New season, new life. New website. Because i have a new story to tell.
i have been quiet on here for months, but i finally believe today is the day to begin sharing. It’s time to tell you the amazing “new thing” my amazing GOD has been doing in my heart, mind, body and soul.
This day brings a mixture of excitement and hesitancy, fear and boldness.
But it comes down to this: Despite my jumbled emotions, i can’t not share all i know HIM to be and all HE has done for me.
The gratitude and love i have for this “new” and true GOD that i’ve recently discovered just won’t allow me to keep quiet any longer.
So after a year of healing and listening and waiting, i believe GOD is telling me it’s time to start writing. To start sharing. To start giving from the abundance that HE has given me.
where to begin?
i’ve wondered and prayed for months about where to start. What do i say in this first installment of telling GOD’s greatness?
i guess the best way to tell a story is to start at the beginning. So here goes …
This “new thing” GOD is doing in me started about two years ago.
Twenty years of chronic pain and illness had left me broken, overwhelmed and questioning the love and goodness of GOD. i had prayed countless prayers for relief, seen numerous doctors, tried dozens of diets and supplements.
With zero success.
GOD seemed deaf to my cries and quite content to allow me suffer.
i was in a stretch of pain and exhaustion that left me bedridden and broken. i finally gave up. “I can’t do this anymore.” It was more of a statement than a prayer. But i heard the HOLY SPIRIT ask me a question: “Do you trust ME?”
i thought for a moment and answered: “i don’t know.”
Then HE whispered something to me that began to change everything: “You can trust the ONE who died for you.“
i knew that in my head, but for the very first time it penetrated my heart.
i had been looking for healing, for saviors everywhere including my own efforts, but in that moment i realized what i needed most desperately was the Healer. Everything and everyone i had looked to for security and salvation had failed me.
As i laid there it hit me: “JESUS, YOU are my only hope.”
i wrote about this journey in my book, Invisible Wounds: Hope While You’re Hurting.
i didn’t realize it back then, but it was as if JESUS said to me, “Yes, I AM your only hope. Because i give you access to your heavenly DADDY — your Abba, Father. And HE’s not who you think HE is. Let me introduce you.”
a poisoned view of GOD
You see, my childhood view of GOD was poisoned by legalism: GOD loved me as long as i performed for HIM. HE might tolerate me, but HE couldn’t truly be pleased with me. I feared HIM, perhaps more than i loved HIM.
JESUS, now HE was always far more approachable. In fact, i now realize that i viewed GOD as “bad cop,” JESUS as “good cop” and the HOLY SPIRIT as Switzerland. He kept GOD from being too hard on me and JESUS from enabling me too much.
After that “sick bed epiphany” two years ago, JESUS began to slowly open my eyes to the fact that my DADDY was good. He wasn’t punishing me. He was truly compassionate. i didn’t understand why HE allowed me to suffer, but i began to recognize HIS sweetness to me in the midst of my suffering. I was beginning to believe HE was good.
I started to let go of what i thought my life should look like in ministry, in family, parenting, marriage, health. i let go of trying to meet others’ expectations. Trying to understand it all and figure all that out overwhelmed me.
Jesus began to show me how to choose to trust and follow HIM step by step. HE didn’t change my circumstances, but HE began to change my heart. It felt good. But there were two things i still clung tightly to: My fear of the future and my incredibly unhealthy relationship with GOD. The two were incredibly interrelated.
i still thought i had to earn HIS mercy and i still didn’t trust HIS love for me. Although i had experienced glimpses of it, i struggled to believe that HE could ever truly be pleased with me.
My belief in HIS goodness was still only head knowledge. It hadn’t made its way to my heart.
At the end of 2016, i sensed GOD wanted to do something new with me. HE kept bringing the word “intentional” to my mind. Everywhere i looked there it was. i’ve never had a word for the year, but i finally realized i had a word for the year: INTENTIONAL.
Due to my spiritual sickness, which was actually much greater than my physical sickness, i immediately assumed that GOD meant i should be more intentional about my areas of weakness.
i resolved to “try harder.”
i had been freed from earning others’ approval, but i still felt i had to earn HIS.
i purchased a jumbo planner and got to work. i made some goals and plans but nothing seemed to feel “right.” i begged GOD to show me direction, HIS will, HIS plan.
It was all very muddy. I craved and begged for clarity and received none.
Just like two years ago, last March i again found myself in an intense stretch of terrible, seemingly unending pain and exhaustion. Again, my spirit felt broken. I was exhausted, discouraged, disappointed and i just could not feel GOD’s pleasure.
For days, i was numb. And then one morning last April, i felt a flicker of life. i felt GOD saying to me, “Seek ME.”
i have been, i thought.
“No. You’re seeking plans and to dos. Be intentional about seeking ME.”
So i put down my planner and picked up my Bible.
And one morning as i read HIS Word, HE began to reveal HIMSELF in a way i had never experienced HIM before. i said, “Oh, my goodness, i want more of this. i want more of YOU.”
He clearly said, “If you want more of ME, you need to be intentional about consuming less of other things.”
Slowly, HE began to lead me to greatly reduce my intake of media, politics, social media and so many other things that were clogging my heart and mind.
As i made room for HIM, HE began to overwhelm me with HIS love, to open my mind and eyes to HIS activity in ways that at times made me laugh and at other times blew. my. mind.
He used pain to bring me to the very end of myself. When i had let go of all my other “saviors,” HE was right there with open arms. And HE won my heart.
I began to experience love, joy, peace and freedom that i didn’t even know existed.
Because HE is all those things. HE is love. HE is joy. HE is peace. HE is freedom. And HE began to give me a measure of HIMSELF and HIS healing power — physically and spiritually — that is difficult to describe.
But with GOD’s help, i’m going to try.
This “new” blog will be an ongoing journal, a recounting of the “new thing” GOD has done in my heart, mind and body over this last year.
Early on, i began to document in journals and photos all HE was doing and showing me.
So i would never forget this thrilling journey. So i would never forget who HE is and how much HE loves me.
It hasn’t been a linear path. There have been plenty of ups and downs and stops and starts.
But it is a story so beautifully personal, so fantastically, wonderfully mind-blowingly crazy good that it could have only been conceived in the heart and mind of a GOD of infinite love and creativity.
i pray i tell it well.
HE wants to do a “new thing” in you too, my friend.
Fasten your seat belt and open your heart. It’s a beautifully bumpy ride.