The Heart of Tifiti: A Mama Devotion from Moana

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I don’t know about anyone else, but in our house there tends to be one movie that we watch over and over and over again. Everyday. Sometimes twice a day, and if we’re not watching it, the toddler is singing the soundtrack. This last for weeks (sometimes months), until she discovers a different movie, and suddenly that movie becomes the one we watch over and over and over and over…you get the point.

Recently our movie has been Moana. And this movie is just beautiful. I love just about everything about it: the villagers dance moves, the girl power, and the likeable villain Tomatoa! This is a Disney movie I actually don’t mind watching on repeat…for now.

But the other day I was watching it, and something struck me.

(SPOILERS Ahead! So go watch the movie and then come back).

Towards the end of the movie there is this epic battle scene between Maui and Moana vs. Te Ka. Up until this point, the movie has been about Maui and Moana learning how to work together so they can get past Te Ka and give back Te Fiti (the goddess of life) her heart.

So I’m watching this battle go down (as I have 5 million times before) and finally Moana makes it past Te Ka (this devil lava monster trying to steal the heart). And we get to where Te Fiti is supposed to be and there is nothing. Nothing but this giant imprint on the ocean floor where Te Fiti used to lie. And that is when we realize Te Ka is Te Fiti. Te Fiti is Te Ka! When Te Fiti’s heart was stolen, all the life was taken out if her, and she became this horrible, ugly lava monster just trying to get her heart back.

Moana realizes this beacons Te Ka to come to her. She restores Te Fiti’s heart, and life is restored, not only to Te Fiti, but to the whole world.

So as I’m watching it, I’m tearing up, because it’s beautiful (and I’m still fighting those postpartum horomones). And this verse slips into my head:

“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”

Proverbs 4:23 (ESV)

Guys I totally think that God, the creator of the whole universe speaks to us in mysterious ways, sometimes even through Disney movies. So let me get this out there:

I am Te Fiti. You are Te Fiti! A magical, life-giver. But how often do I become Te Ka? Where the words spoken over me have stolen my heart. The passive (or not so passive) aggressive actions of others have left me lifeless. Where scars are so big and the wounds so deep that I can find no relief from the pain, and am condemned to be a monster. But just as Moana called out to Te Fiti, there is a voice that calls out to you and me, saying “This is not who you are. Let me restore you”

Guard Your Heart

I grew up in church, and was a teenager during the peak of what we call “The Purity Movement.” Purity rings. Purity balls. Effective (or not). That was my generation. And the key verse spoken over us teenage girls was Proverbs 4:23. Guard your heart from those teenage boys, or they might spit it up and chew it out, and you deserve better, because you are God’s princess.

Now I totally think there is merit to this. I think we need to teach and encourage our children (sons and daughters) to guard their hearts and walk in purity sexually or otherwise.

But guys, I don’t think that verse was written with that intention. Further more, if we limit its application to teenagers with raging hormones, we rob ourselves of the power it can have over our lives.

So what does it mean for a married, stay at home mom (or really anyone for that matter)?

Matthew Henry, in his commentary on Proverbs divides this passage into two parts and says it beautifully:

We must maintain a holy jealousy of ourselves, and set a strict guard, accordingly, upon all the avenues of the soul; keep our hearts from doing hurt and getting hurt.

I love that! “From doing hurt and being hurt.” I think in church we often talk about the doing hurt part. I learned all the 10 commandments in Sunday School. Do not steal. Don’t murder. Don’t cheat on your husband. But the “being hurt” part? Yes we talk about forgiveness, but who knows that’s a lot easier said than done? Something happens, and it’s easy to be offended, and let it sit. Sometimes we don’t even realize the hurt we’re carrying, but it festers, and hardens us. Soon we are unrecognizable. We have become Te Ka.

Out of the hurt in our heart, we have become a monster.

However, on the flipside, Henry continues:

Out of a heart well kept will flow living issues, good products, to the glory of God and the edification of others.

