Jesus introduces me to New Year Resolutions

I’m not the sort of person who makes New Year Resolutions.  I know there are a billion things in my life that I would love to resolve and work on, but I have never really set out the beginning of a new year with some personal goal in mind.  So to be perfectly honest I am not the person who should be giving advice on how to do that, or what to do, or even share countless success stories.  I have a very strong resolve when it comes to others, even strangers, but I have very little resolve when it comes to myself.  I would love to say it is because I am humble and selfless … now that would be awesome.  It would, however, throw out my self-proclaimed humbleness right out the window.  No, my reason is dark.  I try to make light of it often without really getting to the heart of the issue.  Even now I have had to delete several sentences.  I want to sarcastically refer to this as a ‘gift’.  But that’s wrong.  My Pastor, Mark Driscoll, has been going through the book of Malachi these last few weeks, and one of the condemnations of God against rebellious Israel is that they call bad things good and good things bad.  This really hit home for me, and I feel the desperate need to sin in this fashion.  I want to hide my sin in sarcasm, but truly it is a heart issue I have with the LORD.  In my heart I know I am accusing Him of allowing me to be given this ‘gift’.  But what does all of this have to do with New Year Resolutions and why I don’t make them?  I don’t make resolutions for myself because I don’t consider myself.

I don’t mean that flippantly, or humbly.  I don’t value myself.  I don’t find myself worthy of that sort of attention or intention or interest.  I am learning that this is a reverse form of pride because it is still about me, all about me.  It is about how I see myself, rather than how God sees me.  This is a very deep rooted sin my heart and soul. It is a sin I have to work on, but it is painful.  Those who know me know some of why I am like this, but those of you who don’t know …someone hurt me.  Before I knew Jesus I was involved with a man who abused me.  The first night he raped me I was ashamed and in so much pain.  The very next night the same thing happened, and the shame went deeper.  Then went the third night, the fourth night, the tenth night, the twenty-fifth night.  I once told people he raped, abused, and tortured me for six months.  Daily.  I didn’t see an end in sight.  But one night I ended up screaming so loud and I shattered.  I went away.  I can’t really tell you where I went because I don’t really know.  I felt like a zombie.  Something happened that night when I broke that scared him …and after that he no longer raped me with sexual intercourse.

Last year I started this process of healing.  Of walking through this with the LORD, and he is showing me things I didn’t remember, things I didn’t want to see or remember.  I didn’t break up with this man or escape this man that night.  He continued to be my boyfriend/fiancée/master/abuser for a good year and a half.  He made me do things I didn’t want to do.  And as I look back at those moments I realized I lost value in myself.  I no longer cared what happened to me physically.  I simply couldn’t care because I had no escape.  There was no end.  I hated everything about myself because there was no part of me that didn’t hurt, that didn’t feel defiled, and that didn’t feel disgusting.

When I gave myself to Jesus, and fell on my face behind His righteousness …I didn’t open that door for Him.  I had so forgotten myself that I didn’t realize there was a door there for Him to open.  My life was so riddled with obvious sin of paganism and copious amounts of sexual immorality that it was my focus to drastically change and turn my back on all that.  It has been four years of challenges and struggles to let go of all of these things.  And I by no means have it perfected yet.  This year, however …2014 … is the start of my fifth year as a Christian.  And as I read Facebook posts and internet articles about resolutions …God has knocked the wind out of me as I realized all that I am writing to you.

I don’t want to make a resolution.  It feels uncomfortable.  And that bothers me.  I don’t like knowing that I think so little of me.  And my lack of self-value affects all my relationships.  I don’t let people close, but I hunger for friendship.  I want to reach out, but when I look at my own metaphorical hand I see something twisted and dead.  And all of this is a lie.  It is a lie that the enemy has told me.  And I didn’t know how to fix that hand.  So I just focused on learning more.  In my learning through Mars Hill, each Community Group I have been to, the Women’s Mid-week Studies, and my friendships I found myself finding this door, and having to confront it.  And I don’t want to open it.  I don’t want to walk through it with Jesus.  I want to take an alternative route.  So I began to make up a list of all the reasons New Year Resolutions are stupid.

First, they are nearly impossible to keep with.  Second, I change and make improvements because of my relationship with Jesus and not because the planet earth has made one more revolution around the sun.  As a pagan the new year came at the end of October and it was all about the renewing of life.  But I am no longer a pagan so that was a notch against a New Year Resolution.  Then following that vein of thought our culture isn’t about renewing life, it is about renewing self.  How will I make myself a better version of me than last year?  So after combining all of this with all of what I shared earlier I nearly talked myself out of it.  Then the Holy Spirit happened.

I was showering and a soft voice inside me told me I was clean.  At first I was like, “Yeah duh.  Soap will do that to you.”  But the Holy Spirit didn’t allow me to be so dismissive of this profound statement.  I am clean.  For some reason I stopped and closed my eyes.  I just let the water fall over me.  As I stood there with my eyes closed (I know this will sound weird) I felt the blood of Christ washing over me rather than the water.  At first all I could do was sink to my knees and cry.  Then I heard His voice tell me to wash myself with the blood.  So I did.  I washed every inch of me without opening my eyes.  I have never felt this clean.  I thought when I opened my eyes the feeling would vanish.  It didn’t.  That statement stuck with me … Wash myself with the blood.  I thought I had.

But that is my default thinking.  I understood it as skin deep.  I had washed myself with the blood.  I had wept.  My skin actually still feels slightly raw.  The Holy Spirit kept at me.  He kept telling me to wash myself with the blood.  To be honest I started to get frustrated.  So I did the only ‘logical’ thing to do.  I began to argue with the Holy Spirit.

