Have you ever been in a place that feels so dark, so deep, that it feels like you are being swallowed into the depths alive? I have been there, more than once in my life, each time feeling like I would not be able to survive what I was going through.
Yet each time sensing this almost tangible string (as thin as a spiders web) reaching out to me from the heavens. You see, I knew of God… I thought I knew who He was, he was somewhere out there, all -knowing and all-powerful… but out there. I guess I was a slow learner because it would take multiple major events in my life for be to begin to fully understand and know the heart of God.
I gave my life to Jesus as an eight year old child, at a backyard Bible school. I had never heard the words “I Love you” from anyone within my family, so when I was told that God Loved us so much that He sent His Son to save us… I wanted that very much.
Unfortunately as a young child and little Biblical training outside a weekly Sunday school class, I really never grew… I never forgot about God, I never stopped believing, but I never grew closer to Him. This led to my life as a teenager in the early 80″s, the time of “sex, drugs and rock & roll”, where the lures of this world, specially for a girl that desperately desired to be loved, was all too alluring and I was quickly sucked right into the culture.
Lots of things happened in those next years into adulthood, including my first major life crisis. I found myself alone at night at a local park, sitting on this large rock, yelling out to God… “How could YOU let this happen to Me?? I believed that God was going to always Love me and protect me… this did NOT feel like love or protection.
God showed up that night, in fact it was the very first time I actually heard Him. I have no idea if it was audible or if it was within my Spirit but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was God speaking. It’s strange but I can’t remember the exact words, but I left that park knowing that I was going to do what He had told me to do. For the first time in my life I recognized I had a choice to make… would I follow mine plans or His plans for my life.
In time I healed , got married and had children, all the while still trying to fill the emptiness in my soul. I knew instinctively that God was the answer, I just couldn’t seem to find him, at least not in the way I was seeking. Everything I did, seemed a vain attempt.. like I was always dancing with shadows.
I was married to a Christian man, attending and serving at Church, it seemed everything I did outwardly was successful. I believed that it was reward for serving God faithfully, unfortunately, at home and on the inside I was always unravelling.. the shadow dancing continued.
Looking back, I could see that I was always searching to find God through someone else. First was the bible school teacher, next was a Christian man with a Christian family… surely this would lead me closer to God. I read Christian literature, attended women’s studies, tried to learn how to become a good Christian Mother… all the while still feeling a great chasm between myself and God. I understood the teachings, desired these truths very much for my life, yet there was always this distance between us.
Suddenly I found myself mid 40’s, and hitting major life crisis number 2. I watched as my life, like a house of cards was crashing down around me. All the things I thought I’d been doing right, all the ways I was trying to earn favour with God, were falling apart. I believe this is the first time I began to recognize the voice of the enemy.
I started to recognize ALL of the Lies, that I had been listening to throughout my whole life. For the first time, I saw myself through the filter of a sin stained life. God led me to open my Bible to the Psalms, As I read He split open my heart to understanding Davids pain and despair… and in that moment I understood that God wanted more from me than simply by belief and my service… He wanted my Heart, He wanted to know me, and have me know Him, as Intimately as David knew God in those Psalms.
This started a journey to know not only God better, but Jesus and the Holy Spirit, I wanted to understand each of the attributes of this God I had given my life to. The thing I find most interesting was that it took almost 40 years from the time I surrendered my heart to Jesus, to recognize the importance of Gods Word.
Prior to this, I had tried reading the Bible, in fact I read the verses in Church as the Pastor spoke, I attempted reading through it from Genesis to Revelation, I just could never understand nor see the relevance. I seemed to receive so much easier teachings through Christian Authors, in these books I could pick the subject I was interested in and decide if I would let God work on me there. Whereas in the Bible, you might get confronted in a passage in an area you were not necessarily ready to deal with… this was extremely uncomfortable.
During these years I grew Spiritually in ways I never could have imagined. I experienced God regularly, I saw Jesus through eyes of Love and sacrifice, and trusted in what the Holy Spirit was now doing in my life. Things were tracking better, once again hurts were being healed. I understood the desire to being Forgiven and the need for Forgiveness, God was truly good, I found myself finally living for Christ.
At this point, I had remarried a wonderful Jesus following man, we shared the same passions and desires to serve God at a deeper level, and God was continuing to mold us and teach us each step of the way. Little did we realize that God had bigger plans for us, which would require removing some worldly layers we had become quite accustomed to in our lives.
This led us to Major crisis number 3, this is the one I am praying about below. This crisis was just as scary and devastating as the first two, but the difference this time for us, was that this time we were grounded in Truths about God, truths only revealed and discovered by spending time in the Living Word of God.
