2.14.2017

my revival

as each year wraps up, i turn in and ask God for a word. 
a theme for the upcoming year, 
something he is breathing on, 
a work that he wants to do, 
a space he is he guiding me into. 

i can be a little slow about seeing it at first, usually feeling like i'm getting NOTHING, when what's more true is that i'm just not picking up on the crumb trail and seeing where it's leading. a word will surface and i'll not see it. it'll come up again (and again) in conversations, in something i read, in a message i hear and finally...


 *gasp! eyes bright* THAT'S MY WORD!


i'm a quick study. 


this year, my word holds so much weight for me because it takes me back to a heart space i forsook long ago. as i was still seeking and looking and praying, twice i came across this thing that beth moore said. 


i only had to read it once to know that she was talking about me.


“You will watch a generation of Christians – 
OF CHRISTIANS
 set the Bible aside in an attempt to become more like Jesus. 
And stunningly it will sound completely plausible. 
This will be perhaps the cleverest of the devil’s schemes in your generation. 
Sacrificing TRUTH for LOVE’s sake. 
And you will rise or fall 
based upon whether you will sacrifice one for the other. 
Will you have the courage to live in the tension of both
 TRUTH & LOVE?”

the tension of both indeed. 


i had lost my courage, lost my way - no longer knowing how to do both - maybe not knowing how to do either.


but this requires some backstory, so let's back it up to almost the 1900s.


october 1, 2000

i got saved. invited to a church service by the cutest little 5yo. (whom no one could refuse). she happened to be my new boyfriend's niece - i said yes and agreed to go but simply because i was trying not to look bad in front of the church people. i was just trying to mind my manners, y'all. i'd been to church before. many, many (so many) times - wasn't really looking forward to it, but i was willing to bite the bullet for appearances. you probably already know how this goes. i sat in church that night and i cried and cried and cried, and at the end of the service i saw myself walking to the front of that house and i said yes to God. i had no idea what i was saying yes to but it felt so right.

so much for being impressive, i thought, i'm a mess.


but God changed me. and I. LOVED. IT. 


i didn't know how much i wanted that.


my relationship with God, my pursuit of God, meant everything to me then. i thought it'd be that way forever.



i had no idea a day was coming when i would miss the way that it mattered. 

may 4, 2002

i married that boy.

as soon as we said I DO we were up against hell. i am not exaggerating and i am so thankful to God for what he did before we were married to confirm that we were meant to be together because so many times, 

so 
many 
times...

we had such a hard time merging. 


it's really difficult for me to even tell this story because it's hard to find the language to explain exactly what happened. 



i just know that as young believers danny and i made a lot of mistakes. we wanted so much to please God, to honor and glorify him; we were all about holiness and no compromise which sounds great except that in our immaturity we said and did harmful things - to each other, to other people in our life... stupid things that i wished i could take back... we were awkward, off in our theology in some places and in our delivery in almost all places. those years left me with crippling embarrassment. the pain of falling short...
is there a sting worse than humiliation? 

one day i felt like i could really SEE myself, how i'd messed up, and it sidelined me. for years. it hurt so much to look at. looking back now, i can see where i really wasn't seeing the whole Truth - yes it was true that i was off, and yes i needed correction - but wrapped in the Truth was my own voice and junk and bruised ego... i added to what was True and i drank down a lie. a poison that whispered to me, captured me, led me off as its slave.


it wasn't only what i saw in me, but what i was so painfully aware that other people saw too - the way they had experienced me. it hurt my pride. this has been the hardest thing to recover from.


i didn't bring it before the Lord to help me. i was too embarrassed really to face it head on. i wanted it to just go away. i wanted to change direction. i didn't want to go back to the place and deal with that thing - let's just move on and try to forget that ever happened, m'kay?


i became immobilized with fear though.


fear whispered
what if in your deep, deep longing to return to really pursuing God,
what if you miss it again...
you thought you were doing right then, and you were wrong.
 so, so wrong. 
what if all you ever do is make more messes.
you are not good at this.

+ + + + + + + +


Peter denied Jesus and became the head of the church.


Judas denied Jesus and hung himself on a tree.



they both denied him - but Peter did something i didn't. he swallowed his pride and he leaned in, he decided he would be founded in intimacy, in Jesus' voice alone. he did not let the place where he missed it destroy him or give it the power decide who he was. Judas did though. 

i understand. i know what that tastes like.  

the fear that i would be that person again... i didn't even trust God to keep my feet from slipping...

so one day, 

i quietly broke up with God. 
i mean, i didn't lose his number and give back his sweatshirt - and i continued going over to his house, but i stopped engaging.

maybe you've been there.


i stopped wanting more - 
stomach too full of fear, i lost my appetite. 


i was frozen 

and i was angry.
at myself.
at my husband.
at God himself for letting me make such a fool of myself.
that i had made such a mess of things. i felt like i'd missed the mark (and i had. of course, i had) - so i vowed to be different. 

i believed what i was missing was 

love (because i had been harsh)
compassion (because i had been legalistic, unbending) 
understanding. mercy. (because in my desire to live holy, i got it twisted, and instead began to co-operate with a different spirit. i did not respect the seasons people were in and i somehow got caught up believing that every person i spoke to needed to be won immediately. and instead of being gentle, i pushed.)

so i was going to be THAT instead - loving. compassionate. merciful. ...because then i would be more like Jesus.


