HAND TO THE PLOW

Our Pastor taught on idolatry a few Sunday’s ago. He challenged us to “surrender the thing that is ruining you.”

Immediately I had something on my heart to surrender and a few days later, yet another! That’s how it works with me. So on our way home from Indiana (after dropping our kids off for 3 days and 2 nights!!!) I said to my man, “So I have been thinking about what Brian said today and my idol is wanting to control your relationships with your kids. I can see how it is not helpful but damaging and I want to surrounding it!” “So what’s your idol.” Long pause. Then Paul said, ” Sorry babe I don’t work like that. I listen to the teaching and it takes about of week for me to process the truth and walk it out. So I may have an answer for you in a week. I’m just not the camp counselor that gathers a group of people shares their struggle and asks everyone else to take a turn and share their heart.” Blahahhahahahahahahah! I just died laughing because there was so much truth in that statement and it cracks me up how different he and I are. As soon as God speaks to me about something I talk to everyone I know about it and ask if they can relate! My introvert of a man gave me a great word picture of how he functions in life in his walk with God.

He said, “Picture an old school plow. Its strapped up to a horse or ox and the man is plowing his filed. He has to get it done in time to plant and for there to be a good harvest. Picture the man plowing along and right in his way is a rock. He picks the rock up, gets it out of his field and keeps on plowing. He doesn’t talk about it. He doesn’t call up his farmer friends to come take a look at the rock and stand around having a conversation about where it came from or what its made of or just pondering the reason rocks have to exist at all. He just handles it and moves on with the desire to do his work well and there be a good harvest.”

     What!? I so would not handle it that way! Metaphorically of course, the rock is sin. I tend to have a process about the sin, confessing it to the Lord, grieving it and then hardest for me is moving on in grace. For my man the process is different and a bit more simple. I have to confess just hearing about his process convicted me about my desire to set up a tea party round my rocks. I do dwell on them to long instead of just acknowledging it to God and trusting Him to make my path straight. I’m sure that I have been helpful to him at some point in nudging him towards processing stuff a little more. Iron sharpens Iron and Paul and I are each others greatest iron in life.

I wanted to share because I was so encouraged by the word picture. First because I think its a great sneak peek into how men think (at least my man) and Second I was challenged not to linger so long on the problem but to acknowledge it, toss it out of the field, and get on with God’s kingdom work.

Do you have a rock in your field? (there goes the camp counselor in me! lol) Do you linger to long on it? Do you need to talk less about it and confess the thing to the Lord and get back to plowing? Or are you on the other end? You don’t communicate at all and the body of Christ would be extremely uplifted if you would share more?

I pray we would all plow well today!

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you

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HEALED

I was invited to go to a woman’s retreat with ladies from my church and we would join with ladies from Ohio and South Carolina in a cabin in Tennessee. It all worked out for me to go days before it was time to jump in the car. I took my kiddo’s to grandparents in Indiana and then Brookie and Maryland met at my house so I could drive us to the cabin.

I didn’t know these ladies at all. I knew of Maryland but had never met Brooke. Brooke got to my house first and I wrapped my arms around her and said, “Hi! we are going to be best friends in 5 hours!” That’s how long it took to get there.

As we drove we each took turns sharing our stories like I knew we would. As I listened to Brooke’s story about her meeting her husband of 5 years now and how she honored him and spoke of him I was encouraged and convicted. I loved hearing stories from Maryland on becoming a Mother-in-law twice in one year. How she was seeking to respect and honor the new unions.

Marylin
Brookie

When we arrived at the cabin (It was really huge! ) I began to feel my heart drop. I felt like all those teen girls that would come to camp when I served in Head Waters that would say, “I don’t know why I’m here.”

That night Maryland was the one teaching. I felt so proud of my new car buddy bestie. I listen and of course was the first to break down and cry. I had been so concerned for my husband working 94 hours a week and not sleeping at all on fire nights. Marylin said, “let’s ask God to give you the desire of your heart that the needs would be met with just the fire job and not a second job also.” She prayed over me and challenged me that it was time to ask and be content at the same time. I had to humble myself and agree. I was so scared to ask God for anything I wanted. I shared about being molested and how I struggle to believe that God wants anything good for me and those connected to me.

