WHEN LOVE POURS DOWN, Scene 4
Before this storm, I flew away from home and lost myself. My painted wings were hidden in a chrysalis of uncertainty, so I decided to crawl along my first year of college and blend in with all those around me who hadn't ever grown wings at all. But the Painter of my wings pursued me, and He knew the best gallery upon which to display His design—the overflow of my heart. When love found me in friendship, my wings began to unfold. And my friends proclaimed the Designer and turned me to Him who gave me wings in the first place.
I fold the blanket across my boy's shoulders as he sleeps. “I am not strong enough.”
“You are right, Lisa.” My bestie, Melissa sips her tea and steadies her gaze on me. “You aren't strong enough, you aren't brave enough, you aren't worthy...”
“I get it.” I roll my eyes and step to the window of her guest room. Darkness floods the sky which had thrown about its elements all day.
“Do you get it?” She sets her tea down on the nightstand and joins me at the window. With a crank, the window rolls open and the scent of drying rain and awakened roots fill our nostrils. “Do you trust in Him alone, or are you taking matters into your own hands?”
Could she know? Really know what I am going through? But she speaks truth now. I packed my bags and left Steve in the name of self-protection...and mama-bear-love.
“Trust? It's not about trusting God.” I think. “But do I trust Steve with Jack's heart?”
“It's not up to Steve what happens to Jack's heart. God's bigger than Steve. And you.”
A gust blows through the screen and catches my hair beyond my shoulders. I am on the edge of the earth, the atmosphere is a thin veil covering my body, flowing behind me in long sheets. Nothing's touching me. I remember God's grasp, and He swells within me.
“You are Mine and I am yours.” Yes, Lord. “He is Mine, and I am his.”
Perhaps both. But it's not up to me, is it? I cannot run far enough away from destruction and close enough to God to keep Jack's heart safe.
Just like Jonah from the story book. Well, Jonah from the only Real Book.
It's not up to me. I am not the designer of painted wings or human hearts.
His Spirit gathers all my fear and releases it in the wind.
In God alone.
In God alone will He shape Jack's heart to know Him.
In God alone will Steve find Him again.
Nothing I can do will bring about salvation. Nothing.
“Love is the only thing that will make you strong, Lisa. It bears all things. And really, it is all we are called to do.”
Love. Snapped in two like the willow. Crushed within me by Steve's faith betrayal. But before this storm, it is the very thing that released my painted wings to full span across my soul. It was first in the love of friendship showing me Jesus, and then another surge of love which prodded my heart to bloom and my wings to lift me higher. The love of my soulmate—Steve.
But I know better now. I no longer dream in childish scales, but in mature orchestra swells. My soulmate is Jesus. And Steve is my closest friend. The one I've drowned out with cacophonous conditional love. Nothing like that which my Father gives. Steve's not seen His kind of love from me.
Conviction weighs heavy on my wings like syrupy dew in the orange shade of dawn.
“What do I do, Mel?” The wind dies down and an owl calls from the wilderness outside. “How can I live with a man who'll never let me forget this heartbreak? Who'll test my faith day in and out, and never let me rest?”
She slides her arm around my shoulders and I weep.
“You need to let it go, Lisa. Remember that it's not yours to fight. It's between Steve and God. You are only called to—”
“Love.” I release the word with a breath so deep within me that I am left with a hollow in my core. And a craving to fill it...with love...for Steve.
Lord, where did that come from?
“He is so lost, Lisa. You are his wife for a reason. And Jack is his son for a reason. We may not know it yet, but let God's love get you through this. And share it with Steve. It's hard, I know.” She squeezes my shoulder. “They'll know us by our love, right?” Melissa reaches over to crank the window close and a flutter rushes towards the sill. In a delicate prance across the wood, a butterfly settles it's slender body in the stillness of night.
Its painted wings in perfect design.
His Word came alive to me long ago, that day when my wings were released by love. I knew that I was not good enough, except through Him who designed me in His perfect way. And while the love of my friends brought me to my knees for the first time, the love of my Steve illuminated the design upon my wings to glow with faith, hope, and Him who is Love.
Perhaps my wings were not created for me to flourish in my flight toward Heaven, but designed for me to carry God's love—through the desert, through the storm, and to the broken aftermath?
I peek over my shoulder at my little boy dreaming in fairytales. I am only his mother, not his God. But I'll do my best to show Him God through love. That is easy. A mother's love is hard to suppress. But what of unconditional love for the man who's cast off every condition of my God for nothingness?
How can I return to the broken aftermath with wings drenched from the storm?