They are impossible to keep.  “For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37).  When I began on the arguments of the silliness of New Year keeping, that it was simply another night devoted to people getting drunk He spoke again.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.  (Genesis 1:14-19)

God created the years, the orbit of the earth.  We were meant to keep time, to count the years.  He designed them for us.  So why do I take such a thing so lightly?  But like with everything else we tarnished and corrupted this gift.  But I stubbornly continued to argue.  New Year Resolutions in this culture are all about us, self-improvement, self-worship. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

“Wash yourself in the blood of Christ” Then it hit me.  The LORD, the maker of the Heavens and the earth, the God of Jacob, the God of Isaac, and the God of Joseph, YAHWEH has shown up to wash me.  I don’t know what I was trying to confine Him to the world’s definitions of resolutions and times.  YAHWEH has come to open the door.  I have begun to do the only thing that is right.  I have begun to understand the only correct response.  I surrendered.  I surrender all to you my LORD, my King, my God, my Savior, my Friend, my Creator.

So today, the first day of the New Year, I have not made a resolution.  I have not found obedience.  I have found a New Year Supplication.  A New Year Submission.  A New Year of surrender and slavery to the Master of all things, the King of kings, and the LORD of lords.  I have found a New Year of Love.  I am beginning to understand that this door inside of me isn’t even my door.  I belong to my LORD.  I have no right to keep it closed.  I have no right to throw my sin on what He, YAHWEH, is cleaning.

What does that mean?  It means that this year I yield myself to Christ, to the will of my Father.  I want and need Him to wash me with the blood.  And what bothers me is I know I will screw this up.  He knows I will screw this up, how I will screw this up, and when I will screw this up.  I am really not in control of anything.  I am not in the driver’s seat.  I am not the co-pilot.  I am a passenger.  This year I want this.  I beg the LORD to invade me.  I know this means more changes for me.  Changes I have tried to make on my own by my own will.  This year I want nothing to do with my will, and everything to do with His will.  His might.  His power.  Nothing is impossible with my God.  This year, starting today, I want to hold onto this truth.  I want to let go of lies.

So why am I sharing this with you?  Because since that first night he raped me I have been in hiding.  Even when I became saved, and became such a radically new creature I was given a new name, I have still been hiding.  I don’t want to hide any more.  I can’t do the things that the LORD wants me to do, and be the things the LORD wants me to be if I hide.  Today I need to read and write the truth of the LORD.  This is how the LORD sees me.  This is how the LORD sees you.  And I know this has been a long post …but please stop considering yourself …and consider what God has to say about you.

I am saved by His grace! It is a gift! It has nothing to do with my performance!

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” (Ephesians 2:8)

 

I have been born again by the Holy Spirit if I believe in Jesus!

Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.‘” (John 3:5-6)

 

I am altogether new IN HIM!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17)

 

Because of this I am righteous and holy, and He has renewed the spirit of my mind!

and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:23-24)

 

I no longer have to hide.  Darkness has no place in me!

For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5)

 

I am God’s instrument to shine HIS light for you!

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)

 

For God chose me, me of all people, to proclaim HIS glory!

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellences of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

 

IN Christ I am an heir to the Kingdom of God!

“and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. ” (Romans 8:17)

 

I did not choose Jesus.  God chose me to be a bearer of His fruit!

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” (John 15:16)

 

In fact, god made me from the beginning of time to do HIS good works!

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

 

I have a heavenly calling!

Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession,” (Hebrews 3:1)

 

I am reconciled in Christ and Christ has given me a message of reconciliation!

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)

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Who am I before God?

Today I had the honor and gift of being able to sit in the comfort of my home while listening to some awesome Bible preaching and teaching.  My Church set up the Resurgence Conference for free online streaming.  I was giddy this morning for what I would learn.  I was overwhelmed at the sight of so many Jesus loving individuals packed into my church …singing ….praying ….learning …living …and worshipping together.  It was an awesome sight to see the pews packed.  It actually brought tears to my eyes …because I want to see that every Sunday.  And today was a Tuesday.  A day generally not packed full of church goers.  I was in awe of my God blessing me with a sight I always want to see.  It truly was amazing!

What I took away from today amazes me more.  It isn’t something I have really thought of.  All the Pastors who spoke today touched on it spoke into this feeling inside of me, but it was brought home by Pastor Greg Laurie.  Is who I am when I am all alone with God the same person I am when I am around others?  The answer is no.  I am not the same person I am around my family that I am around my Community Group.  I am not the same person I am around my Community Group that I am every Sunday at my Church.  I am not any of those people when I am with only my husband.  And I am still not that person in any of those situations then when I am alone with just God.  I’m just not.  Oh sure I could give you a list of reasons and excuses to “sanatize” my choices.  But I am not going to.

As Pastor Crawford Loritts spoke of today I need to move away from that dissection and set my feet to the path of what I am going to do about it.  How can the awesome and redeeming power of the Gospel shine it’s light through me if I keep putting Yahweh’s lamp beneath a bucket?  So I am going to start with today.  By God’s sense of time this is the beginning of my Wednesday.  And I was blessed with spending the beginning of my Wednesday listening to the teaching and preaching of my Pastor Mark and Pastor Crawford a second time through with my husband.  It was a good start to my day and I find myself at peace with what the dawn will bring me.  And trust me when I say that very rarely is the case.

So who am I when I am alone with God?  At first I thought it was that I am more confident when I am alone with God than when I am around other people.  Because I often feel a mile behind everyone else, completely out of place, and the only platypus among a flock of swans.  I’m not even the same species.  So as I allowed myself to sink into this self-professed confidence before the LORD I quickly come to realize I am not all that confident.  I question myself before and around others, and even when it is just me and no one else can witness my pride …it isn’t displayed in confidence.  It is displayed in second guessing myself, doubting myself, condemning myself, beating myself up …and staying completely focused on myself rather than focusing on the very real and obvious fact that I am an infant in my faith before a timeless LORD who knew all of my sin before He laid the foundations of the world.  That’s intimidating.  It is also so completely loving and humbling that He went ahead and made me anyway just the way I am.  I can’t really wrap my mind around it.

