By: M. Charlotte Oliver


My heart, though not always heavy, seems softer this early morning. I am uncertain why. Well, perhaps I know why. As I mentally peruse the events of last year and those that occurred in this year, there were times I was amazed, sad, happy, brilliantly…but silently reflective, identifiably quiet, enthusiastic, heart-broken…and mostly I was observant. I threaded lightly around friendships that could have turned into more meaningful manifestations of deep intimacy. As I continue to do so today…Sigh

The things of this world are occasionally bewildering to me. My deep emotions, with breath, allow air to fill my lungs to breathe easier. One primary agenda, for the future me, I sometimes tell myself, is to somewhat tone down feelings around the anguish and pain felt by others, ever so deeply. My empathy can sporadically be over-the-top. In addition, as a researcher, it is equally imperative that I learn to release the intense despair I feel for people who suffer. I have been asked by close friends “why did you choose your research interest, if you struggle through some assessments representing qualitative models?” My first answer is always “there are times I must apply this approach, but honestly I prefer the numbers, the statistics, you know…” Yes, I can ‘beat around the bush’ when I do not want to go to the grainy levels of my soul, to locate the most valid and vulnerable response. Those who love me persist…and eventually the answers are wholeheartedly disclosed, because I choose to allow the very conditions of holding back, to be the conditions that reveal more of me.

Strengths of my daily efficacy entwined with my personality type, are supportive of my thoughts, actions, feelings, and responses. But then again, mostly of my love given. The love holding resemblance of the same love within. The love rooted into my soul, which grows with every inhale, with every exhale. I think now of Mary, Martha’s sister. Mary discerned this moment with Jesus as such a wonderful opportunity to show her devotion to Him. With every breath she offered more and more admiration for Christ (The Anointed One) and of His value. She refused to take Him for granted. She abided in love at every precious moment spent with Him.

Mary’s peace in the presence of Christ at this time described by John 12:1-8, was only possible because she diminished the trials of the past, had no concern for the future, but instead simply lived in that very moment. She chose to reside with Him in the present. Sweet meaningful love is only felt in the present. Jesus’ love is in the present, because it always is! The very reason why harnessing remarks such as “If only I knew Him better when I made that mistake” or perhaps “I’ll need Jesus with me when I take that trip to the remote areas of Africa”, are not favorable to grow with Him.

It is only in the present that His love is released to partake in our daily lives. It is only in the present that His love can be prolonged. His love to extend! Right where you are, as you are, as it is. Familiarity with Jesus is an imperative step in this, our Christian walk. Nonetheless, it is vital not to get too familiar that we take Him for granted. 

On this very topic, Brennan Manning wrote:

“Because we approach the gospel with preconceived notions of what it should say rather than what it does say, the Word no longer falls like rain on the parched ground of our souls. It no longer sweeps like a wild storm into the corners of our comfortable piety. It no longer vibrates like a sharp lightening in the dark recess of our non-historic orthodoxy. The gospel comes in words of Gertrude Stein,…a pattering of pious platitudes spoken by a Jewish carpenter in the distant past” (p.117).

Yes, a Jewish carpenter and an exemplary teacher. One who is with me in every wakened moment of each day. Mary broke the bottle to anoint the feet of the Anointed One, Christ. She did not let Spikenard just drip from it. When a glass bottle filled with any form of liquid breaks, this liquid spills everywhere. Jesus’ defense of Mary foreshadowed His death. Mary was only concerned with the present!

The question I asked of you… does your love for Jesus pour into Him or do you prefer the drip method as a convenience? A Holy relationship with Jesus must be consistent and not one of expediency. It is a beautiful process of always being in the presence of love.

There’s so much I want to say on this topic, but perhaps I will write more soon. Deep reflections represented in this journal have delivered more softness to my heart, now. It has allowed me the opportunity to envision more clearly, Jesus’ extension in my life. His expansion! With this, I know that whatever happens, will happen, and happens, for me. With Jesus, beautiful and remarkable things happen. 

I pour into Him!



Manning, B. (2009). The furious longing of God. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook Publishers.

 p. 117