A Heart Condition
Several years ago, I stood before the congregation, and said, “I need to give you an update; I found out last month that I need heart surgery.” There were audible and visible reactions. After I paused for effect, I clarified that I needed spiritual heart surgery for a spiritual condition of my heart. This time, there were audible and visible signs of relief; relief that it was “only” a spiritual matter.
At the time of that sermon, I was experiencing great challenges as God lovingly led me to learn and grow in relationship with others. It was one of the most painful times of my life as I endured the arrows of things that were said and done against me. It was also a significant season of marked growth.
As we begin another Lenten season, God reminds me that I still have a heart condition and I will forever need God’s help to remove imperfections and the hardened and dead places, and to allow God’s hands to mold and shape my heart with more of God’s love for all people.
I’ve finally begun to understand that only God can change hearts. I realize that, to continue this life journey of transformation, I must be willing to look within, and then to repent of and confess the ways I’ve gotten distracted, self-centered, and where I’ve taken personal offense. This is uncomfortable, messy, and awkward at times, but the good news is that God continues to lavish on me God’s never-ending grace — an unearned gift of favor — for God is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. God’s love never ends!
I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God!
Ezekiel 36: 25-27 (The Message)
Note: This quilt was made by Rosann York Gilbert in celebration of the lives of her son and daughter-in-law, Trey and Cara Caldwell, taken by Covid just weeks apart recently. “Holding their memories forever in my heart”, she wrote as she shared this photo. The Exploding Heart Quilt Pattern by Slice of PI Quilts, made from scraps of a mother’s quilting life.