Monday, January 14, 2013

Open Hands

A couple weeks ago, Jesus began to really speak to me about the concept of living with open hands.
When He first mentioned it I thought it was cool, but I didn’t really understand it. I didn’t really know what it meant to have open hands before the Lord. I know that I still don’t understand it fully. I feel that it is a concept that is going to take time and struggle to really grasp and mature in.

When Jesus first told me that he wanted to teach me how to live life with open hands I was excited. I was very much ready to be taught. I was eager to live with open hands. I felt like open hands went so well with my “Yes” lifestyle. I thought I could totally do it. I committed to living with open hands.

Fast-forward a week.

I arrive in LA. Tabitha is at school and I am at her house resting. Tabitha’s house mate, Miriam, and I begin to chat. What started out as very normal “get to know you” conversation turns into her “reading my mail” so to speak and speaking over my life. At the end of our beautiful, encouraging, challenging conversation she asked to pray with me. Of course I said yes! Who doesn’t love prayer!? Little did I know, my entire understanding of living with open hands was about to be wrecked.
"God, give her grace to live with open hands..."

WHAT? You just prayed about something that Jesus has been speaking to me about when I have told no one. And you prayed that I would have grace to do it... 
I can't explain why that little sentence wrecked my mindset, but it did. 

Do me a favor please.

While you read the rest of this post, please clinch one of your fists. Hold your hand closed as tightly as you can. I know that this is a long read, but I think it will help to prove my point.

What does it mean to live with open hands?

When I looked up this word I was blown away with the definition. HUGE. The word is defined in many different ways and in many different uses of the word. They all so beautifully demonstrate what this concept looks like though. I couldn’t bear to leave them out! It’s a lot though, I know.  


1. Allowing access, passage, not closed or blocked up, not fastened or sealed. With the outer edges or sides drawn away from each other; unfolded. (of a book or file) with the covers parted or the contents in view, allowing it to be read.

If I am going to live a life with open hands, I must allow access to every area of my heart. I must give God total access to my life. My heart, areas of my life, cannot be blocked off or sealed shut. I have sisters and mentors in my life who have total access to my life. They know who they are and they drive me to live a life of vulnerability and transparency. (They do their job well!!! HA!) To live with open hands means that God can have access to every part of my life. He can go where ever He wants to go. Nothing is off limits. My sisters and mentors know that they can ask me any question and I will answer completely and honestly. They know that they can point out any area of my life that is out of order. They challenge me and push me to maturity.

Jesus, you have total access to my life. You may go wherever you want to go. My life, heart, finances, and desires are closed or blocked off from you. My heart is not sealed off from you. You have total access.

2. Exposed to the air or to view; not covered. (Of a team member in a game) unguarded and therefore able to receive a pass. (Of a goal or other object of attack in a game) unprotected; vulnerable. (Open to) likely to suffer from or be affected by; vulnerable or subject to. (Of a town or city) officially declared to be undefended, and so immune under international law from bombardment. (Of a question, case, or decision) not finally settled; still admitting of debate. (Of a person) frank and communicative; not given to deception or concealment. Involving no concealment, restraint, or deception; welcoming discussion, criticism, and inquiry, (of a question, case, or decision) not finally settled; still admitting of debate. (Of the mind) accessible to new ideas; unprejudiced (open to) receptive to. Come into view; spread out before someone

To be open is scary sometimes because it means being exposed. If I am going to live with open hands it means that I cannot cover anything in my life. I cannot try to hide from Jesus. I cannot hide from being accountable with people in my life. I am vulnerable with sisters in my life. This vulnerability seems scary at the time that it is taking place, but it brings so much security an safety in the long run. Being known is a beautiful thing. I do not try to defend myself when I am living with open hands. Open hands cannot hold a weapon or a shield. I must trust that Jesus is my defender when I live with open hands. I must trust that He is guarding me. He is the one protecting me when I feel vulnerable. Openness means that I realize that until I get to heaven I will not have it all together. I will always need someone there to ask me the hard questions. I will always need the Holy Spirit to convict me and change me.

 3. (Of a hand) not clenched into a fist. (Of a bank account) available for transactions. (Of a telephone line) ready to take calls. (Of a choice, offer, or opportunity) still available; such that people can take advantage of it

I don’t hold on to anything. There is nothing in my life that I cling to besides Jesus. My hands are always open. I am constantly ready for transactions, God pouring into me and me pouring out into others, me pouring my worship out on him. I am always open for Him to take things out of my life that don’t belong there. Open hands means me saying, “God, anything that is not bringing you glory, take it out of my life.” I don’t cling to my time or sleep or wants. I am available for people. I am available to be used by God.

When we have open hands, God can take things with out having to pry our fingers off of them. He can also give us things. We are ready to surrender and receive at any moment.

