Abide vs Arrive
My faith is built every time the Lord walks me through dark times. It is something that deepens my relationship with Him every time it happens. How I wish it were enough to keep me from falling into a "hole" again. But the enemy is relentless... his attacks are relentless. The closer we get to the Lord, the more intense the battle can become... the battle for our heart... for our joy... for our family... for our relationships... for our intimacy... for our testimony.
This last "roll in the mud" hit me pretty hard. The very thing I kept holding onto was the fact that when things get THAT bad... I KNOW the Lord has something wonderful for me around the corner the enemy wants me to miss.
I know if the battle is raging that wildly... it is for a reason.
God shines brightest against the backdrop of darkness. The darkness can look to be all consuming and yet it is the beams of light that leave us smacked with His glory. I love this picture I took at the lake this past summer. The darkness rolled in as we headed home that night. Then we turned the corner and there it was... and it stopped us in our tracks. We had to stop. We had to inhale it... take it in... capture it. His light... breaking through... leaving us in awe. Suddenly the darkness seemed to almost compliment the light... intensify it! HA HA. That makes me laugh out loud!! How often do we see the attempts of evil turned into some of the most amazing and powerful displays of God's power, love, mercy, faithfulness, sovereignty, and grace? We see it with Israel, we see it with Joseph, we see it with Daniel, we see it with Paul, and we see it in it's finest display of majesty with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!
God brought numerous people into my life last week who reached out at the most perfect times and in the most perfect ways to love me, speak truth to me, pray with me, and minister to me. It blows me away. Really. The intimacy of it all. The perfectness of it all.
The grand finale was displayed last Friday. A friend whom I had not even met yet asked me to come. She has a ministry of prayer and massage. After taking two falls within four days of each other, my physical body was manifesting the intense consuming pain of my spiritual body.
This sister in Christ met me in her driveway... waiting for me like a family member I had not seen in years. She embraced me with such love and joy... such love and joy. She intercedes for people in prayer. She has been praying for me even though we had never seen each other in person.
After talking and sharing for an hour, she asked to pray for me. Even though we had been praying on and off during that hour, I knew this prayer would be something different. She got on her knees at my feet. She rubbed with them oil and she began to pray. Then she began to cry. Then she began to wail.
I could feel it rising from the depths inside my spirit. And I prayed God would allow me to surrender. And then I heard it. It came... flooding me... washing me... healing me... words... His words.
"I am on my knees before you. I am ministering to you. I am serving you. I am loving you. I am crying your cries. These are my cries for you. I am the Spirit and I am interceding for you. This is what I do. I am here to comfort you. Give your cries to me and I will take them to the throne on your behalf. Give them to me... all of them. And then you are free... free to have my peace. You don't have to carry this inside. The battle is mine. I will fight it for you. You abide here with me and let me do what I am here to do. I am here for you."
I shook as those words washed through me like a cleansing river. I started crying at the reality of it... the moment. And as I gave my battle to Him, I was flooded with peace that left me laughing with joy from heaven. And I heard His words again...
"This is what my love feels like. You are in my love."
And I sobbed.
One of the things I had shared with my friend was my deepest pain... I did not "feel" God's love. I believed He loved me. I KNEW He loved me. I could see evidence of that love all over my life. But I didn't feel it and I so longed to feel it.
As I sat there in the midst of that love, feeling it in every part of my being, I laid it all down and bathed in His presence. The Holy Spirit bathed me in His presence to overflowing and I was refilled and renewed.
And when I arrived home after this encounter... flowers were on my front porch from another friend... providing that extra little kiss from the Lord. Amazed. Thankful.
I am still smacked. And I have come to know one thing for sure. I will never arrive. I will never have it all cleared out. I will never have the "perfect house" with "perfect walls". I will never be spotless.
But I have been given the GIFT of being able to ABIDE. Because of Christ, I am spotless to the Father. As I wear the robe of righteousness given to me through my faith in Jesus Christ, I am seen spotless and I get the holy intimate invitation to ABIDE. As I abide, the Spirit will walk me through the rest. It is a journey. It is a refining. It is a transformation that is in process until I meet Him face to face. And as long as I ABIDE, the dust and drips of glue will not unhinge me. It all brings me closer to HIM. The process. This One Beautiful Life.
For other inspiring stories of grace... click on the Grace Laced Link... and be blessed.