The seasons change and through each one, day by day, the faithfulness of A Holy God can be seen. Lord, show me Your glory, reveal yourself to me.
Good morning, peacemakers. I pray God has had mercy on you in many ways this week. I pray that as I had mentioned and encouraged you Monday, past the mayhem of Thanksgiving, that you have rested in Him and that He has restored your soul, even just a little bit.
So now, with a fresh covering of grace on you, I want to share with you this very exciting message that I believe God has been placing on me. He has been teaching me things I did not know as I called out to Him. (Jeremiah 33:3)
My God is so good, and although I spent so much time between Monday and this moment waiting (anxiously) for God to flesh out the message He has for me to share (fearful that it was not going to come), He is always faithful.
I mentioned in my Monday post, this was the first holiday season I can recall that I was not struggling with shame and a food obsession. What I am really understanding in this moment, is that I don’t understand just how much I have been saved from. I take it for granted. I cannot wait to tell you more about God’s amazing grace, but that isn’t this message. Although realistically, I cannot stop God’s grace.
God has been showing me how gracious He truly is; however, He has been teaching me more still about myself. The things that had been hidden by my distorted perspective. Everything in my world used to get passed through the filter of my obsessions and distorted thinking. Now, having the chance to walk in freedom, well, things look differently.
For the first time since I have lived in North Carolina, I have been made very uncomfortable and have even contemplated giving away my freedom. I struggled with my old nature and have thought I should do something to bring relief to myself in the middle of this struggle.
I have gotten up and looked in the mirror and felt the loathing feelings that cloaked every image I saw of myself, covering me again, trying to permeate my very being. Friend, it has been truly difficult and I have had to really wage war, at moments, in my spirit, against my old nature.
The good news is, I am His. This hasn’t changed over the days and the weeks that have passed. In fact what has happened instead is that what God has given me, in His grace, has taken on a new depth of roots that are giving my freedom an anchor.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1).
My shame is my biggest enemy. For years, because my food obsession altered my image one way or another, I was much more concerned with it. I was deceived by my own thinking. The the yoke of shame dictated the direction I would live in daily.
Yes, I used food to alter my comfort levels. To bring me comfort or to control my inner being. It satisfied me at times, and it punished me at times. So strange to serve a double minded god. But I confess with such sorrow, I have. Even after I have left the prison compound where that obsession held me, I scarce can belief how much power it held over me. For the longest time this was the vicious cycle of my thinking, because within this thought process…I produce still more shame. Oh so insidious. Shame.
So long as shame lives within the confines of my heart, love is pressed out. God’s love struggles to coexist with the despair that shame harvests. The seed of shame when put in the ground never really dies. It entangles with vines that grow up from it and chokes out the lush vegetation that nourishes and gives vitality (God’s Love). Here is where the lord of the flies has come in to settle in and feed off the decaying fruit that never even fully ripens. It just falls to the ground and begins it’s death process.
My self will and self reliance have produced lots of fruit that fell to the ground, prematurely, to rot and decay back into the soil.
This harvest season has brought a different set of circumstances. I have spent time in the garden of my heart, rooting out the weeds that have sprung up throughout my journey in life.
This season, of turning the soil and removing all the things in it that would destroy the precious fruits I long for, has been the difference between life and death. I have been eradicating the wild things in me. Shame. Fear. Self-righteousness. Unforgiveness. Anger. These things (buried under my shame) thrived in the barren land I had them kept in.
By allowing the spirit of God to take my shame, to envision it hanging on the cross, crucified, I am free to live. Free to Love. Life giving Love.
So how do I live in the change? How can I continue to give access to the spirit and allow the Lord of the Harvest to keep cultivating the rich nutritious fruit within my soul?
Each day the war starts. But it is the good fight, my friend. The enemy is shaking in his boots because I am awake and ready to go to battle against him. God is a gentlemen and allows me to choose in this moment (and several throughout the day) to serve him, the Lord of the Harvest, or the lord of the flies. Each time I follow Him, willingly, He is prepared to let His spirit lead and direct my steps, empower me to stay the course and then defend me in the fight.
He has put me to the test lately to strengthen the roots and show me that He is doing a good work in me. Friend, submitting to this pruning process can be quite painful. My comfort comes in knowing that the hands of the Father are gentle, lifting off and casting aside the things that will ultimately stunt my growth. He is showing me that there is still debris in the soil that threatens the fruit to come. I must stay committed to this season.
I want to stand firm, but I want to also walk in the Spirit. I am confused, do I stand firm or do I walk? Well, first thing’s first, I need to get my footing firm beneath me and then I want to be led by the spirit. This is actually where the war starts, because my flesh is screaming at me to stop fighting and just give into who I have believed myself to be for the last forty plus years. But God…my superhero, He will not have it. In fact He has told me, He will fight for me. He is The Lord of the Harvest.
Lord, forgive me, so so many years of wasted time and efforts in fields that produced little fruit. My spirit is grieved yet I hold out hope in You. Restore all that has been lost, that my silos can be full at harvest time. Please Father, accept me in my frailness, all my inadequacies; they clamor to the surface waiting for me to come to you and lay myself out before you so you can remove them. The more yielded I am to this process, the more your grace comes to me, no longer elusive, but abundant.
Lord, thank you for the struggle; it has strengthened me and cultivated deep roots of kindness and meekness so that the harvest will be full of blessings. It is for freedom that you have set me free…use this freedom to reach the hurting, broken and deceived. Show us Your glory.