Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Beauty of Stepping Towards Freedom

I became so good at understanding and knowing when Satan was lying to me but I forgot to learn how to know when and how to hear God's voice.

As she passed the box of Kleenex to me and I gazed at the faces of the other two women, complete strangers, in the small room, I was preparing myself for the worst.
"I have to let you know I am skeptical, excited to try, but skeptical it will work." But they promised with scripture that while God can meet us anytime and in any way, he's made a promise that when two or more of us gather in his name, that he blesses us with his presence (Matt. 18:20). and "When we wait on him together, we can confidently expect him to reveal himself and, as our hearts are tender and open to him, we can trust he will guide us into truth (John 16:13).
But the fears still sat there, afraid that when I walked out of the room, that this would be nothing more than a group prayer, the chains re-latching, the high quickly fading. Another temporary fix.

We began to talk... freedom prayer in full effect. I won't share with you exactly what burdens I was released from but I will share with you the flow and the beauty God instilled in my heart.

My hesitance...
then the Holy Spirit digging in.
My tears came forth, fears unfolding, pain pouring out, and hurt that I never thought I would face sat there in front of me rolling off my tongue, bringing light to what needed to be addressed. Most of this I did not even know I still held onto, but they were chiseled out from this heart of stone, and sat at my feet, ready for me to hand them to God. I picked up each one, asking God to release them, to free me from them, and then blessings were prayed.
My eyes shot open. Still sitting in the black rolling chair cross-legged I looked at each of the three women, a dear mentor and two wise loving strangers, I began to realize that I just let go of something that I thought was forgiven years ago. Something I so confidently expressed to them would not need to be addressed, but it was. Then one of the women spoke to me saying "Close your eyes."
Obediently and willingly I did. Then a memory flashed into my mind of a white christmas years ago. Being home alone with my two sisters, walking out into the blanket of pure beauty, the fresh snow on the ground in a place where snow does not fall. It was a promise, the visual image of God washing me white as snow, a promise of freedom and a reconciliation in a new year with a new slate. A beautiful promise.

After all that, I told them I do not feel like that was all God wanted to address. God was just beginning, so we pressed on.

I closed my eyes, focusing. Asking God to bring what he wanted to bring to light.

The Holy Spirit gently guiding, my heart breaking (Ezekiel 11:19 AMP). This spiritual warfare in a room with four chairs, four women, a box of Kleenex and an overstuffed trashcan. God was there. The Holy Spirit was moving. It was a beautiful place to be.

When I released the pain to Jesus and rested it on his shoulders (Isaiah 9:6) a vision of a window appeared. A white curtain, a soft breeze, but I could see it and feel the wind moving through the window. Dust was being stirred up, beautiful things were beginning to be made. My heart was filled with peace and I wanted to sit there forever, just in that moment, in that vision. Then self-awareness kicked in, I felt dizzy and needed water. I also needed to question these women before me because I swore I could have made that all up. But they confidently reassured me I didn't, because every single aspect of that vision was God.

Mind blown.
Two heart wrenching pains. Two messages already spoken, a new promise already heard... but there was one more item we needed to addressed.

"There is not a single darkness in your life that God cannot bring his light upon." -Beth Moore

God was shining light! Saying you want intimacy with me dear child? Well, I am running towards you! Clearing it all away. One more hurdle and you will have a heart of flesh.

So I closed my eyes and began to pray, began to speak what he had so calmly urged me to bring forth. The pain of the past, burdening words spoken. Then I was free.

"Ask God who you are to him."
So I did.
There was darkness.
A thought of lilies, then a field of sunflowers and I was standing there. Breathing in the air, the overwhelming aroma of freshness. Eyes soaking in the surrounding and the words, "Beautiful" (Matthew 6:28) so distinctive, so profound as I looked down at the crown that lay at my feet. I gaze back up and realize I am a child of God! A princess, an heiress. I am his and his alone. Then the lyrics run through my mind "She breathes the air and flies away..." and I unwillingly open my eyes.


Unable to express everything I saw and felt. My heart knowing, my mind confused. In the lack of confidence I told them I was unsure it was God, I think I made it up... but who just makes that up in their mind? Ha!

Then she puts her hand on my knee and says, "Brady, she breathes the air and flies away.... that's freedom!"

And it was. I was. I was free. My heart rejoicing. My soul uplifted. God was here... I felt it and I tasted it! We prayed for a while longer, thanking God, they prayed blessings. Then we just sat and talked like good friends.

Afterwards, I walked out with confidence. Knowing that I can hear his voice, that He speaks to me through visuals, songs, and memories. Promises were given that I will forever be blessed to have heard. But most of all...
I was free.

