I awaken from a frightening nightmare. It’s early morning, and I know I must get up or this nightmare might return. I am shaken by the images and stumble to the deck with my morning meditation basket. I grasp my prayer cross and bow my head, sinking my chin into my chest. Ann Voscamp’s words come to me from her chapter, “Empty to Fill”, and I begin a prayer.
“Empty me Lord, empty me.
Take away these images and memory.
Let them fall into a river that washes them out to the sea.
Empty my mind, my heart, my soul
So that you can fill me.
Open my eyes to your love, your gifts, your creation.
Illuminate the gifts that flow from your love
So that I am united with You in my love for you.
Joy will overflow my heart; I will be filled with your Spirit.”
I am amazed at the peace and calm that comes from this prayer. My rate slows; I’m no longer shaking. Something else happened in this process. I began to think of ideas for my writing, ways to return this joy to others, words to fill the page. I’ve been stuck for weeks struggling for direction in writing and creating, and now I write in my journal, “Is this how I should be writing? Empty myself to be filled with the words God wants me to use.
Over the next few days I continue to use this prayer to begin my morning meditation. I found myself remembering a phrase from an old song that we have not sung in years. After searching through some songbooks I found it! Clara Scott wrote “Open My Eyes, That I May See” in 1895. The words are so appropriate.
Open my eyes that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me,
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready, my God, thy will to see:
Open my eyes, illumine me,
What did my Counting Gifts Journal look like on this day? Here are some of the blessings:
808. Moments of peace on the deck to empty myself of the nightmare memories
809. a cross to grasp that pulls me down deeper and deeper into meditation
810. a discovery – as I became empty, ideas of things to create for K.’s joy box flew in.
811. a question – do I need to empty myself before I write to begin the process?
812. a joyful lunch with two dear friends
814. my patient husband drives us across the river after church to a thrift store that has the perfect chair and ottoman for the living room
815 it fit in the car!
816. fresh breezes at dusk outside of ice cream shop
817. 30¢ off each gallon of gas @ Kroger
“I pray that God who gives HOPE will fill you with much JOY and PEACE while you TRUST in Him. Then your HOPE will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Rom. 15:13 (New Century Version)