The Pure in Heart

7 02 2011

There are holy moments in life, when all things conspire to reveal God’s nearness and tenderness. You don’t have to be seated in a pew (I was at the dining room table), dressed in your Sunday best (I was in my pajamas), sober of mood and pious of posture. You can be anywhere at anytime. It’s not about your efforts at all. It’s all about grace.

There are things you can know for years, but like the sunrise, you must be fully awake or you miss their glory. You know the ache, and you know how wrapping words around it somehow transforms it into a soaring thing. Into worship. But it’s all like pieces of an unfinished mosaic, each piece a shimmering jewel bringing delight, the whole yet to be revealed.

And then, one ordinary day, you see.

I’m reading this book, and it’s explaining me. I don’t know how else to express it. What I’ve known without knowing. What I’ve done without design. The pathway brokenness takes to become beauty. All the pieces are lining up, and the picture — so profound in its simplicity (ah, the foolish things of God!) — takes its rightful shape. “God is good.” I’ve declared this to hundreds. Thousands? “Everything He gives is a gift.” I’ve repeated it again and again. I’ve declared the fact, but have I encouraged the response?

Gratitude. Not just felt, but expressed. Named. Practiced.

I’m only through Chapter Three. Savoring — it’s never a good idea to rush a feast — and my soul is flourishing on this food. But I’m still learning to digest.

Rusty needed to take the week off, so Jacob is home. I admit my initial reaction to this development was slight annoyance. This wasn’t part of my plan. After being gone for almost three weeks, I have a lot to do. Photos to process. Words to write. Speaking gigs to prepare for. Now my attention and energies will be even more divided. I’ll be responsible for Jacob’s daily care. I’ll have to skip my favorite exercise classes — a physical release I’ve been craving after several sedentary weeks on the road. When Rusty explained his situation, I managed to keep most of my aggravation to myself — matters really are beyond his control — but I definitely didn’t go straight to gratitude. I didn’t see this extra time with Jacob as a gift. Until this morning.

I awoke with Ann’s words swimming in my head. Learn contentment. Practice gratitude. After I helped Jacob dress and got our breakfast, I gathered my devotional books and we read together. First I opened Oswald Chambers. “We look for visions from heaven, for earthquakes and thunders of God’s power (the fact that we are dejected proves that we do), and we never dream that all the time God is in the commonplace things and people around us. If we will do the duty that lies nearest, we shall see Him. One of the most amazing revelations of God comes when we learn that it is in the commonplace things that the Deity of Jesus Christ is realized.”

Conviction began there.

Then we read Streams in the Desert. “Is there ever any reason to be downcast? . . . there is never a reason to be downcast, for everything may be brought to God ‘by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving.'”

Awe began there.

Then Daily Light. “One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.” And this: “Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.” And this: “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.”

“He addeth no sorrow.” So, who adds the sorrow? I thought. That answer seemed plain enough.

Repentance began there. Then we read the verses left this morning by loving husband and father.

Lamentations 3: “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’”

And Matthew 12: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

And Romans 5: “But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”

Five times he repeated the phrase. Five times, because apparently some of us won’t catch it with only four. The gift is free. The grace is abundant. And so one wonders, wherefore this discontentment? Good gravy. Can I really be that dense?

Then Jacob and I prepared to approach the throne of grace. But how to approach? With thanksgiving, of course. So I asked him. “Jacob, what are you thankful for today?”

It’s never a good idea to rush Jacob’s answers. He turned his gaze to the window, and I waited. Finally, he spoke.

“Sight.”

The pure in heart shall see God. How often I wonder what Jacob can see.

“What else are you thankful for?”

Another pause. Then, “Love.”

He continued to look out the window, and then he smiled.

“What are you smiling at?”

“The hospital windows.”

I followed his gaze, and sure enough, through the trees across the street, I could see a few second-story windows of the hospital on the next block. “Why are you smiling at the hospital windows?”

“Because so much good is done there.”

The first two critical weeks after Jacob’s near drowning were spent in that hospital’s ICU. So many people connected with that place are woven into the fabric of our story. So many other stories unfold there daily. Broken bodies healed. Fearful families comforted. Joy. Grief. Birth. Death. God-numbered days beginning and ending, while humans do everything in their power to help other humans live well.

So much good is done there.

We bowed our heads, and the gratitude flowed of itself, and faith rose to meet it.

Jacob is at home this week, and my cup runneth over. Today it’s filled with sight, love, and so much good. What’s in yours?

 

Giving thanks in community:

#23. Jacob’s pure heart and single eye
#24. Jacob’s childlike faith and ardent love
#25. Jacob’s wild and wonderful hair
#26. Jacob’s infectious laugh
#27. Jacob’s delightful presence, a gift to me this week

 

You must read Ann’s post today. I hopped over there to grab her button, and I came back with tears flowing down my cheeks. Happy honking today, dear friends. Life is too short not to.


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26 responses

7 02 2011
S. Etole

I’m offering many honks today for all this beauty.

7 02 2011
jeannedamoff

Thanks so much! I think I’ll be honking a lot in days to come. 🙂

7 02 2011
Alyssa

I came over from Ann’s site to yours, and let me just say that the tears haven’t stopped. Beautiful, Jeanne.

7 02 2011
jeannedamoff

Thank you, Alyssa. I’m so glad you stopped by.

7 02 2011
Anna T

Once again, Jean, my eyes water with an overwhelming sense of thankfulness. Thank you so much for sharing. God is good.

