“Open arms are empty arms”
Isaiah 65:24 “Before they call out to Me, I will answer them. Before they even begin speaking, I will hear”
These days when I go to visit my young daughter and my infant granddaughter, I am reminded of this verse. The little infant barely begins to whimper and her mother is there to tend her need. Before Isabelle can even cry out in hunger her mother is there to feed her. The idea that God answers us quicker than a breastfeeding mother came to me as I heard this verse in a book I was listening too.
God, the Deliver.
The one who is so ready to come to our aid. To fill our hungering hearts with his supply. There are days when my heart aches incredibly with thirst for something. I imagine myself as an infant ready to cry out for filling with sustenance of faith, or hope and God gives me just what my longing spirit needs even before I begin to cry.
At the beginning of this year 2018, I made a plan to write a blog each week. To get into the habit of writing. By the time I had reached March, my planner in my notepad was filled for the first half of the year. As more ideas came rushing in, some of those plans got pushed into the second half of the year. I finished June with 29 blogs for the year so far. The plan had been for 26. Half the year, and the cup of inspiration had overflowed. My cup of ideas “overfloweth.” The second half of the year has plans-a-plenty. The idea was that July would begin with the cup half full or the cup half empty. The decision would be made at the beginning of the second half of my blogging schedule.
Half full or half empty?
When people ask for just a half cup of coffee, we often want to tease them and say bottom half or top half? I always want the top half filled. That way I can have a whole cup more! But when years ago God brought me to a an “open arms versus empty arms” decision, my thoughts were not very humorous at all
Open or empty?
Once upon a time I was a young mother with dreams to fill my home with the laughter of children. Many children. My husband said after the first, “one is good.” After the second came along, I told him “two is better.” Then I began praying for a chord, a third strand. It never happened.
For years, after the secondary barrenness arrived, I felt God had responded to my plea with empty arms. My arms had been so open to more children, to more than two. God answered my pleas with a number of early first trimester miscarriages. What was a mother to do? I focused all my attention on the two girls that I was blessed with. Never believing that any stage was something to get through, but enjoying even the teenage years. Our daughters were nothing typical. There was nothing normal to our family years.
Sometimes silence is deafening.
The quiet days that follow a home school mother’s retirement was nearly enough to deafen my heart to any sound that my Lord might try to whisper to me. What…? The days that came after the girls left for college became so empty and quiet. Sometimes I turn the television up just to drown out my own screaming thoughts.
The days that I longed for their company soon turned into challenges to my eyesight. Not long after I got used to nothing ever changing in my environment, then the things that they brought home became stumbling blocks. Finally I became to frustrated that I just sit down and watch then do the cooking when they come to visit. Otherwise, because of my eyesight, I spend all my time looking at the food, the table, the laundry, or the floor for things that could trip me. I soon realized, I didn’t get to see my daughters at all when they came home. I spent the whole time seeing things. These “face-less” visits left me feeling like my arms were empty rather than open to their visits.
How can I move from having that empty arms feeling to an Open Ams attitude?
This same empty feeling hit me one day hard when my emotional emptiness made me throw up verbally on unannounced guests. Explaining the idea of surprise being more like running into a brick wall than being a Christmas present is hard. Having a visual impairment like mine is difficult to explain to others. Another difficult, Christmas presents. But that’s a whole other topic.
Having open arms while walking blindfolded is not the best option. So having retinitis pigmentosa teaches one to put hands out in front (it is a saving face kind=of=move). Lately however, my darkroom expiences have exposed my tired brain’s lack of thinking. I am reminded of one of the favorite lines in one of our family’s favorite movies. ” We’ll just have to use our brains then.” Learning to concentrate on my dance moves while I step away from the sink isn’t easy. Especially since I was never a dancer.
One of the songs that I wrote years ago before the schooling days was titled “Are you ready?” In it the verse from Jeremiah is quoted “When you seek Me then you will find Me.”
Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all of your heart.”
That’s something I find myself doing far too frequently. I look for lost bottle caps. I hunt for dropped silverware. I find more that what I am looking for and quite frequently I find nothing at all. Looking down the center of a wrapping paper tube was once an imaginary game as a child. Now it is my daily lot.
With my whole being I long for a different outcome to my plight. But alas, I already know the end of the movie. The last chapter has already been written for the lives of those with RP. The epilogue is the whole story. The rest of the experience once the days turn to “after.” Right now i am still in the “before.”
Before I die I want to… This sort of thing is called a bucket list. There was a whole movie written about that. One fellow lives each day like it’s the last, the other like it is the first. One has a mindset of half-full, the other like it is half-empty. One person stands with open arms, another stands with empty arms. Or is it both…?
Are you ready?
Are you ready? / Are you ready to do My will?
Are you ready? / Are you ready to do My will?
When you seek Me, you will find Me, you will know My will.
Search for Me, / Watch for Me, / And be still…
Search for Me / Watch for Me / And be still.
(Song and poem copyright 1999 by Yvonne Annette)
So while I sit and listen to this old CD recorded in my “early years” at the fresh age of 30, I think about all that has happened in the last twenty years. Musically, my life has changed dramatically. Family wise well, a son-in-law and a grand-daughter have been added to our lives. Others have answered the call of the Creator to “come home.” What a change.
Have I really changed though? While I sit here, with open, empty, and ready arms I wonder what God will fill my hands with next. At the moment, it is an IPad tablet.
The year indeed has half-passed like the clock at half past the hour, the minutes, moments and years have been filled. Sometimes with what God planned for me and sometimes wasted away in my own lack of planning. Yet our Lord has always been faithful, filling even the lack with abundance. The year has been half-filled with memories and many more await to fill the top half of the cup. Or is it the bottom?
God is no respecter of persons and gives to all liberally (James 1:5). I have learned that to be ready with open arms means that they must be empty arms. I ask that God gives me a half-full attitude, and open heart, and hands filled with His purpose.