“In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; the signet rings and nose rings; the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils.” Isaiah 3:18-23
OK, I have to admit that when I read this passage when I got to “handbags” I actually gasped! I mean, yeah, its one thing to take away all of a girl’s jewelry, but to take away her purse, now that’s just too far! At that point you might as well take away her shoes!
For the longest time, my motto has been “reach for the stars, because even if you fall short you’ll still be among the stars”. Well, a few weeks ago I was having a rough day and feeling pretty low. And I prayed and told God that I was feeling like my toes were barely touching rock bottom. I was tired of dangling at the bottom of the rope feeling like things were never going to change. I asked Him to pick me up and put me on His shoulders so that I could touch the stars. I said, “Lord, I don’t want to just reach for them and feel like I’m never going to get there. I want to ACTUALLY TOUCH THEM!”
The next day as I was walking up to the building where I was about to have a very important meeting I was greeting with this:
I actually almost cried.
Last night we had a whopper of a storm. And during that storm the LORD came to me. And He took me up to the heavens and showed me the stars all lay out like a carpet before me. They were absolutely breathtaking in their beauty and splendor as they sparkled much brighter than little diamonds in the sky. But then He did something interesting, He then took the stars in the heavens and all their beauty and He rolled them up and squeezed them down and showed me how He put them all in woman.
But He wasn’t finished with her yet. Then He took the storm that was raging around me with violent fury and healing rain and He shrunk that down and put that inside woman too! And then He presented her to me, as if I had been Adam and showed me how beautifully women have been created; with the heavens in their hair and the healing fury of a thunderous storm in their bellies. That while these women can have their heads in the clouds they can simultaneously run entire states (or countries if given the chance). Women have the exquisite beauty of an infinite sky and yet simultaneously have a healing touch like rain soothing the parched earth. Hell may have no fury like a woman scorned, but it also doesn’t have the voice of angels with the power of lighting.
Woman is by far one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen, and yet all too often we rely so heavily on our outward adornment that our inward excellence has a hard time showing through. Last night God showed me the goddess that He created in woman and it had NOTHING to do with make up or jewelry or clothes or even handbags or shoes. To be a woman is to have stars in your heart and storms in your very being. We should be proud of that! Woman was the crowning jewel of all creation. Nothing in this entire universe can compare to the beauty of woman, all women. When we look up at the stars at night and just shake our heads at the infinite beauty of the heavens (and it is BEAUTIFUL UP THERE), its nothing compared to the beauty in here; within us. God showed me that last night.
Then after the fury of the storm had been unleashed He pointed out to me that I never had to reach for the stars, because they’ve always been inside me.
Years ago I read Isaiah 6:8-9 to God and said to Him “Here I am Lord, send me.” And He said “Go. Tell them I love them.” And ever since that moment I have done everything I can to tell the world how much Jesus loves them, because He does!
But lately, I’ve found myself stretched a little farther than I was comfortable with. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is certainly something that starts to get your attention after awhile. And I had a moment at church on Sunday where God used my pastor to take me down from the stage, he took away my microphone and he prayed for me. Then God used him to talk some sense into me. My pastor took me by the shoulders and told me to look him in the eye, which isn’t easy because he’s like nine feet tall and I’m only five. And he said to me, “God says, ‘You’re trying too hard to please Me. I am already pleased with you.'” And through sobs that were trembling my body and choking my throat I managed to laugh and tell him, “Do you have any idea how many times God has sent people to tell me that?”
There is no sacrifice left. Nothing that we can do pleases God more than to simply love Him back and have a conversation with Him. He just wants us to know Him more than we already do. We don’t have to earn His approval because we’ve already got it through the blood of Christ! Thank You Jesus! We don’t have to DO anything to get God to like us because He already likes us just the way we are; broken and frail, human and as messy as a pig in mud. Christians love to pick up the Law and beat each other and ourselves with it. We’ve forgotten that Jesus didn’t come to abolish the Law He came to fulfill it! Do you know what that means?
The Law is perfect, in absolutely every single way. Humanity is imperfect in absolutely every single way. The entire purpose of the Law was to point out these imperfections and make us realize that we could never live up to the standard of being a god. God the Father, perfect in every way. Jesus the Son, perfect in every way. The Holy Spirit, perfect in every way. Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because they wanted to “be like God”. God sent down the Law to show us, “OK, you want to be gods, here are the rules.” And surprise surprise, we couldn’t follow them. Go figure, we were never made to! We were created to be imperfect beings that NEED a perfect God to shepherd them and take care of them. We were created to be His Beloved children; the recipients of His love for us, period!
Yet in that one small seemingly insignificant bite humanity threw that all away and in a bold-faced statement told God, “We don’t need Your help, we don’t want Your help, we can do it on our own.” But guess what, we couldn’t do it on our own. Never have and never will, because it’s not how we were created. We were created to NEED HIM. We were created to be His. We were created to receive His love for us for the rest of eternity. We don’t have to reach for His love for us because it’s already inside us through His Holy Spirit. We don’t have to strive for His approval because we’ve already got it through Jesus Christ!
Jesus came to fulfill the Law. The perfect Law was like an outline of who God is and what He does. And while none of us could fill it in, Jesus could. He came along with His rainbow full of radiant colors and He colored in between the lines of the Law and showed us how it’s done. But the best part was in His last moment on the cross, Jesus shouted in a loud voice, “It is finished”. It was in that moment that the outline of the Law had been completely filled in with the blood of Jesus, leaving no spaces left for us to fill in on our own.
Yet we still try through don’t we? We still try to leave our little marks all over the Law, putting ourselves into a higher position than others because we think we’ve managed to fill in the Law better than they have. Wrong! It doesn’t work that way. If you’ve fallen in one tiny bite-sized area of the Law, you failed in all of it.
There is no sacrifice left. The only thing there is left to do is to rest in the Grace that Jesus has offered up on your behalf. Rest in your humanity and the Truth that you weren’t made to be perfect, you were made to be HIS!
You are more beautiful than the most beautiful sunset or the crispest clear night. You are more powerful than a raging storm and more healing than the rain falling on the ground causing things grow. You are woman, the most precious crown jewel in the kingdom, because you’re His!