When the Secrets Come Out . . .

IMG_7015

This past weekend, I had the privilege of ministering at a women’s retreat.  To be honest, I don’t tend to go out of my way to attend women’s retreats.

Most of the ones I have participated in, I would find myself feeling very out of place and flooded with social anxiety.  As far as the women’s retreats I have ministered at, I would usually disappear immediately after the sessions.

Funny thing is, most of the women I spoke with this weekend had similar stories.

However, this one was different.  I expected God to show up and do amazing things—He always does!  But I did not expect Him to bring me so much personal breakthrough, as He did, starting the first night.

Toward the end of the first session, we were encouraged to ask God if there were any lies about ourselves (or Him) that we were still believing.  And if so, to ask Him to show us the truth, and then perhaps to share what He showed us with the women at our table.

I was sitting there, jotting some things down in my journal.  I asked the question, but I don’t think I expected an answer like the one He gave me.  In fact, I really expected I’d be mainly spending those moments that followed speaking into the ladies who shared what God had shown them.

I did not expect that I would be crying and sharing something so deep.  Something I had no idea was still lingering in my heart—I thought I had already dealt with this!

The phrase that popped into my head, when I asked the question, was this:

You are not disposable.

I felt the tears begin to form.  Everyone else was still praying around me.  A million thoughts rushed into my head.  Not in chaos, but in complete clarity.

IMG_7016

You see, I was in a very long, unhealthy, abusive relationship in my early twenties.  I thought I already healed from the roots that came from that time, but the reality was clear to me in that moment.

Because of what was done to me, and because of how it made me see myself, I still carried fear of being disposed, not seen, and rejected.

This weekend was my first time away from my husband since we got married over a year ago, and I realized that fear was still influencing me now.  Regardless of how amazing he is, I was still living in a certain state (at the back of my mind) of anxiety and fear of being disposed.

I started to write down scripture after scripture, and promise after promise.  I wrote about how God is trustworthy and that He will never leave me.  I wrote about how He will protect my heart and that I can let Him be in control.  I was never in control anyhow.  But I realized there was a certain part of my heart I wasn’t allowing my husband to see because I was still being affected by those lies from that previous relationship.

I looked up from my journal.  The ladies began to share.  I felt a lump form in my throat.  I felt my feet try to drag, and I thought for a second,

“I don’t want to share this right now.  I am totally going to start sobbing.”

But I did share, and I did cry.  A lot.  And after I shared, I knew it was a defining moment for me.  I knew it was a necessary piece of my story and that God had shown up once again with His mercy.

The more I share this testimony, the more freedom I find.  I had no idea what these feelings were for years, but now that I have a label for them, they can be addressed.  There has been a certain level of inferiority I have been carrying around, and that has manifested itself in anxiety for way too long.

Praise God, He is so faithful.

IMG_7032

I am writing this because I know we all have stories and we all have things in our hearts that try to hide in the shadows.  But . . .

When the secrets come out, the enemy can no longer dangle them over our heads.

Once the light shines in, the darkness has to flee.

There is restoration in vulnerability.

Friends, I encourage you.  If there is ANYTHING, any lie, any struggle, that is keeping you from walking in the fullness that God has for you . . . lay it down before His throne of grace!

We were created to walk in His freedom.  Let Him into those deep and tender places.  Let Him heal your heart.

Advertisements

New Chapters

     Oh, hello.  I’ve been back from Iceland for a few weeks now—in case you were wondering, I did come back to the US!  I’m sorry it took me so long to write an update.  I realize that I left you hanging for almost a month, but I have honestly been having trouble finding the words.  There were multiple occasions where I would sit down and try to force a new post into existence, until I came to the conclusion that I would give myself some time to breathe.

     My time in Iceland was life-changing.  I know that is something most people say when they return from a ministry trip, but this trip was unlike any of the others I have taken.  Since I graduated high school, I’ve had the honor of visiting over half a dozen different countries.  Each trip was significant, in its own way, and has had a huge impact on how I see the world around me, and how I live out my faith.

     When I say that going to Iceland changed my life, I mean that it literally changed my life.  I mean that there were areas in my heart that God healed in dramatic ways.  He gave me a new perspective of His heart for me and began to take me back to situations in my past and bring closure.

     Closure.  That seems to be my word at the moment.  And as He has been bringing healing and closure into the deepest places of my heart, He continues to take me close in His arms, and whisper gently,

      “Your heart has been hurt and I see that.  I want to make you whole.”

     I’m letting go of things, I now realize, I had been holding onto for too long.  (Lord, I release my grasp.  I was never in control of those areas anyway.)

     Old chapters end.  New ones begin.

     I’m learning to let Him treat my wounds immediately, rather than wait until they fester and grow.  And it hurts.  It hurts unlike anything I’ve felt at times, but the pain will only increase if left untreated.

10418306_963494110333697_5602657432862936752_n

     The deeper I let Him work, the clearer my vision becomes.  The things that were once cloudy come into focus, and some of it, perhaps, begins to make sense.

     The life that is found in death.

     The beauty that is found in the broken.

     The “more” that God promises

     that He has for those who take the risk

     to love Him and to trust Him with everything.

     I’ve written more songs in the recent weeks than I have in the last year.  It has almost been as if I cannot breathe without releasing a new lyric.  They come from the area where deep calls unto deep.  They are my dialogues with the Lord.  They are the desires of my heart put into melodies.  That said, the album that I was planning on recording is going to be put on the shelf for now, but I believe I’ll still have something out by January . . .

     This is where I am.

     I write this with a smile, and with tears streaming down my face.  Even though certain changes of late have turned my world upside down, the goodness of God fills my heart with joy.  A joy that strengthens.

     So, my friends, I am continuing to walk this path with my Father.  We’re taking it one day at a time.  I don’t have any agendas, big plans or itineraries planned out for the next couple months, or even beyond that.  My first priority is to seek His face and to hear His heart.  I don’t want to walk a single step ahead of Him.  To those of my friends who live in California, feel free to hit me up.  Many of you have expressed the desire to hear more about Iceland, and I’d love to catch up with you over a cup of coffee or something.

     I’d also like to say thank you to those who have been loving on me through encouraging phone calls and messages.  You know who you are.  I’m blessed to have friends and family like you in my life.  So blessed.  I love you all very much.