For Te Fiti, her heart restored quite literally meant that life flowed out of it. And is that not the same for use? When our hearts are restored, we are sharing our passions, we make friends and are good friends, we can love God and love others.

Another interesting thing I had found about the word life (in Hebrew:chay) is that it is also used in the story of Creation. It says in Genesis 2:7:

“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (chay) and he became a living being (chay).”

The Lord gave man life and so he became life. And if we guard our hearts, holding fast to what who the Lord has made us to be, life flows out of us as well.

Then, when God made Adam a wife, he named her Eve, because chay life would flow out of her.

We were made to be Te Fiti! A vessel from which life flows! However how often is it that we let our guard down. We get hurt. We let the wound fester. We become jaded. Bitter. Hostile. Until one day we wake up and we’re unrecognizable. We have become Te Ka.

Restoring the Heart

So real talk. I struggle with anxiety. Hurtful words from others, or hurtful thoughts about myself (that I would never say about someone else) bounce around my head. Sometimes it’s triggered and sometimes that’s just how I wake up, and I have to talk myself down first thing in the morning. It’s ruined friendships. It’s fueled eating disorders. And it’s kinda a life-ruiner. To be honest it went unmanaged longer than it should have. But when I finally sought help, one thing my counselor said is “you are not what that broken person said about you.” And that stuck with me and has helped me in my journey.

I am learning how to guard my heart.

I have a choice to believe those things spoken over me or to remind myself “this is not who you are. You are not what that broken person said.”

It’s what Paul described as “taking ever thought captive and making them obedient to God” (2 Corinthians 10:5). It’s choosing to let go of the hurt and believe the truth of what God had said. “I am chosen” (1 Peter 1:2). “I am loved” (1 John 3:1). If there is a certain truth I am having a hard time believing, I will write it down on a index card and put it somewhere I will see it throughout the day, so I can remember it and pray it over my life.

This is just my story. But everyone of us has our own demons that can threaten to steal that life we were made for.

Maybe it’s the betrayal of a friend and rejection has swept over your heart. Guard your heart. You are accepted and chosen.

Maybe you were suddenly thrown into stay at home mom life, you see your dreams fading away, and depression is stealing your motherhood. Guard your heart you were made for a purpose. Your babies are gift.

Maybe your mother-in-law is super critical and has said some things that weren’t meant to be hurtful, but they have stuck and you’re bitter. Guard your heart. You are the Lord’s child.

Whatever it is, that is not what you were made for. I’m not saying live in denial. Hurts happen. Anxiety and depression are real. But they don’t have to rob us of our lives.

Guard your heart with the truths the Lord has spoken about you. I already mentioned I write my truths on index cards. However, Homemade Lovely has a beautiful free chalkboard printable with a list of verses proclaiming your identity in Christ. This is such a slick tool to print and hang in your home when the battle is hard.

The I Am Challenge by Melody Olson is another great resource to start exploring and meditating on these verses. Each day is spent exploring and meditating on a new verse. It’s not super time consuming and very simple. I participated in the challenge a month before our second was born, and I can say it was totally doable as a very pregnant toddler mom.

Grace For Every Season

Guys we’re not perfect and we’re all going to have our Te Ka moments. Toddlers can become crazy screaming dictators. Teething babies cause sleepless nights. Some days there is just not enough coffee in the world and we become mommy monsters. But we don’t have to live that way. God gives grace. And when we accept that grace, that’s another way of guarding our hearts. It gives us the strength to rise up from our mommy moment and in turn give grace to our toddler who is having a melt down, because the pink cup is dirty. We can have grace for the 3rd diaper blow-out before noon. However I like what Lysa Terkhurst says in her book, Finding I Am, “Jesus words bring life. When God speaks, things happen.” God spoke and the world was created. Jesus spoke and raised people back to life. The Bible is God’s word for our lives, and if his word can form the universe and resurrect the dead, what is the power in can have for our broken hearts and lives?

We are Te Fiti

Like Te Fiti, we all are guilty of having our hearts stolen. However, God has the power to make us whole. His word brings healing and protection, so we can have abundant life.

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