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It was the deep freeze of the first month when they asked me to speak. There is a certain tribe of female descendents of Abraham that have let their hearts bleed into mine in a way that made us kin. Our messy pools of heart spill just sort of ran together that way and like a river flows into an ocean, we found our trails of blood intermingling and flowing into a sea of grace at the base of wood where Jesus hung. It is there where we were given a new language, holiness unspoken,

with every embrace

and softness of lips on cheeks…

and touch of aging skin wrapped around fingers…

that echoes “you belong to me now…”

These beautiful disciples, woven with softness of femininity, have been Sovereignly knitted to me.  We are colors without names, for who can describe the brilliance of the One who wove the dull, worn and faded threads of our lives into His…in order that this patchwork of polka dotted sisters might reflect a sort of radiance like a diamond captures color.

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And I think that’s what happened in the season where leaves rust, and twenty degrees lower blows in cool, but the sun…

the sun’s glow still heats earth, in the same way we are warmed by the fiery heat of a God who commands the morning,

and chases the runner. 

This God who scatters frost…

and fills up heaven’s storehouses with snow…

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Has appointed times for icy hearts to unfreeze and be kindled afresh

until bones feel fire.

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It was the entrance of autumn when I spoke…and we, like the blowing leaves with crisp edges, tapped out a holy rhythm…a Sovereign song composed for us, and for them and our retreat went like this…

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He taught us about a woman who sold her body again and again to hungry men that wore her sin.  It was civil robbery, for they robbed her of more than she was selling, yet her heart deceived her and offered services she thought she could separate from her soul,

until she heard about

the carpenter’s Son.

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She had heard He preached good news to the poor, the ones destitute of Christian virtue, lowly, afflicted…unable to save themselves.

and her soul awakened out of its sin-sleep

and she ran…

and fell…

and wept…

and shattered her most valuable treasure…

at His feet,

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in front of the rich, the astute, the law teachers, and the righteous,

and they all

hated her.

It is there where she risked everything to get to Jesus and declare in silent posture,

THIS IS GOD,

DOES YOUR SOUL NOT KNOW IT?

as she wept and washed His feet with tears and hair.

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and then the women who came to retreat,

traveled to the cross,

with their pieces of shattered Alabaster stone marked with sins now being laid at the cross…heard,

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“your sins which are many have been forgiven, for you have loved much, go in peace Luke 7:47-50).

And then He told us He had a secret place for us.  For just us and Him and to find it and return their day after day after day and enter into familiar conversations with Him and to recline on His bosom like John,

so that we may have an unwavering assurance like the beloved disciple,

who felt the scratch of His beard,

and the beat of His heart strong

against his back,

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and heard words wrapped in warm breath.

John saw, tasted, heard, and felt

everything our hearts long for.

And we learned that the secret counsel is for those who fear Him…(Psalm 25:14), and that is where we feel Him hemming us in (Psalm 139:2).

and where we know that our “valley of Achor, (trouble)

is a door of hope,

as He reminds us who we have been betrothed to in the holiest of marriages (Hosea 2).

On the Celebration Sunday of retreat, I shared for the first time, my story of how I was left splintered, hanging off the edge of reality, slipping into insanity, and finally completely shattered.  My cracked words flowed out alongside tears as I sniffled my way through tie-me-to-you.

We learned that we are invited into His chamber and that the kiss of His mouth is better than the sweetest of lingering wines…(Song of Solomon 1:2),

and that we are to drink deeply and be intoxicated with the fragrance of His love, and when we are this love-sick for Him, His name will drip like honey from our tongues and our gardens will breathe out a gospel fragrance.

We learned He found us when we were ripe for love, like so many of the women there, and that He covered our nakedness and gently bathed us and poured healing oil on our wounds (Ezekiel 16:8-9).

And we heard,

Arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come along.  For behold, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone.  The flowers have already appeared in the land; The time has arrived for pruning the vines, and the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.  The fig tree has ripened its figs, and the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance.  Arise my darling, ,y beautiful one, and come along!” (Song of Solomon 2:11-13).

We traveled to the-cross/

We learned He was waiting for us to come and meet with Him in our closets or living rooms and feel His power like Moses did in a tent of canvas,

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where he had Holy conversations with his familiar friend (Exodus 33:7-11).

We returned to our First Love.

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I am humbled, broken, and overwhelmed that God led me to women I could share my broken alabaster story with.  I know He has knitted my heart to yours and I continue to pray for each. One. Of. You. We are a sisterhood washed in blood, and scrubbed raw in mercy. He has knitted our souls to one another.  We are kin.

held, consumed in Holiness I do not deserve,

trish

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