Oh God, how I need You…..

He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Psalm 107:20

We all need healing…we are all broken people….broken from sin….sometimes broken from addictions….hurts from abuse…..broken humans in desperate need of healing.   When we accept Christ as our Savior….healing begins….our sins are forgiven….we are reconciled.   As we cry out….His blood….His amazing grace flowing red….warm….splashes over us…..covers every sin….covering the ugliness….with His beauty. Salvation is an amazing gift!  

Salvation started my healing….but my healing has been and continues to be….a journey.   When I spend time with Him…seek Him….study His word….I experience my Healer reaching down to bring more healing….this healing, unlike my salvation is a process.  

I know His word is powerful….spending time with Him brings healing….peace….joy.  Lately spending time in the Word is a bit of a struggle….my desire to study….my hunger for the Word….surpressed.  I am still in the Word…..but mainly out of obedience….because I know I need to stay close to my Healer….stay in His Word….armour up every day.   This season of lack of hunger for His word has gone on awhile.  One of my friends mentioned John 15 yesterday….and Jesus wanting an intimate, abiding relationship with us.  I recognize the intimacy I had with my Jesus slipping further away….if this were any other relationship….the likely cause of decreased intimacy is my wall building…..and I need to examine my heart….am I stiff arming Jesus…in some warped method of self protection….  I know I need Him….I desperately need Him…..but I’m not desperate for Him…..I want my hunger to be for Him….not for things of this world.   Usually by the end of my blog….He helps me tie up the loose ends into a conclusion of truth…..today this song is where my mind keeps going…..I sometimes use songs as prayers as I kneel before the Lord…..I sing to Him…..words that my heart longs to express….Lord…I NEED You….Oh I need You…..Oh, God how I need You.  

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

To teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
When I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus,

-Matt Maher

Dear Daughter Who Feels Forsaken…..

Another Hallmark holiday at the door…..for those of us who haven’t had greeting card sentiment relationships….it can be a difficult time. Perhaps your relationship with your father was strained….difficult…abusive. If that is you…..picture these words on the prettiest card you’ve ever seen.

Dear Daughter Who Feels Forsaken,

I know It hurts when one of the most foundational relationships in our lives….isn’t picture perfect. We longed for a dad….a daddy. That big strong man….arms open wide to scoop us up to his shoulder. A daddy who’s love for us we could always count on…..a daddy who protected us and kept us safe. A daddy who wanted us….encouraged us…cherished us.

Oh my fellow sojourner…..we do! “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me” (Psalm 27:10). God loves us so much, He sent His son to die on the cross for our sins (John 3:16) Our loving Heavenly Father can be the Dad we’ve always longed for….when we believe in Christ for salvation….we become children of God. “you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “‘Abba Father'” (Romans 8:15). We can call God our Abba Father! We can have the intimate relationship we have longed for….in our Heavenly Father. He is a Father who wants us……not only did He adopt us, the Bible says He predestined us for adoption (Ephesians 1:5). So before we even knew we needed a Daddy…..He had already adopted us!

He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). Nothing we have done or will ever do….can separate us from the everlasting love of God. Let me say that again, “there is nothing in all creation, that will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus” (Roman’s 8:39). We have the Daddy we longed for…..He is our Big, Strong Daddy, He scoops us up and sets us on wings like eagles (Isaiah 40:31). He is not only a strong Dad, He is our strength….our refuge (Psalm 46:1). With our Everlasting Father…not only do we feel safe….He IS our safe place! “The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” (Psalm 18:2). We are safe….protected…..loved!

God will never abuse us. He calls us precious….and He honors us (Isaiah 43)……He doesn’t just treat us respectfully…..He honors us….cherishes us. Oh daughter, we are not forsaken, because our Heavenly Father will never forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
He is always with us. “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness;he will quiet you by his love;he will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

Just think….right now, our Heavenly Father is singing over us….He’s singing the song our heart longed to hear..the jovial birthday chorus…..the Sunshine song when our feelings were hurt…..Butterly Kisses.…the lullabye in the dark of the night….He sings for you….with you….about you.

