little by little

Posted: December 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

It’s been challenging, keeping my commitment to my 40 day prayer project.  G’s schedule is improving, but we still have a number of 3 AM starts, and I battle the early morning aching belly, along with sleep calling, begging, trying to lull me back to it throughout – even when we get to sleep clear in to 5 AM, sleep is seductive.  Some days, the 40 minutes feel like a special and sweet time with God.  Some days, I feel like I earned a merit badge or something just for finishing.  Today is day 20 – halfway through.  I’m gonna make it.

This morning being Saturday, I had the great luxury of just getting up with G for long enough at 4 AM to do morning devotional and prayer with him and drive him to work, at which point I promptly came home to get some more rest.  I started my 40 minutes a little after 7, a bowl of oatmeal in hand, complete with peanut butter, banana, and walnut…along with the usual raisins, dates, and cinnamon.  The difference between this and the 3 AM sessions?  Heavenly.

Today’s focus was “little by little,” as in Exodus 23:30, which says in the KJV:  “Little by little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.”  The scripture is part of a bigger set of instructions for the Israelites coming into the promised land, I believe (it’s worth going back to read the entire chapter).

But for me, it rings loudly on a more personal level.  “Little by Little” – if the story of my life with God were a book, that should be its title.  The prayer at the end of today’s reading, written by the book’s author, refers to gratefully and joyfully accepting His blessings, “even if they do come little by little.”

My immediate impulse was a teacher’s reflex – I wanted to edit her prayer.  Not “even if,” but “especially because.”  I look back across the great expanse of all that God has done in my heart, in my mind, in my life, and in the world around me, and I know for sure that if He had done it “all at once,” it wouldn’t have been so beautiful, so solid.  I wouldn’t have been ready.  I’d have gotten good stuff and squandered it in my own ignorance and self-seeking ways.  The gratitude in me wouldn’t be this giant blanket that wraps me ’round, day and night – I’d likely have thought I “deserved” it, or just assumed it was “my right,” as we tend to do when we are able to take things for granted.

Little by little, He’s done such a great work in me.

Little by little,  He has brought me out of lies I believed about the world, others, and especially myself.

Little by little, He has rescued me from my demons, my vices, my deceptions, my bad habits, and my self-appointed prisons.  Little by little, He has been delivering me from my all-encompassing self-hatred.  Little by little, He has soothed my troubled soul and rescued me from my ever-racing and mostly unhelpful thought processes.

Little by little, He has worked me out of the shell of who I thought I was, as defined by others and by my fractured understanding.  Little by little, He has pulled my true self – a beautiful reflection of Himself – up and out of that shell.  Little by little, even while I have become more and more “myself,” He has helped me to be less and less selfish and self-seeking.

Little by little, He has brought me understanding, revelation, discernment, and even wisdom.  Little by little, He has pried open my closed mind.  Little by little, He has opened my perspective and made me able to see from the viewpoints of many others – most importantly, that of those who are “not like me.”

Little by little, He has taken my hard heart and made it soft, tender, pliable.  Able to change, to grow, to take in much more than I could have imagined.  Little by little, He has allowed me the gift of my heart being broken for what breaks His.

Little by little, He has opened up a deep well of compassion in me.  There is enough for always others and more others in this well; most surprisingly and maybe most importantly, there is always room for ME.  Little by little, He has been delivering me of my insistence upon dealing harshly with myself in all matters.  He has taught me to be gentle, tender, loving with myself when my inner voice most wants to write lists of all the ways I will never be right.

Little by little, He has been pulling wrong motivations hidden within me up into the light, where I could see them and put them away.  Little by little, He has been teaching me the beauty and safety in these two things:  boundaries and acceptance.  Little by little, He has used these things to make me less sick and more whole.

Little by little, He teaches me how to fight my hardest, most persistently pernicious battle – the one between my two ears.  Little by little, He shows me my divided heart and helps me to cooperate with light rather than darkness.

Little by little, He has loosened my stuck tongue.  Little by little, He has brought me out of the paralysis that left me so often unable to even think at all, when in crisis.  Little by little, He has trained me on the good things I can do with my pent-up thoughts.  Little by little, He is helping me not to squander the gift He gave me, in my writing process.

Little by little, I am moving from prisoner to freedom – beyond that, even, to a place of helping others begin their journeys to the same.

Little by little I am becoming.  I look back, and I’ve come a long way.  I look forward, and know I’m just barely getting started.

He gives it to me at the speed I can handle getting it.

Little by little.

 

 

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