Embrace

-by Kimberly Morrison

“Ouch!” I loudly exclaimed after accidentally thumping my hand on the doorframe. Gideon, who was playing close by, looked up and quietly said, “Sometimes I say ‘ouch’ too when I see you get hurt. I wish I could fix it with a hug.”

I don’t have words to describe the level of warm fuzzy I felt for him in that moment. He is always empathetic when he sees someone hurting. Something special happens in a mom’s heart when those they care for, without coercion, express genuine compassion and empathy for the lost and hurting.

Then my eyes got all watery as I thought of our Heavenly Father, whose heart aches for His lost and hurting kids. How does He feel when He finds a son or daughter who’s willing to lay aside their interests, plans, comfort, amusements, aspirations, fears, or doubts in order to accept His invitation to embrace His heart for the lost and broken?

One doesn’t have to go across the globe to embrace His heart. There are opportunities all around us – in our spouse, kids, coworkers, parents, neighbors, the slow fast-food worker, the cashier who never smiles, the UPS guy with the sad countenance, and, dare I say, murderers, ISIS members, mass shooters, child abusers, and the CEO of Planned Parenthood. His heart is for everyone, wherever we are and no matter what we’ve done or haven’t done. I’m finding that accepting the invitation to embrace His heart isn’t a burden or stressful, but rather it relieves burdens and reduces stress.

Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

When I evaluate my own burdens that are hindering me from embracing His heart, I usually find it’s a self-imposed burden. Either a negative burden of fear, doubt, etc., or something we would consider a positive burden such as gaining provisions for our family or the future. We can’t fully embrace someone if we’re carrying a burden, even if it’s a good burden.

Picture this: You are invited to a friend’s home to share a meal. You bring a casserole, because we’re from the south. As the host meets you at the door, they take the dish from your hands, line it up with the other casseroles, and only then are you able to embrace and greet properly. I see it the same way with Father God. He invites us into His plan and we bring our aspirations, dreams, gifts, and even problems to share, but He requires us to hand them over so that we can fully embrace Him. Sometimes, if what we’ve given Him is good, He gives it back so we can share it with others. If it’s a negative burden we’ve given Him, I believe He takes it to the kitchen and dumps it in the trash. Like we would do if someone brought a fruit cake to a gathering. 😉

I’ll be honest, when we first started on this missions journey back in 2011, I had glamorous notions of what life would be like “on the field in Uganda.” Now that we’ve been here and done that for a year, I have a healthier idea of what’s it’s REALLY like. However, I’m still excited. My heart quakes with fear and anticipation, but I’m still excited. It’s not about me, Jared, our kids, or even the people we minister to. It’s about knowing and embracing Him more fully. So, all that to ask, what do you need to hand over to Him to finally allow you to fully embrace His heart and desires for you?

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