Sweet Release…


Sorrow swept over me as I rode along the Rio Grande Bosque trail…overwhelming sorrow. As I pedaled along, with tears streaming down my face, gripping the handlebars, I was thankful I had sunglasses on as I rode past oncoming cyclists. I was pouring out my heart to God…not audibly, but from the inside out…heart to heart. He heard my cry, and He accompanied me over the next sixteen miles.

I glanced occasionally to the heavens, and saw cranes and geese fly overhead. Along the river bank rabbits and lizards scurried among the brush. The wind whispered through the cottonwood trees, rustling the leaves as they glistened in the sun’s rays. The wonders of His creation caused my heart to melt into His. I stopped from time to time to wipe my tears and blow my nose, and I was still…pausing to see if He would speak to me. But there was silence. Not a single word….only His presence.

My husband was with me on the bike ride, but kept a respectful distance up ahead, knowing that at that moment I needed time alone with my First Love, my Papa God. Rod is amazing to me in that way. He knows that when my heart is heavy and aches in a way that he cannot soothe, my First Love must come to my rescue. He allows me the necessary time to be with my heavenly Daddy.

By now you may be wondering…why such a heavy heart? What was it that caused such sorrow?  I woke up that morning reflecting on the lives of some of my loved ones…those that are hurting, confused, conflicted…some who may be doubting God’s love for them, bound by regrets and perhaps even shame that keeps them from turning back to the only One who can restore them and make things right again. I thought of the miracle of life. I marveled at how Papa God had gifted a dear friend’s son with a second chance in the midst of an accident that seemed too horrific for anyone to survive. He was given another opportunity to turn back to Jesus.

Earlier that morning I had taken my requests to the cross and laid them down, knowing my Savior would attend to each one.  I searched Scripture, and waited…wondering if the heaviness in my heart would lift as it typically does after I spend time with Him.  But this time it didn’t. The sorrow in my heart remained.

As soon as I started pedaling along on my bike ride, my thoughts led me back…back to my conversation with Papa, and I picked up where we had left off. Once again, I shared with Him the desires of my heart…the requests for His healing power, for His strength, His courage, and His wisdom in all the circumstances I was pleading for. And once again, I sensed His presence.

It was in that moment that the memories of my own life journey began to resurface. As I pedaled along the trail…each memory replayed in my mind. Papa God is so smart! He knew this particular morning that it would be necessary for me to remember my own past. I recalled the choices of my youth and the ways that I too had strayed. I recalled the painful consequences of bad choices and the ripple effect my sin had on my loved ones. My scars surfaced one by one…all for a purpose…a cleansing purpose. A redemptive purpose.

Moments like these are some of the most precious to me.  I embraced the imagery in my mind as I pedaled along the Bosque trail. I imagined the tears of sorrow my Papa God sheds for me when I stumble and fall…and when I dismiss His voice when He says, “Choose my way, stay focused, for I know the plans I have for you and they are good!”  I imagined how much His heart must hurt each time I disappoint Him…when I choose my own selfish desires over His leading. And I remembered His outstretched arms each time I’ve turned back, and how He has embraced my ‘coming home’…back in stride in my walk with Him.

Like a floodgate opening, my tears began to flow. I thanked Him for my beautiful scars…for the memories of the past that helped lead me back to a heart of compassion…His compassion. He reminded me once again that each person He has placed in my life is a precious daughter or son to Him. He loves them more than I ever could! I must never stand in judgment, and I must never stop praying!  My assignment each day is to stand in the gap for each daughter, each son, each grandchild, each friend…just as my Savior does for me!

Perhaps it’s time to recognize that what we value most is what we need to entrust to Papa God even more. Be encouraged…trust Him today with all your cares and allow His peace to guard your heart! For me, it’s a time of sweet surrender…a time of sweet release!  ~ IN HIS STRONG LOVE – rose

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:6-7

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