For you……He sings!

Serving with Jesus…

Jesus take all of me
I run to You, I run to You,
I lay everything at Your feet
Let my life be Yours!!

This familiar chorus is my heart’s cry….to be fully surrendered….totally yielded to my Jesus….that every part of my life be His….to honor and glorify Him!

The past few days, I’ve been thinking about the phrase: “Do with, not for”…this slogan is the backbone of the field in which I work, supporting people who have intellectual disabilies.  We “do with”, not “for” so people can be actively involved in their day and lives.  

For – is a preposition, and the most likely definition in this context is: “in the interest of; on behalf of”  

With – also a preposition meaning “in relation to especially implying interaction or connection”.  

Yesterday…..this came to mind not in a vocational application…..but a spiritual application.  I was thinking about how important it is for us to minister with God, rather than for God.  Maybe this is just a play on words….but the more I thought about it, the more it resonated and began to seem more and more that God wanted to remind me to work with Him….as His servant.   This familiar slogan was God’s way of getting my attention.  

When we are doing something for someone…..we often insinuate they need us in order to complete the task.  Sometimes when pride gets out of control we believe God can’t do x,y or z without our help.  What we fail to realize, God doesn’t need us…..He has all of the resources one could have at His finger tips.   He doesn’t need us.  He uses us…..not out of need…..but out of love.  He gives us opportunities to minister and serve so He can bless us.  

Often doing for God is out of religious duty, rather than for His glory as we were created. When we minister for God….we are often exercising our independence….doing things in our own strength.   However, when we minister with God, we are dependent on His strength and power.   When we minister with God…..we are actively engaged in letting Him do His work through us.  We are yielding in humility to be His vessel.  

There’s been a lot of ministry in my world lately.  This was a good reminder to me to make sure I am not doing things in my own strength. That I am serving with Him not for Him.  I’ve found myself there at times over the years;  I know that in my own strength not much good gets done.  I need to yield to let Him work through me.    Without Jesus I am powerless and my life is unmanageable…..that’s not anything anyone else wants!  With Jesus, I am forgiven, joyous and free!  

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.            

2 Corinthians 4:5‭-‬7 

Rose for my Momma…..

I took my momma a rose for Mother’s Day today.  As I got out of the car, the familiar scent of honeysuckle, lilac and pine greeted me…..and with it images of my young momma hanging clothes on the line as she sang an old hymn to pass the time.  

My mom and I never really got along…..or probably the truth of the heart is….I never really wanted to.  Growing up I saw my mom as weak because she didn’t protect her children…….she saw me as headstrong and prideful like my father….she tried, as any mother would do to squelch those qualities….but like a young, wild horse….it only made me more determined….more obstinate.  

My mom was abusive at times…..I think out of frustration for the mess that was her life…..being married to my dad was a tough road….one no young bride would embrace with excitement.   It was evident she stayed for my sister and I, filing for divorce a few months before we turned 18…..learning once again my father had an affair……this time with her beloved best friend.

I write this not as evidence against my mother….but I want to paint a picture of how messy our relationship was in my younger years.   Truly, my mom had a beautiful heart…..she loved Jesus….had the most beautiful child-like faith.   My mom loved everyone and would do anything for anyone.   But like anything else that came from 729 HCR 37…..our relationship was broken……we were broken.   

Yesterday, it was with deep regret, with my rose in hand that I didn’t get past that brokenness…..the unforgiveness….until a decade ago.  As I laid the rose on my momma’s name etched in granite….1945-2007….I lamented for all the Mother’s Day that I wasn’t available….didn’t make her a priority.   As I looked down at the Easter peeps my son left for his beloved grandma….his only grandparent…..her only grandchild, I said outloud….”she WAS an awesome grandma.”    

