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As I can I want to offer a fresh word of encouragement sharing from my experience how our Father God meets us in the middle of loving and living out our faith to draw others to freedom. The road to freedom can seem long and hard not unlike the experiences of those living as refugees from war torn nations, those walking out of years of abuse and pain in broken relationships, those facing the reality check that comes with unplanned pregnancy, and the great journey to healing from trauma. I fully believe we are offered so much more than we ever experience as Christ followers. We settle for a life in bondage to the elemental nature of this world and continue to live as Hagar when in fact we are daughters of Sarah.
Galatians 4:3131 So, brothers [and sisters], we are children not of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
7 By your mighty power I can walk through any devastationand you will keep me alive, reviving me.Your power set me free from the hatred of my enemies.8 You keep every promise you’ve ever made to me!Since your love for me is constant and endless,I ask you, Lord, to finish every good thing that you’ve begun in me!
The lesson stirring in my heart may sound similar to lessons learned and shared over the seasons but many, including this one, are worth repeating. With each season and lesson there is a layer removed, an addition to, or a repetition that creates new paths of life...This time the lesson is on journeying into the dark and devestating places of another's life and learning how to remain on course, neither turning to the right nor the left, nor staying too long in a dark place that has no resolution, no end and no justification. Journeying with others as mothers and daughters and friends has taken me to darker and darker corners where the religious and the name of Jesus are interwoven with atrocities and abuses that are beyond comprehension. My heart is drawn to those so turned around that they are repulsed by the light. The place where the lie of NO HOPE and NO WAY OUT is branded into every fibre.
This is the devstation I want to enter and where I want to go to proclaim freedom, liberty and hope. I am not always good at looking away, I linger too long in an empathy that becomes a weight I was not meant to carry, I become overwhelmed and begin to drown in sorrow and oh so subtley conceed that maybe, just maybe that lie is true. I fight the need to expose all the evil and make it the battle cry to prove that I am not crazy, that others have to see and know how atrocious and without sense life can be and cry out for justice at all cost...yet, that does not honor the very reason I went into that place of devastation...I am here to draw out, to honor, to expose the treasure that is hidden under the layers or grime and filth. I am here to live out Faith in the face of Unbelief. I am here to give glory to my Father in heaven and to be a witness that He too is here and that there truly is a way out. Redemption, restoration and restitution are possible now, for me, for you and for each treasure hidden in the devastation.
30 What a God you are! Your path for me has been perfect!All your promises have proven true.What a secure shelter for all thosewho turn to hide themselves in you!You are the wrap-around God giving grace to me.
How many times do I settle for second best until I trust in the promises I have been given. I was reading the story of Rachel and Leah, and much like Sarah, Rachel tried to fulfill a promise with a man made plan. Again, another person was asked to be the bearer of the promise when the promise was for her. The promise of a child was for Rachel, just as Sarah, these women were not given a hope and promise that could be or would be fulfilled through their own way of meeting a need, filling a hurt and securing their position. I felt the conviction surge through me as I too have settled for second best, thinking that what has already come and what I have seen as success through my efforts helping others was what would fulfill the promise God put in my heart. My eyes were opened to the extra pain and trial I put myself and others through by not standing in faith and by dismissing myself from being fully part of the promise and waiting on the timing and leading of God's Spirit. This does not change that the Lord, My God, is still holding out the promise for me, it is not for someone else to fulfill or live out. It is my shelter, it is the perfect path for me. The gifts, the talents, the place He has given me literally and figuratively can only really be fulfilled through my partnering and accepting the gift. I can continue to say yes and I can experience the fulfillment of the promise. For me this is the place I find myself, looking around and realizing I sidelined myself thinking that the places the Lord has used to grow me were already the places of the fulfillment of His promises to me. Such little faith...such conflict in my spirit as I fight to hold out hope to others all the while resigned to seconds, leftovers and crumbs. The Lord does NOT withhold good things from His children and He does not renege or shortchange us in promises. They will prove true and He has so much more for us than we can ask or imagine...for me this is being fulfilled in the opening of rooms and doors to serve more women, to walk with them, to partner with others doing this work, and to stand firm and unwavering in principles, pointing people to the finished work of the cross and the current moving of God's Spirit to bring breakthrough.
May your eyes be open to see the promises proven true! May you find shelter in Him!
May you experience the wrap-around God giving you grace when you lose faith, sight or hope!
5 This is how the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves and submit to their husbands,
6 the way Sarah obeyed Avraham, honoring him as her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not succumb to fear.
