Butterfly Sparks Designs

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Alabaster.

New Year’s Eve, 2011.  In excruciating pain and having been bedridden for weeks, my heart was broken.  Like window panes falling from buildings during a deadly storm, I felt my dreams shattering all around me…one by one.  "Will the cancer come back?  Will I ever walk again?  Who will take care of me? What if…?"

Then, I heard the gentle whisper. 

“Praise… 2012 is going to be all about Praise.”

That’s such a “God” thing to do, isn’t it?   I mean, come on.  Seriously?  To give me a word like praise on a night like that. 


That was seven months ago.  

Seven months. 

And still this whisper… praise … 

It’s there.  All the time.  

I do offer a heart of praise to Him…and often.  But mostly in my private prayer and worship time.  What about this public voice God has given me to praise Him through writing, speaking, and teaching?  In this season, when I start to form words to share…well, I can’t find them.   They’re gone, or hiding at best.  

At the urging of a dear friend, I have been inviting Him to meet me in my imagination…in the place where He created me to create for Him.  

In my daydreams and nightdreams and in those few moments every morning as I cross over from sleep to awakening, I yearn for Him to meet me there.  And He does.

It was so sweet, the first night He met me in my dreams.  For months, my sleep had been tortured and I couldn’t remember the last time I slept deeply through an entire night without intense physical pain or unrelenting nightmares.  So, I finally mustered the courage to ask Him to meet me there.  

He did.  And everything was different.

A safe and familiar setting, we stood together in my living room.  I invited Him to go for a walk with me.  We walked to a shoreline and looked out across the horizon.  To my right, I caught sight of a small, white box lying in the sand.  At that time in the dream, I didn’t think much of it.  We talked about a lot of things on the walk back home to the place where I felt safe.  There, we stood in my living room again, and He asked me what I was holding onto so tightly.  I was surprised and caught a bit off guard as I looked down.   

There, clutched tightly in my hands, was the white box that I had seen earlier on the beach.  Growing frustrated (and a little spooked), I told Him that I didn’t understand and earnestly asked Him to explain.  He spoke only one word. 

Alabaster.”

I grew more agitated, as I needed Him to explain it to me.  

“Wait, don’t go.  I still don’t understand!” 

But he just quietly stood there smiling, staring intently into my eyes, saying nothing more.  And then, all at once it started to make sense to me.  

I remembered her.

A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.  As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them...Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you.  Go in peace." (Luke 7:37-38, 50 NIV)

The power of her belief in the one called Messiah compelled her to pour out her praise.   Her praise-offering was fragrant and extremely valuable.  Not only because it was quite expensive to buy, but her praise had come at the unmeasurable cost of her suffering.  Yet even at the rebuke of others, she poured it out without abandon.  

I stared at my hands, still clutching the little white box so tightly.  I understood.  I had been holding on to my praise.  And that’s where my words - His words -  live.  In my praise…held captive in that little white box. 

As I handed the box back to Him, I opened it.  The fragrance was so beautiful.  As He reached out to receive the box from me, He reminded me that He never takes something without giving something else – something better --  in return. 

“As you lift up praise, the weight of My glory will rest in you.” 

And that, sweet friends, is where the healing begins.  

Hallelujah!  

As you spend time in prayer today, ask God to reveal to you what is in your alabaster box.  Then, release it to Him, and receive the “something better” He has for you.  He loves you so much!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Today someone I love very much received "something better" He loves her that much!

Melissa Driggers said...

Indeed she did, and indeed He does!