I remembered the day I had to tell that boy, now man that his beloved grandma wasn’t going to make the night.  The day the decision was placed on my shoulders…..a surgery that would surely kill as her weak body succumbed…..or to die peacefully surrounded by her family.   Being obstinate and headstrong……part of me wanted to fight….but it wasn’t my fight….knowing my momma’ s love for my boy……she would have wanted to spend every precious second that night with the boy who had brought her so much joy…..we….my sister….he and I held her hand as her heart beat for the last time.   

Hours earlier…..knowing I may not ever get another opportunity…..I had made my amends to my mother…..long over due…..I forgave my mom….forgiveness was a choice that I had refused to make….until the last hours…..headstrong…..obstinate…..selfish.  My mom had tried so hard to mend fences…..win me over….but I would have none of it.   As I grieved my momma’ s death…..I also grieved the relationship that never was…..a relationship that never can be.   

I share my heart today…..Mother’s Day eve…..to give you a glimpse inside of the hurt my old behavior still causes as I stand over my Momma’s grave.   If you are holding unforgiveness or bitterness toward your mom…..let go of that today.  Forgiveness is a choice.  Take your mom some flowers, FTD them if the distance warrants…..give them….and yourself generously while she can still enjoy it.   Even if for no other reason…..she chose you….when she chose life.  Unforgiveness…..is an ugly thing….we really have no idea what it robs from us….but certainly our joy….our peace….relationships.  God will provide us with the grace we need to choose forgiveness.  And if, like me….. showing your mother love today means a rose on a headstone…….it’s worth the tears.  

My Son Lost His Grandma

My son lost his Grandma, 
She left us late last night, 
She’d been a wonderful grandma 
To my son all of his life. 

The night he was born, 
She was there with great pride. 
Bragging and boasting 
What a beautiful baby boy! 

It wasn’t long and into the car, 
Cruising around the town, 
Just one boy, his Grandma 
And one steep “whee” hill. 

Lots of fond memories, 
My son will always cherish, 
You were the best Grandma, 
My son could ever have. 

Days pass to years, 
And he is half grown, 
Sometimes it is so hard 
For Grandmas to let go. 

Grandma, I am going to play Football – 
Oh no that’s dangerous! 
But you cheered all the way, 
Go Grandson go! 

We wanted you to stay, 
A few more years at least, 
To see “your boy” 
Grow up to become a man. 

He was there with you, 
With all of us last night, 
He said “Grandma I love you.” 
And held on tight to your hand. 

But we knew the end was near, 
And he cried lots of tears. 
Sometimes it is so hard 
For Grandsons to let go.       

CKH 

600 double portions…..

 Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.  Isaiah 61:7

This past weekend I had the amazing oppurtunity to attend the Celebrate Recovery One Day Seminar in Des Moines.  Since sobering up in my early 20’s, I have spent many weekends at recovery conferences…..but never anything quite like this! Six hundred men and women in recovery…..who loved Jesus!  Surrounding me under a beautiful, life-size cross….in a beautiful church…...were leaders and potential leaders of Celebrate Recovery.    We began the day worshipping the one true Higher Power…..Jesus! I have to tell you…..I cried…..tears of gratitude for the grace and mercy our Jesus lavished upon us….not only to be in recovery….saved from hell….and promised a mansion for eternity….but we experience a front row seat to Jesus using the Celebrate Recovery program to bring freedom to others.   We get to be His vessels…..we get to lead the hurting….the broken to Jesus through the Celebrate Recovery program!   I am amazed and humbled by His love for us….for me.    Many of us lived in shame and dishonor…..but our Jesus rescued us by grace.  I can think of no greater blessing on this Earth than to be used by God to help bring freedom in Christ to my sisters in bondage.  We deserve shame and dishonor….but Jesus….died so we can live in forgiveness and freedom….and He uses us to help others find freedom in Him.  That’s to me is the double portion!  