Like I mentioned in my last post I could explain to you why and how this event in my life was robbing me of truth to that day!

The next day I had a terrible head ache all day and really felt like what is the point of me being here if God was just going to let me be in so much pain. I did get to share about my heart for painting God’s word and had supplies for all the gals to paint if they wanted to! It was so cool. A vision come to life!

That night we were had time set aside for a testimony. Guess who was sharing? My other new bestie Brookie!

What she shared and how she shared, oh man, I have never heard a testimony like it. I think it was also so powerful to me because I got to hear all the other stuff in the car as she saved her story of coming to Jesus for that night.

Brooke too was messed with sexually as a child. She rebelled in different ways than me but she didn’t have a trace of the old life on her. I spent 5 hours in the car with the woman, and I was shocked by her story because I would NEVER have guessed it. God had truly, redeemed and healed and given her a life and purpose completely centered on Him. As I listened I started to feel this weird, “wait a minute, I don’t sound like her.”  I am not free of my past like she is. I still smell like smoke from the fire. After she was done we had a time of prayer. I began to feel agitated. I knew God was offering me healing right then. I wanted to be healed but I didn’t want it from Him. You see I have been angry at God for 24 years. He could have rescued me and He didn’t. At one point Brookie shared about her years of healing from her abuse and her choices that proceeded. One night she was so angry and crying and asked her Mom, “Why did Jesus let this happen?” A familiar question right? I listened almost breathless for the Mom’s answer as Brooke continued. “I don’t know Brooke, but look at the cross.” When she said that it bugged me. Ugh! What does that even mean!

Back to that time of prayer as Jesus was offering to heal me. I was angry. I was hot. I was sitting on the ground Indian style with my head in my hands refusing to acknowledged the gentle whisper to come. “No, Lord, ” I said in my heart. “why should I come to you when its your fault I got screwed up in the first place!” ” Look up Jess, look at Me on the cross.” I did. My first reaction to thinking about Jesus on the cross with all my pain boiled to the surface was, “GOOD!” “If I have to suffer so should you.” Then the strangest thing happened. It really isn’t strange at all I because this is Jesus we are talking about but it was new for me. As I kept looking as Jesus bloody, and dripping to pay for my sin, its like all my pain and anger and suffering over the years was simply ABSORBED. He took it for and from me. I didn’t have it any more. It was like a digging in the soil of my middle, my heart and he pulled out the broken, and burnt thing in my heart and put it in my hand. I could see it for what it really was and I gave it to Him. See there is  a big difference between “getting over something,” and giving it to Jesus in the great exchange of Beauty for Ashes. The gals prayed over me and I prayed for the man who molested me and asked God to be merciful to him. I released him of any blame in my heart and forgave more deeply than any forgiveness I have ever given in my life.

The next day several other women broke down and I hope made that great exchange with Jesus. Everyone in the room has very serious faces but I couldn’t hold back a giant smile because I was free. I was healed and I knew God was offering the same to them.

Before this, I had settled on the idea that I may just always struggle with this thing. I don’t think that way anymore. When people have pain, or a wound I know God can heal completely! I have a desire to be used in any way He wants. I want to walk with other on this road to exchange their ash for His beauty.

 

HEALED

I painted this weeks before the retreat

Isaiah 61

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

    because the Lord has anointed me

    to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

    to proclaim freedom for the captives

    and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

    and the day of vengeance of our God,

to comfort all who mourn,

    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

to bestow on them a crown of beauty

    instead of ashes,

the oil of joy

    instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise

    instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,

    a planting of the Lord

    for the display of his splendor.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins

    and restore the places long devastated;

they will renew the ruined cities

    that have been devastated for generations.

All my girls where there!

IT WAS STOLEN

I was molested when I was 11. I could tell you in detail how this planted a lie in my heart so deep it has affected my bottom line belief about God and the ever crucial truth of His love towards all mankind including me.

