Today we were making our way through Exodus at church.. a very interesting book that is often overlooked. The Israelites’ relationship with God is similar to the way we often relate to Him. He rescues them and then provides for them and yet they long to go back to Egypt.. Somehow they are unable to truly grasp His love for them and accept His plan for their lives.. Sound familiar? Why is that we get amnesia when it comes to remembering His goodness? We all have a story and in that story God has come for us over and over again.. yet we doubt and wonder and worry.. I am absolutely guilty of this. Where are you God? Why would you..? How could you??
So as I listened to the teaching today I heard something that I needed to hear.. it was a new way of stating an old idea that I have heard over the years.. but somehow today it was much more clear than it has been.. Maybe I am just more ready to hear it now than I was when I was younger.. Our walk with God is often clouded by our own desires..we want what we want.. guilty as charged. The Lord uses all of this desire for things that are not Him to draw us towards Him.. sounds strange doesn’t it? What I mean is that we long for the things for this world.. homes, jobs, money, etc.. and every time we get any of these things, they fall short and another desire has to spring up… It is an endless cycle until we realize that these things are never going to fill the emptiness or take away the loneliness.. We are in a broken world and we are not here to have this perfect life.. so why are we here? The message today was that we are here to make it safely home .. back to the God who created us.. That’s right to walk with Him all the way to the end..staying close to Him, following Him, and keeping our faith alive.. until that day!
It was so freeing to hear that today.. Many of my old dreams have died and many of my longings will never be fulfilled in this life.. but I can do this thing.. I can walk with Him every day until the end is here.. I can long for that day to come and still live fully now.. trusting Him and knowing that He is with me.. You can do that too.. you can look back and see how He has been there over and over and remember how you have seen Him at work in your life and in the lives of those around you. You can decide to stay on the path until He takes you safely home!
I had an interesting conversation a few days ago and the topic of healing came up. That is not unusual when I am engaged in a deep conversation because healing is the focus of my life. For the last almost 20 years I have sought healing and for the last 11 years I have facilitated healing in the lives of my clients. Much of my life revolves around this concept.. healing is so critical and it leads to much more freedom than we could ever imagine.
Many of us walk around with deep wounds from our childhood and later from our adult years. These wounds appear to be harmless and often we decide that we can’t do anything about them so we bury them. They may try to open up again… we grab the band aids and plaster them all over the wounds to keep them from bleeding out into our lives. There is a better way. We have a God who not only wants to heal.. but actually can heal those wounds so they never have power over us again. The key to receiving the healing is to seek it.. diligently. I decided that without healing I would never be able to live fully. My desire was to be a whole as I could be while I was here.. we are not going to be perfectly healed on earth.. but we can definitely make a lot of progress in that direction.
Our childhood memories are keys.. what do we remember and why? What was it like growing up? Most people say.. “my parents really loved me” or “I really love my parents” Right.. that is easy enough to say.. but what happened to you as a child? Parents love very imperfectly and as a result there is emotional damage that happens to us. If we take the time to look at it fully.. to grieve our losses and to face the way things really were.. we have the opportunity to move ahead in forgiveness and faith. There is a cost.. we may need to revisit the painful things that occurred or feel a glimpse of the abandonment or fear that we had as children.. it is worth doing even though there is pain. God wants to heal those broken places in your heart.. His longing is for you to realize that His love is nothing like the love we get from our earthly parents. It is not only unconditional.. it is always available at a moment’s notice and it is the cure for all the ways that people have failed us.
So.. I named this post Seek healing.. as a way of encouraging you to do this. Get help if you need it.. pray and ask God to direct your steps to the person who can help you and expect the Holy Spirit to be at work revealing things to you as you step out in faith.. believe that the Lord is at work in your life.. longing to heal and set you free.
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free. Jesus said this in the book of Luke!
