The Healing Place

A couple of years ago, I attended a ladies retreat where there was a tongues and interpretation.  The room was filled with 2000 ladies.  I recall that despite that there were so many women in that room, I knew in my heart of hearts, that the message spoken was for ME.  Of course, when God speaks to the body, the message is for everyone.  Maybe its pride, maybe it’s arrogance, or maybe it was really just something that spoke in my soul that said .. I want this.  I want this message to be mine.  The message spoke of listening, really listening, to the ladies on the stage because God said … they had been to the healing place.

Of course, at the time, I didn’t really know what that meant.  What exactly was the healing place?  Was it a specific location?  Could anyone go there?  Was there a cost to go there?  Where do you even begin? …. So many questions and not many answers left me with a deep-seated desire to get to this place.  Despite that I was Holy Ghost filled and blood bought … despite that I had spent many hours at several alters pouring my heart out to God … despite that I had spent hundreds of hours in prayer … there were still things inside of me that I just couldn’t get away from.  I’m not even sure I can accurately put my finger on it other than to say that there were holes in my heart that hurt.  Things in my life that haunted me that while God knew, I somehow didn’t know how to let go of.  Some people put up walls and call it being free, others put on a smile and hide the hurt, I seemed to be plagued with my hurts seeping through at the altar behind unspoken words and sobs as my soul begged for mercy.  This was a couple of years ago.

I sought pretty hard for God after that.  I wanted the healing place.  I wanted to know what true freedom really is.  I found out that healing and freedom were none of the things I thought they were.  I thought that once I had reached that place, that it would be nirvana.  I thought that I would finally be able to walk around and not feel insecure.  I thought that I would finally be able to feel the joy non-stop instead of continuously having life frustrate me with challenges.  I thought I would always be able to handle every situation with a smile and calm and know that it was real instead of feeling that I was hiding behind a wall of pretense.  Nope … the healing place was none of those things.  Neither is freedom.

We had a guest preacher in today that spoke of the healing place.  He didn’t call it that, but that’s exactly what it was.  I’ve been there now, so I know.  He was talking about the healing place.  It’s the place where we are confronted with all kinds things that we never expected.  It’s the place where we are forced to face some of the most dreaded things in our lives.   It’s the place where you life seems to be falling apart.  It’s the place where you are certain, you can relate with Job.  It’s the place where you find out people will fail you .. even family.  It’s the place where you find the world will fail you.  It’s the place where you find out that yes, the church too will fail you.  It’s the place where you learn …. complete dependence on Jesus.

But it’s not just learning about being let down.  It’s also learning about trust and confidence in God.  Not just in God, but His ability to restore.  His ability to rebuild what He had just torn down.  His ability to work in others and regain your trust in those who may have let you down.  It’s about learning to depend on God for finances and health and trusting that even if it doesn’t look like you thought it should, God’s got it all under His control.  It’s about learning to fear the power of God and not take it for granted.  And somehow, through all of this, at the same time, He pulls you in closer and lets you see HIS heart.  I’m sorry, but if you want to be close to God, there is absolutely no way to do it without jumping in the fire.  You can get close and feel His heat, but until you allow the fire to consume you .. you will never get to the place where you see Him standing in the flames with you.

Please don’t be afraid of the healing place.  Please don’t be afraid or refuse to go through the valley.  If you look at your circumstances and think you might be there, please be encouraged.  It’s a frightening place but this is the place where you learn to discern the hand of God.  This is the place where you learn to discern God’s touch.  If you are looking at the fire and have been afraid to jump, be encouraged, He’s at the door waiting for you to ask Him to lead you through.

This is the place where you learn that God will truly never leave you nor forsake you.  There is so much beauty there!  There is so much that God wants to salvage from that place!  But He will only salvage those that want to be salvaged.  He will only rebuild those that choose to go through this process.  We, the church, have been blessed so much.  It’s time for more of us to be willing to enter in to the healing place.  There is a world out there crying out to God to show them just how real He is.  There is a world out there crying to see Him alive in others.  There is a world that wants to know the true blessing of serving a God that is alive and holy.  And there is a God who wants to guide you through this place to show you just how beautiful it really is … just how MUCH there is to salvage!

The healing place is where God teaches you to close your eyes and listen with your heart …… it’s only then that you hear the lost souls crying out.

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The risk of investing everything

The other day, I made a comment to a young lady telling her that her boyfriend was worth the investment.  I didn’t put a lot of thought to the comment, it just came out because I believed it.  After I said it though, it really made me think about relationships between a man and a woman.

The young man I was referring to is someone very near and dear to me and someone whom I have always seen great potential in.  From the very start, I have seen the man who God wants him to be.

Of course, this is a young couple who are both growing and maturing, figuring out who they are in relation to themselves, each other, and I would venture to say, even God.  As I watch and pray for them, I can’t help but see the importance of investing in the person we are with .. not just the relationship.

I’m amazed as I watch this young man grow and see him maturing.  I have watched him grow from almost indifferent towards his girlfriend to being just that .. invested.  No longer is it just a relationship for the sake of relationship.  It’s something more.  It’s a realization that the other person has taken hold of a place in your heart that no one else can or ever will fill.

