(Fine Tuning Obedience)
I am into the sixth decade of life on planet Earth. And for most of that six-plus decades, literally 60 out of the 63, I have been a disciple of Jesus.
Over that time His position has been upgraded from Savior to LORD; His Spirit, the administrator of His Anointing, was discovered, invited to indwell this vessel, and immediately began cleaning, and rearranging the lodging; and His Name, that I first knew Him by, "Jesus", was upgraded to the Hebrew, Yeshua, as I've come to know Him – and His WORD - a bit better!
But I've been a sincere and devoted follower from the beginning! For example, I led a young friend, from my impoverished neighborhood to Him on the steps of our Church at the age of Five. We were both five. But years later I ran into her and she ran up to me and said, “I've still got Him!” So it was a real evangelistic encounter.
I've always been told that I am “old for my age". I guess it was that aspect of who I was which explains why I instinctively knew Him, Jesus, to be real upon our first introduction. And why, perhaps, I knew just as emphatically that Santa was a hoax, made up for the fun of the parents. And maybe why I was intensely insulted that they expected me to believe that rot, and so surprised that my siblings and friends believed in Santa more than in Jesus!
This pre-mature “maturity” was due to two things, I have come to realize. First, I had a spinning I.Q., (according to the school's counselor who had me tested because of my shyness. And yes, I WAS a shy child.); and, perhaps even more-so, I'd already had a hard life of constant sexual, and other forms of abuse from infancy. And this, I believe, had simply stripped away all innocence and childish wonder from my world. And trust. I was, even at that young age, already just existing, and that took Jesus in serious doses!
So. Fast forward to the present. In following after the will of God for my life, diligently doing anything I think The Spirit bid me do, as often as possible, and listening the best I could in all of the distractions of life, I have grown. There have been long seasons of suffering, hopes deferred, misplaced trust, and the resulting disappointments, etc. But there have also been seasons of refining, perfecting, learning, and growing! There has been MUCH deliverance from the strongholds of trauma-related soul wounds, and MUCH forgiveness for the ones who caused those wounds, and for my reactions to them! His Grace and Forgiveness frees all involved, if they care to be freed!
I have had seasons of full out ministry. Going to prisons, teen challenge, street ministry, coffee houses and worship teams – singing His praise and preaching His glorious healing through the stories of how He has delivered and restored me. But then, back in those early days, He was honestly just getting started, and much of the healing I needed hadn't really happened yet! But I only knew that He had preserved my life, given me joy, and filled me with His Spirit! That was enough to keep the gratitude and amazement flowing at that time. Little did I know what I ride I was in for!
The season following that was the “Stay by the Stuff” season. That season was most difficult for me, and the most thrilling in many ways, and stuffed with blessing.
You see, most of the real dreams of my early years, as a young girl (especially when I got old enough to keep a journal – which for me began around the age of 10, when I got one for my birthday) revolved around my own ideas of family. Ideas that were built on my good imagination of what I “saw” in my own family, through my dreaming eyes of denial.
I had decided that I wanted seven children. Of course I gave them names of that time, like “Chantelle” and “Clarice” - they are thankful that didn't carry over. But in my dreams I had 3 boys and 3 girls, and the last was the tie breaker, and it was a girl.
Happy Family was a big deal to me. Little did I realize, in my expert gift of suppression that it has little to do with my actual experience!
One of my favorite dreams then, however, was walking up to a nice house at night, with the porch light on, and feeling that I was home, and that my family was inside waiting for me, glad to see me return. I felt safe. I felt loved. I felt HOME. It was the yearning of my heart for as long as I could remember.
But when I was 15 those dreams were dashed when an angry doctor told my mom that something awful had happened to me, and demanded to know what in the world had happened. At that time she blamed it on a bike accident - one that never happened. He wasn't buying it. But he said that I would never be able to have even a normal sex life, much less children, with the amount of scarring I had. He said he couldn't even get a decent pap-smear. And it had been excruciatingly painful!
I was destroyed by that news. All this time I thought I was a virgin, and that nothing had happened “down there”. I went home, tore all the pages from my journal, tore them into little bitty pieces so they wouldn't clog the toilet, and I just flushed them away, and then cried off and on for days.
After that, however, I simply added the memory to the pile of suppressed horrors and filed it away with all the other stuff I didn't care to remember! Then I got “sour grapes” syndrome, wherein I pretended like I wanted nothing to do with marriage or having children. I became that feminazi who hated men, and loathed motherhood, seeing the whole family gig as a kind of oppression of women.
My family is still laughing. The 20 year old who once said, “I'm NEVER getting married and I don't want ANY of THOSE”, meaning children, has now been married 38 years and has seven children, and we are just now getting started on the grand-kids, but number four is due this fall. So Apparently, part of the healing (that I didn't remember I needed) was the restoration of that Family Tree, that had been pulled up by the roots and burned in my early teen years. I am still in awe of that whole revelation, and His overcoming love to me.
