From the opening paragraph of the introduction, I was captivated by the words of author Danise Jurado. She demonstrates our need for God, and His gentle and compassionate heart for those who are hurting.
She shares her experience of coming to God, recognizing her need for all that He has to offer. “It’s my favorite place,” she says, “because I am safe here. In the arms of unconditional love…”
These powerful words speak directly to my heart. For much of my life, I have struggled with feeling unsafe. The promise of safety in the loving arms of my Savior touched something within, sparking hope for discovering deeper levels of healing and freedom.
It was as if my heavenly Father commandeered the meeting – a tactical move to push the enemy back from trespassing on my freedom, from invading territory where he was not welcome.
As my husband and I prayed with our Pastor that day, a new question was posed – to enquire of the Lord if there was a particular verse or passage of Scripture that He wished for us to read together.
2 Corinthians, Chapter 4 immediately came to mind. The Pastor was familiar with the passage. It speaks of our treasure being held in jars of clay, and promises that, “We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair…” (vs 8). He could see why the Lord would lead us to these verses.
Or so he thought.
I have to admit, I was a little discouraged.
The prompt for #livefreeThursday was “nothing holding me back” and I immediately felt a heaviness inside. A sense that I was somehow ‘less than’. That I didn’t measure up.
I felt a longing deep within for those words to be true of me, but I knew that this just wasn’t my reality.
There are, after all, things that I know still hold me back…
Feeling safe has been a lifelong struggle for me. My capacity for trust was stolen at the tender age of five, along with my innocence. My friend and I were left in the care of her two older brothers. Two little bundles of life, all pigtails and giggles, without a care in the world.
One afternoon forever changed all of that.
I was too ashamed to tell my parents what had happened. I was afraid of how my father would react. He was unpredictable at the best of times – prone to outbursts of anger. I was sure that he would never be able to love me again, if he discovered the truth.
So I carried dark and heavy secrets alone.
I have a confession.
Although I’ve loved sharing my journey of learning to discern God’s voice, and my passion for reaching my new friend Jeffrey with the truth of the gospel, I have also been avoiding.
Avoiding the pain of pushing forward on the journey toward healing. The pain of inviting Jehova Rapha, the God who heals, to expose the next layer of my brokenness, and to dispel the darkness with His glorious light.
I have been untrue to the mission of Incremental Healing. I have failed, for the past while, to share the hope that I have found as my heavenly Father leads me on the path toward healing. I have not offered reassurance that you are not alone, or encouraged you to persevere.
For this, I am deeply sorry.
While I will still share on other topics from time to time, I do not want to lose the focus of this place.
So, with all that said, I am ready to share another chapter of my story…
I know it has been a while since we “chatted” on Twitter. I am not usually one to jump into theological debates, and am certainly not an expert on apologetics, but felt I had to interject on that day. It saddened me when the professed ‘Christian’ you were talking to claimed that there is no love apart from God, and that you were not capable of love, not even for your son.
I felt a heaviness in my spirit. It bothered me that you were being unfairly judged, and that my faith was being inaccurately represented. I replied, “This saddens me. Of course you love your son – we are all made in God’s image – capable of love”.
I am on a journey.
A healing journey, yes, but also a journey of learning to cultivate intimacy with God.
This journey captivates me.
Hearing my heavenly Father speak words of love into my life has been life-giving and freeing. There is such joy in communicating with the Father in this way – in a relationship that is truly reciprocal.
I need your help.
Before I explain, let me give you a brief backstory…
I was on social media the other day, and came across a conversation between a few self-proclaimed atheists, and a person who professed to be a Christian.
The conversation took a turn for the worse when the ‘Christian’ claimed that without Christ there is no love. I cringed as he went on to tell the other individual that he was incapable of loving, even his own child, apart from Christ. He went as far as to claim that this man would surely never die for anyone, not even his son.
I am directionally challenged.
Those who know me best would agree, and have often been entertained by stories of my ineptitude.
Like the time I left the Toronto Zoo and drove over ½ an hour in the wrong direction, simply because all of the cars in front of me had turned right at the first major intersection, and I figured that must be the way to the highway.
Note to self – Just because everyone else is headed down a certain path, does not mean that it’s the right way to go!
I share all this to help you understand my worries about getting lost in the forest when I was at 3 Crosses a couple of weeks ago for the listening retreat…
The early Celtic people believed that there were sacred places on Earth where one could experience God in a special and intimate way. Be closer to Him, if you will. Places where there was a very thin divide between our realm and the spiritual one.
Often these ‘thin places’ were found in the beauty of nature – mountain vistas, forest trails, pristine waterfalls, and along the gorgeous coastline. A place where “the veil between this world and the next is so sheer you can almost step through” (day1.org)
Have you ever experienced such a place? Somewhere you felt particularly close to God?