If the last paragraph didn’t give the answer away I’ll say it plainly.  When I am alone before God I am a mess.  I realize that in most of my online social media stuffs that I am involved with I always mention that I am broken, but I don’t think I act that part out.  I keep it hidden because it makes me vulnerable and real and imperfect.  Granted I know everyone knows I am not perfect …but this is a whole other level of imperfection.  I am broken because I am a sinner …yes …but the shattered pieces of me go much deeper than what I allow anyone to really see on any sort of consistent level.  I know we are all broken from the start, when we are being knit in our mother’s womb.  I know that, and I don’t want to try and play the ‘who is more broken’ game with anyone.  I am just saying, and letting you know that my soul … my very core …is shattered to countless pieces in Jesus’ dust pan.  I know I have only allowed Him the briefest moments of times to begin gluing my pieces back together.  I know that every day that passes more of His glue will bind me together with the stickiness of the Holy Ghost.  Just run with that analogy, bypass its flaws.

I am in pain.  In an obvious way physically.  I have told some about the constant level and degree of pain that I live in.  When doctors ask about a pain level between 1 and 10 …I live normally at a 7.  When I sleep it jumps up to an 8 due to the fact I am asleep.  So generally I don’t sleep well.  It isn’t restive.  Every moment of every day I am in pain.  It isn’t a discomfort.  It isn’t bothersome or annoying.  It isn’t mild.  It is burning, stabbing, real pain.  And if you look at me it is doubtful you will see that pain.  It might show up briefly in a wince, but generally people don’t realize how much I hurt.  I don’t want you to know.  I go to great, exhaustive lengths so you don’t know.  I hurt.  All the time.  Even when I am smiling, laughing, singing, and lifting my hands to worship LORD …I am in pain.

The fact I am in pain is not the problem.  It is just how can you see the redeeming power of God for this pain, through this pain, and because of this pain … if you don’t even know I am in pain in the first place?  Hiding this thorn isn’t allowing the light of the Gospel to shine through those gaps and cracks.  Don’t worry I am not about to start whining around everyone, nor am I going to constantly complain.  I just know I need to start exploring the ways of shining the light of Christ through the lens of this agony rather than covering it up.  I know I will need to pray about this a lot, and actually talk with the LORD about this …rather than just at Him because of it.  He had the solution in an eternity before today.

My physical pain was the easy answer.  It is the low hanging fruit.  A piece higher up has to do with intimacy.  Oh I tell people I suck at it because I have absolutely no idea what it looks like and I have never really had living examples of it around me.  The part that people don’t know is that I still have PTSD.  The LORD has redeemed some shallower areas of this, but I haven’t really begun to explore the deeper side of the PTSD pool.  I’ll hug people hello, because that is a greeting.  But a strange man, or a man I am only acquainted with, better not come up to me and touch my arm.  If that happens no one will know it…..but inside I am freaking out.  And it doesn’t always have to be a man.  Touch, in general, I am not very good at.  Being married has exposed this problem in so many ways.

It is so obvious when it is between me and God that when I go out of town with my mom …and we share a bed to sleep in …I will sleep on the edge, corner of that bed so as not to touch her in my sleep.  I get on the verge of anxiety attacks if while we are laying there and the outsides of our arms touch very lightly.  Comfort be damned.  And that’s my mom.  I don’t think anyone realizes that every Sunday at my Church is a miracle of God because if it were any other space, any other place, I would be uncomfortable and looking for my way out.  And I would never go back, much less volunteer eagerly and willingly to associate with random people.  Every Sunday is a miracle in my bucket sheltered world that I can go to Church for hours, being around strangers, and feel at ease and protected while I am in God’s house.  I am in God’s house with God’s people enjoying God’s company learning God’s word.  If you take God out of that I would never go back a second time.  Trust me on this.  But how would you know this.  How can I portray that in a way that isn’t all about me, but about all of His light shining through those shattered parts of me?  And I don’t have an answer for that.  I will pray about that.  I know the LORD has the answer already.

So I am in physical pain, in PTSD to the point where I close my eyes if a commercial or image comes up involving tidy whites.  What else?  I hunger for His word, I hear His commanding voice, and I tend to ignore Him.  I won’t do this in front of others.  Before others I keep up appearances.  I listen to God, I do what He tells me to do, and I portray a somewhat sedated, rebellious, obedience.  Before other’s I choose Him.  But when it is just me and God hanging out …most of the time I will choose myself.  When I am alone with God I sit there in complete disbelief …confused …horrified shocked awe …at how shattered I have become.  I am overwhelmed by my mess.  I am at a loss over the loss the LORD and I look at in the parts of me that have become nothing more than a fine powder …dust.  And yeah, some of that is my sin …but some of that is just bits of me.  Bits of me I lost.  Core elements of me that just don’t work any more ….and so I don’t know how to function as me any more.  I know that the LORD has it all and that I am a new creation …but how does that new created me work, function, and exist?

I sometimes think I knew the answer, or answers, so I try to forge ahead.  And as a lot of my friends have babies and toddlers …my actions remind me of the baby who tries to craw for the first time…but still can’t figure out how to get their knees beneath them.  I would like to say I am a toddler learning how to run …but more often than not I am the babe who still needs to learn how to support and control my own head.  Because I don’t do that very well.  I don’t take every thought captive to the LORD.  I don’t pray on my knees as often as I should.  I don’t read my Bible as often as I should.  I don’t focus on all things that are true, good, and holy from the LORD.  I fill my head with crap, false gospels preached in TV series, or movies, or games, or books, or ect….and if I don’t control my head how can I possibly guard my heart?

Before God I am broken.  The puppet strings of the world have been cut …but that is still the habitual way, the normative way, I know how to move.  I exist beside the LORD looking at the shattered mess of me in horror ….and I don’t know what to do.  I know Jesus is where I need to start.  Jesus is my start, my middle, my end, my energy, my reason, my salvation, my joy, my motivation, my prize, my portion, and my support.  Just to name a few.  Before others I know I put on the front and face of this is who I am, this is my personality, this is where I am from, and this is what I do.  When it is just God and me …I feel less defined and more like a blob.  I am undefined as I set myself to the task of knowing deep in my core …in the spaces inbetween all the shattered pieces of me …who the LORD says I am and how He defines me.  I am learning those truths in the Bible, in the teaching of the Gospel, in the testimonies of the people around me …and I know it is true in my head.  I need it to sink and cement itself in the empty spaces between the pieces of me.  I need to sit, and think on it.  I need to take the time to sit with Jesus at His feet to chew on His words.

