Saturday, April 22, 2006


There is a saying, that the longest journey is from the head to the heart.

There are different types of knowing. We can know truths in a cognitive way - the facts of a matter. And then there is a knowing that is deeper - knowledge that integrates thinking and feeling. For example, to believe that the Lord is our Shepherd, therefore we will not fear - and actually NOT be afraid.

I am not there yet - but I am making progress on that long journey. One of the ways that I am growing is through prayer. I have learned to keep a journal in which I write Scripture, prayer requests, and also those things which come to mind as I am reading, praying, and listening. Occasionally, as I sit quietly, a picture will come to mind. It will unfold, scene by scene, like a movie. And somehow, inexplicably, those pictures have a way of speaking. Something from deep inside rises to the surface - sudden emotion - unexpected tears - and I see and understand in a new way.

I was reminded of one of these pictures by Shannon's little girl and her first attempts to walk.

I saw a picture of the Lord walking along the beach, leaving footprints in the wet sand. Behind Him, I could see a little girl, trying to follow in His steps.

And it seemed to me that the Lord said "See Me? I am walking ahead of you. I see you behind me - just like that little one - so earnest - trying so hard to stretch her legs to place her little feet in My footsteps."

I could see the little girl, her head down, hair parted with tiny tendrils curling on her neck and her little bare feet. I could feel my heart melting at the sight - the little necks and feet have always been my favourite kissing spots on my babies.

And it seemed as if the Lord said, "My heart is overflowing with the same love for you sparrow. See Me?"

In the picture He had turned and was watching the little one. She wasn't looking at Him - she was totally engrossed in her goal - trying to put her feet in His footprints.

But there was no condemnation. Instead, He was smiling as He watched her. I could feel how He felt toward her, full of tenderness, just as we would feel toward our own little ones who were trying so hard to follow us.

In the picture, He reached down and scooped the little girl up in His arms.

And I heard - "My child - you try so hard - let Me carry you. See Me? This is My JOY to carry you. You are My cherished child - put your arms around My neck. I can take you places where the little legs of a child could never go. Let Me carry you. We will dance together in joy."

And then I could see Him twirl her around and around. Her head was leaning back and she was laughing with such delight. His arms held her so securely. She was completely safe.

The scene was so vivid. It was as if I was there; I could almost smell the salt air and feel the wind and the spray. It was a picture of exquisite joy.

Then I saw another vignette. It was at the end of a long day on the beach. The sun was setting across the water, so intensely beautiful and peaceful.

The Lord was still walking along the shore, holding the little girl, asleep in His arms.

And it seemed to me that He said, "See her tired head on My shoulder? See how tenderly I cradle her? Oh! this is My joy - My reward - you - My chosen one. You are My inheritance - and all those who love Me. Come and know this place of rest - this place of safety - this refuge."

* * *

I can't begin to tell you how this way of learning - through pictures in listening prayer - has changed me. The Lord gently uncovers fears, doubts, feelings of unworthiness and condemnation - and washes them away with His tender love and care. I never even realized how deeply I struggled with these feelings - wondering was I good enough - or was He watching me in despair, shaking His head over my weakness and failures. Slowly, but surely, I am moving from head to heart, increasingly convinced of His unending love - His infinite mercy - His ocean depths of grace - and especially, His delight in me.

I am still learning - I suppose I will be always learning - taking in the Lord's love - grasping how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and learning to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Photo# 2 - Rinda Dean