About Me

My photo
He makes me new, He is making me new

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

No one will take her out of my hands

I woke up this morning hung up on the thought that what was good about me was taken away when I was young, and I have spent my life covering up the gaping hole by “becoming” this “person” that I thought could….manage in the real world. And to my “credit” i managed somewhat for a short while, until it all started falling apart. 
So I have been attempting to tear down the false masks, the carefully constructed persona, the idols of my heart that have sustained me, even while I struggled to really love Jesus. It’s a freakin’ mess. No other way to describe it. 
I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but the painful realization this morning was:

 “My father took what was beautiful about me and twisted into an ugliness I can’t seem to shake. If what I am is a twisted corrupted version of me, then I don’t even know what have I have to offer” 

Now, maybe its just me but thats a pretty bleak way to start a Tuesday morning! 

Then I checked my email and saw the "She Reads Truth” email. The wonderful She Reads Truth ladies are studying the book of Hosea, and I have to admit, most days when I see the email with the day’s passage and devotion, I skip over it. I’m too busy, and the maybe later…turns into never.

Aaah but today, today I  read it. and wept. 

Just yesterday I was doing my homework for theology class and reading about the Bible. The supernatural quality that makes it come alive again and again. The quality that makes it speak to a specific believer in specific ways. The way in which the Spirit uses each word in His perfectly appointed time, to instruct, correct, convict, and comfort.

My incessant and stubborn pursuit to make myself into something in spite of the ugliness I carry inside has defined my life. I has at times taken me away from God, it has caused me to choose sin and darkness, it has made me self-destructive. It has taken me down paths that have caused pain and darkness for those I love. It has only heaped more shame onto my already burdened heart. But God….in His infinite love and pursuit continues to tear down layers of shame and pain, and continues to lay down more bits of grace and beauty. Little by little.

This morning it felt as though overnight He was peeling away a layer, and making room for this morning’s grace. When I woke up i was disheartened, empty, tired. Nothing to offer…..kept ringing in my ears….

then I read Hosea chapter 2 from the She Reads Truth email that was sitting in my Inbox.


v 10 NO ONE WILL TAKE HER OUT OF MY HANDS

v14 Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. 
There i will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. 
There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt.

19- I will betroth  you to me forever
I will betroth you in righteousness and justice
in love and compassion
I will betroth you in faithfulness
and you will acknowledge the Lord.

I wept because My God, my Father, My Savior is RELENTLESS in His pursuit. I wept because my heart was overwhelmed with a love I have chased all my life but didn’t believe actually existed. I wept because my hard cover and walls are coming down and in my fear and uncertainty he bathes me with love, with beauty, with words that I didn’t even know I so longed to hear from the only One who can truly speak them and mean them. I wept because I desire to be made whole, and pure again, and He promises that He already has! I wept because I desperately want to belong to someone strong enough to HOLD ME….forever.

NO ONE WILL TAKE HER OUT OF MY HANDS. 

Betrothed forever. Beloved. That’s it. That’s all I got. 

For I am His, and He is mine. 





Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Thank YOU. For me



What if you find yourself lost?
What if nowhere is home and you feel as though you are aimless, alone, and have no safe haven, no place to take refuge? I have had many seasons like that, and each time, I strive to hang on to Jesus for my safety and comfort, but I usually fail. I get desperate, anxious, and mad. 

What I hadn’t counted on were countless of these seasons amounting to home. Countless desert nights amounting to a safe oasis. Countless tears of loneliness cried to a God who seemed distant turning into love. A Love so rare and so deep it made me wonder how I hadn’t known it before.

What I hadn’t counted on were the small, magical ways in which Jesus has given me a home inside myself.
I had not foreseen the almost insignificant but also the big changes that have given me this today. 

I hadn’t SEEN the smiles, the hugs, the tears, the laughs, the ridiculousness
I didn’t see the knowing nods, the prayers, the singing of songs
I didn’t notice the I miss yous and I love yous and the I SEE YOUs

I didn’t anticipate this feeling today, or the realization that Jesus brings me home to myself each time my heart feels known. In even the tiniest of ways.

People are meant to be loved, made to be loved. To be loved is to be seen. It is to be known, to be cherished, to be fought for. To be loved is to be brought back to yourself. 
This is what Jesus has been trickling into my heart through countless seasons of pain. His love, His pursuit, His word and promises, but oh, as if that wasn’t enough, He surrounded and flooded me with thousands of moments that even as I was unaware were returning to me what had been taken and seemed long gone.
Many glorious, broken, messy WONDERFUL people are a part of this tapestry of careful and deliberate healing.

I hope if you are reading this today that you KNOW you are a part of this amazing tapestry in my life, and what’s more amazing, in many other lives as well, no doubt, though I cannot speak for those. 
YOU have brought me healing. You have been used by God in wonderful redemptive and miraculous ways I cannot begin to adequately describe. And you may not have known it. It may just have been your smile one day. Or a silly joke, or a glass of wine…it could have seemed like nothing at the time…

This is what I know today. I am loved by my Father in Heaven so much He has spent my life surrounding me with moments. And you. Wonderful, broken, desperate, crazy you.
You have been returning pieces of me without knowing it. You have been helping to put back together a broken masterpiece. It will never be the masterpiece it was meant to be this side of Heaven, but oh…it’s going to be glorious someday!

Thank you. If you have ever SEEN me, and known ANY part of me, and if ANY part of me has delighted you, if you have ever gleaned anything good at all FROM me, if any goodness was exchanged between you and me. Thank you. I owe you….myself.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hope



So much is swirling in my brain and in my heart it’s difficult to know where or how to start. But it needs to come out of my head. So it may be difficult to follow, it may be messy and not properly edited, but I don’t care.