I don’t know if any of this makes any sense.  I hope I’m not writing in circles, because I am good at that.  I just wanted to get these thoughts down.  Because good men of God spoke into my life today.  The LORD spoke to me through them.  He made me who I am before Him …and I need to allow His glory, His light, His redemptive power, and His grace to shine through my mess.  He doesn’t want me to sweep it all under a rug or the bucket just because others come around.  That doesn’t glorify God.  It glorifies me.  I’m broken.  I’m a mess.  Jesus is the neat and perfect one.  And only Yahweh can shine light through the murkiness of His followers.  It doesn’t make logical sense.  It seems foolish and folly.  But the world in its wisdom does not know God.  We can’t shine a light through dirt and murkiness.  That is a miracle.  Only the power of the LORD can do that.  Because He is that awesome.  And only HE is that good!

My Struggle

There are 17 days left until I walk down an aisle and vow before the LORD and all my friends and family that Jeremy is the man I want to spend the rest of my life with.  We just recently got our Engagement Photos back.  They are beautifully done.  Steve does amazing work.  I would love them completely if I weren’t in them.  I can’t stand to look at myself.  And I knew this was becoming a problem as I debated on simply starving myself for the next 17 days, or eating and just throwing it all up.  I have never done either before, and it shocked me that I considered doing it now.

There are many reasons for this.  And every last one of them is Fear of Man issues.  The people who are around me all the time already know what I look like.  But there are going to be people at the wedding who have never met me before.  There are people on Facebook who I know decades ago, and that I haven’t seen since.  I fear the judgment.  I am embarrassed by the common assumptions.  And to be perfectly honest I completely hate how I look.  I am ashamed of it, even though I know Jesus took that shame away from me.

I was never the skinny girl growing up.  But neither was I fat.  I simply had curves.  I generally fit into a size 12 or 14 as I grew up.  Then once I was out of school I actually got into the best shape I had ever been in and fit into a size 8.  I was a size 8 when I met Jay.  I can’t tell you if I felt healthier than ever or more beautiful, because I honestly don’t remember.

I ran in to some of the girls from my swim team a short time into what happened to me.  I had put on a good amount of weight by then.  I remember the looks I got.  I know what looks I get now.  I don’t like those looks.  And I really hate the assumptions people make when they see anyone over weight.  I am not trying to justify how I look.  I am trying to work through it.  And hopefully, maybe, somewhere along this path I might give comfort to someone else who knows what this feels like.  Even if it isn’t the same situation; the end resulting feelings are the same.

What I am about to talk about is very honest, raw, and might make some people uncomfortable.  So I will write it in italics, so if you are unable to read it all…you can scroll down to find the place where I stop talking about what happened to me.

In 2001 I was with a man I thought I would spend the rest of my life with.  He was sweet, caring, and understood me, even my hard to understand parts.  That year my appendix ruptured, and I spent several days in the hospital.  When they released me they advised me against having sex for a week due to the surgery, and the fact that I had a lot of my innards moved around.  Jay lasted three days; he was used to us having sex one, sometimes two, times a day.  He begged me to at least try, that I wouldn’t know if it would actually hurt until I tried.  That if I truly loved him I would try.  He promised he would stop if I told him it hurt.  I believed him.  So we tried to have sex.  I told him to stop because it hurt.  He didn’t.  I begged him to stop; he said it wouldn’t take much longer.  He raped me that night, rolled over, and went to sleep.  I cried most of that night, lying on my side.  In the morning he apologized, and promised nothing like that would happen again.  I believed him; after all I wasn’t planning on having any more abdomen surgery so this wouldn’t be an issue again.

That Sunday I was a passenger in my mom’s car when she came to visit.  She made a left turn and a car plowed into my side of the car.  I was the only one injured.  My kneecap was crushed, and I pinched three nerves in my lower back.  I couldn’t walk.  I was in so much pain.  I didn’t want to move at all.  Needless to say the last thing I wanted to do was have sex.  Not only was I not in the mood from being so physically injured, the pain that sex would cause was undeniable.  Jay, again, lasted only 3 days.  I can’t tell you how many times he raped me.  I can’t tell you how many times I was sexually assaulted in various ways.  He made me cyber with guys on the computer to ‘help get me in the mood’.

It lasted for six months.  For six months I was raped, abused, tormented, and tortured.  All by the man who helped me bathe because I couldn’t do it myself.  By the man who took me to all my doctors appointments because I had no one else.  The man who picked up my prescriptions.  My physical therapist couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting better.  It took me six months before I was strong enough to tell him to stop.

A month in I knew it wouldn’t stop.  So I did the only thing I could, I gained weight.  Food was the only aspect of my life I had control over.  He had to help me with everything else.  So I ate.  I was unable to walk or move so gaining weight was easy.  I thought if I made myself big enough, unattractive enough, he would leave me alone.  It also helped me look on the outside as I felt on the inside.  Worthless, ugly, disgusting, and completely unlovable.  If I couldn’t stand to look at me, how could he?

After I escaped that relationship I was completely broken.  I was a robot, void of soul and emotions.  I did what I was supposed to to pay rent.  I went through the motions, but I wasn’t at all in my body for five years.  In those five years I didn’t want anyone near me.  I didn’t want anyone touching me. I didn’t want anyone close to me.  The weight seemed to do that.  People looked at me differently.  They kept their distance.  So I didn’t try to correct this problem, I made it worse.  If I couldn’t stand to be in my own skin, how could anyone else stand to be near my skin?

Five years later I was brutally woken up when a strange man touched me.  I had a complete melt down that involved scratching most of the skin off my arm where I was touched.  I finally had to tell someone what had happened to me.  No one knew.  Not my mother.  Not my father.  Not my best friend.  Granted I lost most of my friends due to the fact for the last six years I secluded myself away into my own little world where people on the outside simply didn’t exist.

I saw a rape counselor.  I went to group sessions.  I learned that I would always feel broken.  That my soul would always be shredded.  That he stole something from me that I would never get back.  I believed all of this because that is exactly how I felt.  Despite trying to get better mentally and emotionally … I kept the weight on.  Despite having a membership to a gym and access to a pool.  I didn’t want to lose the weight.  By that time it was my security blanket.  It kept people at bay.  No one could hurt me again; no man would rape me again, as long as I continued to look as I looked.  I was safe.  No one would get close to someone who looked like me.

