I love the perfect way that God meets me.
This last weekend was a Redemption Immersion (a beautiful and intense healing conference based on the book of Exodus) and it was hands down amazing how God moved in my heart and mind.
I went into the weekend knowing I was desperate to hear the heart and love of God and waited in expectation of what He had in store for me—
I went into the weekend with tremendous pain and truth be told; a heart of willful unforgiveness.
I left being utterly in awe of how God moves through those who love Him in my life. I hold dearly in this moment the tangible gifts of intimacy, acceptance and connection that opened the door for me to want to sit in a place of forgiving others in my life. Not because of guilt or sheer will or even because I wanted to appear good to the other ladies that I shared the small group with…but because of God’s love and truth that persistently pursued me in my stubbornness and woefully disheartened and shame-filled state.
I was so afraid to show up and be real and admit that I harbored a deep place of bitter unforgiveness. I also wanted to hide the things that I chose to numb that place of pain and betrayal—it was all so gross to me. I was angry that it was there and that it was something that I didn’t talk about. I knew it didn’t…actually…I knew that lack of forgiveness and the hiding of that shouldn’t have a place in my heart and here I was staring it in the face.
I was angry that I felt like such a hypocrite…and I was even more angry that I had to be the one to forgive… I was incredibly angry and deeply hurt that it was me who had to forgive the mind-blowing pain in my life. I wanted to scream and demand that I get an apology. An apology that fit the crimes perpetrated against me…an apology that I could see and feel…an apology where I could know that the price that was paid for them to apologize extracted the same amount of pain that was given to me…
It was such a heavy burden to carry.
I went into the weekend not even willing to sit in a place of forgiveness—
Today I am amazed at the power of community and God’s uncanny ability to heal through it.
It is almost comical the way I entered into the weekend. I knew the Immersion was going to be a place of telling story and recognizing the impact in my daily life…I knew that part of me would be shared with others. I told myself that they wouldn’t know the depth of my heart of stone…I told myself that I would keep that sin and my secrets to myself. I felt certain that I would be turned away from…that there was no way that people would accept me if they knew the true condition of my heart.
Wouldn’t you know it…God had a different plan.
In my desire to not make waves and take up as little space as possible in the small group—God had me show up not once but twice with the truth of what I felt as I experienced others in relation to that small group. And he provided through my discomfort and vulnerability—an astonishing place of intimacy and security that drew our group even closer together.
When I made a promise to myself not to bring up my ugly heart of unforgiveness because of my certainty of again being shunned…I was met with understanding and a loving sadness that grieved for me. As I opened up about the choices I make when I feel like I’m going to be taken under—I didn’t find hesitation, judgement and condemnation…I found acceptance, I found support, I found God’s heart for me through the people that welcomed me as I am.
The ladies in this group didn’t reject me or recoil as I shared my deeply hidden secrets. They hadn’t turned away from me as I feared—instead they honored me by wanting to keep connecting with me.
It was staggering.
I believed lies—
I believed the lie that I was too dirty…I was too messy…I was too filthy…I was too much…I wasn’t wanted…I wasn’t good enough…I’m not together enough…that I was bad…that I deserved to be alone. I guess deep inside I believed that I was evil. Who am I to think I could have deep, lasting and authentic relationships…
The truth is that I am a mess…I don’t have it all together nor can I ever pretend that I do…there are times when I am needy and scared and just want to be near someone who is for me…and that’s okay.
In those painful moments, and in other celebratory moments, I get to make a choice. I can draw closer to the heart of God and who He is (which just may look like entering into relationship with those He put in my life as his ambassadors…his body…his family) or I can turn away. Because the plain truth is…God will never turn from me—
Thank you my loving Father for pursuing me in my mess—