"...Love the Lord your God with all your heart..., and love your neighbor as yourself." Luke 10:27
Recently I celebrated Father's Day with my Father. He's not much for store-bought things. He can get those things himself. But he really loves pie. Lemon Meringue pie. Light, well-crafted crust, sweet-tart lemon filling and piled-high rich meringue peaked and baked to a warm brown. It is always a perfect gift--and one that comes from a heart of gratitude. I enjoy spending the time and energy to make the pie because I know it pleases him. After years of giving to me on every imaginable level, giving back is hardly a chore. It's an honor.
As I was making the pie, I thought about why I don't celebrate him more, why I don't bless him with thoughtful deeds and words more often. It's not that I don't care. I care deeply. It's not that he's undeserving. Goodness, his life-long commitment to me as his daughter has been nothing less than devoted. It's not that I don't enjoy it. It is pleasure to me to satisfy his heart with kindness and quiet praise. So, what is it?
Well, I'm not with him often. He lives in another state. And I have many commitments that keep me occupied. I forget how many days go by before I pick up the phone and call. He doesn't ask for much from me. He is pretty self-sustaining so I don't often feel an urgency to help him. But why don't I bless him more?
The pie came out of the oven and cooled and sat for most of the day on the kitchen cupboard--a masterpiece I must admit. I was proud of it. It was a work of art. Several comments were made about it during the day and people "threatened" to steal a piece before dinner. Interesting, the pie wasn't for those people. It was for my Father.
Ludicrous thoughts ran through my mind in the afternoon. What if I had made the pie for my Father, but then divided the pie into pieces and gave a piece to the neighbor, or the postman, or given a piece to a friend? What if I had thrown a piece in the trash or hidden a piece under the bed? What if my Father had received a pie divided and half eaten? In my mind, that's a crazy thought....but then I think about my heavenly Father....
I don't give my heavenly Father a pie. The only thing I have to give Him--and the only thing He wants--is my heart. I am struck by the comparison of giving my Father a pie and giving my heavenly Father my heart. I'm not sure I recognize how often I give my heavenly Father a divided heart with pieces missing. How often is a piece of my heart devoted to cares of today, the "to do" list? Or maybe a piece is consumed with worry about some future possibility that I'm not happy about. Sometimes a piece might be sliced off by bitterness, or anger. Sometimes a piece may be hidden by smoldering revenge or deep wounding. Sometimes a piece might have been thrown away on empty aspirations of personal praise or the limelight of men's applause. Vital good pieces of my heart full of light, well-crafted giftings, delicious sweet opportunities and rich blessing are taken from my heavenly Father and given away other places--denying the pleasure of His personal grace and presence with me. How often I miss the blessing of honoring Him fully because I've given away what belongs to Him.
I want my heart to be undivided--whole if you will. I want to celebrate Him more. I want to give every piece of my heart to my Father. I want to be focused, not distracted; grateful, not complaining; full of light, not darkness; hopeful, not despairing, free, not bound by guilt or grudge; giving, not taking; generous, not stingy; full, not empty; sweet, not sour; joyful, not anxious. I want to pull out the divided parts of my heart that have been hidden so that He can heal wounds of jealousy and resentment. I want to give Him the pieces that others would "threaten" to steal so that He can use all of me to the fullest. More than anything, I want Him to be honored. His complete commitment to me as his daughter has been is nothing short of perfect grace. I long for Him to hear from me how much I love Him. I want Him to know how much I appreciate His constant giving of life and love to me. I want to bless Him with an intimate gift that reflects who He made me to be. My heart, a whole, complete--undivided gift. And I want to give it every day, because every day is a day my Father has given me to love Him better so I can love His people more....every day is Father's Day.
"Give me a whole heart to fully love you. Give me an undivided heart, completely at peace. I ask you to heal my broken places, the lingering wounds your love replaces. Bind every part. Give me a whole heart." Shannon Wexelberg
Shelley Lopez, Executive Director
Shelley has been a member of the Springfield community for 29 years. As she lives and works and worships in the city, she uses the metaphor of an old Victorian house restoration to keep her focused on the work she is called to do. Inspired by the words of the prophet Isaiah, she pours herself into "restoring old ruins, rebuilding and renovating, making the community livable again" (Is. 58:12 MSG)