This lasted a year before I went to Massage School.  I wanted to learn how to touch people again, and to be touched again.  It was impossibly hard for me to go through.  I never told anyone at the school how I wanted to vomit every time someone touched me.  I don’t think anyone could understand how it made me feel powerful that I could touch something and elicit a response … even if it was simply relaxing … and not have to give any response of my own.  I learned how not to engage in touch, how to keep my bubble up.  Massage School taught me how to be a wonderful massage therapist…but I warped some of that teaching into how to further keep me emotionally separated from my body.

I told myself, then, that I was ready to lose weight. I was ready to shed this shell of protection.  But the truth is … I wasn’t.  I didn’t want intimacy. I didn’t want people close to me.  I used their judgments and their looks as weapons, reasons, to keep myself locked away from all the hurt people cause.  I wanted physical touch, but I didn’t want to feel anything about it. I didn’t want it to mean anything.  And I found a comfortable way, a known way, to do that.  My lifestyle fit my needs perfectly.

Then along came a man who turned my world upside down.  Somehow he managed to become more important than my fears, more important than my doubts, and more important than my self-loathing.  My desire to know Jeremy came with a twist I didn’t expect.  Jeremy introduced me to Jesus.  Everything changed.  Everything is still changing.  Some things I still struggle with.  My weight is one of them.

For the first time I wanted to connect with someone on an emotional, intimate level.  I began to earnestly want to lose weight.  Life has a way of interrupting that.  I got cancer.  Then after I got cancer I injured myself at work in a way that left me unable to walk for 2 years.  An injury I am still dealing with and one that has left me with only the pool to work out in.  Needless to say up until recently I haven’t been able to lose weight.  I did have a lot of time to get to know the Lord: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Now Jeremy and I are getting married, and I haven’t lost the weight I wanted to.  I am nowhere near the size 8 I was before what happened.  I still can’t stand to look at myself.  I am terrified of what people will think.  I am embarrassed by the judgmental looks I get when we go out.  I hate my body.  Steve took beautiful pictures of us.  Pictures of my future husband and myself; and I can’t even stand to look at myself.  I want to stab the part with me, scratch out my face, and just keep the part with Jeremy.

I am struggling, bad, with seeing myself as God sees me, as His daughter.  My wedding dress is beautiful, but I cry because of the size.  I cry because people will see the fat shape I morphed myself into to keep me safe.  How can anyone see me, when I can’t even see myself in my reflection?

I know this is my own pride and vanity.  I know it is my own sin.  I am praying and begging the Holy Spirit for help in this.  Because I know I can’t change how I see myself on my own.  I try to repent by telling myself how God sees me.  But I only feel stupid in saying it.  I feel like I am lying to myself, which I know is a lie.  But this doesn’t make it any easier.  I want to be able to look at those beautiful pictures and not want to cry.  I want to be able to look at my wedding photos and not feel horrific shame at how I look.  I want to feel only love and excitement over those pictures.  But I don’t know how to get there.

I need help.  I need prayer.  I am not sure if anyone around me realizes how deeply this goes.  How strongly it affects me.  It is a big deal to me.  I don’t want to get an eating disorder.  I don’t want to break every mirror I come across.  I don’t want to burn my beautiful engagement photos or my wedding photos.  I am struggling, bad.  And I hate writing all of this.  I want to be able to say I am comfortable and confident in my skin.  But I am not.  I am disgusted and ashamed.

I know I am going to the pool, and I am losing weight.  I know it will happen eventually.  But I don’t want my self-image to depend on my weight.  I don’t want to teach that to my children.  I don’t want to feel like this between now and then.  And I don’t want to hate my wedding day because everyone is looking at me … seeing me … and all my fat.

So please, pray for me, over these next 17 days.  I really need help for the Holy Spirit to really dig out these lies, to pluck out my own eyes so I can see myself with God’s eyes.  I know it will probably take more than 17 days; but maybe it will be a little less severe.  Our LORD can do miracles.  I just … I need a lot of help, encouragement, and support.  And rather than hiding this as I normally do … I am taking the chance of exposing myself.  May it help you, as much as it will help me.  I know all women have body image issues.

LORD, Abba Father, Brother Jesus, Holy Ghost … please help me.

My Mircale

[Jesus said] “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (Mark 5:31-34 NIV).

            This passage has really hit me this week.  Two weeks ago the LORD gifted me with a healing miracle.  I had a very nasty eye disease that would take a long while to clear up.  During the weeks or months of trying to get this condition under control I could develop scarring inside my eyes that could lead to blindness and/or glaucoma.  In the first week alone that I had this condition my eyes got worse and I had an intensely unpleasant migraine because of my eyes.  My doctor was concerned.  I was scared.  The Pastors at Mars Hill Church prayed over me that Sunday, and then my Community Group prayed over me on Thursday.  The following morning I went in to see the doctor.  Much to her surprise, and my own, she found absolutely no traces of the disease in my eyes.  She said she expected them to be worse, not to be completely healed.  I just laughed.  She said the medicine must have really worked with my body.  I told her I was pretty sure it was Jesus.

Following this miracle healing I had to tell everyone, naturally.  I felt so completely giddy inside.  I wish I could say I now have a better understanding of how the woman in this passage must have felt; but I doubt it would be accurate.  I had this eye problem for all of two weeks.  The woman in this passage had been bleeding for twelve years.  For twelve years she suffered.  She was an outcast.  She spent everything she had on trying to fix this problem.  Then in an instant, when she was bold enough to reach out to Jesus … to touch Him … she was healed.  Completely healed.  She was freed from her suffering.

While this is one of my favorite stories in the Bible it wasn’t until yesterday that I was struck sorta dumb by it.  When I first read this verse of Scripture I immediately thought of my eyes.  I did a mental jig with the Holy Ghost, and wiggled in my seat.  Then as I continued to read the “Girlfriends in God” devotional I was struck by my lack of understanding and faith.  I had no doubt in my heart that God could heal my eyes.  But I do have … maybe not doubt … more like a lack of understanding when it comes to a ‘condition’ I have been living with for twelve years.  What surprised me is I had never looked at this wonderful story and applied it to my condition.