// enter beth moore quote chapter of my life//

ten years. for ten years i've lived in and from that place and i did it all in my own strength. of course i did. i stopped consulting what the Word of God said about things. i did life more "organically". ha. gradually, over the last year, i started to awaken to the sense that i didn't recognize myself. i was not the person i wanted to be. i certainly wasn't more like Jesus. i didn't know who i was or who i was supposed to be because who i was before felt all wrong. i was in unchartered territory.


i didn't know which way to go.


thinking about it and waking up in that place left me feeling so lost. rattled. bewildered.


those early years taught me not to trust myself to tell the truth in a way that is both right and good. 

there is so much work that God is still doing in my heart to liberate me.

my desire is to be gracious, yes, but also to speak clearly and not be afraid to tell the truth.


i know that this is True: there is something in me right now that can change the course of things - it doesn't matter what's covering it up. the seed of something amazing is already in my life - i'm not a victim. i'm not a worrier. i'm an overcomer. i am not my worst day. 


day, decade, whatever.


so last year's word was renew

romans 12:1 
renew your mind, renew your world... by the washing of the water of the Word. 

God had begun a work in me - well, not really begun, because he never quit, but we were picking up the thread i had dropped.


life has intimidated me. my own actions have humbled me, humiliated me even, and what grew to mean more to me than loving Jesus above everything else was regret, fear, and dread.


but God is faithful.


everywhere i look i read words that pierce me, words that aren't just information but hope + life + breath

________________________________________________

Suddenly I began to see eagles emerging from everywhere. I saw them arise from the waters where they thought they would drown. I saw them arise from the wilderness where they had thought they had been lost in the darkness. I saw them emerge from the dark storm clouds and ride upon the high winds. I saw them come soaring from the fire that they thought for sure would consume them. Instead of being bound in these places, they began to soar out of them. the fire and the darkness no longer held them, the only fire i beheld was the fire in their eyes.

"Do not let past circumstances hold you bound, for they were never meant to hold you, but to FREE you. Yes, the discomfort you experience is always - I say ALWAYS - meant to drive you upward to My glory in greater measure. Flee the discomfort as you rise to the sound of my voice, directing you, wooing you, and calling you up... 
dana jarvis
_______________________________________________

  i could finally see where i fell off. i thought reading the Word and pressing in hadn't kept me from making a fool of myself (and of God too, i thought), so i decided i could do better at representing God if i just focused instead on loving people. 

and doesn't that sound noble? 


it did to me. 


"forget all of that other stuff - all that matters is that we love. you're a mercy. be merciful."


i felt i'd abused, misused the things of God... but as i heard recently - and it sliced me - neglect is no better than misuse or abuse. 



//they sacrificed the truth for love's sake

but what is love without truth?


i became a city without walls.

He that hath no rule over his own spirit
 is like a city that is broken down, 
and without walls. 
Proverbs 25:28

my fear of deception was greater than my trust in the guidance of the Spirit of God - and so i became subject to that and was again deceived - because we are subject to what we fear, are we not?


walking away from the Word was never going to be the answer because how then do i experience and walk in the fullness of God? how then could i possibly represent the heart of God? if all Jesus ever did and said was what he saw his Father doing and saying - how was i ever going to be able to follow him in that? GOD IS LOVE - but i think i can love people without God?


so this year, 2017, God is calling me back to the secret place




if you know me 
based on who i was a year ago, 
you don't know me at all...


allow me to reintroduce myself.


this is my revival.

the Lord has begun tugging on me to remove things that have been permissible but are not beneficial, so yes, i'm changing. the Kingdom of God is being preached and i'm pressing into it.


so maybe i'll be quieter. maybe i'm less available. i don't really know... i'm still learning what all of this looks like and how it might change my everyday life. all i know is i want to love Jesus. above all things. like i never have before. i want deeper depths, greater nearness. i want my life to be imprinted with the Presence of God. i want to smell like heaven. 


...and because i want that i will lean in hard, and i trust the Spirit of the living God with the rest.

and thus, here is the call to the secret place.

2 comments:

  1. Oooohhhhh, I love this. I am not my worst day. Amen! I love you!

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  2. My precious daughter in law just put her fussy baby down for a nap, and we were both working on our computers, when I gasped. Loud enough that she looked up anxiously to see if I was ok. "Oh no, it's just that my favorite blogger just wrote her first post in a looooong time!" I loved you before, during, and after, and ever after. Lean, little sister, and please write.

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