Whenever I think of summer… somehow I begin to remember my childhood.. summer went on forever and it was amazing. School was out so there were no deadlines..we had time to swim, ride bikes, take vacations and my favorite of all.. the beach! Those days are long gone.. but the memories are still intact.. I long for that sense of timelessness and that joy of wandering along the boardwalk at the beach. It was amazing to be free of those things that challenged me at school.. not so much the schoolwork, but the long days in the classroom and the social dynamics with the other kids. I probably would have a been a great candidate for homeschooling if that had existed back then.. just stay home and learn everything from mom.. after all she had a Phd in psychology.. it probably would have been amazing. My grand kids are experiencing that right now. they get to learn from their very well educated mother.. I am so thankful that this is happening for them.
So this year.. my goal is to truly experience summer as an adult even though the responsibilities do not stop and the challenges are not taking a break. But summer is here in full bloom.. all the summer fruit is out and it is sooo good!! The sun shines brightly and the skies are blue. When there are clouds, they are wonderful.. designed by God to encourage us.. the sunsets too. We live on a hill and during July the sunsets tend to be very beautiful with orange and pink skies spreading out in all directions. We went on a hike today.. it was hot and I am not as young as I used to be, but so grateful that I can still hike and enjoy the smells of the trees and the beauty of this area. God is so good. He allows us special moments throughout our lives.. moments to enjoy and appreciate the life He has given us.
His creation is a gift to us and summer is a great time to take it in. I feel the longing to be back in those early years.. to experience the endless summer.. but I know there is more ahead that we realize.. someday we will experience things even more glorious than those summers of childhood and we won’t grow up and leave them behind. God has a plan for us that includes a future in His presence where we can enjoy creation in an unlimited way and it will be much better than summer!
” I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”…(mark 10:15)
A conversation I had with a friend this morning made me think deeply about choices. We have so many of them in this world. Everyday we are choosing without even knowing it. The Lord gave us free will and He gave us a mind. Both of these enable us to choose.. He seems to be very in favor of that or He would not have created us with the ability to choose so freely. I realize that there are people who think we should choose everything that feels good with no regard for anyone else.. I am definitely not in that camp. Then there are those who believe if you do not choose what I choose.. then something is very wrong with you.. not in that camp either. Choices are very serious and they are messy.
What prompted this blog post was the realization that we may have more choices than we realize.. maybe we feel like if we don’t choose wisely right now.. this could be our last chance. While I realize that there are grave consequences to choices made lightly without careful prayer and seeking God’s best.. I also know we are serve a God of second chances. third chances etc. Basically we cannot run out of chances with Him. So how do we navigate this road which often feels like it is full of potholes? I can’t claim to have all the answers.. but I do know that we live in a world where the Lord is constantly redeeming things. I also know that so many of the heroes of the Bible did really unbelievable things.. in fact if we were in charge we might say to them.. ” that is it.. no more chances.” Fortunately we are not in charge and that is not how God sees things.. He does not run out of grace and mercy.. even we take a wrong turn He will steer us back in the right direction.
So choosing is an awesome responsibility .. God knows that through our choices we will see Him more clearly.. even the bad choices. He knows that we will learn to seek Him more deeply as we choose.. if we desire to follow Him throughout our lives and He does not have a list of consequences we can read before we decide. Choices are deeply entrenched into our life.. we are walking by faith and not by sight. Choices tell the Lord we trust Him even if everyone around us thinks we are crazy.. Choices knit us to Him in a way that rules and regulations never will. We are given freedom.. lots of it.
Really the only thing we can do is pray and seek Him and ask Him to stop us when we are moving in the wrong direction. Then we can shut out of the voices of well-meaning people or how- to books and leap ahead in the direction that is right for us. Once we realize that if we fall He will catch us.. We can ask for courage and turn away from fear as we move forward..
I hope this year is one filled with hope for you as we move into 2017.. may you choose wisely as you follow our amazing God.