Consequences of not living with open hands:

1. God cannot use you to accomplish all that He wants to because you are not making yourself available.
2. You cannot receive all that He has for you.
3. It is a long painful process when the Holy Spirit wants to remove something from your life.
4. Secrecy that leads to fear and in some cases sin/bondage.

Clinging to anything, whether it is a secret in you heart, a habit, addiction, fear, sin, dream, desire, goal, whatever it is, is dangerous for you and sometimes for those around you as well. It is an injustice to yourself for sure. I am sure that by this point, your hand is pretty tired of being clinched. I’m sure it is starting to hurt a little. The blood isn’t flowing correctly. Your fingernails may be digging into your palm. That’s what happens to you spiritually when you live with areas of your life closed off. When you don’t have open hands before the Lord, the life giving blood of His Spirit cannot flow through you in the areas that you are clinging to.
In a moment you can open your fist, but before you do, think about the areas of your life that are closed tight. Think about the things in your life that you have been clinging to. When you let go of your fist, imagine yourself letting go of all of that. Just release it. See how it feels.
Go ahead, let go of your fist. Let go of the things you are clinging to. Let go. Choose to have open hands.

Openness with others has always been something that I have struggled with. In the last year though the Lord has really changed that in me. Being known by people is so freeing. We think that if someone really knew who we are __________ (Something negative) will happen. However, it is the opposite. I have found such freedom and healing in being real with sisters in my life.

Maybe you need to talk to someone. You may need to share a secret. You may need to just tell someone what you have been clinging to. You may need to be vulnerable for the first time. Do it. Find someone. Share. Open your hands and open your life. I challenge you. Live open. It’s freeing.

When you first let go of your fist, you hand may have started to tingle. The blood began to rush back to your fingers. It may have been painful. How does your hand feel now? Free? Relaxed? Openness is always scary at first. Sometimes it is painful. Sometimes it makes you feel as if your insides are all fighting to explode out of you. But once you jump off that cliff and you choose to be open, blood starts to flow again. Oxygen starts to fill those cells again. Healing happens. It’s freeing.

This year, I want to live with open hands. I want to be able to look back a year from now and say that there was no area of my heart or life that was off limits to God. I want to be able to say that I surrendered everything to Him. I did not cling to anything. Even things that He has given me are not to be held on to. I want to look back and be able to say that I received everything from Him that He wanted to give me- the good, easy, fun blessings, as well as the opportunities to learn how to suffer well.  He gives and He takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.

God, give me grace to live with open hands. Give me grace to surrender and to receive. There is nothing that I hold on to. You have total access to my life. I will follow you wherever you go. Jesus, I will follow you into the depths of my heart, into every corner and closet in my life. I let go of all that I have held on to. I repent for clinging to anything that you have given to me. I repent for thinking that I am strong enough to hold on to anything in my life. Dreams, secrets, blessings, regrets… I’m not strong enough to hold on to them. I give it all to you God. I repent for the pride that caused me to think I could cling to anything in my life. Give me grace to live with open hands. I will follow you wherever you go.

Will you join me?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Widow's mite

I feel like in the last few weeks there have been many things that I have wanted to sit down and blog about, but I have done none of them. As I reflect back on some of it now I don't know where to start. I don't even know if I really feel like walking back through the last month of my life and putting words to it. I don't feel like being vulnerable. I don't feel like sharing where I have journeyed through. There is so much on my heart that I feel like I should have some sort of outline to follow before I start trying to type this; otherwise I think that I may just aimlessly ramble on and on.
That is probably what this is going to be.
Sorting through all the things that I should have taken the time to sort through as they happened rather than waiting for three weeks later to put words to.

In the past 4 months I have come to a place where it has felt like everything I have ever known has been ripped out from under me time and time again. I can't even begin to count the number of times that I have looked up at the sky and screamed "God, you have already taken everything away from me, what more do you want?!" Each time that I feel like I have given every last penny that I have to God, I turn around and sigh with relief... only to realize that I have one more coin to put in the box.

And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

In the past few weeks, I have found my self very much able to relate to this woman. Maybe I haven't given the last cent that I have to my name to God, but definitely emotionally I have. I have sat on the floor of my room, behind the wheel of my car, and in the corner of the nursery day after day sobbing, telling God I don't know how I am going to make it. I have given you everything God, and this is terrifying. And then He asks for everything again. I drop the coin in the box. I turn and walk away, trusting that he has me... and then I look down and see another coin. I turn back again and place it in the box. I turn and walk away again. Again, I look down and realize there's another coin. 
This cycle has gone on for weeks. It's a daily surrender. It's a daily letting go of everything that I have known. It's a daily trust that He's got me. I don't have much to offer him, but what I do have is His. No matter how terrifying. I know He's got me. 

There is so much more that I can write. So much more that I can say. So much that I will say. Just not at this moment. Not in this post.