For about twelve years now I have been doing everything I can to deal with my condition.  I poured out all my money into going to school to help me better deal with aspects of my condition.  I have kept myself an outcast, refusing to get close to people.  Twelve years ago the man I was in love with, engaged to, decided to do me harm.  I had been in a car accident.  I pinched three nerves in my lower back and crushed my kneecap.  I was in so much pain.  He didn’t want to hear about how sex hurt.  Not even when I begged him to stop.  So for six months he raped, abused, and tormented me every day and night.  The physical therapists couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting better.  He was the only one there to help me.  So my abuser would assault me, then help me shower to get cleaned up, then take me to the doctor or to physical therapy, and then he would take me home to assault me again.

This destroyed a good decade of my life.  No one around us knew what was going on.  I had completely checked out.  It took me about seven years before I would check back in.  By that time it was too late to press charges.  And it took several more years for me to really understand it wasn’t my fault.  Sometimes I still slip into that lie.  But because of that abuse I put on a lot of weight.  I thought if I had gained weight he would no longer find me attractive and so he would leave me alone.  After we broke up I kept the weight on because I wanted to keep everyone away from me.  I felt so disgusting and horrible on the inside, it felt appropriate to look it on the outside.  It hasn’t been until this past year that I have been in a good enough place spiritually that I can finally start to work on my weight.  I hadn’t felt good enough inside until Christ.

Now I had become a Christian almost four years ago, but I was dealing with so many other issues that I hadn’t really immediately invited Jesus into this part of me.  I had always assumed I would always be completely broken inside.  My soul is like thousands of tiny shards of glass scattered across the ground.  Jesus and I are just starting to mend those pieces back together.  I went to Redemption Group at Mars Hill.  It was really good, but I fear I might need to go again.  I know I am just scratching the surface of all the ick I have locked away.  I know Jesus has taken away the sins done against me.  I know He takes away my shame.  I know these things, but my heart doesn’t always understand them.

So considering this is one of my favorite stories in the Gospels you can imagine my dumbfounded surprise when I read this devotional by “Girlfriends in God”.  I am freed from my suffering.  My faith healed my eyes.  I know I need to pray for the faith to heal these much deeper wounds.  The wounds that have spread into every aspect of my life.  Reading that verse over and over again my head knows all I have to do is reach out my hand to Jesus.  It is really that simple.  I can’t really explain to you why my heart thumps in my chest dimwittedly.  I don’t know why this concept is so hard to put into action.  I love Jesus.  I want Him in every part of my life.  But I am not entirely sure how to give this to Him.

It’s not like I don’t want to. I just don’t know how to.  This has been mine for so long, and I have been trying everything I can to simply function around people in a normal way as possible.  Most people are completely oblivious to how often I simply want to run, hide, scream, or freak out.  People have no idea how hard it is for me not to scratch the skin right off my hands sometimes.  It is getting better, so much better.  My PTSD is improving.  Since having giving my life to Jesus I haven’t had a single night terror where as I used to have them once a week.  I still haven’t had a good night’s sleep, however, in twelve years.  It is an improvement, but I know I am stuck.

I am working on a journal to walk through what happened to me with the LORD.  I am not enjoying that journaling.  Most of the time I avoid it for as long as I can.  I just don’t want to go there.  I am being stubborn about it, I know.  But I want more of this peace I am already tasting.  I want to be freed of my suffering.  I know a major part of my problem is I cling to the chains.  The chains are all I know for the last 12 years.  I have only known Jesus for almost four years.  I know Jesus is trustworthy, and yet I don’t know why I struggle with it.  I know part of it is shame, and fear, despite the fact I know Jesus took my shame and tells me to not fear.  It is a battle of wills and I want mine to lose.  I pray mine will lose.  I want my faith to heal me.  I want to be bold enough to reach out my hand to touch the hem of His robe.

It was so easy to do when it was my eyes.  It was so easy to trust the LORD with my health through cancer.  I even found it easier to sink into the love of my Savior with the crippling of my ankle/leg.  It is simple for me to trust with physical things.  The deeper things go, the more I clam up, and the more distant I become.  I don’t want that sort of relationship with Christ.  I know He doesn’t want that sort of relationship with me.  The deeper sides to me are no more complex to the LORD than my eyes.  He is fully capable of perfectly mending my soul.  It doesn’t make sense to doubt Him.  I know deep inside I don’t.  I am trying to figure out why these shallower and medium levels hesitate and resist.

Abba, Father I believe, please help me with my unbelief.  Turn this fear filled heart of stone to the trusting beating heart of flesh.  Build in me the trust for my deeper understanding of you.  Help me break  down these walls of fear and years of building.  I know I can’t do it on my own.  Only Your mighty hand, and Your great mercy can safe me from my self.  You are powerful enough to mend our broken bodies.  You are gracious enough to soothe our tortured souls.  You only are worthy of praise, worship, and unfailing trust.  And yet I fail to give you all those so often.  Please help us LORD to be better worshipers of Your glory.  Holy Spirit please soak me in love for Christ, drench us all in love to be the abject slaves of our Savior.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Flipped around Repentance

Oh my soul

Oh my Jesus

Judas sold You for thirty

I’d have done it for less

Oh my soul

Oh my savior

Peter denied You three times

I have denied You more

As the nails went in

I was standing right there

As you breathed Your last

I shook my head and I cried

Oh my God, What have we done?

We’ve destroyed Your Son

Oh my God, What have we done?

We’ve destroyed Your Son

Oh my soul

Oh my Jesus

Judas sold You thirty

I’d have done it for less

Oh my soul

Oh my Savior

Peter denied You three times

I have denied You more

And the blood ran down

I was standing right there

And the water poured

I shook my head and I cried

Oh my God, What have we done?

We’ve destroyed Your Son

Oh my God, What have we done?

We’ve destroyed Your Son

Oh my God, What have we done?

