A Promise in the Dark

Show me what I know

Wrap my heart in truth

For I cannot breathe

But only heave

Beneath the deep.

 

I know not how

To speak, to cry

The words

The tears

Are lodged so deep.

 

Have you ever read the story of Hosea? How God calls him to betrothe himself to a prostitute. How this woman keeps leaving him, keeps being unfaithful to him and yet Hosea never stops loving her? Never stops calling her back and loving on her, just as she is?

 

A couple of weeks ago, I suddenly saw myself in this story. I saw how I have kept going back to my idols to seek the love and acceptance that is already mine in Christ Jesus. I have worshipped fallible man as God.

As Jesus laid His finger on this, I wept and wept and wept. I saw His heart breaking for me and I saw the depths of His love for me. And it broke my heart open to see myself repeatedly running away from God’s loving arms.

I saw Jesus moving to defend me through my husband and his parents before my accuser, to keep calling me home into the truth of my worth. Through them, He has repeatedly called out my sins to defend the goodness and beauty in me. Even as I have repeatedly run away again – chained to fear, pride and shame – even as I have been unable to believe I am worthy of being loved by Jesus, just as I am, He has kept calling me Home. Jesus has repeatedly invited me to surrender my idols and to fall into His arms instead.

 

Teach me how

To live

The truth I know

In surrender breathe

And speak and cry.

 

Your hope I long to sing

And know

In deep

Beyond the cure

My Healer see.

 

To look

Upon the One

Who knows my frame

The weight of chains

And tombstone lead.

 

The One who calls

Me to believe

 

This

 

Is where

Your Kingdom Comes.

 

And I see the hurt I have caused Jesus and my loved ones, as I have turned my heart away from the beauty of God’s love for me. Again and again, I have kept running to authority figures in the church, to seek their acceptance and approval, placing them on a cruel pedestal of much too high expectations and worshipping them as God.

These church leaders tried to come to my aid through my battle with what would later be diagnosed as triggers of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. But sadly what they shared with me and spoke over me, triggered even fiercer waves of trauma, even though that was not their intention. My brain shut my body into the exact same terrifying fear and shame that took me captive as a little girl walking through repeated trauma.
But now, I see Jesus, lifting me up off the dirt and wrapping me in His arms each time my body shut down, caught in the abusive schemes of the enemy. Right there, I see Jesus scooping me up and declaring: “No more! No more!”

For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Hosea 6:6 KJV

Now, like never before, I see how my running away as a 19 year old from my life of being the “good” girl and faithful church-goer was His will for me. It was His cutting away of things and people I had turned into an idol to bathe me in the truth of His love for me.
The family He placed me into, a family outside the church, that I wouldn’t have chosen as the “good” girl, drew me into their arms and loved me as their own. God brought us together to grow me into the truth of His holy Promises. Their very lives reflect God’s repeated Promise to never leave and forsake His children.

But, when Jesus then opened my eyes to faith many years later, to see that it was in fact never HIM who rejected me as a little girl, I withdrew from the very love and truth He had surrounded me in. I ran right back to placing church leaders onto a pedestal and worshipping them as God.

But God then used the spiritual abuse the enemy repeatedly hit me with to heal me. After a year of being bathed in His mercy and love at an English-speaking church, where He grew a deep hunger for His Word in me, Jesus placed me in a new Dutch-speaking church. There, He not only emboldened me to witness to the finished work of the Cross through sharing Scriptures and my testimony, but He also stripped me of my strength, through each trigger of trauma. He gave me the privilege of living the Message He had called me to speak and write. Then, He called me to walk away and shake the dust off my feet when what He asked me to speak was not received.

Now, I see how each pruning – each at first bleak, dark place of loneliness – I have gone through has been a cutting away to bring life. I see how the pain I felt both through the enemy’s abuse and the cutting away, was a necessary pain for me to feel. Not so I could run back to placing people on a pedestal and worshipping them as God to numb away the pain of childhood rejection and trauma. Nor so I could point the finger at my brothers and sisters in Christ and hold onto my pain and bitterness with a bottling anger. Rather, so that I could acknowledge that we have a common enemy, so that I could humble myself beneath God’s mighty hand and so I could resist the devil by entrusting myself and others’ to His hands.

