the silver umbrella

I was just sitting on our bed. In deep prayer. With a moaning heart.

I have felt sick with myself since I woke up this morning.. well, longer before that, really.

Frustrated and bitter, fearful and trembling over God and my salvation.

How has my heart gone so far astray? Why I have become so caught up in this world?

When He gave me my husband.. even when he was just my boyfriend.. the single thing I wanted most on this earth, how did I then turn my back on Him? Why wasn’t I content with how good His plans were? Why did I try to correct Him as if I knew better? Why didn’t I humble myself to trust Him?

Why did I get so caught up in pleasing my parents? Why did I put them before anything else?

Why did I care so much about what people thought of me?

I grew selfish.

SO selfish.

and cold.

Insecure.

Uninviting and unwilling.

I didn’t want to let go…

I didn’t want God to be God and me be His daughter and servant.

I wanted to be the one who knows best, and He be the one who seals the deal, as my servant.

I got full of myself when I recognized Him. Like I was something super special when I realized He was working good things for me.

And all the opposites of the fruits of the Spirit came throwing their rotten fruit through my windows. I ate it all with disgust. But I still ate it. My stomach grew sour and I wanted to throw up more than just this rotten fruit… I dreaded looking out the windows to the world… in fear more rotten fruit would make it’s way in.

But then I looked out the window today and something changed.

A woman was talking her mid-morning walk around our cul-de-sac.

The white window sheers were draped across the window. I looked out the window and saw our kind gardener.

I prayed “I would rather be a humble gardener than as a princess on this earth…

because those who are humble have real joy.”

As I prayed this very thing with my eyes on the gardener cutting the edges of the lawn between our house and our next door neighbor’s… my eyes caught a sliver of silver.

A beacon of light.

It was a woman walking through the middle of the street in the cul-de-sac and venturing her way back to the sidewalk on the other side. Her umbrella looked metallic.

It looked like the smoothest covering of aluminum foil I had ever seen.

It was so shiny.

It reflected the sun brightly.

Like a mirror does in the sunlight.

Something dawned on me.

That is repentance.

I have been struggling with the full definition of repentance. What is it really to repent?

I was teasing my husband while he was getting dressed for work this morning. He was impersonating me and being all cute and silly with me. I decided to play the fake-frustration card on him… “ohhh Stephen Bradley! You’re done for! I’ve got a fork in my hand and I’m coming for you!” (I can’t do this whole thing without a massive smile on my face. He just makes me laugh and so happy.) Startled he starts pulling out.. “baby I didn’t mean it, it’s only funny cuz it would never be true..” and with a smile on my face, I point my finger in the air and say “Repent and you shall be forgiven!”

He then turns his back to me.

Then he turns around and faces me again.

And says “I turned away from it!”

G A S P.

So… THAT is what it means to repent!!!!

FREEDOM.

Okay. Deep breath.

So to repent and believe and you shall be forgiven….

is to turn away from the sin and self
and believe in the forgiveness and grace of God.

to humble myself, and realize He is the good guy who has it all figured out.

It is to walk through this life with a silver umbrella.

“I put those sins behind my back, I will never gaze at them again.
For now they live somewhere where the light doesn’t touch.
Somewhere far, even further behind my Father’s back.
Everything before me, and the One who guards my steps,
is nothing but light guided path.
So to you, my sinful past, gaze at my silver umbrella.
The reflection of the light who guards my back and protects my eyes,
will in turn blind you.
I am kept in the comfort of the sun, with eyes not squinting, and head not burning.
But the fury of the burning of the light from the sun is still there,
reflecting off my silver umbrella.
Fury and passion remain, but comfort and peace I am in forever
as the silver umbrella takes the heat,
and I take a walk with my Lord beside a peaceful river.”

Amen.

ISAIAH 30

1 “Woe to the obstinate children,”
declares the Lord,
“to those who carry out plans that are not mine,
forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit,
heaping sin upon sin;
2 who go down to Egypt
without consulting me;
who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection,
to Egypt’s shade for refuge.
3 But Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame,
Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace.
4 Though they have officials in Zoan
and their envoys have arrived in Hanes,
5 everyone will be put to shame
because of a people useless to them,
who bring neither help nor advantage,
but only shame and disgrace.”
6 A prophecy concerning the animals of the Negev:

Through a land of hardship and distress,
of lions and lionesses,
of adders and darting snakes,
the envoys carry their riches on donkeys’ backs,
their treasures on the humps of camels,
to that unprofitable nation,
7 to Egypt, whose help is utterly useless.
Therefore I call her
Rahab the Do-Nothing.
8 Go now, write it on a tablet for them,
inscribe it on a scroll,
that for the days to come
it may be an everlasting witness.
9 For these are rebellious people, deceitful children,
children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction.
10 They say to the seers,
“See no more visions!”
and to the prophets,
“Give us no more visions of what is right!
Tell us pleasant things,
prophesy illusions.
11 Leave this way,
get off this path,
and stop confronting us
with the Holy One of Israel!”
12 Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says:

“Because you have rejected this message,
relied on oppression
and depended on deceit,
13 this sin will become for you
like a high wall, cracked and bulging,
that collapses suddenly, in an instant.
14 It will break in pieces like pottery,
shattered so mercilessly
that among its pieces not a fragment will be found
for taking coals from a hearth
or scooping water out of a cistern.”

15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:

In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,

but you would have none of it.
16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’
Therefore you will flee!
You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’
Therefore your pursuers will be swift!
17 A thousand will flee
at the threat of one;
at the threat of five
you will all flee away,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
like a banner on a hill.”
18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!
19 People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. 20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” 22 Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!”

23 He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows. 24 The oxen and donkeys that work the soil will eat fodder and mash, spread out with fork and shovel. 25 In the day of great slaughter, when the towers fall, streams of water will flow on every high mountain and every lofty hill. 26 The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the Lord binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted.

27 See, the Name of the Lord comes from afar,
with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke;
his lips are full of wrath,
and his tongue is a consuming fire.
28 His breath is like a rushing torrent,
rising up to the neck.
He shakes the nations in the sieve of destruction;
he places in the jaws of the peoples
a bit that leads them astray.
29

And you will sing
as on the night you celebrate a holy festival;
your hearts will rejoice
as when people playing pipes go up
to the mountain of the Lord,
to the Rock of Israel.

30 The Lord will cause people to hear his majestic voice
and will make them see his arm coming down
with raging anger and consuming fire,
with cloudburst, thunderstorm and hail.
31 The voice of the Lord will shatter Assyria;
with his rod he will strike them down.
32 Every stroke the Lord lays on them
with his punishing club
will be to the music of timbrels and harps,
as he fights them in battle with the blows of his arm.
33 Topheth has long been prepared;
it has been made ready for the king.
Its fire pit has been made deep and wide,
with an abundance of fire and wood;
the breath of the Lord,
like a stream of burning sulfur,
sets it ablaze.

my I never be shaded by any other umbrella, than that of my Lord’s Spirit… the Silver Umbrella…

No cover of a Pharaoh, a parent, a friend, a pastor, a husband… can cover me like His umbrella.
None can shade me from His wrath. No other can cover me in His peaceful protection.
What an eternal promise of hope this prophesy brings.

Even while you sleep among the sheep pens, the wings of my dove are sheathed with silver, its feathers with shining gold.
Psalm 63:18

beloved_bride

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