Tuesday, November 01, 2011

When I look in the mirror what do I truly see?

We left last week about Forgiving ourselves. This week we are going to look at our ability to receive love. Is there a hindrance in your life holding you back from receiving. Let’s take a look at Hannah in 1Samuel 1:1-8.Ask God to open your heart to hear if there is anything holding you back.

Our first impression of love comes from our parents. How they nurture us, care for us, and are passionate about us starts the process of that small seed growing where we develop the idea of who we are as a person. That process also starts helping us understand how to receive love. If you have ever read the book "The Five Love Languages" you know that naturally God has instilled in us certain ways we receive love. In our growing years, those languages can be messed up a bit if our parents do not lay a solid foundation for us.

Some of us have grown up with incredible parents that have done nothing but love us unconditionally. They have walked through hard times with us and still given all they have to help us find our way. We learned to respect their hand of love in many different areas of our life. The foundation for us to receive love is strong. Our mistakes may be the culprit that hinders us.

Sadly, some of us may have not seen such love and grace from our parents. We have only seen the result of their inability to love and have grace. We have seen them lash out and hurt those around them because of their pain or unforgiveness. The toll this takes on our lives not only affects us, but those around us. Our view of a heavenly loving Father that is passionate about us seems unreachable, unattainable.

In the bible God specifically talks about the role parenting has in a child's life. The impact of their decisions directly affects a child's view of their world. Their ability to reach out and be in the family God created for them. Jesus said let the little children come unto to me. So He could love them. He knew their precious hearts were open to hear a word of love and receive it. In those tender years, we are sponges that absorb everything around us.

That love for a child is where we start with Hannah. Let's open up in prayer here and open our Bibles to 1Samuel 1:1 Hannah desperately wanted a child. She wanted to feel life growing in her like her counterpart, Elkannah's second wife. She dreamed of the day that she could see her child playing with the other children. When she could bath them, nurse them, kiss their hurt and soothe their pain. Her heart yearned for that day. One other note we should make here is that in Hannah's culture, if a wife did not produce children she was worthless and usually put away. Back then, women were more property than considered an individual person of value. A little more than slaves.

The first thing that stands out to me is in verse 1. The first statement in verse 1 is defining Elkannah's heritage, not Hannah's. Her lineage does not matter as much as Elkannah's. The first few verses define her husband more than Hannah. I find it interesting because it is Hannah's devotion that leads to greatness. Nevertheless, it also gives us insight into how Hannah may have been feeling about herself. Can you imagine being one of two wives? Then, the other wife is able to establish herself more than you because the only reason you are in the relationship with your husband is to produce children and yet, you can't. But, wait, the bible clearly states that Hannah was given double portions of everything because her husband loved her the most. He is trying so hard to show his undying devotion to her. As if to say, I know she gives me children but you give me love. 

Hannah, could not accept that love. Her heart was so hurt by not giving her husband the one thing that she thought he needed, a child. The other wife attacked worth daily and her society told her she had no value. All those things played over and over in her mind. So much that she could not see a true picture of her situation.

In reality, her husband was showing her for a very long time that all he needed was her. He gave her liberties as a wife she should not have had. He did these things because he loved her. He went as far as to give her double portions. His love and devotion was so obvious that the second wife was extremely jealous of Hannah. She was so jealous she taunted her.

But Hannah's pain did not allow her to see Elkannah's heart.  Her heart was in so much pain, rejection and lacked self worth that she could not truly see his love for her. She definitely could not receive it. Hannah's pain was finally to much to bear.

I believe when she laid on the altar that last time, she gave it all up to God. She drug her suitcase through those halls. I can see her lugging it behind her. Each step, as it bangs against another step. Her last bit of strength gone from the heaviness in her heart. But, she finally takes that last step and just throws herself on the altar. Her weeping and moaning are so intense the priest believes she is drunk.

This day though, Hannah will not be daunted.  She will not leave this place with all that baggage. She is ready for the hurting and the pain to stop.  She is taking all she has and throwing it on the altar, busted and broken. That luggage is not going anywhere but here today. Here on the altar to be placed before her God. She is finally asking Him to help rebuild the fractures of her heart. Those remote places that need a healing hand that only he can heal. A place to re-paint the picture of her life through His eyes and not her own. As she stood to talk with the priest she felt just a bit lighter. She was much more confident. She had more love than when she walked up those steps. This day, she had called on her God to hear her heart and He did. He overwhelmed her with His love. The kind of love that cast out fear, that heals the brokenness and frees us from the chains of our past, our guilt, and our unforgiveness. He took her heart and gave her all the love she needed. This day, after that long journey, Hannah could finally receive it.

Today, why don't we take a moment and just get quiet with God. See if He has anything He wants to show us. We might not be weeping now, we may even be in a place that we know all of this but, let's just take a moment and hear. Let's open up our heart's and let the Holy Spirit speak.
When Samuel was born, I am sure that the love Hannah had for him was overwhelming. She loved him with all her heart. She gave all she was as a mother to give him a foundation that would serve him well as a leader of a nation. Hannah had endured some heart wrenching moments in her life but those moments were lessons to show her what love was truly all about.
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