Sunday, April 17, 2011


I've been thinking a lot about sincerity and realness in my walk with Jesus since our women's retreat last weekend. The speaker, Leslie Nease, was very sincere and even more real in her speaking to us. The second I saw her face online before the retreat I felt a kinship to her. I didn't know her whole story, just that her blog was titled REAL LIFE, and the way that she writes is transparent. Maybe it was something in her smile, her eyes.... or maybe not. It was Jesus. I needed to hear what she had to say, and let me tell you that the Enemy did everything he could to stop me from hearing it.

Money, transportation, gear, kids, my extremely unfaithful friend Fear, you name it and he threw it my way. Thank the Lord for my husband. He gently but firmly said that I needed to be there. That the Lord wanted me there and he knew it, that he wouldn't stand for me cowing down to the Enemy yet one more time to be led into that wretched hole the Lord has been trying so patiently to drag me from.

So I went.

I was a part of the worship team, which gave me some sense of a feeling of commitment to go, and yet the reasons that I had for being hesitant were real. But not as real as the message that was in store for me when I got there.

I asked Jesus into my heart when I was 10 or 11 years old. (I'm pretty sure it was 10... but that was a while ago.) My Grandma had passed away when I was 8 and a half, she was my best friend, and the world was officially off it's axis after that. My time at Camp Yamhill for those few summers, and the time I spent with the youth at Metro Church of Christ really watered little seeds that had been planted when I was a young child. But life, and sin, and trauma, and abuse, and and and..... provided fertile ground for me to become fearful, hopeless, angry, and lost for a lot of years after that day in the Yamhill River where I was baptized.

I went through the Genie in the Lamp god stage, and the life preserver god stage, and the 'wow I can't seem to get it right no matter how hard I try so I'll just keep God over there and I'll be over here giving myself a colossal beating so He won't have to' stage, then the ever so popular 'I am going to take the wheel now thanks for getting me this far I can do just fine now' stage, which promptly landed me into a spiritual, emotional, and physical (as far as my health is concerned) brick wall.

Leslie spoke about this, she called it The Try Cycle. Ya know, Try, Try harder, Try Hardest, Give up...... and under the heading of Give Up would be a myriad of horrendous decisions, or buying massive stock in the Enemies lies until a phone call, a visit, or the Lord Himself would pull me up and give me hope to try again.

What I realized at the retreat is that I was trying so hard all those years to be acceptable, to be worthy, to be lovable, and to do all kinds of good stuff hoping to achieve those things.

I had it backward.

During our quiet time we were instructed to go and spend some time with the Lord, no real hard parameters on what to do exactly, just to be with Him. So, I grabbed my journal and headed to my room. I opened it up and asked the Lord to speak to me, and here is what He said:

I have loved you with an everlasting Love.

My thoughts toward you are precious.

I am renewing and reviving you.

I will never let you go.

You are completely covered and forgiven.

And then;

From HERE on:

I am the Truth

I am the Way

I am the Life

But then He had me go back through and slash the word 'the' in the last 3 lines and replace
them like this:

I am YOUR Truth

I am YOUR Way

I am YOUR Life ~ Jesus

I had never thought of those words in that way. Always so general, now He was telling me that after all the affirmation He had just spoken to me, He is all the things that I am searching for. I left that quiet time totally humbled and very ready to hear anything further that the Lord wanted to speak to me during that retreat time.

At one point Leslie used a large blood red piece of cloth to cover up some items that represented her old life. I don't think I'll ever forget that visual. The things were totally not visible by ANYONE anymore. Covered completely. I have struggled with that for so long, feeling marked, labeled, condemned, and in that one moment the Lord used that visual to show me how completely in Him I am.

I had been striving all those years for something that already was. I am totally worthy, loved, and accepted in Jesus! It was already a done deal. Nothing I can do or say or be can make it anymore so than it is right now! I have shied away from the hand of the Lord, from the voice of my Father for so long because I didn't truly believe in my position. I was so ashamed of my sin, so afraid of his punishment for my rebellion, that I ran along the edges trying to build up enough good-ness that He might accept me.

He already does!

He doesn't even see my sin anymore, I am in Him, and in Him I am protected and valuable and secure.

No wonder the Enemy didn't want me there.

I must be honest and say that ever since I got home he has been doing his darndest to distract me, to continue to pummel my body, fire darts of doubt and lies into my mind..... BUT I have the Truth. I am in Him and He is in me, and He told me that He will never let me go.

I may feel the wind as the Enemy storms about, or the heat as his temper flares, but I am on solid ground, and I know who I am and WHO I belong to.......

and I BELIEVE it.

Finally. :)


Leslie Nease said...

Precious. Simply precious. You shine for Him so brightly - never forget Whose you are, my sweet sister!

Lainie said...