One of the videos they showed was of a child maybe 10-12 years old getting baptized….that hit me heavy in the heart…..not only do we have potential to see chains broken in those attending Celebrate Recovery…..but we can be a part of chains breaking from families by the power of Jesus…that were tethered for generations!    Having lived in generational bondage…..the thought of generational freedom makes me want to shout “hallelujah! Praise the Lord”…..and with arms high in praise….I did just that.  He is worthy to be praised!  Thank You Jesus for the Celebrate Recovery program! Thank You Jesus for Your grace that brings us forgiveness and freedom!  Thank You Jesus for a double portion,  when instead we deserve the fiery pit.  

“Praise the Lord! It is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant and a song of praise is fitting.” (Psalm 147:1)

  

I am His….

 

“But Jesus…when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.” – Matthew 9:22

 

This past weekend, was my church’s ladies retreat.  Our topic was “I am His” – our speaker shared about finding our identity in Christ.  As I reviewed my notes and reflected on some of the things she shared,  a few of the points in particular, “we are complete in Him and fully pleasing” and “We are accepted and acceptable to Him”, “I am totally accepted by God”……made my nose burn…..you know that feeling a split second before tears trickle down one’s cheeks….my head understands…..my head knows what the Word says…..but sometimes there is a disconnect somewhere in between.    Sometimes… it’s a really long way from my head to my heart.      There is a part of me that still feels I have to be “on my Jesus girl game”…..spiritually on the beam in order to be fully pleasing to God…..to be acceptable to Him.     Yes, there are times…..when I’m there…..when I totally embrace who I am in Him…..but more often than not…..the lies get me off track.    Why is it so hard for me to trust that He totally accepts and loves me in my brokenness…..even more…..one step further….that I am fully pleasing to Him…despite my past sin……in my mess……when there are tears streaming down my face as I blog…..why is it hard to trust that He accepts me… even when it’s so hard for me to trust Him at His Word!?

That’s basically what it boils down to……a matter of trust…..I started this journey in a huge hole in the trust department……over time it’s been filled in……but maybe not packed down…..not solid.   I was convinced for most of my youth that God abandoned me….that He left me as I cried out to Him for protection.  I know that is a lie from the enemy…..but there is a part of me….deep inside that still stings from the pain of aloneness……I can almost hear my heart beating quickly in the dark…..in the alone…..in the gaping brokenness of unacceptableness…..worthlessness……never good enough…..well…..only those moments…..those yucky…..I’ll just be good until it’s over moments…..just good enough.

As I reread that last paragraph…..it’s really not surprising that I struggle with this.  I don’t want to struggle with it……I want to rest in the Truth……I want desperately to always believe that I am acceptable to God…..totally….completely pleasing to Him.

In Matthew 9, we read of a woman who had a blood disorder…..for 12 years….she had faith that if she just touched Jesus’s cloak, that He would heal her disorder….and He did.  The KJV uses the word “whole”…..He didn’t just heal her….He made her whole.   I love that…..a miracle encounter with Jesus Christ….surely not only healed her of her blood disorder…..but made her whole….completely whole in Him.   It was her faith that made her whole…..her faith that He could.  Her faith that He would.  Her faith that she dared even approach Him…..Her. faith. made. her. whole.   I want a faith like that….a faith that believes not just that He “could”……but that He “would”…..a faith that trusts Jesus to make her whole…..not slightly damaged….whole.   It’s hard for me to wrap my head around “whole”……I’ve lived damaged as long as I can remember.   Is it just a matter of faith…..just a matter of trusting Him!?    Is it just a matter of choosing to trust!?  Maybe so…. if Jesus chose to heal me instantly….to make me whole with one word.    Perhaps, it’s a matter of trusting Him that I am exactly where I am supposed to be….right at this moment……knowing that Jesus has my healing in His hands……becoming whole…for me…..is a process…..it’s a journey that Christ has walked with me for 20 years.  The more I know Him, through His Word….the more I trust Him…..today I am choosing to believe that even though I may still be broken, that I am acceptable to Him….fully pleasing to Him…..it’s really not about me anyway……it’s about the cross….how the blood of my Jesus makes me “God worthy”….and as His blood covers me…..covers my imperfections…..covers my sin and unbelief…..His blood makes me…..HIS!!!    Thank you Jesus!!