What a hopeful thing to see!  When we are invested, we are willing to go through a thing or two.  When we are invested, we have something to fight for.  When we are invested, we allow God to show us the person we love through His eyes instead of our own.  When we are invested, we are willing to bear our hearts, even when it hurts.

I believe this is one of the key factors to really good marriages.  Marriages shouldn’t be just a matter of convenience or filling financial and physical needs because it’s some sort of contract.  Marriage should be an investment in a person that God chose for me.

Unfortunately, I’ve been through divorce and didn’t realize these things in my previous marriage.  I fell into the trap of believing that marriage was about our individual happiness.  Mostly, I didn’t have God focused eyes to help me see the things I could not see.

While I’m not proud to say I’m divorced, I am thankful the situation ultimately led God to open my spiritual eyes.  I’m also thankful that God had someone in mind for me because, being the gracious God He is, He would give me a second shot at marriage.  God would teach me the importance of not just being committed to a marriage, but being invested in the man He has chosen for me.  What a difference investing in the man versus the marriage makes.

Why?  Because now that I invest in my husband versus my marriage, I’ve been given a glimpse of the bond that God truly intends between a man and woman .. and I realize just how valuable that bond truly is!  It is something to desire and strive for.  It’s beautiful and it’s worth every bit of effort and ugly thing you have to go through to get it.

When you are truly invested, you have everything to lose .. yes.  But on the other hand, when God is the one leading the investment, you have something that is priceless to gain … a type of love that only God can create.

I love my husband.

 

 

So, you wanna’ fight?

Have you ever been the target of someone else’s aggression simply because you were … you?  I have.  I was twelve.  Her name was Virginia.  She was a short little Mexican girl.  She had one of those cocky, aggressive attitudes that despite her small stature, forced its way into the room.  I really didn’t talk to her much.  She was one of those girls that unless you were in her circle, you avoided eye contact hoping not to be the recipient of her sneering comments.

I’m not even sure why she didn’t like me.  As a matter of fact, I didn’t officially know that she didn’t like me until she marched up to me on the bus that fateful day telling me that she was going to ‘kick my -ss’ when we got off the bus.  What’s a kid to do when that happens?  I didn’t know why.  I don’t even remember if I asked.  I was pretty timid at these things.  While I was sandwiched between two brothers at home, I would never scuffle with them.  It just wasn’t in me.

As I walked the 50 feet from the bus stop, I felt like I was being ushered by an unseen force.  The children were gathering, excited at the prospect of seeing two girls claw at each other like cats.  I didn’t have a clue why I had been chosen for this position, but there she stood telling me to hit her.  I just looked at her.  I didn’t want to fight, but my mouth couldn’t find any words in that moment.  She continued to taunt me.  I continued to just stand there.

Then it happened, she threw the first punch.  Then the next came, and the next, and the next.  I tried my best to defend myself, but my arms were two flailing limbs not doing much other than making a mockery of what was already a very sad scene.  She grabbed my hair and yanked me around like a rag doll.  All the while, I could hear not just her voice, but the voice of all the other children … all laughing and whooping it up at my expense.  Other than my useless attempts to diminish the blows, all I could do was cry.  This of course just added more fuel to their fiery commentary.

After what seemed like hours, Virginia must have decided I had enough and she stopped.  She didn’t say anything to me.  Just looked at me, then walked away.  I just stood there, blood pouring from my nose, eyes bruised, hair a shambled mess ..  crying.  I walked home by myself.  The show was over.  Who wants to walk with the loser?

I don’t know if that was some sort of test, but Virginia never bothered me again.  I certainly wasn’t much of a challenge.  I didn’t even fight back.  Surprisingly, I didn’t hate her.  It’s hard to hate something that you just don’t understand.  I just continued on, being me.  Polite and respectful to others.  Mild mannered, not causing much of a ruckus.  Smiling at those that no one else would smile at.  Finding myself seeking out the seat that no one else wanted to sit in.  Enjoying school and being content to just be.  Doing my best to do what was right, even when it felt uncomfortable.

Now as an adult, I find that the face of Virginia was really nothing more than Satan in disguise.  Constantly taunting, toying, and bullying me around.   Doing his best to make a fool of me, as he sits back and has a good laugh.  Just like that fateful day, he continues to succeed at humiliating me and giving the crowd a good laugh.  As much as it hurts, and as much as I continue to cry, I have a hard time hating.  Certainly, I’ve had moments where I may have felt that, but as quickly as it comes, it leaves.  What has never left, is the complete lack of understanding to why these things happen.

Satan continues to call at me, ‘So, you wanna’ fight?’  To which I reply, ‘No.  I really don’t.’  This was never supposed to be my battle.  I don’t understand this and I don’t understand how you are able to get people to do horrible things to each other.  So I’m going to do what I always do, continue on .. being me .. doing my best to do what is right, even when it feels uncomfortable.

Jesus is coming back …. SOON.