For all the pain and confusion we felt, God was no longer distant, we understood that He was at work in the midst of this. We could look back and see how God was always there; right within reach, hearing our cries, waiting for hearts of repentance. I believe the Jesus grieved every time I failed him, He grieved that I could not see clearly, but even through the shadow dancing He was always there.
If this is you today, or maybe someone you know, read on… God is so good… so faithful, and His Word is absolute truth.
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. / Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. / This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9 NLT
Forgive me Lord Jesus, for I am struggling today. I feel heavy and weighed down with all that is happening in our lives. To my weak mind and faith, it feels like everything is about to implode on us. Lord God would You be my shield and my strength. Would You take our hands and guide us safely through this mine field.
I cannot see a way through this mess, and I know that the enemy is standing at my door waiting to pounce and try to defeat me. But, I also know that Your Word says, “He that is IN me is STRONGER than he that is in the world”. I will hold onto that promise Lord, and trust You will protect me from his vile attempts to take my focus off of You.
Father, forgive us for the mess we made of your provisions…we were truly convinced that we were serving You in our business, and in our lives. Yet how often we made choices out of our minds and hearts rather than yours. How regularly did we work out of our skills and abilities, forging ahead on paths not prepared by You. How often did we try to fit You into our mold of the lives we carefully planned out, rather then discover if it was even part of Your plan.
Forgive me Lord for my selfishness and greed, my desire to be seen as something other than what I am. Forgive me Lord, for always trying to create myself to be something other than what You created me to be. Forgive me for not seeing the value & beauty that you had already created within me Lord. Forgive me for believing the lies and trappings of this world. I feel that we are now paying the price for those years; trying to live with one foot in Your ways, but always keeping one foot in the world as well.
Your Word clearly tells us Lord, that we cannot serve two masters. Forgive me for my blindness and duplicity. As I look through that rear-view mirror and review our last 10 years; I am both in awe at Your amazing Love & Grace poured out over us, and so so ashamed of how blind I was to my worldly desires, all those wonderful things the world has to offer: A nice home, A nice vehicle, Adventurous toys, fancy clothes, nice hair & makeup for outward appearances, prestige, fame, good food & drink… the list goes on and on and on… these are struggles I believe many of Your beloved children struggle with Lord. O, how easily we lured into the world.
I feel like an onion, where each of these things, these worldly stumbling blocks, are being stripped from us, one layer at a time. I truly believe that in time we will be much better for it, but in the midst of the process it is so painful Lord. I am so thankful for Your Word, which reminds us “that You will NEVER leave us or forsake us”. These are the promises that are life giving in the midst of the struggles.
Without Your constant presence Lord, I don’t think I would survive this refining process, I truly believe that everything we are going through is for our good and ultimately for Your Glory, I am excited to see what You will do and how You will use us in the future. Yet Lord, in this present time, I am scared, would you help me/us to be ” very strong and courageous”. Protect us from the fear and discouragement that is knocking at our door. “Help us to “trust in You with ALL our heart, to not lean on OUR understanding. To seek YOUR will for our lives and You will direct our paths”. In Jesus Name ❤️ Amen.
I find it interesting as I write my thoughts; I have no idea who will read them or what circumstances these individuals may be going through. I pray that God would get His message to those in need, maybe that is you today… look at it as a gift from the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, to you, because that is how much He Loves you, and how deeply He is seeking you out.
As I prayerfully write out this message, we are two years post crisis number 3. I guess I can’t say “post” as in many ways we are still in the midst, it just doesn’t feel quite as critical in this moment of time. God did not answer everything the way we hoped or dreamed, but He did come through in amazing ways, and He created new hopes and dreams into our hearts… teaching us once again to stay true to His path rather than the one of our choosing.
If I can leave you with any encouragement today, it is to open Gods Word. As I shared above, I spent 40sh years of my Christian life seeking wisdom from man, trusting in what they told me about God. I can tell you with 100 % truth and authority, if you want to truly know Father, Son and Spirit, you have to open the Word. He will meet you there, I promise you that. He desires this from you…
It starts with obedience, simply find a quiet place and grab the Bible, I recommend a pen or highlighter something that can mark up those precious pages with anything He lays on your heart as you read. Before you start; Pray… ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and instruct you, trusting that He will do just that. It never ceases to amaze me the things that continue to jump out at me… this is why it is called the Living Word… it will change you, teach you and equip you in all the areas you desire.
There is honestly nothing more beautiful that to spend time one on one with our Lord… opening yourself fully to Him, and allowing Himself to be known better by you.
Blessings ❤️ Janet
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