Psalt for My Wounds – #2 by Michelle Jones

To every sister or brother who has forgotten to care for me, there is One whose thoughts of me number the sands of the sea.  He knows and numbered every hair on my head.  He considered me an eternity before the first one broke the surface of my skin.  So, because He remembers me like that, I can remember to forget your hand against me.  I can choose not to withhold my favor from you, because I have more than enough to spare.

I will lift up my eyes to see the pain in your heart, which does not excuse you, but helps to explain you.  I will know that while I may not have deserved hatred from you, it is certain that I have, at times, hated and harmed others; mistreated, rejected, and ignored them, and then went on with my life without a backward glance.

I elect to remind myself that there are some things I have done to people to protect, comfort, or please myself that they don’t even know about.  That makes me cruel, a coward, and a liar.  Can I really despise you?

To the brothers and sisters who have offended me, welcome to the family.  We are kin.  We have all—more often we know or would like to say—fallen woefully short of loving as we are loved by One who let Himself be killed for our offenses against His Father.  Because of Him, His Father can call me His own.  Because of Him, I have, above all things, a reason to keep holding onto you, and a way to love you as I desire to be loved—AS I AM LOVED.

To any brother or sister who would try to steal my joy, it is not necessary.  I see that I have enough to share.  That and more I offer you freely from my overrunning cup.  Like water through cracks in stony ground, please receive all that I have, and let something green and tender grow up between us.


Stop Smashing the Angels! by Michelle Jones

My mother seemed pretty average to me for most of my life.  Like many she cooked, worked, and expected chores and good grades in return for lodging my siblings and me in her uterus for 9 months and then putting a roof over our heads after that.  She did do some uniquely wonderful things though that I didn’t really appreciate until I was grown and on my own.

Good meal etiquette mattered to my mom.  We knew how to set a table at a young age, and eat with one hand in our lap until we needed to use the knife.  We didn’t talk with a full mouth, or chew with our mouths open.  Eating with elbows on the table particularly bothered her, and whenever she saw it, she would tell us to “Stop smashing the angels.”

A little history:  She explained to us once that whenever you ate a meal, God stationed angels around your plate.  I imagined they were very small and had good eyes and quick reflexes, because she said they purified your food, and kept you from choking on fish bones and such.

Elbows on the table in our house meant squashing these benevolent celestials and presumably leaving yourself defenseless against all sorts of gastro-catastrophes.  I couldn’t be sure if there was room in Heaven for angel killers with food poisoning, but I was not willing to risk it.  None of us were.  We took it for granted that the angels were there, and for the most part, we kept our elbows in check.

Many years and many meals later, I’m still certain the angels are with me; only now, I have scripture to back me up.

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? Hebrews 1: 14

The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Psalm 34: 7

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. Psalm 91:11

Lately I have been challenged by the notion of those tiny angels around my plate.  Mom never said anything about them watching out for my elbows.  They just watched out for me.  In return, I respected their presence and their position.  My table manners were proof of my regard for them.  That said, I wonder:

Do I take God’s presence for granted?  Do I recognize His position in my life, and if I do, is it provable by my actions?

If we’re honest, most of us don’t really like the idea of availability and accessibility as presumptive qualities.  We want the option to bestow or withhold our gifts at will, when it feels right to us.  Open for caring 24-7?  Who does that?

God does that.

“I will never leave you or forsake you,” He says.  We should believe that, and yet, how many times have we secretly wondered if—not when—He would act on our behalf in a circumstance?  Faith doesn’t wonder about God showing up.  Faith assumes He’s here already—even if He is invisible—and acts accordingly.

More than anything else, the names of God communicate a passionate determination to be close to us, as a protector, comforter, and defender.  He is jealous and fiercely possessive, tenderly affectionate, eternally devoted.  He demands our whole heart, mind, strength, and soul.  He gave all that He had to have us in the Person of His Son, Immanuel, which means “God with us.”

This is not the behavior of someone who loves at arms length, or who takes time off from loving us.  Our God is not content to sit on the edge of a dish and look at us.  He will not be satisfied until there is no space between us, until He is the breath inflating our lungs, the rush of blood through our veins, the thump-thump pulsing in our chest.

He is Jehovah-Shammah, The Lord who is present and accounted for, not just watching us live, but giving us life.

What then is my response?

If I know He is with me, am I calling out to Him?  If I am certain He is God, am I worshiping Him?  If I believe He is omnipotent, am I letting go of the reins?  If I am convinced that He is faithful, do I trust Him?  If I know that I was worth dying for, will I refuse to barter myself for the attention and approval of men?

The Lord can be our Shepherd, if we’ll be His sheep.  He’ll find us green pastures, but He won’t make us eat.  The still water, the rod, the staff, the anointing oil—none of it matters if we insist on going our own way.

Oh, to have the wisdom and courage, in all things, to let God be God; to keep my elbows at my sides and let His angels run free!

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