I actually wrote this in July, but it took a while to hit the send button!
My walk in the garden (from July 2013)…..
I’m compelled to tell you something. This isn’t easy, but during my walks with the Lord, He and I have touched on this subject more and more frequently of late until I’ve come a point where I truly believe I can rest in His grace and trust Him to be my fortress no matter what others might think. The Lord let me wait, until now. He’s been telling me to “wait” and has given me scripture upon scripture telling me to wait.
The latest is Psalm 27:1,14
1/ The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? In the secret place of His temple He will hide me. 14/ Wait for the Lord. Be strong and let your heart take courage. Yes, wait for the Lord.
Then I attended a Proven Way Free to Lead Women’s Conference. I can’t express the joy I feel as I recall the love of these women of God coming together to learn how to serve God and each other better and to lead others to do the same. It was so plainly an answer to my prayers. It was as if the Lord had put this beautiful gift in a box, tied it with ribbon and handed it to me personally! God’s love, pouring out of the women, even the ones I’d just met for the first time is almost too much for me to take in. God is giving me a glimpse of heaven (divided by a katrillion zillion as one of my grandchildren might say). No wonder he doesn’t let us experience the fullness of heaven down here, I don’t think our mortal bodies could take it! To have so many strong personalities come together in such a beautiful, loving, and productive way is such a testimony to God’s love, grace and power. I was refreshed, renewed, energized and educated!
I can’t wait to see how the Lord is going to use what He let me learn at that conference, but first I have to share my secret so that you can help me be accountable. I need to take it out of the darkness and bring it into the light of God’s healing love. I’ve known the Lord and His love for most of my life, but during our daily walks in the garden, He’s tenderly and patiently showing me that His love is not an earthly love. I guess He’s tried to tell me before, but I didn’t hear Him on this point until now. His love is not the flawed, imperfect and sometimes conditional or even temporary, fickle love that I’ve sometimes experienced in my earthly walk. He’s never too busy. He’s never angry with me for disappointing Him, and He’ll come every time I ask. He always, always wants to come and He’s actually excited for me to ask Him! Oh my goodness how I love this time with my Father! It’s healing to my bones and refreshment for my soul. I’ve never known such beauty. I’ve never felt so loved and accepted unconditionally. His love for me, the sacrifice of His Son, has blinded Him to my faults and ugliness, and He only sees what He created me to be. (Those words pierced my heart in a session taught by Cheryl Luke at the Spring Women’s conference. Cheryl is on staff at Shoreline Church.)
The Lord is my strength and my shield. My heart trusts Him and I am helped. Therefore my heart leaps for joy.
This new understanding allows me to share my struggles with you, my family in Christ. I’m able to say out loud to you that I’ve struggled in my own strength with Bulemia for the past 21 years. The shame and insecurity, doubt and fear that I’ve carried around for a lifetime are beginning to take a back seat to the security I’ve found in a loving Father who, even though He knows me inside and out, will NOT leave me or forsake me. His lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, and His compassions never fail. They are new every morning when we go for our daily walk.
A while back the Lord showed me this scripture, but I didn’t really get it until today:
“It is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods through which those who were so occupied were not benefitted.” (Heb 13:9)
Why do we think that we can garner strength or comfort from anything other than Christ? It seems the great deceiver delights in having us look horizontally, relying on ourselves or looking to others for help and approval knowing that it’s a failproof method, because it keeps us from looking up and seeing the foolproof solution, the Peace that passes understanding. Billy Graham describes the flesh or self-life as “the old ways or patterns by which you have attempted to get all your needs supplied instead of seeking Christ first and trusting Him to meet your needs.”
“For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other so that you do not do what you want.” (Gal 5:17) and “The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (Rom 8:6).
Now I realize, by God’s grace, that I was trying to comfort my broken, hurting heart through food, relying on myself and my limited resources rather than Christ. From childhood I perceived that love and approval were directly related to my appearance and that perception was experienced repeatedly into adulthood. I know I’m not alone in this perception, and too that my experiences pale in comparison to what many others have experienced; however, for whatever reason, until now I’ve been unable to, or hadn’t wanted to choose a different way of dealing with my fears and insecurities. It’s been a painful and damaging cycle of attempts at self control and the resulting failure of my self efforts.
Recognizing, believing and resting in God’s eternal, unconditional and personal love for me is newfound freedom! I’m grateful for the revelation He’s given me that there’s nothing I can ever do to make Him love me less or more than He already does this very minute! He’s made me understand that I’m a new creation in Christ. I was resurrected with Christ and am seated in the heavenly places (Eph 2:6) in Christ with God. God looks at me and sees the perfect creature that he created me to be and I can rest in Him regardless of what things look like down here. I feel whole, today, right now, for this next 24 hour period of my life. Tomorrow, when we go on our walk, He’ll again give me the reassurance that I need to keep believing who I am in Christ.
“Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation, the new has come, the old is gone.” (2Cor 5:17)
Now, it’s this new understanding of God’s grace that will comfort, strengthen and heal my heart. I ask for your forgiveness if I’ve ever presented myself to you as anything more than I am, a broken vessel and absolutely nothing without Him.
God is able to do far more abundantly beyond all we ask or think according to the power that works within us, and I’m asking to glorify Him in all I think, do and say. In Jesus’ name, Amen.