Years ago I had the opportunity to pray with an amazing woman out in Head Waters and God gave me a vision of this man and I side by side worshiping Him in heaven. Forgiveness began. Who am I not to forgive when God obviously had.

I have “dealt” with this thing so many times in my adult life. Always knowing that most of my issues in life could be traced back to this one event  and the implanted lie that God so loves the world but just didn’t have love for me that day or He would have preserved my innocence. He would have protected my childhood and not allowed it to be stolen from me.

Its is true that we live in a fallen world and there for we all get affected by sin. Our own sin or others sin. This fact is not comforting to the wounded that have a clear understanding of God’s sovereignty. It feels personal. It “feels” like the God of scripture that is so for His own just isn’t for me. If we are deceived about this foundational truth the enemy can work all kinds of mischief.

Scripture states that, “The thief comes ONLY to STEAL, KILL and DESTROY. ” Ok, the word destroy is what I thought all three words meant before I study the original language. It means to destroy fully, to perish to lose, or mar. Now stick with me I will summarize all these details in a moment but there is such truth in the details. To lose, is so that there is little or no prospect of recovery. Ugg. To mar means to damage or spoil to a certain extent; rendering the thing less perfectless attractive or less useful, to impair or spoil. I have literally walked out years of life believing this was my identity. This is the dark, bad and nasty news of being messed with in this life by the thief through sin.

That word steal means to steal something in a gradual manner. Like a chipping away at something of great value. Quite sneaky. I can think of many things in my life that the thief has chipped away at without me realizing until there was a giant whole that caused a major problem! Not respecting and honoring my husband in years past for example. Selfishness. Idolatry over food and so on.  To kill means to rush. Isn’t that surprising? It has to to will rushed breathing and I suppose unto death but the word rush says one thing me, ANXIETY! Oh how anxiety, the sin of not trusting our trustworthy God brings immediate death to peace and the fullness of life Christ came to bring us! RIGHT!?

I have been painting with Bob Ross and he talks a lot about lighting. He says you have to have the dark to see the light and the light to see  the dark. So true Bob!

     This thievery happened in my life when I was 11. The devil set out to destroy me. In years to come he set out to steal and kill. I responded to the lie of lacking God’s love in rebellion. I decided that I wasn’t worth His love so I would make myself worth it. I call it rebellion because this decision was in direct conflict with how God calls us to come to Him. My salvation was secure when I was 5 so I am talking about my walk with him. I came to Him in the pride of “I got this.” I had even vocalized my goal in my early 20’s that I wanted to try and be the whole package. I was speaking of course about working towards being attractive, perfect and useful for my future husband but how interchangeable the concept is when you are single.

My pursuit to fix the damage left me with quite a list of good deeds and practically no understanding of grace. Until God wonderfully frustrated my entire life.

Our life fell apart. Three years ago my husband, three children and our dog found ourselves homeless in the dead of winter with whooping cough and no place to call home. It was in these pressing circumstances that I experienced God’s keeping power. I could do nothing. I couldn’t be good enough, I couldn’t control anything. I could get God’s attention with my self-deceived version of value or perfection. I found out in that moment that I already had it. His attention. All along God kept me when I couldn’t do a thing for Him.

I was so thankful and still am for that 9 days that felt like 3 months without a home. I was set on a course of learning who God really is.

I hadn’t given a thought to this being molested thing in years. Yet knowing it was the source of my lack of faith. I had “handled” it so many times I figure that was it, I was done with it.  I would just decide to be done with it and will myself out of disbelief. It doesn’t really work that way with God or even on a physical level. If you aren’t healed of a wound, YOU AREN’T HEALED. I didn’t even know I needed healing until this January. Yep like last month just weeks ago!

I think I will end this post for now.

Think on these truths. Are you wounded? Do you need healing because the thing has never been healed? Has the thief stolen, destroyed or caused rush in your life? Next time I write I will share about the wonderful BUT GOD and His redemption and healing in my life. I am praying that these words will quicken hearts to go directly to God alone for the healing we all so desperately need!