Message in a Bottle (looking back/written 3.5.10)
When I was a child I was fascinated by the tension and hope of sending a message in a bottle "out to sea." I've always loved the ocean - wild, without boundaries, unpredictable, undefined, and really deep. What a great place to send all of our deepest longings. There's some safety in that. But what if we held out hope that our bottle would be found? I'm not sure what this says about me, but I think there's some beauty in it.
We all have longings - things of which we hope and dream. I've been thinking a great deal about this lately. As I look at the community I love and the church body that is my home, I am stirred to hope for something more. Not merely from discontent, but from a place of great hope and gratitude...from a place of vision and faith.
Over the past year, through His kindness, the Father has engaged me in a conversation about the beauty of the messy process of creating and the messy process of life. He's showing me the beauty in the messiness of community. Living in and creating in community. If the Holy Spirit in us knows and searches the deep things of God, and I have "the mind of Christ," then I want to say this out loud (I Corinthians 2:1-16). I'm longing for a more visible creative community. I'm longing to walk through the creative process with more people - a big step for a prideful, rebellious, self-consumed introvert (who knows she is well-loved by her Father).
I do love to paint alone- solitude and personal worship is so precious. I just sense that the Father is calling me to step out a bit and to invite others to do the same. I've been listening, wrestling, crying out, waiting and really going crazy with passion. It's eating me alive in a good, but un-doing sort of way. Have you ever been so uncomfortable or "hungry" that you knew not even your favorite vice would satisfy? Praise Him that He has replaced my desire to seek temporary comfort with a desire to stay here and be...undone.
Part of my realization has to do with the messages I sent down the river in countless old soft drink bottles when I was a child. I've always longed for more, I just couldn't name it. As I've listened to the Father's wooings over the past months, the topic of our conversation has dealt with community, repentance, revival, and the beauty of the creative process. I don't know what He's going to do in this place I love. But, I wonder if I hope too much ? I hope not!
I'm actually writing today as I did when I was a child. My messages were tied to my hope. I do not know how many times I wrote little notes, carefully placed them inside old soft drink bottles, tightened the cap and sent them out. I threw bottles off bridges into the Pea River or the bay in Pensacola. The theme of all my efforts to communicate came back to me a few years ago when my mom called with unexpected news. After almost twenty years, one of my bottles had been found. Really? A six year old boy in Florida was exploring the riverbanks near his family's fish camp when he spotted a bottle with a paper inside it ... a message. The bottle was covered in mud and algae but after cleaning it off he could clearly read the note inside. The date read July 22, 1982. The note followed:
"Dear whoever: I'm glad you found this bottle.
I can't reveal my name, but, I can tell you I am ten years old.
I live in Montgomery, Alabama. If it's okay with you, we could still be friends.
I was heard.
Today. I would like to be heard. I would love to hear you too. I'm dreaming big for OMPC. I don't know what He might do here, but by His grace I'm hopeful, I'm open, and I'm yielded. I am "off my throne." By His grace I'm longing to put my poses aside. I would love to enter into this conversation with you. What would you say if you were sending a bottle out to sea? What are your hopes for our church body, for your relationships, for your home? Would you be so bold to name these hopes? To dream them? What if the Father was already at work behind the scenes working these hopes out in the most scandalous way? What is He stirring? I believe He is doing something really big. Like a storm on the horizon, something is brewing. You know it, too.
What message is in your bottle?