Hey! Welcome back! And might I tell you how glad I am that you made the decision to join me this Faith-Full Friday?!
How has your week been? Have you been making lots of good decisions for yourself, or are you still trying to navigate what healthy decisions look like?
Can I tell you what God has been showing me? It seems no matter how fragmented I feel…He is faithful, always. So much about whom I believe myself to be has been interfering with this opportunity for me to Share His Peace with others this week. The devil has repeatedly set himself up to persuade me to make this life about me by using regrets and condemnation to keep me living defeated. BUT GOD…wants to restore me so I will make all I do about Him instead!
Undeserved faithfulness. Is that a thing? I don’t deserve it, which I DO actually have to remind myself.
God has been undoing me. When we first arrived at Celebrate Recovery (CR) in Selma, I was so very sure this was why God brought us here. We sat in a Next Steps training one Saturday in early August and I cried. That may not seem so strange to many, but for me it was strange. Crying doesn’t come easy for me. I thought, “Oh God, you have done so many things these last few months that finally my heart has softened and is receptive to Your love.” I saw this activity in my life as His evidence of love.
You see, it was my decision to come here and “start over.” I am realizing that God brought me here to continue.
When I left NY I consciously chose to leave behind some journals. I’ve always turned to writing to process my pain. I knew that I didn’t want to clutter up my house or my heart holding on to those things any longer. I have done work through the steps of recovery before; certainly those days were behind me. I was looking to reinvent myself and I guess I thought I would just morph into this normal person who has had some experiences and was working this great recovery program. But do you know that you cannot heal a wound by saying it’s not there? (Jeremiah 6:14). Did you also know you take you everywhere you go?
I had settled into our new home and everything really was different. My routine and the scenery were daily reminders that God had lifted me out of the pit and put my feet on firm ground. I was happy all the time; I loved so many things about my new life. Life actually felt new. I felt more alive than ever as I was able to connect my past to my purpose. All I wanted to do was meet my people, have them fall in love with me, and live happily ever after. This was finally my time and I believed that those things were going to happen.
The enemy crept back in very subtly. Making friends was way harder than I had expected; suddenly I remembered that I was socially awkward and often found myself floating outside the social circles. I was feeling dreadfully uncomfortable in my own skin again. All my insecurities had found their way here, crossing hundreds of miles to plant themselves back in my mind again.
It didn’t take long before I was being worn down by an inability to get anywhere without my GPS. I HATE GPS. I like to know where I’m going and I like to let my good sense of direction comfort me. I was no longer thrilled by the beautiful scenery; instead, I was frustrated. Satan had once again flipped what was good into an obstacle for me. I was less and less willing to go out and explore and enjoy where I was.
Then as our business endeavor fell apart, I was faced with trying to find a job. Suddenly reinventing myself was the single most difficult task and I was overwhelmed and defeated. I started to believe all my skills were worthless, and no one would ever want to give me a job.
Then came that single most defeating moment. I wondered why I had even thought I could come here and have a new beginning.
The enemy was declaring victory over me. Suddenly the negativity was back full blast and I stopped believing God had any intentions of ever letting me feel any differently.
You see what happened there? I went from — believing that God and what He had given me, including a new life, were marvelous and great to believing the enemy instead. I stopped listening to the Good Shepherd and started listening to the slave driver.
It took the consistency of the church sermons and the healing hope found in the CR program to remind me that He has followed me here and that He has put me in this place for such A TIME AS THIS TO DO EVERYTHING I DREAMED I ONE DAY WOULD.
He reminds me daily that His grace is enough, but that there are no shortcuts. God wants all of me. He is not ashamed of me or disgusted by me. He hasn’t brought me here to forget about me. He knows where I have been and He was with me every moment that I was lonely, disappointed and remembering my brokenness. He doesn’t withhold His love or forgiveness. His grace is pure and offered to me over and over when I humble my heart towards Him.
Healing takes time, and I won’t always get it perfect, but my decisions need to be very intentional. Strong recovery requires me to have goals, to stay on track, and of course just as if I was training for a sporting event, I need to have a plan, and I need a team of people and a coach to provide both encouragement and to keep me focused.
I was trying to start over and God knew it.
Slowly but surely He is working on me to undo all the faulty repairs that I have made. I finally am working through the hurts, hangups, and habits in my life with consistency. I have been intentional about getting the right kind of support around me and I have stopped trying to carry the burdens of this broken past around.
I will never arrive until the day I stand before Him in eternity. Until then, I need to submit myself to Him and let Him use what He can of me. I truly believe that He wants to recycle my pain, but I have to tell you, I hold so tightly to it. I have not turned it over to Him. It is mine. I own it. All too often I have let it become an idol in my life. Actually it owns me, and the devil, he knows how to get right back into my head and tear me down piece by piece and remind me about how crippled I really am by the fear, pain, and sorrow that Vanessa spoke of last week.
I must saturate my heart with God’s word. I must be prepared daily for the attacks that he (the enemy) will try to use to thwart me. But I cannot live focused on this battle either. I must trust that whether I see it or not, God is constantly fighting on my behalf. His promises for me, His exhortations, His purpose for my pain. I want to partner with Him from now on and achieve the restoration He has said is mine. I want to have Jesus restore me so that I can be part of others’ restoration. (2 Corinthians 1:4 says, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given”).
My beloved Father has pursued me to this new place in my life, this season of change, and I want what He wants for me. I want to be made well.
Will you pray with me this morning?
You are our comfort, our peace giver, our restorer. Through every season of our life You never change. When we are in the wilderness, You are there. When we are in the valleys and when we are living in victory, You are there. Help us to stop running from the very things that You want to use in us. Help us to let you flesh those things out of us that interfere with Your plan for us. Let us be intentional with You. To see what you want us to see in ourselves-to allow You to change what needs to be changed. I know that perhaps there were times that we needed to fight and defend ourselves, but not anymore. Today, I want to be made well LORD. Have Your way in me, in Your Precious Holy Name I Pray!
Before we worship, don’t forget to join Stephanie for Monday Mayhem.