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Gift #2: What shall I TAKE HOLD of?

All manner of things beckon for me to grasp them, to take hold of them. I’ve found there is only 1 thing worth holding onto; and with Him, other things may be safely and beneficially received. Not so, without Him.

. . . I press on to TAKE HOLD of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Philippians 3:12

It was a beautiful day to discover what I am to take hold of is Jesus Christ, himself — His very person. Why did He take hold of me? Initially, I think of a water rescue for a drowning person who cannot swim in the deep waters– a life preserver, a strong arm that will not forsake us unto death. We reach back to him, respond to His reaching out, gratefully clinging on for dear life! That’s a good HOLD; a good start.

Then He offers Himself again and again in daily provision. I tell you, His grasp is tender and gentle. Think kind arms extended for a hug. Think receiving the hug, hugging back. There is a bit of a glimpse of what this Taking Hold is.

Once in the midst of healing, the Lord danced with me — grandly, graciously. It did not matter that I was a mess, failing more than anything. It had nothing to do with me. I was invited and I accepted — took my eyes off of myself and looked at Him. I danced that day with the Lover of my soul, and it healed me. In my marriage, He called me to dance with my spouse even though there were dark places that looked unlovely. In time, He shone light there and we thrived. More recently, He invited me to dance with Him again as my Father whose broad chest I can rest my head upon and dance with hope in the waiting. He is the Initiator; He invites.

The God who is often misrepresented longs to be received. Press on. Take Hold.

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Consider the Stars: A “Taking Heart” Song

Picture from the official song video “Consider the Stars”: Keith and Kristyn Getty from their album, Evensong.

Certain songs help me remember to Take Heart when I’m tempted to do the opposite: FEAR.

One of those songs is “Consider the Stars” sung by Keith and Kristyn Getty. Though I have been an adult and a mother for many years, sometimes I still need to be sung to by a kind mother. Kristyn Getty is just that. Many of their songs encourage my heart.

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

Isaiah 40:26
Picture from the official song video “Consider the Stars”: Keith and Kristyn Getty from their album, Evensong.

Some counselors inform us that parenting ourselves is part of emotional healing/recovery. Thus it need not surprise us that if we missed certain care in our formative years, it may be necessary to add it in now that we might not stay immature and stunted but rather grow and become all that we were made to be. And God calls himself both Wonderful Counselor as well as Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Another song that cheers me on is “Take Courage” by Kristene DiMarco. Singing our affirmations can help keep them present when life clamors to steal peace away.

You may look up “Take Courage” by Kristene DiMarco should this link expire.

Consider a visit far away from city lights to a place where one can observe the stars. Go and BE. Look at what can be found in the sky . . . . and remember: there is so much MORE than what we can see with our eyes.

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The Squire and the Scroll: A “Taking Heart” Story

Read Aloud by Marissa Rivera: https://youtu.be/U56CIZvzY_A

“There’s a price for the Lantern, ” a voice suddenly hissed.

At these words, the squire TOOK HEART.

Though many had failed before him.

Though things were going from bad to worse.

Though it looked bleak and he was weary.

Though he was alone, without instructions or promise of success.

When everything turned dark, the squire REMEMBERED those things, outside of himself, that could be relied on. He took courage.

This taking is decisive, though not lacking a tremble. To be fearless is NOT to be courageous. Courage is needed when the possibility of destruction, of failure seems imminent.

In THAT moment, the squire takes heart and he exemplifies another word about heart, “Guard your heart with all diligence, for it is the wellspring of life” (Psalm 4:23).

By taking heart, we receive; we renew our courage and our hope – even when we cannot see.

A price for the LIGHT? Indeed. There IS a price for walking in the light, and it’s a price worth paying.

I’ve found that when things are tough it often helps to simplify by reading masterful material intended for children. We are, after all, not all grown up in every area of our lives. To keep flourishing and avoid stagnation means that one must take baby steps in some area or other. Like a well-tended garden or even a wild wood, I want to keep new growth.

Gift #1: A Closer Look at “Taking Heart”

What does it mean to “take heart”? How does one go about that?

I was first PAUSED by these words of Jesus Christ in John 16:33 of The Holy Bible. In context, Jesus was giving his friends a big “Head’s Up!” about some troubles they were going to be facing, along with some incredible encouragement to keep it all in perspective. He says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

I began to understand that looking at my circumstances was only going to distract me from REALITY. Life runs much better, even when it’s hard, when I look at the circumstances and relationships around me, in LIGHT of who the Creator of the earth IS, and who I am because of Him.

Taking heart involves courage, but the trust here is not in myself and my abilities. It’s this unshakable confidence that something bigger than me and what I can see is taking place; knowing that I am personally loved and valued and that I can REST in the strength of Another. Also, that I’ve been WELCOMED into the adventure of all that is taking place. I began to stop expecting things to go smoothly; rather, I “ride the wave”, “make lemonade” from life’s lemons, and I stay PRESENT – imperfectly but with greater and greater measures of joy.

Taking heart is also mentioned in Psalm 27:14, Psalm 31:24, and Matthew 9:22, and in all these contexts, dependence is directed towards the creator God.

Around the time I began to consider these things, I heard what’s become my most favorite sermon by my most favorite preacher. See “The Language of Heaven” by Graham Cooke (April 9, 2014/YouTube). More perspective and encouragement!

Walking it out: And so, I BEGIN, imperfectly to be sure, but beginning is often half the battle — I begin to frame every situation in the truth of who God is, who God is for me, and who I am in Christ. I begin to DELIGHT in Christ himself, awakening my sense of WONDER and AWE. And then, without really any effort on my part, I do, in fact, TAKE HEART (regardless of how I feel).

16 Gifts That Are Renewing My Mind

  • Taking Heart
  • Taking Hold
  • Learning to Receive
  • Defining Eternal Life
  • Fixing My Eyes on Jesus Christ
  • Receiving a New Family Heritage
  • Year of Jubilee: Anticipation & Celebration
  • Practicing Rejoicing!
  • Stability & Community
  • Building a Habit of Thanksgiving
  • Submitting to Rest
  • Loving with Purpose and Intention (Not by Changing Emotions)
  • Armoring UP!
  • Consciously Ditching Negative Thinking
  • Submitting to Humility
  • Baby Steps in Trust

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