Sometimes my worst enemy is me. It is the things in ourselves that we refuse to face that have the greatest potential to tyrannize us and we risk becoming possessed by that which we refuse to face. God has forgiven, so have those I’ve hurt deeply, yet my hands can tighten around my own neck as I look back at the damage I did to those dearest to me. I can still let fear in. In these moments the darkness calls, but Jesus calls louder. The courage I want to give to others, their pain I wish to take away, God desires to do the same for me. He says, “I am with you, I have forgiven you, I will take care of you and those your heart aches for.”
Dan3:17 (NCV) “If you throw us into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from the furnace. He will save us from your power, O king. But even if God does not save us, we want you to know this: We will not serve your gods.”
During this season of my life I’m in a blazing furnace and I call out to God to take my pain away but he has not yet released me. The fear: What if I am overwhelmed by the strength of my own need for love? What if I surrender myself to this love and am again hurt? The God I serve has not saved me in the way I want to be saved and it is here that I am called to praise Him still, to remember there are no strings attached to His love, He redeems my failures, delights in second chances and fresh starts. I am tempted to numb out, to turn away from the pain, but I choose to walk through the fire and put it all down at the foot of the cross. I can’t always feel His comfort but I know God is here, even in this furnace, He is here. There will be many times in our lives where things will not go according to our plans, our hopes, or dreams, but they are still going according to God’s plan. If we cling to His love and forgiveness we will see these wonderful plans. He is calling me to new dreams if I am willing to let Him lead me. I can refuse to cooperate, but I cannot keep God from executing His ways on His schedule.
I say, “From my hands and heart into yours my God.” It is in this pain that I truly experience how Jesus knows this heartache because I’ve been the source of it for Christ so often. He can fight off my darkness and my pain. He believes I can see the other side of this even if I cannot right now.
Ps 16: 1-2 Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”
God is helping me to become the woman I need to be for Him and those He desires me to serve. Acknowledging my fears, forgiving myself by accepting his forgiveness, has helped me to meet God in the places of deep vulnerability and meet others with greater honesty and humility. I’m learning to define myself by my relationship to Jesus – who I am, and who I am not. I am not defined by my past but by my future.
Ps17: 6,8 I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer. Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you… 8 Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings”
God loves me deeply. To access the depths of that love He calls me to surrender to it. It is this ridiculous, immense love that will give me the courage to face unpleasant aspects of myself. It will give me assurance that I am safe in Him so that I don’t look for safety in myself or someone else again. I was once trying to gain courage from someone I deeply loved, God is showing me I gain courage to face my fears as I soak in His great love as I crawl up into his lap and feel his touch, as he lays his hands on me to bless me.
Love is kind, patient and always hopes. This means I need to be kind to myself, patient with myself and I need to hope for my future. I’m praying for God to help me find joy when it seems so unattainable, to not necessarily look for the lessons, but cling to Him over any other, to lean on Him when I want to lean on and cast this pain onto others who can’t be gods for me.
Mark 6:45-52 (NCV) 50[…] “Have courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.”51 Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind became calm.”
He gets into the boat with me. Perfect love meets me where I am and asks only that I open my heart and receive the love for which I long. I need only surrender and accept forgiveness to access it. My fear and forgiving myself are closely intermingled because I am learning that fear is often a substitute for guilt and guilt always results in a fear of love, it stalls access. I’m learning to let Jesus into the boat with me. I know I’m not letting him in when the storms and winds start to pick up inside of me. He always calms the storm when I surrender. In that I can forgive myself and accept His love.
Ps16:6 (NCV) “No, the Lord is all I need. He take care of me. 8 I keep the Lord before me always. Because he is close by my side, I will not be hurt…or (NIV), I will not be shaken.”