The String Marionette and the Real Girl

Photo Credit: Michelle Ramey
Photo Credit: Michelle Ramey

I’m realizing how much I speak.

How much my lips must move with no sound escaping.

How many letters I type into cyberspace that trail away into nothingness when translated into my life on this side of the screen.

Sometimes my lips abscond with my heart, like the gawping mouth of a string marionette, and love is left in the dust.

For weeks now, I’ve despaired of love.

Didn’t recognize how clouded my heart was by my Enemy, until someone pointed it out. He’s always tried to trip me up there, with the lie that I will never be capable of love.

So in my relief to call him out, I didn’t recognize that my heart was itself self-absorbed, self-righteous, and self-protective, until someone pointed it out.

To paraphrase Lewis, I either credit the Devil with too much or too little.

But anytime I go looking for balance, I can’t find it, so I live in retrospect and reconciliation, and hope that the Spirit will increase to me grace, and in me discernment.

With my feet propped on the cement drainage system in one of Colorado’s man-made lakes, God told me I am ready to love.

I don’t think I believe him.

I am just a young girl with lips too loose to be useful and hands too wooden to serve.


The most basic building block of love that I have neglected for grand ideas my lips can construct.

How deliberately Jesus rose from his last supper, removed his outer garments, tied a towel around his waist, and served each of his friends–based on an immovable, soulful knowing of his placement with his Father.

How I have tried to defend his glory by saying, “You shall never wash my feet!”, not realizing that it is my glory to serve as he served.

How I have declared with my lips that I follow him anywhere, even into death, and in the same hour denied him with my life.

How often I reject the capstone of love.

And yet, I long to lean against his chest and be known as the one he loves.

In the last year, I have become familiar with the dusty feet of walking beside Jesus.

Consoled again and again by his nearness; flipped upside-down by his crazy, category-shattering truths; healed by his persistent desire; changed by his unalterable heart.

Now he says, “It is to your advantage that I go away.”

I have walked with love long enough to recognize it, but I feel overwhelmed, bereft.

Now the Helper has come by Jesus’ command to transform me into love: “Whatever he hears from me he will speak, and will declare to you the things that are to come. I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.”

I wonder what those things are. How could I possibly learn more than I am learning now?

I wonder if, because I am undergoing the agonizing clash of flesh-learns-love, he thinks I’m ready to bear the kind of devastating love he demonstrated.

I wonder if this string marionette can be a real girl.

I wonder if the Spirit is circling me, waiting to transform me into a real girl, and then grow me into a woman.

I am also in wonder. That he does not give as the world gives, and that his overcoming of the world is somehow enough to continue.

Take heart, young girl.

Let him have your heartstrings.


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