Welcome to Friday’s Praise.
If you’re new here come read about:
Today, Anna is sharing a piece of her journey. Please note that next week there will be shorter posts- Scriptures and a worship song that I pray will encourage you – so that I (Anna) can devote myself more fully to my children, who are on a week long autumn break from school.
Psalm 84: 5-7 (NLT)
5 What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,
who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
6 When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,
it will become a place of refreshing springs.
The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.
7 They will continue to grow stronger,
and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.
These past weeks I have been wrestling with this ministry God has gifted our team. If I’m honest there has always been a part of me calling me to retreat from this calling. You see, my heart is still healing from wounds inflicted by the enemy through the yeast that has infected our churches. This yeast once helped press me away from my Heavenly Father’s arms for more than twenty years, is still helping to push many of my loved ones away and is being taught in churches who appear anything but ready to receive their returning Prodigals with arms open wide. Returning Prodigals who God has called to strengthen His church, by speaking the Truth in love.
But we know how God works, don’t we? He takes us places where we are pressed more deeply into Him – into His truth, His love and His grace.
I first thought I could keep the wounded parts of my heart separate. That I could give and pour and love through Beloved Prodigal and press away the pain. That this was Christ’s growing of my heart. But God! He is after wholehearted service and wholehearted healing, not just part. PRAISE Him!
If I had listened to the words He gave me one and a half months ago, I would have realized that too. These are the words I recorded in my journal when God responded to my unwillingness to obey, to love His church as He does:
Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do, I hear You speak the words You speak over my hardening heart also. Love where you would hate. Grieve, where you would press on down. Sing in Your Hope where you would lie in your bed of suffering, alone.
Go. I am with you. I will hold you. I will give you faith. I will give you hope. I will give you strength. I will give you eyes to see them standing shining in My Light. Go.
As He led me to write and share Open Your Mouth Wide, He also led me to confess the pain and struggle to give here. To confess my unbelieving Hagar heart that leans toward wandering away and sulking in my private pain, and my unbelieving Sarah heart that leans toward holding tight and doing things my own way to suppress the pain beneath. Then, as I opened my mouth, grieved and wept my tears at His feet, God spoke:
How long will you wander
my wayward daughter?
For the LORD will cause something new
to happen –
Israel will embrace her God.
Jeremiah 31: 22 NLT
God revealed that hiding my wounded heart from Him was a lack of heart obedience. And it is here I owe my apologies to you all also. Forgive me for not giving to you wholeheartedly. I have kept God’s blessings from you. May our Lord have mercy upon me.
Thanks be to the Holy Spirit and Word for pressing in, for guiding my anxious, grieving heart to return and rest in My Truth. In the One who looks upon us all in great mercy and love, who refuses to define us by our many sins, but instead looks upon us and sees Christ, the One dwelling within us, who bore our curse to free us from God’s rightful wrath.
It is He who is now giving my hidden pain voice, gently taking my hand and opening the eyes of my aching heart wide to believe again, to see through His eyes:
By Anna Louise Smit
I will take you
Into wide open spaces
From the rains of My grace.
No longer fear
Your heart to rule
No longer shame
Your hands and feet to drive.
Shalom, your face to shine
Of rains poured
Soaked in green Hope
You rise and dance.
Lifted from broken
Standing before Me
I’ve raised you to speak.
Those tongues to silence
In My power
The Word of Life
You’ll look and see
No longer broken
But woven whole
In Promise tethered strong.
Treading into fear
Speaking Life and Love
My Perfect Power meets
Your knees bended, eyes weeping.
I’ve given you My heart
No longer dead to see
But grafted strong
Resting, your arms in Vine to grow.
Pruned of weight
I strip the burdened rot
Revealing Life beneath
My Own green shoots to sprout.
Fears speak of Life to come
Of rot to strip
Green shoots of faith to sprout
Hope and Love to gift.
Hands and feet now move
Spirit-led to gift
Not hoard your Truth
Who strips and frees to Life.
Not one of us can walk through hurt and come out restored without leaning into our Vine. Our natural human inclination is to fight or flee, not to lean. But praise our God who writes His Living Word upon our hearts, piece by aching piece. I pray that if you too have been pressing the pain away, from the church and/or from loving a Prodigal who is hurting you, trying to be strong, trying to do the “right” thing, but your heart isn’t wholly surrendered, that You would hear His call to refreshing autumn rains today, also:
“I am making all things new.
[I] will surely comfort Zion
Look with compassion on all her ruins
[I] will make her deserts like Eden
Her wastelands like the garden of the LORD
Joy and gladness will be found in her
Thanksgiving and the sound of singing
(Isaiah 51: 3)
Will you believe me at My Word?
Will you see My Church as I do?
Will you proclaim My wholeness there?
Will you proclaim My completion there?
Will you proclaim My restoration
And my redemption of all the wrong?
Will you return and rest in Me
Pressing into Hope
Believing I WILL fulfill My Prayer
“Father make them One.”
Will you open your mouth wide
For I WILL fill it to overflowing.”
Thank You, Father, that You ARE making all things new, even as we pray this prayer. Holy Spirit in us help us all to take up our Cross, to truly embrace Your all. Christ lead us deeper and deeper into Your Word, open it up anew to us that we might receive it in Your Spirit of Truth and of Love. Help us to live into who You are and who You say we are in Your righteousness alone.
Help us to pour out our aching hearts at Your feet again and again. Open not just our mind, but our hearts also to see with Your eyes, give with Your heart and love with Your hands. Lead us in the Word of Life. We long to worship and obey You in our hearts and not just minds. Break us open and remake us. Make ALL things new within us. Lean us on You. On You alone. LORD be our Strength, be our Hope, be our Balm, be our Truth, be our Heart. Restore us, Your Church, unto You alone, our only true:
(Inspired by the words of Psalm 122 and
1 Kings 7)
By Anna Louise Smit
Home, my home
It’s in my feet standing here
Within your gates, Jerusalem
Rejoicing in my Savior’s call.
Peace, secure we pray
You lead us
Hands to hold
Knees to bow.
Home, our home
It’s in our feet standing here
Within your gates, Jerusalem
Rejoicing in our Savior’s call.
Tribes together pressed as One.
Home, our home
You went before
Our place you saved in blood,
For Joy set before You here.
Jakin: You establish us
Boaz: in Your strength we rest
Pillars, Yours, uphold us
On foundation true.
Holy and pleasing
Righteous and pure
We’ve come to praise
Our Lord and King, our Home.
Jeremiah 33: 6-9, 14 – 16 (ESV)
6 Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security. 7 I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first. 8 I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me. 9 And this city[a] shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it.
14 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’