We have destroyed Your Son

Oh my God, What have we done?

We have destroyed Your Son

As the nails went in

I was standing right there

And You breathed Your last

–          Lyrics to “What have we done?”

This is one of my most favorite songs I have ever heard.  It is one of the most difficult and convicting songs I have ever heard.  Several of the bands at Mars Hill church sing this song.  And when I hear it being sung by so many voices around me … I am overwhelmed by this bitter sweet loving pain.  Because I don’t know if I would have been one of the women following Jesus, carrying His cross, and weeping.  Or would I be a scoffer?  Or in passive defiance of the Perfect Lamb by merely watching what was being done to Him?  I do know I wouldn’t have understood the cup of wrath I have been pouring into my entire life … was about to be drunk to the very last drop by Jesus.

And Jesus didn’t just drink my cup.  If every single sin that will ever be committed was but a single drop into that cup … I can’t even begin to fathom how huge that cup had to be.  Jesus drank every last drop.  He endured the wrath of God.  He did it for me.  He did it for You.  He did it for everyone.  Every last single person that has ever existed and will ever exist.  It is mind blowing.  It is completely scandalous!  The Holy Father, the Holy Son, and the Holy Ghost did all of this out of a love I won’t ever really understanding until I am standing in the presence of the LORD.

I recently listened to a sermon preached by Pastor Paris Reidhead, and he said that through the cross and the blood of Christ is the only way God could get glory out of a human being.  I wanted to argue with him but the stink of my pride in that argument shut me up pretty quickly.  His statement is bothersomely true; which is why my heart cringes and aches each time I sing “I was standing right there”.  It is why I am continually baffled by the love the LORD continues to pour out on me in spite of the fact that we have destroyed His Son.

It doesn’t matter that I wasn’t there myself.  I destroyed His Son with each sin I have committed and will commit.  I drove those nails in every time I deny Jesus because of fear of man issues that honestly mean nothing in eternity.  Every lash of the scourge that tore through His flesh I brought down on Him by willingly walking into and toward as many temptations as I could find.  And, yes, I do know I have been forgiven all of these things and a good deal more.  I know that right now I am hid in Christ before God, spotless and blameless.  I know I am cherished, loved, and a treasured daughter of the LORD.  These are all truths spoken to me from pages of the Bible.  But these heart felt facts don’t change what I have done, or what I still do.

Pastor Paris Reidhead spoke of repentance as well.  He said that most people’s idea of repentance is nothing more than Gospel glossed humanism.  That most people don’t understand the enormity of their sin, the depth of their guilt by a Holy and Righteous God; and, that they only repent and tremble in fear of God because their skin is about to be singed from the fires of hell.  He put it plainly when he said that repentance isn’t about a good person dealing with the punishments of a bad God.  It is about a bad person standing before a Holy, Righteous, and Good God.  That we all deserve hell, because we are sinners and we love our sin.  Every time we sin we have added another drop in that cup of wrath that Jesus drank.

Sure, He already drank it.  But I had never viewed my sin like that.  The LORD knows everything.  He knew how much I would sin.  He knew how much you would sin.  That cup of wrath is precise.  This doesn’t give me free license to carry on as if it is all taken care of.  If I truly love Jesus I can’t.  I don’t want to add any more to that cup.  I want my drops to decrease and not increase.  I am just sitting here so dumb at not having seen something this simple.  The LORD knows what I will do already, but now I am aware of this on a level I simply wasn’t before.  I know I have, but I don’t want to destroy Jesus.  He is my Savior.  I love Him.

Which is why I am really grateful for this song.  I can’t truly repent with all that I am unless I fully understand the weight of my sin.  I need to understand what my sin has completely done to my Holy God.  I know that only being thoroughly wrecked by my sin and failures can I then be picked up by the Holy Ghost to unimaginable heights of freedom in Christ, and drenched in the love of the LORD.  I can’t just take the gift of salvation without lovingly meditating on what this gift cost.  I want to savor every last drop of grace the LORD has given to me.  I don’t want to take it for granted.  I don’t want to see it as something casual or non-spectacular.  God’s grace is scandalous.  And I am thankful for that.

The last thing Reidhead touched on was how we love Jesus.  Do we approach the throne of God with the cross as a bargaining chip?  You know, I’ll take Jesus in exchange for heaven.  Jesus isn’t a bartering chip.  Jesus didn’t die on the cross for my eternal happiness as His prime product.  It is a by-product but it wasn’t the point.  Which is a real slap in the face because I think I have seen Jesus like that before in my life.  Pastor Reidhead then spoke a truth that woke me up, and made me truly examine how I feel about the LORD.  He said that those who truly love Jesus and worship Jesus, and obey Jesus … in their hearts say, “LORD I will love you, obey you, and worship you even if at the end of all things I end up in hell.  If that is where you want me to go.  Because YOU alone are worthy of my love, obedience, and worship.  Because YOU deserve all of me.  Hell isn’t a deciding factor.  YOU LORD are the only factor I see or care about.”

And I had never looked at my faith that way.  Would I still love Jesus, worship the LORD, and obey His laws … if I knew I was going to hell?  Would that change how I feel?  Would His holiness, His goodness, His righteousness … be enough for me to devote myself in abject adoration to the LORD simply because He deserves it?  I would have to say in past times of my life I shamefully say no.  Right now I think I give, and live out, an uncomfortable yes.  I know each day my yes becomes stronger and more comfortable bit by bit.  But this is definitely a lifetime of sanctification to get it there.  It just flips everything around.

I’m not a Christian because of anything I did.  I am saved by the Blood of Christ because I am His reward for His suffering.  He deserves me for the price He paid.  He deserves so much better than I give Him.  God willing, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, I am starting to change that.  Thank you LORD.  Thank you God.  Thank you Jesus.  Thank you Holy Ghost.  I am so blessed.  Undeservedly showered by Your grace.  Thank you.  And please continue to grow in me this vine of You and Your values.  For I am nothing without You and I can do nothing without You.  Amen.

