It really is hard for me to write about God, since I begin to feel so insecure about myself when I do.
And that is so, so wrong. Because I am experiencing the deepest reaches of Him every single day, and that should never make me insecure. It needs to fill every single inch of my being with peace. Even on the days filled with shame over my thoughts unholy, actions unholy, or words unholy, He has changed my perspective to be a day of learning—no longer a day of shame.
He says to me, “Daughter, take up your sword, and let Me show you how to wield it.”
Now, I kinda get how I begin drafting insecure, and later, rereading and editing, He makes me secure in dialoguing with me and sorting through my heart. Trying to help me understand what’s really going on in here (*gestures pretty much to my whole self*), and showing me what lies I’m believing and what Truth I need to hear again.
Months ago, I asked God how He was going to satisfy me, and He said, clearly, “I will be your satisfaction.”
I went into Advent praying together one night with my boyfriend for the Christmas story to encourage us. I shut my laptop after typing those words to him, and then prayed for it. Went to sleep. Thought little of it, except that my boyfriend said he liked what I’d said. Like it was significant or something.
You gotta love irony.
Every week of Advent, my church then focused on a new word: joy, hope, peace, and love. Every word of the Scriptures I read, inside and outside of congregational worship, God reached me with how He is my joy, my hope, my peace, and my love. But better, He showed me how He’s ours in those areas. I pinpointed my issues lately and how they lead to anger, impatience, unhealthy desire, laziness, despair, and anxiety. It’s dissatisfaction. I try to satisfy it with self or other things right now. It falls apart, and I fret and question.
I’ve been building my idols and I’ve been trying to lick wounds with self-pity and dwelling on things unrighteous. I’ve been overworking my heart and body and mind, and I’ve made myself alone.
But He’s told me, “Don’t fight alone, because you’re not.”
I spent time with Him as I learned how “dwelling in tents” with Him meant fellowshipping with God and worshipping God, wherever and whenever you are. Praying what’s really on my mind, no matter how simple, and remembering that anxiety and worry and what I desire to change in me is meant to be brought to the throne. He’s my Father in heaven. He’s the bridegroom of the Church. He’s familial and relational.
I once heard someone ask the question, “If heaven didn’t have God there when you showed up, would you still be happy?” And thing is, I’m learning how to soak in Him being my home. I listened to Josh Garrels’ “May You Find a Light” one morning this Advent, and suddenly started crying because I felt nomadic in a lot of ways and He just…He offered Himself to be home. He just was.
God was, is, and will be God.
I shared with dear friends and mentors that I was tired and just wished the waiting seasons would end.
One smiled at me and said, “Maybe it never does end.”
Confused, I went home, that image of a knowing smile replaying in my brain.
Now I understand a little. I talked to her again today [during this first draft anyway] about it. And regarding growth and change, she told me, “You are not going back to square one, you know that right? It’s not just stage zero and then starting over. You’re revisiting, but you’re different and learning more every time you come back to it. You’re digging into the Word and seeking God. You’re growing.”
I thanked her for saying that.
Because deep down, especially every time I get back on this silly blog, I feel like I’m back at square one and repeating things. I confess in order to feel better and to understand and sift through my thoughts. I write in the wee hours and days I’m twiddling my thumbs or to keep myself from exploding. Daily bittersweet mysteries, gray flowers, wonder-filling, uphills, dark clay…and grace upon grace. I hold so much inside for a time, then share (sometimes too much), and still feel like it’s not out enough. That’s because I forgot a relationship with God is a thing. Accountability with God is a thing, and even more important, I dare say, than accountability and relationships with your fellow disciples. Counsel and “I’ve been there too”s are very good and healthy, but there is no one who will guard you and watch your back better than God Almighty who sees it all and cares most for you. Ask Him first and He will use both time in and away from your Bible to guide you. He’ll make your time with others fruitful in the first place.
I wish I was good at communicating how good God is to you, so that you would know it too. I’m not good, but He totally is. He brings me to my knees with how much He loves me enough to show me how to wield a sword in my mind on Christmas Eve against crap thoughts. I read 1 John that afternoon, and ended up on my knees in my mind, because the thoughts just reminded me why I needed a baby in Bethlehem.
1 John was His love letter to tell me He loved me and that He’d conquered and is conquering.
He spoke to me on nights alone in sweet music, filled with my own and others’ prayers, and He knows, He knows, how music speaks to my heart. He knows how I needed humbling so that in listening again and again about a manger, I would see the cross and be satisfied with that.
[As “editor Heidi,” I’m leaving this ending as it was the night I wrote it. The words felt insufficient. But that’s because humans are little able to describe Him.]
My God. My God. You are my best friend.
You hear. You are there. Even when I’m not completely.
Emmanuel, I love You.
I am humbled by how He loves me.
Just again and again, He showed me, “You struggle and are unalone. Share you shame days with those who love you and experience My love through them. It’s not them. It’s Me. Learn to ‘seek My face before the works of My hands.’ I love you. Your shame days are no longer shame days. They are learning days. They are grace days as much as the ones filled with wonder. Don’t just try and hear me, but pray I help you listen for Me. Even in silence, I speak. I am the LORD your God who brought you out of sin. I am your Saviour. It’ll be okay.”
It’ll be okay. Take the truth. Pray He help you wield it well. Know you are unalone in the fight.
My God, show us each day, no matter how “small” a sin struggle, is a day to take up our swords and don our armor and follow the King—put us on our knees and help us see You. You are Home.
I could cry and write pages. Listen, frens (informal as that nickname sounds right now), the glory of the Lord is gentle and slow; overwhelming and great all at once.
He is word-stealing and good.
Not enough words. Just not enough even though I could stay writing hours.
- Psalm 139 (Verse 5: “You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.” He always has His hand on us.)
- Romans 7:13-8:39 (Popped into my head on a night I and someone else needed to hear it. I read it again and again and again.)
- “Forever more” by Jess Ray (New favorite artist. This is one of her unreleased songs. I love how I could pray so, so many of her songs. Check out her “Sentimental Creatures” album).
- This vlog, “God Wants to Give You Good Gifts” by Joseph Solomon (God DELIGHTS to change your heart. He WANTS to see you grow and also to know Him.)
- A sermon by John Piper on God’s glory (And how we experience Him!)
- My personal favorite: “Dear God” a spoken word poem by Joanah Madzime (I could quote this forever. It is so raw, humbling, and changed my perspective so much.)
- My Spotify playlist for reminding me of Truth, “whatever is pure and lovely”
- A session by Mary Wilson called “Following Jesus Far from Home” (Listened to her speak at a TGC conference in October. I love how she reminds me why God and the Bible are so exciting and beautiful, and it’s not because of her. It’s all already there, but you forget sometimes. 😉 )
- A bit of a poem by Amy Carmichael I found in A Chance to Die by Elizabeth Elliot. A great prayer:
“Before the winds that blow do cease,
Teach me to dwell within Thy calm;
Before the pain has passed in peace,
Give me, my God, to sing a psalm.
Let me not lose the chance to prove
The fullness of enabling love.
O Love of God, do this for me:
Maintain a constant victory.”
My Dad for showing me how our Dad in Heaven loves and for Caleb, Danette, Valerie, and Sarah M. for taking up swords and donning armor with me.
The fight continues daily until we go home. Keep revisiting and take heart, frens.