 

There is a light that overwhelms the darkness
There is a kingdom that forever reigns
There is freedom from the chains that bind us
Jesus, Jesus

Who walks on the waters
Who speaks to the sea
Who stands in the fire beside me
He roars like a lion
He bled as the lamb
He carries my healing in his hands
Jesus

There is a name I call in times of trouble
There is a song that comforts in the night
There is a voice that calms the storm that rages
He is Jesus, Jesus

-Jesus – Chris Tomlin

 

 

 

 

Surprise gifts…

There was a time, when I would have shook my head at that…..jaw set….declaring my unlovability….it was all I had really known. Growing up where flaws made one “not worth shooting” and imperfections were met with a fist to the head…..or a kick. I believed that I was too damaged….not worthy of love. I never felt good enough….not in school….not in church…. I became distrustful of everyone. As I grew up, I became tough….hard….held the world at bay with an aloof…intimidating facade…underneath a broken little girl….but I would have fought anyone who dared call me broken. I was fiercely independent and self sufficient…convinced I needed no one. Over the years…a few women tried to get close….but no one was able to really gain my trust. My hurt and shame would never allow me to drop the facade entirely.
As I began to grow closer to the Lord….my heart became softer….I was in my 30’s before I allowed another human being to see my brokenness …to trust another person enough to take down the walls. Only through Jesus am I really capable of a normal relationship….only through Him was I able to heal enough to begin to trust. He has brought me such a long way. I praise God for the transformation only He could bring.
Today after worship…one of my mentors pulled me into a side room with several other women…women I trust…women who I have repeatedly shared my brokenness with…they prayed over me for my surgery and recovery. Five years ago…I would have had nothing to do with these “church ladies”….or the handful of other godly woman in my life….today as they prayed thanking God for me and the impact I had on their lives…..I wept…..thanking God for the impact these godly women had on mine. I wept in gratitude for the healing Jesus has brought in my life….that allows me to be transparent about my brokenness. That allows me to have real relationships…..to be soft hearted….to allow others to love me despite my flaws. The women who circled around me today know me…..they know my past….my struggles….my brokenness. Over and over God has provided me with surprise gifts…..those are the ones you didn’t know you wanted until you had.

In sixteen hours….my surgery will begin…I have no uneasiness…no fear….rather.. my heart is so full of gratitude to my Jesus for the healing He has brought and the many gifts He has given….including those “church ladies” who will be holding me up in prayer.

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Praising Him with songs of joy….

I haven’t eaten in 12 days…..yes, seriously….I’ve been on a totally liquid diet consisting mainly of protein drinks. The diet is to prepare for my surgery on Monday. Honestly, other than a couple of bumps…..this has been the best two weeks of my life! I’ve been praying. A LOT. I have had some amazing prayer time! I have spent hours upon hours seeking God’s face. I haven’t eaten in 12 days….but I feel amazing!

During this time, I have also worked on and finished a 4/5th step inventory (“Admitted to God, ourselves and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs”. Celebrate Recovery step 5). Wow…God has brought me a long, long way from the first inventory I did twenty years ago! I think we all should do an inventory from time to time and confession (James 5:16)….allow God to search our heart….write it down, confess to Him our sin…..then go to a person we are comfortable with and share in an honest conversation.