(Video from YouTube) Lyrics are Below :)
Search My Heart - Hillsong United

Search my heart
And search my soul
There's nothing else
That I want more
Shine Your light
And show Your face
In my life
Lord have Your way
With all my heart and all my soul
With all I am, Lord, I will follow You
Hear my cry
And hear my prayer
Draw me close
I know your near
So with all my heart and all my soul
With all I am, Lord, I will follow You
You took the cross, You took my shame
Restored my life, now I live to worship You
Without You I am nothing
Without You I am nothing
Without You I am nothing
So with all my heart and all my soul
With all I am, Lord, I will follow You
You took the cross, You took my shame
Restored my life, Lord I will follow You
Without You I am nothing
Without You I am nothing
Without You I am nothing
Without You I am nothing
Without You I am nothing
Without You I am nothing
Search my heart

Monday, March 24, 2014

Undivided Hope

We hope in love.
We hope in each other.
We hope in medicine, in jobs, in life.

Yet divided hope is worthless. Divided hope holds no strength.

Divided hope brings stress, restlessness, fear.

When we look at all these different things in our lives and place significance on the hope we placed within them, weakness is fueled.

But how can I say this when hope has the ability to set expectations in our life, to move us along in the most trying times? How can I say that hope can weaken the soul?

It is difficult for me to explain the pain my family has dealt in the past year and a half. My Papaw was diagnosed with colon cancer in November 2012. He began chemo in December and has gone through some laborious, painful days. As the chemo fills his body, his wife's, his children's, his friends and family members hearts begin to hope... an exhausted hope it has become. Hoping that this treatment, or the next one will kill the cancer that has burdened his body. But our hope only becomes exhausted when we begin to hope in the doctors, in the medicines, in the surgeries.

Our hope, exasperated by being thinned out into many little hope jars, becomes almost more burdening and troublesome than if we didn't hope at all.

But what I realized was that if I were to stop hoping in the medicine, stop hoping in the new doctor, the new treatment, the new surgery, the new hospital or clinic... if I were to repossess the hope I thought I found in all of the worldly aspects of his chemo and place ALL my hope in the LORD, my hope would gain strength. It would be placed in him. I will no longer despair, or have a broken heart. (Psalm 43:5) I will find joy in my hope because my hope is placed in an everlasting light. My hope is found in a strength that nothing on this earth can provide. Confidence will grow (Ps. 71:5), our strength renewed, our joy found. Faith will stand fast when hope is placed in the creator of all things and in this I can be confident. I can be confident that God will work out all things for his Glory, and his alone. 

Where you place hope is crucial. Sometimes taking a step back and looking out onto the horizon of your life, scanning, identifying, and revealing your hope jars and reclaiming them for a one true hope is all we need. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Beauty from the Broken

I never thought that beauty could come from something broken. That anyone would want... much less search for fragments and long to hold and keep them.

When we humans, see brokenness, we see the defects that the damage has caused. Some humans see ways to fix it but putting it back together still shows the seams, it still shows the pain and the hurt that was once there.

Yet, as I sat in my bubble bath clearing my thoughts and one object came into my mind. I believe God placed it there for a reason, making me visualize where it came from, shattering, being forgotten, sloshed around, sinking in deep oceans, slammed into walls, sanded down and then lying there lost, alone and waiting. But this object lies hidden until that one person, searching among the rocks, digging through the sand, and then spotting it in its lonesomeness, covered in muck, cleans it and names it sea glass. A beautiful piece of glass lying there in the hands of its seeker, painted by the gaze of adoring eyes honing in on its beauty.

The past of the sea-glass is no longer relevant. The eyes of the beholder only delight in the color, the smoothness, finding beauty in an uncondemning light.  A new name has been given to the shard, the fragment of glass is now named a treasure, a prize, a jewel.

How beautiful is the creation of sea glass and how closely it resembles the way God seeks his children. He finds us in the midst of our loneliness, our depressions, our hurt and shame. He picks us up and wipes off the filth that hides what's beneath and he calls us his children, his treasure. He sees the uniqueness that comes from the life we've lived, the hurt we've felt, that condemning eyes and sharp tongues that caused us to shatter. But God picks up the pieces and finds joy in the new name, the new life that he wants to give us. We are no longer alone, no longer broken but made new. Given new hope our joy evolves around our comforter, the one who called us His.

God never said this life would be easy, but he said he would be here for us. HE said we are HIS, and that HE loves us.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Revelation 21:4-5
and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." and He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new."

1 Corinthians 15:43
Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, and they will be raised in strength.