I remember around the year 2007 when I had begun to see the outward effects of how truly shattered a person I was. At that time I knew that my salvation was sure, but I did not believe in any way, shape, or form that I could ever fully recover emotionally, mentally, or spiritually from the blows that I had encountered in my life. I had been reading about Jacob’s fear [Gen. 32:9-32] of his brother (who was coming in the distance) and how he cried out to the Lord concerning His promises to bless him. And I remember, at that moment, vowing to myself and to the Lord that I would contend, I would wrestle, I would fight for my healing, for my deliverance; my blessing.
I made a decision that day that I would praise Him all of my days, through every storm, in the darkness, in the isolation and all the tears, where no one else could possibly imagine that a shattered mind can actually go when not kept in check. Regardless of the loneliness or the shame I felt when others simply could not fathom the depth or width of the conflict within me, in my own prison, I vowed to worship at His feet until He set this captive free or until I saw Him face to face. In my desperate mind, I was pressing into the presence of God for my freedom and I was ready to fight Him for it – because the truth was . . . I didn’t think He really wanted to give it to me – because I didn’t deserve it, because I had been a disgrace to Him and His name.
Clearly, these were lies. Somewhere in my mind I knew this fact; these were simply lies from the pit of hell. But they rang true within every part of me. I knew that if they could have been true, I was foolish for thinking that I could wrestle God like Jacob and walk away with just a limp, but I DID NOT CARE. I also knew that my fight was ultimately not with God, but with the enemy of my soul, who accuses God to all of us. So, that was it. I was going to give praise to my precious Jesus in the face of my enemy until my chains were broken. The following is a poem that I wrote in the darkest night of my soul. A cry of hope. A promise of His truth:
Face To Face
Whispers, whispers of a day
When He will wash my tears away.
Perseverance is what I need;
On His sufficient grace I feed.
Praise Him will I, all my days;
For in His presence darkness fades.
And until I see Him face to face,
Bowing at His feet I’ll stay.
So, this afternoon I was reading from The Message, which for me, is a totally new experience. I tried a few lines once or twice before but was quite unimpressed by it. Today, however, I was drawn to read and re-read it, over and over again because the Holy Spirit within was stirring; something familiar was coming to my heart.
6-7 Blessed be God—
He heard me praying.
He proved He’s on my side;
I’ve thrown my lot in with Him;
Now I’m jumping for joy, and shouting and singing my thanks to Him.
8-9 God is all strength for His people,
ample refuge for His chosen leader;
Save your people
and bless Your heritage.
Care for them;
carry them like a good shepherd.
Today, I was reminded that when I made that promise years ago, I was going “all in”. In my mind, it was all-or-nothing. I had nothing else to lose, as far as I was concerned because – in my mind – I had lost everything. I had “thrown in my lot with Him.” He did hear me. He was always on my side. Always! From the beginning He was listening and waiting for me to allow Him to carry me; more than I could have (or dared to) imagine. For the last three months He’s been showing me what it means live a life of truly trusting Him. To experience Him “carrying me like a good shepherd”.
He reminded me of something that a precious pastor and friend, Jan Greenwood, shared once. She stated, “The most powerful position in spiritual warfare one can do is from a position of rest.” (I know I probably got that all mixed up and quoted it incorrectly, but that was the gist of it) At the time, I heard her, but I was acutely aware that I did not comprehend in my heart the fullness of its meaning.
As I read the verses above, I am finding that He has indeed brought me to a new place of joy, shouting and singing my thanks to Him and He deserves every bit of my praise – for God is all strength for His people! And I can do it from a new level of peace and yes, from that position of rest, because in my own personal way, “I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” much like Jacob at Peniel.
If you have been shattered or are in a place of brokenness, darkness or desperation, THERE IS HOPE! Commit your heart and mind to Him. Press into Him. It’s worth fighting for. It took me a long time to understand that I did not have to fight in order to get my healing – which, by the way, is still a work in progress – I had to fight a battle in my soul to LET GO so that I could receive His love, His affection, His healing, and. . . His rest. He really wants to carry you.
The other day, as I was passing through the crowds at church, I saw a good handful of people who have walked with me for the last several years in my season of brokenness. Some, casual friends or pastors, and then the others who know all the ugly; inside and out. I couldn’t hide my smile, even in the midst of more frustrating news I had just received that the enemy keeps flying in my face lately. “Nope! He is not going to steal my joy today!” God has been so good to me. His gracious tenderness has astounded me; overwhelmed me, these last few years.
I was just thinking back to the first time I can remember feeling so alone in my broken state. I felt like no one saw me. No one cared. It felt like no matter what I said, no one could hear me. . . not even God. Of course I knew that wasn’t true, but sometimes I allow my feelings to trump the truth. We all do. But that is for another blog; another page.
Today, I just wanted to pull out an old poem that I wrote in 2003 for a precious woman of God, who befriended me and gave me hope when my world was falling apart. I was living in Italy at the time and she lived in South Africa. Rene, you still reside in a special corner of my heart! I love you.