Many of you know….I attribute a lot of my freedom from shame to James 5:16.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective. James 5:16

I shared my inventory today. Taking an honest look at the sin I still struggle with or have recently struggled with. Because we are sinful beings. …sin creeps in our lives….and if we allow it to remain unchecked….it can quickly become a stronghold. I want to walk in freedom…..righteousness….to bring glory to my Jesus!
The woman who listened to my 5th step and I are working together with others to bring Celebrate Recovery to our community. In addition to my inventory, I felt led to share with her my story. Praise God, I have walked in freedom from this addiction for almost a decade. I have shared that part of my story on several occasions. Each time I do, I am more and more humbled at what God has done for me and the freedom He has brought…..bringing waves of gratitude….waves of praise. And once again, I am just in awe of how much Jesus loves us! He died on the cross to save us from our sin. He chose me before the world began….knowing the depth of my sin….knowing every detail….knowing every sin that I’d ever commit….every sin…..yet He loves me….and in the same way… He chose you….and loves you just as much. His grace still amazes me! I hope I never, ever get desensitized to the amazingness of His grace!!
On day one, I asked God to make this “diet” count for eternity….and I think it has. I’ve been drawn to a deeper place of intimacy with Him….through the fast…through the inventory process….through prayer.
Through Christ, I have been able to go days without any food. The past couple of weeks have truly been a picture of the truth in Psalm 63:5, “You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy.”
Thank You Jesus!!

You raised me up from the ruins….

Last night I received my twenty year sobriety chip at the Celebrate Recovery group I attend. I shared from the stage some thoughts on Isaiah 61:1-4.

sThe Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,

because the Lord has tanointed me

to bring good news to the poor;1

he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and uthe opening of the prison to those who are bound;2

2 vto proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,

wand the day of vengeance of our God;

to comfort all who mourn;

3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion—

xto give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,

ythe oil of gladness instead of mourning,

the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;

zthat they may be called oaks of righteousness,

the planting of the Lord, athat he may be glorified.3

4 bThey shall build up the ancient ruins;

they shall raise up the former devastations;

they shall repair the ruined cities,

the devastations of many generations.

Jesus came for this! (Luke 4:24). He came for the hurting, the broken and the sinful. He came for me; He came for you.
In the past twenty years, Jesus has fulfilled this scripture in my life, and he continues to bring beauty from my ashes. When I first came to recovery…..there was nothing good in me. I was a full blown alcoholic and was struggling with sexual sin. I was a self centered, foul mouthed thief…..marriage breaker…..neglectful mother…..full of bitterness, anger, shame and remorse. “Hot mess” doesn’t even paint a true picture.
But God…..because He is rich in grace and mercy…..at just the right time…..saved me. Saved me from suicide first….sobered me up…saving my life….and a short time later….saving this wretch…..that is what I am without Christ…..saving me for eternity! Thank you Jesus! He freed the captive from her addictions! He freed the captive from her prison! As time went on…He took my bitterness and gave me peace...He took the tremendous pain I had and provided a passion for women’s ministry. He took the tremendous shame I’ve carried and had given me joy in the Lord! I am His child, dearly loved, honored by the king of Kings! Jesus took my brokenness and gave me a beautiful life in Him. As long as I live I will bring praise to my Deliverer and Savior!
I am humbled in knowing that I am the planting of the Lord, to bring Him glory….only Jesus could build a life of ministry from the ancient ruins of generational abuse and addiction. Only Jesus could make that drunken wreak of a woman….a vessel of honor. This twenty year chip, as my friend said last night….is a trophy of grace. Only grace! Only grace! Only amazing …wonderful….awesome grace! Only my Jesus!! Only Jesus could raise me up…..that fallen woman beyond repair. Only Jesus!