7 02 2011
jeannedamoff

Thanks, Anna! Always a delight to hear from you. xo

7 02 2011
stumblinthru

Jeanne, reading your posts make me want to delete my blog. You have such a way with words. And yet I know this is not your point!

I am greatly encouraged, thanks for sharing.

James

7 02 2011
jeannedamoff

Don’t delete your blog! You have important things to say, mister.

You’re welcome. Thanks for commenting. And thanks for disagreeing with me Sunday. You’re a blessing.

7 02 2011
Yevette

Wow. Beautiful is God’s grace in your life today.

7 02 2011
jeannedamoff

Yevette! Love to you, my dear.

7 02 2011
Tweets that mention The Pure in Heart « The View From Here -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeanne Damoff and michellederusha, Mary DeMuth. Mary DeMuth said: Beautiful post by @JeanneDamoff about her son Jacob. http://bit.ly/eQIs84 […]

7 02 2011
A Simple Country Girl

I went from your book to Ann’s book… a soul workout indeed.

I read some of the same devotions as you and study them with my 7-year old son. Isn’t it amazing when God is patient enough & determined to teach us the same lesson time and again and again? And the way he uses my son to bring simple clarity to the lessons is only one reason to wildly honk that horn!

You’ve blessed many this day as well.

7 02 2011
jeannedamoff

What a blessing and gift to you and your son! You’re a wise and gifted woman. I love your heart.

7 02 2011
Jennifer@GDWJ

Oh Jeanne. How to choke out thanks here past the lump in my throat?

And your Jacob … I love how he sees.

You both reflect The Father so, so well.

7 02 2011
jeannedamoff

Thanks, Jennifer. I love how Jacob sees, too. He grounds me again and again. God redeems everything.

Love to you.

7 02 2011
laura

Honking here also. Needing reminded of the eucharisteo in today. I too am savoring Ann’s book slow. So much beauty there.

Jeanne? Is there a way for me to purchase your book from you? So that I could have my friend sign her name there? Perhaps this is addressed somewhere on your website, forgive me for not checking first. But I do so want to read your story. Your words bless me so.

7 02 2011
jeannedamoff

Thanks, Laura! I loved your post today so much, too. Beautiful.

Okay, I just did something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time, but your request finally pushed me to act. I added a PayPal button to my books page on my website. You can order a signed copy there. Here’s the direct link:
http://jeannedamoff.com/Jeanne_Damoff/Books.html

If I’d known how easy that would be, I would have done it a long time ago. Hopefully it will work! 🙂

7 02 2011
Patricia (Pollywog Creek)

So beautiful, Jeanne. So, so beautiful. What a precious gift that Jacob. And you. XOXOX

7 02 2011
jeannedamoff

And you! Thanks, lovely friend.

8 02 2011
David Rupert

“God is in the commonplace things and people around us.’

I think that is the start of a heart of gratitude…recognizing that God just might show up!

8 02 2011
jeannedamoff

Amen, David. Lovely of you to stop by!

8 02 2011
deb@talk at the table

I am so terribly common. I don’t have holy words to say what is in my heart.

But God finds me everyday. And I Him

please give Jacob my gratitude .

8 02 2011
jeannedamoff

You, common? I can’t believe it. Your beautiful words often leave me stunned into silence.

Yes, He finds. Then we. He loves. Then we. What a glorious dance.

Jacob will be hugged in your honor. So much love to you.

8 02 2011
molly howsden

Oh my I just blew water out of my nose when I read James @astumblinthru when he said he was going to delete his blog because you have such a way with words. Because I totally get that. My husband didn’t understand why it takes me so long to write thank you cards. Because I search and search for the right words and then someone else goes and says exactly what I was wanting to say and it makes you want to just pack up and go home!
made me laugh.
I stumbled across your comment on the (in)courage comments from the 1st video. Then I read your post here and I was shaking my head again. You beat me to the words I wanted to say. This book by Ann is explaining me. I am able to “name” what I’ve known and done for awhile.
My 2nd daughter was born in Oct. of 2009 while my husband served in Iraq. We had no idea anything was wrong. She was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy and lived in the NICU for 3 weeks and 1 day before going home to Jesus. And each morning I would get in the shower and I would cry gut wrenching tears and through the sobbing I would say Thank You Lord. I didn’t thank him for anything in particular but I had this need to thank him.
After my daughter died God continued to show himself and show his blessings. People have asked me how do I still have joy after my daughter dying and I had no answer. Don’t get me wrong I’ve questioned God, yelled at God, asked why a million and 1 times but in the end my daughter is healed and I am here and I choose gratitude for what God has given me.
Okay well this comment has ended up way too long!
Thank you for being you.
Molly

9 02 2011
jeannedamoff

Oh my goodness, Molly, your comment was exactly as long as it needed to be! What a testimony you have to the inexplicable grace of God! Thank you for sharing a bit of your story with me (I know there’s so much more to it — that’s why I ended up writing a book). You shine as a light in your corner of the world, and everyone who encounters you will walk away with glory dust on their shoes. What a gift you are.

Much love to you today,
Jeanne

12 02 2011
Harriett

The more I hang around Glynn’s place — the more places he takes me.

Beautiful post — so lovely in its prose and meaning.

Glad I stopped by —– you were third on Glynn’s list — sometimes, I don’t get to get to all of them, but I’m glad I got here.

Good news. God is good.

🙂

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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