I hope the person this is intended for is reading this.
Yes, it’s intended for someone. They know who they are.
But if, by chance, it’s someone else – some random stranger who stumbled across this blog – yes, it’s for you, too.
I want to tell you about a gift I once bought a friend I loved. It was the most beautiful glass vase I’d ever seen – a pretty rose pink color with swirls of purples and blues. It was a very, very expensive piece from an art store in Birmingham – hand blown glass. There was no other vase like it in the world. My friend was worth every single dollar it cost me, and it cost me a lot! I REALLY wanted her to like it as much as I did. I bought a dozen long stem pink roses for her birthday, cut the stems, placed them perfectly in the vase, and put that gorgeous vase on the front seat of my car. I wrapped it in blankets like a newborn baby so that it would not tip and spill, and drove annoyingly under the speed limit all the way to her house, carefully navigating my way around every pot hole and bump in the road I could see.
When I arrived at my friend’s house, I carefully unpacked the vase from the blankets that had cradled it on my 25 mile journey. She wasn’t expecting me, and I couldn’t wait to see the look on her face when she opened the door to a birthday bouquet of pink roses in the most stunningly gorgeous hand blown pink glass vase that ever was made!
I rang the doorbell and waited. I could hear footsteps coming to the door, then the turn of the dead bolt, the door opened, and then she stood in the doorway so surprised! “Happy Birthday, dear friend!” I said, stepping inside the foyer. And then – I lifted the vase and began breaking it over her head. I just kept smashing it and smashing it over her head, and picked up the bigger pieces that fell to the floor, and began hitting her in the back and the arms and legs with those pieces. I made sure I hit her with the pieces of that vase on every limb and piece of bare skin she had until there was nothing left of that vase. When I was finished wrecking it, shattered glass lay all over the floor. The water and flowers that I had carefully babied all the way to her house were now a big mess all over the floor – none of the roses salvageable. And neither was our friendship. In fact, she never wanted to see another vase, another rose, another piece of hand blown glass, or me again.
Of course this story isn’t true. You’re smart. I’ve read your work. You know where this is going.
People take religion and beat it over the heads of those they love the most – not necessarily because they love God, but because they love their “religion.”
I hate religion.
I love God.
I’m sorry that people have beaten religion over your head, and arms, and legs, and back. I really am. I’ve had it beaten over my head, and arms, and legs, and back too – so I get it. But please don’t mistake the God who loves you for the “religion” that anyone beats over your head. Their religion does not represent God – or at least, not the God who loves you, (and He DOES love you!).
Vases are beautiful, but they are not for hitting people in the head with.
I’m praying for you tonight. I’m praying you close your eyes and surrender everything that frightens you over to Jesus. Close your eyes now and just picture Him. His arms are open wide, and He’s just longing for you to surrender your worries and let HIM handle them. The same way you love when you open your arms for your son to run into, is the way He feels when you come running to Him. You don’t need to make a big announcement. You just need to close your eyes and do it.
And then let that new peace settle on you, the one you’ve never known until tonight.
THIS. This is my tonight’s prayer. xoxoxo Rita