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Monday, February 29, 2016

Connecting with God's Heart-A Backyard Devotion

I bought them in the garden section of the hardware store, the cement blocks. They're aged now; settled old and sunken into the earth where I laid them years ago.

Here on these blocks, I've aged, too. I've settled myself on these blocks and lain my heart flat-open vulnerable, as living sacrifice bleeding and still beating beneath the sharper-than-a-double-edged-sword living word of God.

I offer my heart on this altar where I lay it down. He's written His word on my heart, but not as ink on paper. No. He's written His word on my heart as He carved His commandments into stone tablets. Maybe that's why my heart beat and bleeds, "Keep Your word fresh in my heart, as if You carved it there this very morning." I don't want scar tissue hardening my heart where His word has been carved, so I offer my heart to Him everyday.

"I offer my heart as a living sacrifice;" I say on the blocks to the One who wields the double-edged sword with  holy skill and most profound lovingkindness.

It may seem insane to lay my heart open like this each morning, but it's not. It's reasonable. Insanity is to let the softest tissue of my heart-my soul-become hard and scarred.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, 
that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, 
holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Romans 12:1

The sky is gray this morning. I watch a hawk glide through the gray, and not once does she slap the air with her wings as if to demand more speed, height, power. 

I remember a quote from I don't know who-"In acceptance lieth peace."

Minutes pass and this hawk holds her wings out, steady, and leans into the currents of the wind. She circles and veers to the left, then to the right. She circles up higher and then spirals down; and never flaps.

Her silhouette serfs behind pecan branches and limbs, and momentarily disappears behind massive trunks.

I watch her till she disappears behind the roof top of a neighboring home.

"This, Lord, all of this!" I am at a loss for words. "It's holy!"

That's the only word that fits-holy.


Holy presses into me, as the weight of this type of altar on which I present myself presses into the earth. I present myself as a living sacrifice to the holy One, right here.


The sun parts the curtain of clouds and washes my feet in warm light. The sun warms the ground, fragrant.

A breeze rakes through the light, and lifts the fragrance as incense.

I feel as one who has entered into the holy of holies behind the curtain and wonder if this is how the Levite priests felt when they entered the inner room where the altar stood, and incense rose; fragrant worship.  Surely this is how they must have felt.

"Is this what it looks like, the holy process? I'm trying to ask God about the way of entry into a settled worship.

"Is it as rock solid as these cement blocks?" May my worship be solid; immovable. May the shape of my soul and the the words of my heart press into the heart and being of God as I worship wide open.

"Is it as effortless and non-demanding as the hawk which slapped her wings not once?" May my worship be this accepting; this trusting.

Trust. There's that word again.

This morning, I watched a hawk silently paint what trust looks like. Her feathers brushed damp on damp across grey light.

Trust is like that.

It's colors are calm and Payne's Grey simple, awash with God's mercies born new and damp every morning.

It's power is in quietness and confidence, and in the lean and surrender to ever shifting currents which can only be felt and heard, but not seen.

An Altar

"In quietness and confidence shall be your strength" (Isaiah 30:15). God draws His word across my heart. I remain on the blocks in backyard worship.

Anxiety mounts when I lean on my own understanding.

"Don't take off on a swift horse when your heart stampedes wild." He knows how this works with me. He knows the the entire company of me will flee at the threat of one anxious thought till I find myself as a pole frantically waving, and as one breathing hard at the top of some crazy mountain I don't know how to get down from.

"Yeah, I know." I do know. "I don't want to be as Isaiah 30:16 people, Lord."

They said no to the quiet, confident source for strength. They mounted swift horses and I don't imagine they took the time to saddle up. No. I think they must have ridden bareback panic. That's what it looks like to get carried away on my own strength. It's a far cry from the hawk I watched this morning.

The hawk was silent. She didn't screech, as hawks often do. She just leaned into the wind and moved to some whisper behind her, saying, "Lean to the right; now lean to the left."

I watched her soar as I hope to trust.

written by: Carolyn-Elizabeth Roehrig

"May there be an imprintmy heart here when issues heavier than cement have pressed me

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