Learning and Relearning His Heart

"It is in my failures that I truly learn the heart of God." ~ Spira Steyn
My sweet friend posted these words this morning and they resonated deep within my heart.  "This is why God made us friends," I tell her, "To share in this constant learning and relearning."

As I'm waking up from a period of spiritual slumber, I'm also learning or rather, relearning, how to live life at a slower, less distracted pace.  I'm learning to take in the moments again - and the lessons that come with them.  I'm reminded of what it's like to live a life "led by the Spirit" and in tune with the Spirit, so that I am aware of the promptings, the convinctions, the lessons... 
Yesterday, my daughter had a momentary lapse in good judgment.  She made an impulsive decision out of emotion and reacted poorly to a situation online.  My kids are eight and ten now, so lapses in judgment are a daily occurrence - they often act and react on emotional impulse, without thinking through the potential outcome or circumstances... or consequences
Some days, I'm not much different - despite the thirty years of life experience I have on them.  
So, for my daughter, there were consequences and technology restrictions and a heart-to-heart talk.  I shared with her how important it is that we guard our mouths - and our hearts - and how this is an impossible task in our own flesh, apart from Christ in us.  That our every failure in this realm is to reveal to us how very much we need His grace. 
If there's anything I want to teach them, it's to find the lesson in every failure and to learn what I've had to relearn more times that I can count now...  
Our flesh is no match for the wickedness of our hearts. 
Our hearts, our instincts, our gut reactions - will lead us astray every time.  Time and time again.  Jeremiah said it best when he said, "The heart is deceitful and desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9).  In a world that will attempt to convince them to follow their hearts, God's word implies that our hearts are bent towards destruction - both our own and those we leave wounded in our paths. 

Our only hope for a cured heart is a surrendered heart.
With those big brown tear-filled eyes, she looked up at me and whispered, "I'm scared." 
Even though the mistake had been revealed.  Even though the consequences had been discussed. 
What was there left to fear but her father's reaction?
Oh, isn't that just like us me?
"I know how it feels," I tell her. If there's anything I know, it's the familiar ache of failure, of having disappointed yourself - and your Father - and of fearing His reaction or worst, His rejection.  "You and me, kid, we're in this life thing together - you're learning and your mama is relearning. 
All of this life is a constant learning and relearning of God's heart for us. 

My heart tightened inside of my chest when I thought of all the times in the midst of my failures I'd ran from the Lord in fear instead of to Him for comfort.  All of the times - all through this life - that I never understood the depth of His love for us - or His heart for me.  His perfect love that casts out all fear (1 JN 4:18).

And I feel it afresh, how this child of mine is being both molded and mended by her relationship with her daddy.  How his love - and his reaction to her failures - will ultimately shape her view of her Heavenly Father. 
How holy compassion in the midst of consequences is crucial.  How the truth is crucial: 
Oh daughter, your Father doesn't expect you to be perfect.  He doesn't even desire your perfection, He just wants your heart.  His word tells us that a broken and contrite spirit, He will not despise.  When we make mistakes and poor choices, there are always, always consequences that we must endure - but it's for our good and never our harm.  So that we may grow and learn, we must constantly discover and rediscover how desperate we really are for grace.  Whether we are seven or thirty-seven or seventy-seven, in our flesh, we are broken and bent towards sin, but your Father's love for you is steadfast and faithful and there is nothing on this earth that could ever change that.  No matter what mistakes you have made or bad choices chosen, no matter what you have done or who you have been, your Father loves you will an unconditional love.  It grieves his heart when you sin, but He longs to be gracious towards you, for you are His beloved and you will always be.  When you are the most discouraged, disappointed and disheartened with yourself - that is the time to run to him, never from Him - and He will hold you in His arms and comfort you.  It is there we learn to abide.  It is there, you will find that His forgiveness is intertwined with His love for you and His heart for you - and it knows no limits.  It knows no end.  

I reassure my daughter that this is her Daddy's heart for her. 

And that this is God's heart for us.
The times that you're healing
And when your heart breaks
The times that you feel like you've fallen from grace

The times you're hurting
The times that you heal
The times you go hungry and are tempted to steal

In times of confusion
In chaos and pain
I'm there in your sorrow under the weight of your shame

I'm there through your heart-ache
I'm there in the storm
My love I will keep you by my power alone

I don't care where you've fallen or where you have been
I'll never forsake you
My love never ends



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