In 2008 our family was faced with a decision, do we continue in the work of maternity & mother-child housing or do we call it done?. We were transitioning from houseparenting to leadership and facing many challenges and trials "without and within" [Psalm 40:12]. Sitting in the theater with our children the Lord spoke very clearly through a Veggietale movie. The characters were faced with a whirlpool directly in line of where they needed to go. They had to decide to keep going towards the whirlpool, trusting they would be protected and fulfill the mission they were called to or turn back and return to life before the call to this adventure. When they hit the winds and waves the whirlpool disappeared and all fear ceased and the entrance to their destination appeared. They trusted in the One who sent them and made it past their fear.
There have been many occasions when that imagery has come to mind and I am gently reminded by the Holy Spirit that what is in front of me is only a "mirage" and I must not succumb to the fear. Most times the mirage is an illusion,a distraction, or a lie from the enemy meant to dissuade from taking the path where Jesus is leading [especially leading others to freedom]. I hear the crashing of the wind and waves, see what appears to be a chaotic whirlpool I cannot avoid, and feel the increase in tension and resistence. I must choose to believe that going forward it will give way to the will and way of the Lord. I am no longer a daughter of the slave woman, no longer bound to the rules and lies of the enemy; I am, in fact, a daughter of the free woman, given instruction that I can trust, provision that will sustain and hope that will endure.
FInally, as a testament to the goodness of God towards me, I had the honor of attending a conference that was a gift. I was sitting with two beautiful new friends: one on my right a rescuer and fellow warrior living out Isaiah 61:1-3 and on my left a daughter whose life is being restored from bondage and slavery, on many levels, a living testament of Psalm 35:9-10. All three of us making the choice to face the whirlpools in the path to freedom and hope. I am more than settled in the truth that Jesus can, does and will restore all things, and that restoration does not have to wait until we get to heaven. When I live as a daughter of Sarah I can turn many from the bondage of sin and death and choose to press on until we are all made free.
61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,to comfort all who mourn,3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,the oil of joy instead of mourning,and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
9 Then I will be joyful in Adonai,I will rejoice in his salvation.10 All my bones will say,“Who is like you?Who can rescue the weakfrom those stronger than they,the poor and needyfrom those who exploit them?”
11 And don’t even associate with the servants of darkness because they have no fruit in them; instead, reveal truth to them. 12 The very things they do in secret are too vile and filthy to even mention. 13 Whatever the revelation-light exposes, it will also correct, and everything that reveals truth is light to the soul.[d] 14 This is why the Scripture says,
“Arise, you sleeper! Rise up from the dead and the Anointed One will shine his light into you!” Ephesians 5:6-14
19 If you were to give your allegiance to the world, they would love and welcome you as one of their own. But because you won’t align yourself with the values of this world, they will hate you.
I have chosen you and taken you out of the world to be mine.
May you know the light corrects as well as exposes! May you know this intimate place of hope for yourself!
May you choose to trust the One He sent!
(of a person's future) developing as though according to a plan.
"she could see that he was destined for great things"
certain to meet (a particular fate).
"she was destined to become a life-long friend"
intended for or traveling toward (a particular place).
"agricultural exports destined for the United States"
32 Don’t you remember those days right after the Light shined in your hearts? You endured a great marathon season of suffering hardships, yet you stood your ground. 33 And at times you were publicly and shamefully mis-treated, being persecuted for your faith; then at others times you stood side by side with those who preach the message of hope.
Days of not having an answer. Days of not having the funding needed. Days when it seems no one understands or grasps the vision in your heart. Days of long suffering watching helplessly as someone remains trapped in their hurt and their pain. Days when you have to hold a hard line and it means a person will choose to walk away from help and hope. Days when the enemy seems stronger and the roadblock to the hearts and minds of those you are fighting for seems impenetrable. Days when loss seems the only constant.
34 You sympathized with those in prison and when all your belongings were confiscated you accepted that violation with joy; convinced that you possess a treasure growing in heaven that could never be taken from you.
I can think of many losses that I have accepted with joy in this fight for life and dignity. I have had physical challenges, emotional challenges, lost possessions, lost relationships, moved from place to place, remained in transition and change, faced confusion, hopelessness and despair. The things confiscated from me do not compare to what I am after. If all of this is for only one life to be transformed, then it is all worth it.
35 So don’t lose your bold, courageous faith, for you are destined for a great reward!
I need the strength and courage that can only come from Jesus. I must keep my eyes fixed as I stand firm on His foundation. The waves come, they always come. The seasons change, they always change. The dust settles, it always settles. The truth that Jesus heals, restores and binds up is always true even when I feel at a loss to live it out, explain it or need a reminder that it is true for me too.
36 You need the strength of endurance to reveal the poetry of God’s will and then you receive the promise in full. 37 For soon and very soon,
“The One who is appearing will come without delay!”
38 And he also says,
“My righteous ones will live from my faith. But if fear holds them back, my soul is not content with them!”
39 But we are certainly not those who are held back by fear and perish; we are among those who have faith and experience true life!
May hope return to you! May loss be only temporary! May you receive the strength of endurance as you look towards the promise of great reward!
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