To be sitting here so broken, so afraid of what’s next, so raw and unprotected feels asinine, it feels like the opposite of what I should be doing, the opposite of what I have always known to do best. Hiding. I’m an expert hider. It’s all I have known and the only way I have survived my life. But I sit here today naked, my cover is gone, and it’s because slowly but persistently the God who loves me do desperately has pursued and relentlessly surrounded me until I could let go. Until I had no choice but to let go. He has shown me the uselessness of my ways, the futility of my striving, and allowed me to break down, and give into His grace. Each layer of protection He takes away feels like being killed, it feels like dying, it feels like the pain I’ve been hiding from all my life will swallow me whole. It feels cruel, and mean one moment and the next moment it feels like the only hope I will ever know this side of heaven. How? How can feeling so much pain and feeling so hopeless lead to something good?

The paradoxes of God never cease to amaze me and leave me with very inadequate and empty words to attempt to describe it, but I still try because…because I never want to forget this. If I have ANYTHING of value to offer anyone it is my open bleeding and broken heart, that beats for Jesus still. That hangs on to His hope, and His sacrifice for ME.
Maybe none of this makes any sense if you don’t know me, if you don’t know my life, my past, my journey, and my story.
There are details too horrifying to ever put on paper (or on screen) so I will spare you those. I will share that as a little girl my hope was taken away. My body was violated, my soul was murdered by the very people who were supposed to love me, care for me and protect me from a difficult and painful world. I had no hope. I had no dreams, I learned at a very tender age to never hope and dream, to never believe in good things, to fight for survival and protect myself from ever DESIRING love again. But I also learned something more vile, vicious and toxic. I learned to believe that the shame of the sin done against me belonged to me. I not only believed that, but I became that. I BECAME THE SHAME of my abuse.
And then I became whatever I needed to become in order to escape that shame. In order to hide from it and to hide it from others. I became whatever I needed to become in order to be loved. But here’s another paradox. I had learned that needing love invited abuse, so I couldn’t really allow love in, but I was still desperate for it, so I allowed abuse instead, because it was at least human contact and attention. Abuse begets more abuse, and the only way you learn to relate is to prostitute yourself: “I’ll give you this if you give me attention” is not love.
I manipulated others in order to feel any kind of human acceptance, I lied to myself and others and manipulated my ways into situations that would offer a taste of what I thought I wanted.
I have never known what it means to respect myself, to love myself. The love of Jesus!? It has taken over 15 years of His relentless pursuit to start to peel away the layers of my stubborn protection. But it wasn’t protection at all. Sure, it kept me from literally dying inside when I was young, but after age 18 it was no longer protection. It was quite literally the opposite. It is the way I have kept people out of my heart, and kept myself at a distance from the possibility of ever being known. My shame still defined me. If you see my shame, I will die. Not so different from Adam and Eve huh? I was ashamed so I hid. And then right after that starts the blaming game “the woman you gave me”. In my case it became “the life you gave me”. I blamed God (albeit completely subconsciously) for everything I got, and everything I didn’t get. So all I had was shame, cynicism, and a fierce determination to make it. 
You have never met anyone so determined TO NOT be defined by abuse and brokenness. Or anyone so utterly defined by her abuse and brokenness.

And yet somewhere deep down I did desire to love Jesus. And little by little, He took this tiny desire and grew it, through trials, through His relentless pursuit, His amazing forgiveness, through his providence and provision, and in the face of ALL MY OUTRAGE, all my rebellion, all my sin and all my stubborn decisions to do life on my own, He never, ever gave up on me.
So today I sit with the broken pieces of my heart in my hand, all my desperate attempts to hide have failed me. The fear of who I might be if I let it all down is no longer bigger than the desire to let go and be free. I saw a t-shirt yesterday at the mall that had a picture of the cross, and a soldier and it read “Freedom isn’t free”. My freedom certainly isn’t. It isn’t free of pain for me, and it wasn’t free of deep pain and sacrifice for Jesus. I have spent my life running and hiding from pain, and desperate to be loved. But the paradox here is that once I could allow myself to sit with the pain of what was taken from me, I could actually and finally let love in. The pain I have held inside from the murder of my soul is heavy. It is big, it is vast it is deep, it is crushing. It takes my breath away and it threatens to swallow me up. But it is NOTHING compared to the immense and endless love of Jesus, who doesn’t just love me, but fights for me. And He fights harder than I ever could. And His weapons against my shame are love and grace.

I have deceived myself into thinking that loving Jesus and working hard to “make myself ok” are the formula for freedom. 15 years worth of sermons, books, talks, and prayers about grace and I was still striving to work hard enough to cleanse my own shame and brokenness. The fact is, the shame inflicted on me is so egregious, so vile, so dark, there could never be enough I could EVER do to make it ok. It was not, and is not OK. The only antidote against that kind of evil is surrender. Surrender to the ONLY one who truly has the power, and has already defeated the evil done against me. He has already cleansed me, He has already made me whole, holy, and pure.

Today I  feel as though all has been stripped away. My resourcefulness is gone. All my relentless persistence has vanished.
You don't think trusting is really all that hard until you realize it means giving up everything else, every other safety net, and you're left feeling empty. All I have left is a stubborn and desperate desire to hang onto my Daddy’s hand and to learn to TRUST Him. The Only One that has ever loved me perfectly, the Only one I can truly trust with my life. The Only One who gives me hope.

Followers