My Alabaster Jar
Luke 7:37 vAnd behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wwiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.
I could tell my heart was in a delicate place before I even stepped in the doors Saturday morning. I would be gathering with nearly 100 women to fellowship and seek Jesus. As I listened to a podcast on my drive there, just a couple sentences already pierced the armor of my heart. Aside from Sunday church services, it’d been over a year since I have willingly gathered in community like that among the body.
I made my way to a table with a few familiar faces, those that have intimately known the journey I’ve walked through over the last decade and specifically the last three years. Those that have seen and witnessed the power of God in my life for ten years. Some of the first to hear our kingdom dreams. They have witnessed me in my strongest, weakest and most challenging of church seasons. When I sat down, I confessed, “Goodness, my heart is already a mess today. I just know God is up to something this morning. I haven’t felt vulnerable like this in a long time. Life is so much more comfortable when your heart is hard.” We all had a laugh, but everyone ultimately knew that if I felt it, something was coming.
The games and food were lovely and then Susan introduced the video excerpt from Kristi McClelland’s Jesus & Women bible study. Once the video began, Kristi wasn’t even one Bible verse into the story she was referencing of The Woman and the Alabaster Jar and that was it. I was wrecked and God struck my heart for the remainder of the morning. The lesson from Kristi was beautiful, but God had something different for me to ponder that morning. After the session Susan asked, “when was the last time you just “lost it” with God?” And the unraveling began.
Today I repeat the question, when was the last time you lost it with God?
We are often reminded that the alabaster jar was the most valuable possession the woman had and in this one moment we see the woman giving her all in this offering. Scholars have highlighted the historical value, the cultural significance etc. Regardless of those things, in one word, “weeping”, we can picture the gravity of this moment.
As I sat listening to the women sing over the room, I closed my eyes and the tears began to flow. As if watching a flashback I saw all of the times that I brought my alabaster jar to the feet of Jesus and wept. If I am being honest, my weeping was not over Jesus and his majesty. It was over the contents of the jar. I wept over how difficult it was to release those things to Jesus. I’ve wept over Jake. I wept over what building my family would look like. I wept over letting go of my high-paying job and future career. I wept over financial control. I wept over dreams of traveling the world. I’ve wept over health and security. I wept over our future. My tears have held sorrow and grief.
“You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.”
Psalms 56:8 MSG
I began to realize that our alabaster jar moments are not just once. I remembered each offering that was brought to Jesus’ feet in my life. The emotion involved in fully releasing something and bringing it to the feet of Jesus. The mumbled, “it’s yours, Lord.” “This is painful, Lord.” “Your will be done, Lord.” “You are enough, Lord.” The tenderness of God’s presence during those times and the lack of judgment over how difficult it was for me. Just like God didn’t condemn this woman for her past, he has never condemned me for weeping over my offering.
Saturday, I experienced a different kind of weeping. It felt like the other side of the same story of the woman and the jar. Saturday, I wept because I’ve seen and experienced the faithfulness of God after offering some of my alabaster jars. There are quite a few still spilled at Jesus feet. There are tears that still wet Jesus’ feet as I continue to release them into his will and care. But there are some, some so very special, that God has restored, redeemed, and even improved.
I’m learning that the pain of releasing those things, weeping over them, is a very real part of my walk with Jesus. I am also learning, however, that when I place those at the feet of Jesus alongside my wet tears, God lovingly receives them and stewards them in a way that I will never fully grasp. Even still, there may be some that have been set at the feet of Jesus and stay there.
Wherever you are in your alabaster story, whether you are weeping over releasing your most valuable dreams or whether you are weeping over restoration, Jesus is there to receive it. He is safe and he is faithful, bring him your tears and bring him your offerings. Don’t ever feel bad about wetting his feet for in doing so, you are honoring him.