My oldest sister presented each of us with a miniature bottle and a single pearl decorated cork. A thin, purple, satin ribbon was shaped in a delicate bow around the bottle's neck. Two silver engraved tags were knotted in the ribbon. One tag said TRUST and the other BELIEVE. When the tags clinked against each other they rang like bells. The little jar and it's adornment looked like the beach but sounded like Christmas. It was a gift.
We were given a small slip of folded paper with the typed words, "Cast your cares on Him because He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7) She passed out pens and rolls of double sided tape.
When you unfolded the paper, it provided enough room to write a small note to God. An evenly divided single page to write one sentence or a few key words to express what we needed to "cast out to Him and not reel back in." Give it ALL to Him. The problem or problems. The worry or worries. The heartbreak, the distrust, the dreams or the failures. We were challenged to pick one or two things that we needed to LET GO and MOVE PAST.
It was a message in a bottle for God. He knew what we were going to write, but the exercise in admitting it, was ours.
I wrote mine quickly. I had three big fish bait to cast out and I hoped this non-fishing expedition was going to work. I didn't want them back. I WANTED to give them to God but for the last 8 months, I kept throwing out the long cast and then I'd spend hours reeling them back in to see and smell and experience them once more. I might as well been writing them on the front of my shirt or the center of my forehead instead of a tiny sheet of paper because I wore them like the Scarlett letter. The wicked trio of shame and pride and control have had dominion over my mind for decades and I battled the same chum again and again. I wanted to TRUST and BELIEVE that this was going to work. This process of writing it down and shoving it in a corked bottle was going to end my fighting, fishing days.
It was a beautiful, simplistic covenant with God to admit it, then let go of it.
Once we finished writing our miniature love letter to God we took the double sided tape and pressed it onto our words, then folded the two sides together. The tape would seal what we "cast out" and the bottle would remind us not to "reel it back in." Our words were tucked inside, but God's words were on the outside as a constant reminder of His care for us. It was a lovely, emotional gift and I am grateful for my sister's thoughtfulness.
As we begin this new year and leave behind 2015, consider what you can cast out forever or put behind you and never look back. What is the one thing that you've been holding on to, trying to set it down and inevitably picking back up? What relationship can you heal, which one can you let go? What burden have you hauled around all year? It's time to empty your backpack and hand over to God whatever is inside.
For me it was three things. As I was writing this I decided I didn't want to reveal what they were because they are my promises with God. For my readers, I chose one random word out of each broken phrase to share with you. It was my intention to allude to the areas of my life where I am struggling without giving it away. But then something spiritual and intimate happened.
God rearranged the three words I chose and made a sentence of His own:
AND * ENOUGH * WORRY
God hears you, I promise.
God speaks to you, I promise.
God wants your bottle, I promise.
Seeds to Share:
1 Peter 5:7 - Cast your cares on Him because He cares for you.