I had two handfuls of mud to sling behind my back.
I wasn’t planning on doing any slinging, but I might need to, so I held on.
In front, I smiled and remembered. Behind, I held the mud remembering still.
I remembered the lies. The religion. The twists and turns that seemed unbelievable. The way “up front” was not part of that playing field. The way I felt so rejected, confused. The way I had watched my husband counsel and grieve in his own valley. I remembered the loneliness- the lack of the body. The realization that if I pretended and worked in the nursery and smiled, I could be “in”, but if I was me- getting freed by my King and giving back, then there were problems and not ones that wanted solutions, just problems to get rid of, to hide, to sweep under rugs.
Image, image, image ruled there in those places and it shook me. It shook me to the core and the core was uglier than I had imagined. And although I tried, no one was to blame for the sin that I lay down at the feet of Jesus… the potential of it… the considerations… the wretchedness. The having to cling to Him for fear of myself. Only I can lay me down fully at that humble place that let’s me in on how good God is- A worthy God lavishing His love and grace and patience on the unworthy, broken lost.
I’d recounted the story over and over and over again, trying to make sense out of the events in my mind. Trying to figure out how my God, my King ruled over this situation. Trying to figure out how He was preparing a place for me, for my beloved husband in the presence of our enemies… who we were having a hard time believing didn’t sport flesh and bones. I wondered if I was rejected by Him. Had I made all our, mine and my God’s, love up in my own feeble mind?
I had cried and cried, and prayed and prayed. I cried over the situations that had rolled in one after another, but that crying had long since stopped. Then I cried over what it brought out in me: the way I felt rejected, the way my faith shook, the insecurities, the doubts, the fears. Why had all this brought such a crisis on me emotionally? Then to know the other people involved, just went on with life. They were the ones that had treated me unjustly. So, shouldn’t they feel bad over their sin and be the ones crying, praying, and repenting?
It had been years and the mud was still in my hands. Oh, I had dropped it repeatedly, but there it was again. He had done and was doing a work in me. One that made me long for Him moment by moment, one that made me desperately aware of my wanderings and my miscalculations concerning my spiritual health. He had been showing me His love afresh and settling me down in it. He had been assuring me that I was His daughter, rooted in the Word, with a mighty Father in heaven who always accepts me because of my beloved Jesus.
And here I stood with mud still in my hands. I had just completed recounting the story again…. to a dear family member I don’t see enough. So, I felt at liberty to tell her because she doesn’t live in town- no names were mentioned, what harm could I do? I felt at liberty to keep the mud in my hands- not because she was in danger and needed to be warned, not because the Holy Spirit had led me, but because I had mud in my hands, just in case. And when there’s mud in your hands, it’s hard to avoid the topic: Mud and How it Got in My Hands.
I had recounted the story with fingers pointing horizontally, instead of fingers pointing to my King who rules and makes me new despite of what circumstances I find or have found myself in.
In prayer the next morning after my recounting of “the story” to my company- is when He gave me the picture above. The picture showed me contradicting myself: mud behind my back and a smile on my face. The picture showed me ready to take up MY ARMS and DEFEND MYSELF.
So, what was His command? Was it to wipe the smile off my face and sling it?
Well, if you know Him, you know the opposite is true. So, I did. I dropped the mud. But my hands were still dirty, so I thought He wanted me to wash. I prayed, but He kept showing me my dirty hands. Sometimes when I pray, I think I am under attack because things don’t seem to be going well. This was one of those times. I prayed and washed my hands in the river of life, in the blood, lifted them to heaven, but they were still dirty.
He kept showing me my dirty hands.
This might seem like it was from the enemy and I considered that.
I’ve learned not to assume anything. Rather, it’s best to wait on Him and to know the Scriptures.
So, I waited. I prayed. I was willing to repent of more if there was more.
I’ve learned also to expect an answer and not worry. My heavenly Father wants to answer me. He wants me to grow. He delights in our relationship. So, I was sure if He didn’t tell me at that moment, He would later.
But, this time, I did not wait long.
Here is what He gave me:
He gave me His hands- right out in front of me.
Not like you might imagine, hands in front inviting me to come, but arms coming from around my sides, offering me HIS HANDS for me to take my dirty hands and grab- His hands in place of my hands to do the work He has called me to…to be the girl He made me to be…because I wasn’t meant to do any work, to be with
I was meant to have HIS.
He spoke to me tenderly.
Diana, your hands will get dirty in this world, but you must drop the mud and grab my hands. You were never meant to work with your hands alone. I have given you mine: clean, pure, and righteous hands. You, beloved daughter, cannot grab my hands with mud in yours, but you are free to grab my hands with your mud stained ones- as long as the mud in clumps, good for slinging is on the ground. It is difficult to get a good grip with mud ready for slinging in your hands.
God is often refreshingly practical.
And this, dear reader, is a piece of my heart. I am weak and He is strong. I am weak to the core and my only hope is Jesus.
I had doubted His love for me and I had fallen into religion- playing church. That was no one’s fault, but my own. I had compared myself to others instead of to the Holy King. And when I started to get freed from all that and see Jesus again, like I had in the beginning, I experienced opposition.
and… I FELL APART.
I longed for the approval of man, religious man.
And Jesus denied that request.
Because He is righteous and holy and His will for me is better than what the broken parts inside me think will fix me.
But, wait, there’s more.
I thought that was it. Thrilled with what He had shown me, I went on with my days… picturing His hands for mine numerous times. As I went along, I grabbed His hands with my dirty ones over and over, surrendering moment by moment.
Then He showed me my hands again. This time they were clean. As I wondered why, I asked Him.
Do you know even before I say it?
This is HOW He makes our hands clean. We grab onto His hands and trust His righteousness, His purity, His honesty, His might, His power, His peace, His salvation, His forgiveness… and He shares all that He IS with us.
Not just trusting Him for what He can DO, but for all that He IS FOR US.
This is how our hands get washed… no quick prayer… no “right” words…no wave of His hand.
Jesus, the Word made flesh, and our absolute surrender to Him is where our hands are cleansed.
This is HOW we lift up Holy hands to Him in prayer! Psalm 134:2, 1Timothy 2:8
We are saved by His blood. But, the dirt from treading this place is cleansed by our letting Him close like when He bent down to wash the disciples feet.
We, dear reader, need Him that close.
I don’t know where you feel lost, where your heart aches, who you want to sling mud at, the battle that seems lost, but I do know this: Jesus is enough. He sees you and wants to give you Himself, over and over again until you and I see Him face to face.
May the Lord Bless you with a surrendered heart on fire for all that He IS and may you know Him as your Heavenly Father, who treasures you and gives you His very best for you and for His glory moment by moment.
No matter the battles, I pray you drop the mud, and grab His hands!
To the hands of Jesus, the hands that spread out to pay the full cost of my sin and the hands that helped Him up and out of the tomb to give me His very life!
with the hands of Jesus,
that make every difficult situation worth the journey because it really is all about
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.… Hebrews 12:1,2