Monday, June 19, 2006

Chapter 29: The nail, pt 2

“Sit down, “He gestures for me to take the chair near the fire. It feels strange, but I do so. I would rather be sitting at His feet. As I sit, He hands me the second, flat box. Since we were last here, I realized that the first box was my past, this my present and the final one, my future, my dreams.

“Take the next object from the box.”

In the dim light from the fire, I look into the box and see a gold earring and a nail. I remove them and set the box aside.

The earring is a simple gold hoop of moderate size. The nail is not much larger around than the earring. I find I know their meaning and I look to Him for confirmation.

“These, if you are willing, are to be the mark of your new won submission in Me. If you ask Me, I will drive the nail through your ear into the door post. I will place the ring in your ear, marking you as a beloved servant for life, one with great stock in the household, one who may inherit from the household.” He explains.

I pause to think for a long moment. True, this fight to a place of submission has been difficult and I would like to mark it. Yet, I know these symbols mark the choice of submission for a lifetime, not just a moment. They make a powerful statement that for some reason is difficult to even consider.

And yet, what other choice is there to be made here? Have I fought through all of this only to be turning back, turning away from it now? Can I permit myself the option, the possibility of picking up again what I have fought so hard to lay aside?

“Yes, Papa—please, I want to be marked as Yours, for life.” I finally force the words out in a whisper, my voice more ragged than I expected.

“Then come with Me.” He extends His hand to me, seeming to ignore my inner turmoil.

Heavyhearted, I walk with Him to the balcony and through the gate to the balcony of His chambers. We stop at the door way between the balcony and sitting room. The twilight air is cool and quiet, magnifying the tension I carry.

“Here.” He instructs. I obey, wishing for joy in this moment, but not readily finding it. Instead, I find I am afraid and uncertain. But of what? The pain? No, that truly does not discourage me. I guess it is the not knowing what I am getting myself into that haunts me. But I have chosen and I will stand.

I look up at Him in resolve now. I feel His gaze upon me and sense His approval. His firm hand on my shoulder guides me toward the door post. But His touch is gentle as well, He does not force me. And this reassures me that I can trust. And I choose to trust.

I purposefully slide the hood off.

“You are my beloved servant, daughter, friend, attached for life, invited accepted.” His words soothe some of my anxiety.

Carefully, he adjusts my head, to place my ear against the door post. He glances at me as if to say ‘Are you read?’

Biting my lip, I close my eyes, not wanting to nod and move out of place. I reach up to remove the earring in my left ear, assuming it will be in the way

“No.” He stops my hand firmly. “do not remove them. I gave them to you for a purpose. I want you to hear my grace always. I will place this here.” He touches a spot on my upper ear.

I am actually relieved, noticing once again the soft song of grace ringing in my ears. I am glad that this constant will not change.

The glint of the nail in His hand catches my eye as He presses it against my ear. The metal is cold against my skin. I can see a mallet in His hand; I suppress a shudder as He raises up the mallet. Swallowing hard, I feel the mallet strike the nail. A sharp pain course through the side of my face as a crunching sound testifies to the cartilage giving way under the nail. My stomach churns slightly.

The pain is momentarily intense, but not unbearable. I am pinned, though to the door frame, unable to move. I have to fight a rising panic as a drop of blood runs down my ear to my cheek.

He says nothing, but removes a package from His robes. He unwraps the white velvet from the package, revealing the keys I have given Him. Tenderly He takes the velvet and wipes the blood from my face.

“This is your life that you are giving Me. It is a precious offering.” He explains, rewrapping the keys with the now stained velvet. His gesture strikes me, how precious that single drop of blood is to Him. How precious my life must be to Him.

Tucking the key back into His robe, He kisses my forehead. “You are the bride I am preparing for my son, and I love you.”

My panic subsides, He is worthy of my trust. With controlled careful strength He pulls out the nail, twisting it out of my ear. He takes the earring and passes it over the coals in the lantern, burning impurities away, leaving the gold glowing and hot. He moves very close to me.

“I will place this in your ear, marking you as Mine.” He pauses a moment as if to make sure I do not object, then pushes the gold ring through the nail hole in my ear. My ear stings sharply as He does so. The heat from the gold burns, but also seals my wound.

He has marked me, I am His!

The weight of the ring is noticeable and the pull of it against the new wound begins a dull ache that steadily grows.

“You are Mine,” He whispers. “This is the mark of your submission, child, not offered cheaply or without meaning. It is hard won.” He kisses my forehead.

“Yes, Papa,” I breathe through flowing tear. I swallow back sobs that come from His recognition of my battle. Knowing that it is all important to Him moves my heart beyond words. The ache though, spreads down my neck and shoulders. I do not understand it.

Wrapping my rim in His, He guides me to the edge of the balcony to look out over the grove. The cool air of twilight soothes me as He stand behind me, wrapping His arms around me in a secure embrace. I lean on Him drawing from His strength. By now the ache has spread throughout my body. Why does it ache so much?

“Because submission is a process of death. Death to the flesh, to the self, is a painful process. That is the pain you feel. Let me give you My strength to stand on. Lean on Me and rest.” His embrace is firm and sure. I lean into Him, suddenly feeling incredibly tired. In the security of His arms I am safe and find rest. I sleep.

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