The season of staying by the stuff came with a total surrender of all outside ministry. So that I could steward the blessings of our union! To the disgruntlement of my family, and most of the church, I chose to home educate my kids. First because I felt it was God's will. But also because I simply couldn't bear the thoughts of sending them off anywhere!
We read SO many books, watched fun, educational stuff, and went to events together. And I LOVED it! The problem was that I wasn't always able to show how much I loved it. I was often conflicted.
Something about their childhood was always triggering something about mine! So it was bittersweet. Sadly. And they all suffer somewhat from that tragic reality. So do I, when I forget to leave it in His hands!
I wish I could have found help sooner! It sure wasn't for a lack of trying. But the “Church” has been woefully deficient in administering The Anointing, that tears down strongholds and destroys yokes! So I fought the rage, and the emotional disasters of my early childhood trauma wounds on my own, with the help of The Spirit, for years before I actually found any real help with those things.
Mostly, whenever I went for help, I got my shame magnified and exploited, by well-meaning, but totally inept “pastors”. Some of whom were wolves in shepherd's clothing, fleecing the sheep instead of feeding them! It was NOT a fun ride. And I am still working through some of the bitterness of those days. Again, with His gracious help and love.
So now I am empty nesting! It is down to the hubs and me. I found that I was dealing with other areas of bitterness, of hopes too long deferred. It was one thing when I had all the kids. I didn't really have time to notice the lack of attention, passion and connection in our marriage. Who even had time? Between ME doing school and events and church and caring for elderly parents ….and him tearing out the door to work or church and staying as long as they'd let him … to make ends meet... supposedly …. We barely had time to wave at each other! But now. The quiet is disturbing. The distance discouraging. And the lack apparent.
But again. In the face of what “life” likes to hand us, there is always our redeeming God offering another chance.
So, here I am. Clear across the nation. To recover. To reflect. To heal – some more. To reinvent or redirect what is left of my journey on this planet.
I am learning to trust HIM – the God of all my comforts – in ways I haven't before! And just when I thought I had that area pretty well covered! Lol
I am learning to put down my need for people's acceptance, approval and attention and just breathe. I am learning to worship in a depth that I haven't yet reached. I am seeing His provision in ways that I couldn't begin to imagine! I am hearing His Spirit in ways that I've always longed to hear Him. And I am, finally, learning what it means to REST.
After all, He's only been talking to me about that for the last 25 years! I've endured an Adrenal collapse as a result of my inability to rest effectively. And most recently a back injury! What the enemy means for evil God will use for our good though, IF WE can TRUST and LISTEN and OBEY!
So here is my latest download. He said that I was not receiving my healing because I didn't want to draw the lines of HIS boundaries where HE wanted them! He said I was more interested in doing my own thing, and of placating people than pleasing HIM!
Wow. I had to let that sink in. He said that He was serious about dealing with my codependency issues at EVERY level! And that I would not emerge from this season with ANY of the strongholds still holding on. I would release the strongholds to HIM if I wanted to emerge from this season, in this world, at all!
Again. I had to get my breath a minute on this. He has always dealt straight with me. But it is clear that there is an urgency at this point. He HAS to get HIS PEOPLE in position for the harvest that is already ripe, and needing to be brought in to the Kingdom!
So He said what He wants from me is total, complete TRUST and OBEDIENCE, no matter what it may cost me in friends, family or finances.
And I said Yes Sir! What else is there to say?! I'm sure not going to walk away from Him, or disappoint Him if I can help it – and with His help I can help it! So here we grow again!
I now know that I am healed by HIS STRIPES, and I know how to receive it! I know that HE wants to BLESS the WORK OF MY HANDS – which – by the way – isn't supposed to be doing other people's work FOR THEM! He wants to bless me in ministry, and in my writing! THAT is the WORK HE has ME doing NOW.
I've been the servant of the universe forever. I've had the dungeon, the "service" part of my Joseph story IN SPADES.
Yes I have already had SOME of my dearest dreams come to pass! As in FAMILY. But there are STILL HUGE dreams that HE has put in my heart which have NOT come to pass, and can't until I start making some serious bank!
So I am expecting a breakthrough in that in the very near future! I am already being blessed here, beyond all I could ask or think! So I am just grateful.
I am SO Grateful that He is still healing me. Grateful that He is still leading and teaching me! Grateful that He can still use me! Grateful that I can be a part of the coming deliverance of our nation, and the revival of His real church!
I am in awe of a God that can take such a broken vessel and get so much life and beauty out of it! So blown away by His love and His utter determination to redeem this “bummer-lamb”, and to make her feel accepted in – and AS – the beloved! So grateful for Lessons from the Refiner's Fire....