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be. – Brendan Graham

Broken before the Healer……

I wept through most of worship service today.   I felt His presence in the most amazing way….the one totally safe place in my life…..His house……and there during worship, I am exposed….vulnerable in my brokenness before the Lord…..heart and mind wide open for the Healer’s hands.  I hate to cry in front of people…..not sure how many noticed…..thankfully no one tried to intervene with concern or a pat on the shoulder or I’m sure I would have erupted like Mt St. Helen….at least that’s how it feels today.  The pain bubbling back up to the surface from the deep, dark place from decades ago.  I’ve been sharing how God’s been working on my heart…..speaking to the deep, loudly the past few weeks….months even…..and often I feel His healing touch far beneath the surface….deep down, He reaches in…..applies the balm of His love….His healing. 

I spent years being tough….never showing emotion….and then it began….healing…..and with healing came an acknowledgement of brokenness…of pain…God and I have worked through so much….He has healed so much of my brokenness….traded my pain for love….but still after all these years….as much as I’d like it to be different….this is still my brokenness….we all have our brokenness….this just happens to be mine….the key is what we do with our brokenness.  Do we allow God to use our brokenness….our broken healing…..our process of restoration….for His glory?   

I’ve felt the pain bubble up the past couple of days….Friday, I spent my night doing a sleep study at a local hospital.   This was the hardest night I’ve had in a long time.  My PTSD reared its ugly head several times…..thankfully, I have over the years  learned ways to stay in the present and not be taken captive to the relive those moments.   The night began in a trying way, many of you know, that I struggle with having strange people touch me.  For an hour, I let this woman, apply various probes and patches….in a sense….giving her control of my body….hating every minute.  Then I am basically tethered to the bed by cords of monitors…..I begin to feel the panic….the terror bubble up inside.  I pray for help, I tell myself, to calm down…..that this it is safe, I am not held down…..I can get up and run if need be.    I cry as I feel the pain of when I couldn’t get up….when I couldn’t run…..I recite scripture, “I will never leave you or forsake you”,  “Come to me all who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest”….”Yes!  Rest! Help me rest….emotionally, spiritually physically….help me get through this test.”  

Eventually, sleep came….a restless sleep….keenly aware I was being watched and monitored.    At 2am, she came in and said, I had experienced enough “episodes” to start the C-PAP.  As she began to apply and tighten the mask over my mouth….panic began to stir…..”God help me”….as she tightened the top strap…..and I could no longer remove the mask…..the feeling gave way to terror.  Saying to myself, “deep breaths, you are safe….this isn’t him….you can breath…..he can’t hurt you….God is with you….He goes before you….His love never fails”…….I asked the technician how to take it off, in case I couldn’t do it another second…..she refused to show me……again….panic….in my head I cry……”No….lady don’t you understand……I can’t trust a stranger in the dire…..I can’t rely on you…..I need to be in control of my body….” Then in a quiet voice I heard “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, therefore we will not fear……God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved” (Psalm 46)….reminding me that God is right here, in my midst…..so I did what every child does when afraid….I ran to my Father….sat in His lap…..tears streaming.   I’m not sure how long I cried…..eventually sleep came…….morning came early…. but I had gone the rest of the night with the mask…..God had quieted my fear…..the panic tethered to the past…..and I had made it through. 

We sang “At the cross” this morning……I know my Jesus knows pain……He knows….how alone feels……He is intimately aware of brokenness.  He was broken for our brokenness…..He was broken for our salvation….our healing….our restoration.      “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”  (Isaiah 53:5)     In Christ I am healed…and there will come a day when there will be no more tears….no more pain…..the former things will have passed away (Rev 21:4)….but in the meantime……it’s okay to be broken before the Healer every now and then…..  

There’s a place
Where sin and shame
Are powerless
Where my heart
Has peace with God
And forgiveness
Where all the love
I’ve ever found
Comes like a flood
Comes flowing down

At the cross, at the cross

Here my hope is found
Here on holy ground
Here I bow down

Here arms open wide
Here You save my life
Here I bow down

At the cross, at the cross
I surrender my life
I’m in awe of You
I’m in awe of You
Where Your love ran red
And my sin washed white
I owe all to You
I owe all to You….JESUS!

(At the Cross – Chris Tomlin)