Heavenly Father and earthly father

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” (Matthew 6:9)

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:” (John 1:12)

                Talking to my earthly father is awkward at best.  We don’t have a bad relationship, but we don’t have a very good relationship.  I am trying to work on it, and I believe my father is too in his own way.  It is just that our ‘ways’ are so completely different.  It’s hard, and sometimes I get frustrated in sadness.  I want our relationship to be so great.  I want it to be like the relationship I hear my Pastor talk about having with his daughters.  But it’s not.  I am beginning to understand this yearning I feel for a wonderful relationship with my father is a fraction of the yearning my Heavenly Father must feel for me.

I am a pretty crappy daughter to my Heavenly Father.  Again, His ways and my ways are completely different.  He is holy and righteous and pure love … and I … well I rebel against Him, defy Him, and continually break His heart with my sin.  I cringe with this truth as I sit pretty on the thought that I am a pretty good daughter to my earthly father.  God hasn’t lied to me or about me.  God hasn’t betrayed me.  God has never hurt me.  God has never given up on me.  God always wants me around Him.  I am sitting here typing this out and I am completely at a loss why I don’t show as much devotion to the LORD as I do for my father who has done all those things.

I know it is easier to have a ‘good’ relationship with a father I am passingly involved with.  There is no real intimacy between my dad and me.  I seek intimacy with God.  As surreal as this sounds I actually think I know God better than my father; which isn’t saying a lot I know.  So I would like to ‘comfort’ myself with the idea that this somehow excuses all my failures.  It’s not true.  I know that.  I have a lot of sin when it comes to having God be Abba, Father.  And just sitting here now writing this I have to shamefully admit I actually have a lot of sin when it comes to my earthly father as well.

As confusing and frustrating as this all sounds to me I can take true comfort in one fact.  As a child of my father, and as a child of God, this will never change.  I will always be the daughter of my father, and the daughter of my God.  And, at least, in the relationship between Abba and myself He is perfect and not going to mess anything up.  My dad and I are good at that in our relationship.  I know I really need to try harder, and put more effort into our relationship.  Into both my relationships.  It is just so easy to be lazy with a dad who is equally lazy; and lazy with a Father who won’t ever leave, give up, or stop loving me.  And I really hate that I have to admit that.  But it is true.

“Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’” (John 20:17)

 “(16) And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God.  As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them.  I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’

(17) Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord.  Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.’  (18) ‘I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.’” (2 Corinthians 6: 16-18)

                Jesus is the only  One who can redeem both of my relationships.  For God could not receive me as I was: I was unclean.  Through the blood of Christ I am made clean.  Because of the blood of Christ I am a living temple that the Holy Spirit can live within.  Thus Abba, Father will always draw me near.  I can be separate from the world on my life journey of sanctification.  Since Jesus has ascended I can cling to Him.  I need to cling to Him.  I need to bury myself so deep inside of Him so that I can do a better job of reflecting the glory of God.  This is perfect hope for an imperfect sinner.

With my earthly father things aren’t so much like that.  He will hurt me.  I will hurt him.  He will ignore me.  I will ignore him.  We will skirt around each other in a dance of acquaintances.  I don’t want that.  I don’t think he wants that.  Jesus is the only way to get closer to my dad.  Learning about Christ, how He related to God as His Father, will help mold me a path to follow to my dad.  Learning to love and forgive like Christ can continue to change me into a new creation so that I can better love and forgive my father.  I just can’t be lazy.  I don’t want to be lazy.  I really need to be in continually prayer for the Holy Spirit to take away this laziness.

My personal Psalm

In the dark I have withered

Unknowingly lost I have wasted away

I did not know I was blind as I feasted on Gahanna

Unafraid I lived boldly against you

Unchecked, I challenged Your people, and threw down the weak

As a worm ridden guide I led many down my rut into Your justified, wrathful fire

I’d shamefully claim ignorance, but I knew of You from a young age

I deserved Your hell richly, and I spat in Your face as I drove the nails in

In horror I shudder to think of the piddlily amount I would have taken, 30 would seem like so much

But You would not settle for my rebellion

My denials fell on open ears as You came near

I flinch to think of how many scars on Your heart belong to my teeth and nails as You drew me into Your arms

In my wretched terror You whispered three words to me

“You are mine”

In a moment You shattered me like a long forgotten window beneath a wrecking ball

And then everything changed . . .

 

For the first time I opened my eyes and saw the brilliant promises of Your rainbow

With the eyes of a babe I looked on the cross and wept tears drawn up through my soul

And You did not leave me

Instead you picked up my broken body from the sludge of my debauchery

You carried me from the dark as my muscles were non-existent as I had never used them before

Not even to inch my way from my own cancerous slime

You washed the feet of Your disciples but You bathed all of me with Your tears through Your blood

Each day You mend my destruction, teaching me how myself truly works

Like an infant I am unable to walk, though You are teaching me first to crawl

Through each breath You teach me to depend on You – even when I attempt to crawl away to temptation

But You do not leave me

Your Spirit richly plagues me to thirst after Your word, which strengthens me day by day

I think I might stand one day, but Your unimaginable love keeps me on my knees

Despite these words and my heart I know I will still fall

I will still wander and stray

But You do not leave me

The depth of worldly loss is wholly known to me, but the ocean of ALL I gain in YOU LORD still finds me in the shallows

I am in no hurry to get to the deep end

For every drop of Your all-consuming water drenches me in cherished love for You

I know I will still lean toward the beach

But You do not leave me

My toes feel an edge beneath me and before me

I fear an abyss I know does not exist in the ocean of Your love

Despite the fear of the path You put me on You still do not leave me

So in You LORD is my hope

You are my redemption

You slay all my monsters and free me from my demons

You show me a new mirror to see myself in

You bathe me in a new love to exist inside

As each new fear arises through every beat of my heart You take it away and replace it with peace

So in You I hope, in You I rejoice, in You I sing, in You I dance, in You I worship, in You I kneel, in You I pray, in You I fall on my face

In You I am shielded and clothed before You

“Thank You” are the only small words I have, but You know my heart

And You still do not leave me

Thank you for loving all of me, for never giving up on me, for calling me

Daughter

I love you, so much

Abba, Father

Heavenly Daddy

Amen

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