John 17: 3
This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Dear faithful readers, returning here after a month away my heart is both heavy and filled with joy. Heavy, because I am returning to tell you that I will be laying down this blog and the social media connected to it. But filled with joy because God has used this quiet month to quench my thirsty heart with His Father love and lead me on a path of greater freedom. (Keep reading for a free book offer 😉.)
When I started this blog just over a year ago, it was a step of obedience, done in fear and trembling, as I shared what He layed upon my heart and revealed to me, knowing that I was risking a loss of love, acceptance and approval from those closest to me. It was taking up my cross daily, but also became a discovery of the depths of my Heavenly Father’s love for me, as I began to daily lean on His strength, His comfort and His protection.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
Philippians 2: 12
The words He gave me became a prophetic blessing upon my life, as I watched Him open His Word to me and lead me into greater and greater freedom and restoration in Him. But I was also privileged to see those same words speak healing and comfort and hope into many of you reading along. Yes, our Father, our Savior and our Friend the Holy Spirit are powerful and together love to multiply their blessings in our lives.
But, the Spirit’s still quiet voice has ever so gently been leading me forth, away from this now safe and comfortable haven toward the new cross that awaits me. But this cross too speaks life in the laying down of my own – of my selfish desires to not again enter the pain. For embracing pain, actually means embracing more of who God is, so that I can watch Him restore the brokenness wreaked by our accuser on my life and those most dear to me.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory[b] and of God rests upon you.
1 Peter 4: 12 – 14 (ESV)
A time of fasting, of seeking Him in the hunger, revealed His will to bring shalom – as Bonnie Grey says in Spiritual Whitespace a “putting back together” – where the accuser had me believe the brokenness was my punishment to carry.
And in the seeking God revealed that His greatest desire, as it is for all of us, is to draw me near to Himself, so that I may become more and more of who He has created me to be. A woman of faith expressed in love (Galatians 5:6), a woman clothed in eternal life, that is in the intimate knowledge of who her One True God and Jesus Christ truly are (John 17:3), so that she may live and move and have her being in God alone. For, we “become what we believe” (Mathew 9:29 MSG). I believe my God is wholeness, completeness – a God intent upon restoring us all to fullness in Him.
all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.
Colossians 1: (18 – 20) (MSG)
And as I shared earlier this year in Unspoken Heart: “The pain is an invitation into wholeness: into the healing embrace of a God who yearns to restore each piece of that broken bond between Himself and us.” Because our God does not give His heart in pieces:
Now filled with His Father’s Love for me, I am ready to live the revelations of His Word – in my family, in my community and when He calls me, beyond. Faithfulness and obedience requires our total attention for what God is calling us to (Matthew 7: (13 – 14)) – for me that is no longer this blog or social media.
And I am committed to “serious obedience, doing what my Father wills” (Matthew 7: (21 – 23)). I want those walking beside me to say, as they did of Jesus: “[s]he was living everything [s]he was saying (Matthew 7: (29)). And like my Father, my heart beats for “mercy, not religion” (Matthew 9: (12 – 13)), for “the sick” who I am called to see, love and serve, those whose hearts have been broken apart and whom my Father weeps over. I am committed to a life of prayer accompanied by fervent cries and tears, of reverent submission (Hebrews 5: 7) and participating in resurrection life, where God calls His Light of Kingdom come. As Shawn Bolz puts it in Translating God: Hearing God’s for Yourself and the World around You (I would recommend every believer reads this powerful book):
If you want to have influence, you have to join yourself to His love nature. This is more than a feeling or an emotion. It is an attitude of acceptance toward everyone and everything that is God’s, even if you can’t control it, manage it or even nurture it. You are called to love . . . The prophetic sees people in their full value.
My heart weeps for the lost because I was one for more than twenty years. And it beats for a justice bound not by religious rules, but a justice carried in the heart of the One who says:
“I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and strong I will destroy and feed them with judgements.” (Ezekiel 34: 16).
The One who does not demand repentance but instead seeks it in kindness, as He calls His children home:
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son and threw his arms around and kissed him.” (Luke 15: 20).
And the more the Word made flesh is revealed in us, the more this love nature that seeks mercy and not judgement, will not only draw us unto Himself, but also those He places on our path.
Galatians 5:1-10 (MSG)
The Life of Freedom
Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.
I am emphatic about this. The moment any one of you submits to circumcision or any other rule-keeping system, at that same moment Christ’s hard-won gift of freedom is squandered. I repeat my warning: The person who accepts the ways of circumcision trades all the advantages of the free life in Christ for the obligations of the slave life of the law.
I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love.
You were running superbly! Who cut in on you, deflecting you from the true course of obedience? This detour doesn’t come from the One who called you into the race in the first place. And please don’t toss this off as insignificant. It only takes a minute amount of yeast, you know, to permeate an entire loaf of bread. Deep down, the Master has given me confidence that you will not defect. But the one who is upsetting you, whoever he is, will bear the divine judgment.
Faithful readers thank you for all your encouragement and love here. You have been such a blessing in my life, also through your own blogs, where I have been loved, challenged, inspired and grown.
May the Lord continue to bless and grow each one of you. If you’d like to stay in touch, please comment below and I will send you an email (where you enter your email address). I’ll be signing off here on the morning of Thursday, 8 December (Dutch time), leaving my blog up, but removing the option to comment. I will also be deactivating my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. You are still free to read and share the material here.
I have also added a new page, my baptismal testimony translated into English (I live in the Netherlands, so gave it in Dutch). This is an excerpt:
I was baptized on Sunday, 27 November 2016, with great joy and thankfulness for all God has done and continues to do in and through me. May it bless and encourage you if you decide to read it. I would also greatly appreciate it if you could share it with friends and family, who you know are suffering from mental illness, from grief and/or are Prodigals. On Sunday I saw God powerfully bless many women present, who told me afterwards: “This is so me” or “This was so me” with tears in their eyes, as God showed them that they are seen, known and loved. Let’s encourage our loved ones who are suffering that they are not alone, that our God sees and loves them and desires nothing more than to take them in His safe, strong arms.
You may also like to encourage them to visit these series/posts that reveal the Father’s Heart of love for us all:
– 31 Days Journeying into God’s Love
– Receiving God’s Love for Us (an indepth study of each of the 1 Corinthians 13 characteristics of love from the perspective of receiving God)
– Unwrapping Hope (a month studying Biblical hope stories)
– Breaking Light (testimonies of God entering people’s heartache and suffering around the world)
– 31 Days of Miracles: Who is Our God (miracles of all shapes and sizes that reveal God’s yearning to draw near to us)
And I’m giving away free e-copies of my book Love Embraced: A Journey in and through Suffering to all those who comment requesting a copy before the 7 days are up.
God bless you all.