If you wander from the right path, either to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice behind you saying, “You should go this way. Here is the right way.” ( Isaiah 30:21)
If you’ve been reading my blog.. you know that my passion in life is to see God bring healing to His people. As a counselor.. there is nothing more important to me than being a part of this deep work that He is doing through the Holy Spirit. For the last year I’ve been in a season of grief and healing..yes the two often go together. When we grieve God has an opportunity to go deep into our hearts and bring up things that we might never look at under other circumstances. I would go so far as to say that without grief, the healing really isn’t complete.
When God opens a wound from the past.. there are emotions that become jarred loose and we find ourselves face to face with our losses. Every life is full of them. The older we get, the more losses we experience..it is inevitable. I have some very deep wounds from the 25 years I spent in an abusive marriage. When it was over, 14 years ago, I began to grieve and unravel my past. Recently God has been excavating some remaining emotions from that time.
He is going deep into the recesses of my heart and pulling out old memories and the feelings that are connected to them. It is a painful process and even more so since so much of it is happening in the middle of the night. I imagine because it is a time when I am quiet and not busy with life. So I am sleep deprived but looking forward to the fruit that is going to come from this season of healing. As I work with my counseling clients.. I am constantly reminded by the Lord that I am only His instrument and their healing comes from His hand.
“The wounded healer is a phenomenon that occurs between the healer and the one receiving the healing. Psychologist Carl Jung used the phrase to describe experiences in the relationship between the counselor and their patient, where the counselor would examine themselves and experience depths of their own pain, in order to probe, understand, and heal the pain of their patient. Jung expressed that the experience was entirely necessary to the healing process, as well as warned of its many dangers.”
Jesus is our wounded healer..the one who enables us to become the same for those He brings into our path.
I keep coming back to this idea of a balanced life. We have so many demands on us in our culture. There is the culturally acceptable idea that we must always be busy.. that somehow our significance comes from our accomplishments. Then there is the idea among Believers that we must be emotionally available to everyone who needs us. We also have the prevailing cultural view that we need to go to a gym or somewhere daily to be in good physical shape… eat a particular way in order to be healthy. Add to that the ideal of spending time reading the Bible and praying every day and you have a full life.
The question for me is “what does a healthy balanced life look like? ” I’ve arrived at some conclusions over the last year. Too much activity is deadly. Time alone is absolutely necessary. Eating too much and too fast is unhealthy. It is not possible to be emotionally available to everyone who needs something. I don’t need to go anywhere but outside my front door to exercise..by walking. Sometimes I cannot read the Bible or any other book or pray. God understands this and is fine with it. His grace is enough.
So what does a balanced, holistic life look like? Living daily with our Great God, taking care of our bodies, pacing ourselves, and rejoicing in His goodness.
” Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
That is what it feels like when the voice of God suddenly becomes clear and strong. He promises to speak to us.. if we are willing to wait..to be still.. to be alone..to rest in the silent place. He longs to reveal those things that will enable us to live more fully..to speak truth in the innermost parts.
I believe these things that I just wrote.. but the silence can be agonizing. His voice brings freedom to our weary souls. He shines light into the darkness and the confusion is gone. He is the rescuer. He comes for us. I have just experienced this over the last month in a way that I never would have imagined. The darkness was one of the worst I have ever known..the accuser doing his work. Where was God? All I could do was cry out to Him..trusting that He was close. I was desperate for Him and He began to peel back the darkness. Little glimpses of light came into my life as He spoke to my heart.
I had asked for healing and He came to do a work that would set me free. Healing requires desire..committment..longing..willingness. We also need to set aside time to be alone..to let the pain come to the surface. My life has been filled with disappointment and pain caused by those closest to me..I never thought I could understand why they did what they did or be able to truly forgive. God knew better.
He met me each time I cried out to Him.. “help me forgive them Lord”..He met me every time I asked for protection and comfort. He used my husband to hold me over and over again as the pain poured out of the old wounds. He gave me a safe place to fall apart..so He could put me back together again.
He is the healer..the redeemer..He is able. He will do a deep work in you if you keep asking Him and make time for it. He is longing to transform us.. to fill us with His amazing unconditional love. He is our God.