1 Samuel 14:35 (the message)
That’s the story behind Saul’s building an altar to God. It’s the first altar to God that he built.
Be-U-tiful day today! Feels like spring wedding weather. So that works out well since my baby sister is tying the knot this Saturday. Alas…we are not going there today friends. Just made up my face and not quite ready for that post!!
What’s been percolating in me this week is something deep. For me, at least. Busted up my heart Monday. Brought truth and tears and gratitude.
I could write a month of blog posts and not convey the depth, the release. But I want to attempt to share…to encourage you in case it resonates.
Here is how it works for me quite often. A spark, a catching moment, and the seed of truth breaks forth from my hardened heart. He sends a bit more rain and then when the moment is right revelation dive-bombs my heart.
Like when I’m at the sink washing a few dishes.
See, this is humbling. I am a tiny bit apprehensive because one may judge, even my own children one day, but I believe my transparency matters.
Last week I gave someone a ride to a chemo appointment. Of course the “C” word always brings perspective. As I drove down the highway and glanced back at my truly delightful baby girl, I heard Him whisper to my heart: Stop talking about her like a burden, she’s a blessing.
I know it was Holy Spirit because I knew immediately what He wanted me to see. I wept. My heart broke. I asked forgiveness with a sincerely I haven’t felt in a while. This is what I know…and what I need them to understand should they ever read this…I am captivated by my children. I love them in ways that make me face ugly stuff in my life. Yet so much of what has come out of my mouth over the past eighteen months has been about how hard it is. How having three has thrown me off balance. I feel like a shaky failure lots of days. So I knew, I heard, with complete clarity. Of course I see Leighton as a blessing, but I’ve talked a lot about the work.
Fast-forward to Sunday. We are at a cookout with college friends at one of their homes. Huge property, lots of room to roam and relax and a house that is HGTV, y’all. I walk into their home and just feel star-struck. Not because its terribly outrageous, more because its like our dream. Lots of porches and space and a warm, inviting interior. Honestly, I took a pause as I looked around. And then I straight up told The Lord to please help me not be envious! And He did, because I was able to enjoy the day and appreciate the surroundings and their kind, hospitable hearts.
But spark two came when our sweet friend stood in her kitchen and said all she can see when she looks around is what is wrong. I understood but absorbed the fact that in the midst of blessing and beauty she was complaining.
So what does king Saul and his first ever altar have to do with any of this? Let me connect the dots best I can.
If you read 1st Sam you will find God choosing Saul as Israel’s first king. Saul tall and manly but scared. He was hiding the day Samuel announced him as king. I could relate to Saul as I read about his dumb choices based on insecurity. But the thing is he didn’t outgrow it. He was all about following a protocol for seeking God’s help but never really learned to trust God. So as I’m reading about Saul’s disobedience and the multiple times he took matters into his own hands, I start thinking about David. I know God is going to call David from the sheep and hills in a chapter or two, but I start thinking about David before the Bible tells me to. When I reached verse 35 I was amazed that this was the first altar Saul had built to God. After years of being king and many battles, he finally honors God. And even then it feels like an afterthought. Saul remains preoccupied with fear and insecurity while David is building and being built on the hillsides with his father’s sheep.
David is experiencing God.
Building relationship and trust and confidence in Creator.
Being built up and prepared for greatness as he embraces his God heart to heart.
David, before we ever learn of him, is finding out just Who the great I-Am is and in so doing finding out who he is.
So back to my dishes. I’m considering the difference in these men, their legacy, and it hits me. Saul was given the blessing of kingship but it remained a burden because he carried the weight of relying on himself. David experienced kingship as a blessing because he always knew it was God’s gift and God’s weight to carry.
David lived as a vessel. Saul lived as a producer.
David ran toward Goliath with passion because he knew Who empowered him. Saul eventually lost his mind from the strain to produce power and results that were never his to produce.
I got on my face Monday and repented. Yes, I built an altar on my kitchen floor. I offered up my pride and fear and straining. I watched it burn like kindling as the sparks caught into a blaze. With a flash of understanding my journey of the past two years came into crisp, clear view.
When I was nothing and nobody I discovered Creator on my porch and at my kitchen table. Before there was any assignment there was intimacy and construction. We were building.
The gifts and assignments He gave me were met with passion and ease because I understood my nothingness and His all. I embraced the power of grace. I let the burden to produce results slip through my fingers.
I can see it in my mind’s eye…the day my shoulders began to slump with the weight of results and need I was incapable of carrying…never meant to carry.
As we take ownership, as we forget the power in grace, as we slip on the shoes of producer rather than walk lightly as a mere vessel, we begin to see blessings as burdens.
We are not meant to carry the weight of results. We are meant to look our nothingness head on and smile…run full on…as a vessel. Imperfect men and women given tremendous opportunities and blessings in a million different ways by a perfect and fully capable God.
I bloodied my hands and knees.
Surrounded by amazing blessing I could only see the wide gap between what was needed and what I could give. I misplaced my confidence.
It’s okay now. I sobbed at my kitchen floor altar. It wasn’t my first and it won’t be me last. I heard Him whisper.
Dance with Me again.
I struggle with this princess of the king identity. He knows I just don’t have the mental framework. And yet He asks me still…
To dance with Him…the King of Grace and a princess daughter. I close my eyes and try to picture it… A smile comes because I like green and so I imagine a dainty emerald and diamond crown and an emerald colored dress.
And we dance. And I am just a vessel. Just a loved princess-daughter. I do not bare the weights of the world on my dancing shoulders because I’m held in arms that carry them for me.
As we dance I see blessings. Rest in grace and gratitude.