Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Twas the day after Christmas when what did i spy...

I spy a child.... do you?

Pen on paper, coffee in mug, i sat at the kitchen table making lists. One list for things i needed to restock after a wonderful two days of feasting together. The other list of names -- people to contact --- special people who make a difference in my life because of the way they pray. Pondering the lists, i took a long, slow drink of my wonderfully warm flavored coffee and thoughtfully gazed out the window.
Looking across the table, through the curtains, beside the lighted pencil tree sitting atop the cabinet and just over the ceramic head of the tiny Santa my dear Mother-in-law painted years ago ----- i held my breath when i saw her looking back at me.
So stunned by the tiny one standing still beside the path leading out of our sideyard --- i closed my eyes, counted to ten, and opened them again to see if she was still there.
She was...
Or was it a he...
I couldn't tell if it was a boy or girl --- it didn't matter. Why was this child standing alone, in the rain?... in wood?
Steve and i had just finished our time of reading, and had navigated our way from the office where we sometimes read to the kitchen for a bit of breakfast. Oddly enough, even after such a peaceful Christmas day followed by a restful night's sleep, i had awakened feeling a bit edgy. Anxious over what needed to be accomplished in the shortened 3 day week, i was eager to get the morning started -- list making always seems to organize the week. Sitting at the table, rolling off names on one list and edibles on the other ---- my mind was a whirl of activity.
Moments earlier...
While pouring my coffee and putting biscuits in the oven, familiar words had been rolling off my tongue. Just weeks before, reading Brennan Manning's "The Wisdom of Tenderness" had led me to adopt a new daily practice. He tells of a lady who once visited him, anguished over her false self-perception and sense of guilt from sins of days long past. While ministering to the lady, Mr. Manning had suggested she consider repeating this simple phrase... "Abba... i belong to you". With the additional guidance to say the words aloud and with a distinct breathing pattern. Breathe in when saying "Abba", breathe out while saying "i belong to you". I tried it even as i was reading his instructions to her. Oddly -- it is quite difficult to speak aloud while breathing in --- hence, "Abba" comes forth with a whispered sort of sound. "I belong to you" comes out easily in comparison. Breathing in ABBA softly --- while pressing air into the world around me declaring that I belong to Him -- it's a beautiful, clarifying, grounding sort of way to feel His nearness. So each morning as i wake --- i find myself whispering this truth to myself. (Thank you Brennan Manning!)

"Abba... i belong to you..." had just rolled off my tongue a dozen or more times when my mind averted its focus to task mode and i wielded my paper and pen.

These details matter. For it was a human distraction to get work started that drew me from what mattered more.  Organization and list making are great practices ---- but not when they come at the expense of compartmentalizing Abba.
So ---- He trumped my distracted self ---- and captured my attention.
look closely to the right of the pine tree, just under the limb

The little one standing alone by the pathway, appeared to be frozen stiff, not moving, not breathing. Standing less than 3 feet tall, the tiny dark figure looked as if it was holding its frail arms in front of itself, staring at me. i was captivated. The image was so powerful i jumped up out of my chair and ran to the window, hoping to see more clearly. Just as my mouth opened to call for Steve ---- i saw the tree limb blow in the breeze ---- moving her frail arms and revealing her tiny body as a black tree-trunk.
i was frozen inside.
i knew instinctively --- the image of the child was not simply a fluke.
Lists didn't matter --- my heart had been stirred profoundly.

Nothing weird happened, no voices spoke. But i felt the gentlest touch to my soul, reminding me of what needed to be remembered...

"dear donna, you're ready aren't you? Ready to tackle the tasks and get something accomplished these next few days (months, years), you'll feel better about yourself if you can check off some tasks on your list of "to-dos". But pause and remember, just moments ago you sincerely declared to Me, that you belonged to Me --- you are mine. So i want you to focus on what matters most to me. Lists are nice, details can be important, after all, i'm the One who gave Noah specifics on the ark, he had plenty of lists and details when i was finished with my orders to him. 
But most important of all, is that you focus on what matters ---- to ME. 
Accomplishing things may matter to you ---- but if the things you accomplish do not matter to me ---- why give them so much of your time? ...why give them any of your time?
Do what matters to me donna --- it's what will last. 

And remember, you'll better know what matters to me, if you spend time with me. I'll pour my heart into your heart --- as you sit with me, read about me, talk to me, watch for me. And right now, in front of your eyes, i'm reminding you of something that matters very, very much to me."
"The little ones who are out in the cold, who don't sit at fine tables covered with food, who don't sip warm drinks or have safe walls around them. They matter to Me donna."
"Don't feel badly because you do have these things. BUT always focus on using what I have given to you to accomplish the things that matter to me. 
Focus on using what I have given you to accomplish what matters to Me... 
The little ones matter ---- to Me. 
Focus donna, on my list --- not yours."

In his book, "Who I Am in Christ", Neil Anderson writes, " -->
It is not what you do that determines who you are
but it is who you are that determines what you do.
  (if you're like me ---- you might need to read it again ---- slowly...)

Romans 12:2 – "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world – but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..."

©2012 Donna Taylor/Reaching for the Robe


  1. this is so true, dear friend. i am a list maker too, and this coming year i want to hear His plan and heed His words to me.

    wrote down the Neil Anderson quote on my wipeboard in my kitchen so that i can ponder it more and reflect.

    thanks for sharing!

  2. Jenn -- thank you so much for your encouragements to me and for sojourning with me! i love your beautiful, sincere heart.

  3. i am soooooo excited that i just found your blog and facebook page!!! steve didn't mention either! ha! and we are normally really good communicators (thanks to y'alls wonderful pre-marital mentoring!!!)!

    you are an incredible writer and make me just want to sit at the feet of Jesus!!! no matter how long i look at that picture, i still only see a child, not a tree trunk. ANYWHO... just wanted to say hey and that we can't wait to see y'all soon!!!

  4. You have blessed me again my friend. Thanks for being salt and light to the world as God planned. I love you. My focus is toward home not my issues. jr (:-) Psalm 121