you're exposed to the elements and there's a lot more at stake than your elbow.
I have been in a season of proving, fires large and small coming to purge things from my heart and mind. It has been awful and awesome and hard- but I'm so grateful for the careful attention of my Father. I want the stretching to shed light on things that need to be mended. I want the fire to burn out impurities and leave me refined. I want these ashes to be the remnant of a sweet offering.
This morning I was reading in Isaiah 5, and Father starting wrapping it all up for me. He's talking about a vineyard that He worked and tilled and labored over in hopes of sweet fruit but bitter grapes were all that grew. The passage is about Israel but the ears of my own heart were burning as I read it. Today I'm the vineyard. Today these words are for me. I can't wrap my mind around my Dad toiling over the garden of my life in hopes of sweet growth only to yield bitter fruit. I can't even really put into words the painful twinge in my heart when I think of it. I want God's hopes burning bright in my life, not trampled and left destitute in a barren vineyard.
Is. 5:7 " I tended with care. I had hoped for honesty and for justice, but dishonesty and cries for mercy were all I found."
Ouch. Let it not be so of me.
I hope this finds you stretched and bearing the sweet fruit of a yielded mended heart. Happy Thursday.