My husband and I recently packed up our house for a move. We packed everything we own – dishes and mops, framed photos and clothes, bedding and towels, kid art and toys, the television and the shop vac – everything – into boxes. I kept finding one more forgotten item, “Oh, that needs a box too.” But we collected every single thing. Then we stacked the boxes in the garage.
On moving day, I posted this picture and a friend simply commented, “Pieces of heart in those boxes.”
Yes, pieces of heart, the fragments and treasures of twelve years of living, boxed, taped, and piled together for carting away in a big truck.
Several days later I sat with Psalm 148: “Praise the LORD! Praise him all his angels, praise him all his hosts! Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and mist! Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! Young men and maidens together, old men and children! Let them praise the name of the LORD!”
I confessed to the Lord – simultaneously – my joy over his gracious provision for us in this move and the fears splintering my heart. Thank you, Lord, for the good schools you have provided for my kids and the friends you have put in their paths. What if my kids get bullied? Thank you, Father, for the gracious and comfortable house you so clearly directed us to. What if the radon the inspector discovered in the basement kills one of us with lung cancer?
I felt the incongruity in my heart. Here I was thanking the Lord for the beautiful ways he has cared for us, and at the same time pieces of my heart were not on board. Pieces of my heart trembled stubbornly in the basement, refusing to get in a box and ride along, hiding in fear of this and that and nearly everything.
The words of the psalmist seemed to fit. The psalmist calls all pieces of creation – sun and sea creatures, kings and angels, maidens and stars – to praise the LORD. He attempts to gather an orchestra of praise by calling everything and everyone he can imagine to join him in praise.
I felt challenged to call together the pieces of my heart, to unfragment myself. Come here, you little piece that thinks the Lord will give us a house that will kill us. And come on, mistrustful piece that fears the Lord has called you on an adventure only to abandon you. And you too, fragment of my heart that fears your Father will not protect and care for your children better than you can, come along.
Just as the psalmist called all of creation to gather together in praise, I must call the faithless and fearful pieces of my heart to gather into faith, this time manifesting in the form of a moving truck. This is what J.I. Packer calls meditation: “Meditation . . . is, indeed, often a matter of arguing with oneself, reasoning oneself out of moods of doubt and unbelief into a clear apprehension of God’s power and grace,” (Knowing God, p. 23).
I identify with the psalmist who cried, “Unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart. (Psalm 86:11-12).
Faith the moving truck idles in the driveway. May the pieces of my heart, and yours, come out of hiding and get on board. May we give him thanks with our whole heart – every stray piece accounted for – praising and thanking him for the future he calls us to because we trust he holds us in his love. (Psalm 33:22).