Jesus gently reminded me that while others may not see the pain and trauma we have walked through, He does. It’s then the tears came and I was able to see the cruelty of my finger pointing, also at other points in my healing journey when I shared of what was done to me publically. Through wisdom speaking in godly fellowship, I was able to see that by pointing the finger, I was joining the enemy in his schemes to steal, kill and destroy, rather than Jesus in His work of building up and blessing His church.

 

Yes, we need to speak up, when He calls us to uncover false teaching, but we also need to fight with and for our church leaders against our common enemy. When God calls us to cut ties, when what He gives us to speak and witness to is not received, we need to entrust all that has unfolded, including the pain done to us, into His hands, trusting that He will open blinded eyes (including our own) and move to heal and restore us in Him.

 

I have not always done this and am in need of God’s grace before you too. I deleted my welcoming post for this reason, because it was taking things into my own hands, rather than surrendering and trusting my God to humble us all beneath His mighty hand. Please forgive me for turning your eyes away from the beauty of who Jesus is in each one of us.

 

Now, I see the beauty of Jesus inside us all, including my unbelieving family, who have been made holy through my faith and are sealed for eternity through the faith they professed when they were little. No, I will no longer lean into fear and shame. Nor will I choose to point my finger at and further wound the Body of Christ. I will choose to turn toward the open arms of Jesus for me.

 

And like Jesus, I will choose to love the Body of Christ, humble myself beneath my Abba Father’s sovereign and mighty hand and resist our common enemy, the devil.

 

A Kingdom of the Light

In darkness bursts

Our night in day You’re bathing

The cries and tears

Releasing.

 

The Son of Man

A child of faith is birthing

Dead and lifeless deep

Eternal life

Begets.

 

 

In God’s strength, I will continue to witness to the finished work of the Cross and speak the Promises of God over us all, just as my parents and loved ones did throughout my Prodigal journey.

 

For, my confidence is not in myself or in man, but in my faithful, merciful God, who hears our every cry, even our silenced ones.

Yes, I am standing in the strength of the One who declares me and others through me: chosen, forgiven, holy, beloved and His.

 

A heart of gold

A Promise

In the dark

You now unveil

My faith

Reborn.

 

The cries and tears

A Home have found

A Father’s Peace

In Holy breath

My deep surrounds

And calms.

 

 

Thank you, Abba Father, that you sent Jesus to our world, not to condemn us, but to declare the truth over us. Thank You that now through the finished work of the Cross we can receive the truth of our belonging and worth in You deep within our hearts, as You open us to Your Word through the Holy Spirit.

 

Thank You that it angers You when we experience spiritual abuse in Your House. Thank You that it angers You when we point our fingers at the shepherds of Your churches, when You call us to resist the devil. Forgive us, Father, for wounding Your Body and heart. Open the eyes of our heart to see and acknowledge our sins and seek forgiveness from You and those we need to. Help us also to acknowledge the abuse we have walked through and the pain we have experienced, so we can seek Your comfort and healing and forgive each other.

 

Thank You that Your Son carried all our sin, all our shame and even the weight of our trauma and suffering to the Cross. Thank You that our shame has been nailed to the Cross and every curse and hold of sin and death broken.

 

Thank You that You “go before [us]
and level the exalted places,[d]
break in pieces the doors of bronze
and cut through the bars of iron,
Thank You that You give us “the treasures of darkness
and the hoards in secret places,
that [we] may know that it is [You], the Lord,
the God of Israel, who call[s] [us] by [our] name.
For the sake of [Your] servant Jacob,
and Israel [Your] chosen,
[You] call [us] by [our] name,
[You] name [us], though [we] do not know [You].”
Thank You that You are “the Lord, and there is no other,
besides [You] there is no God;
[You] equip [us], though [we] do not know [You],
that people may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is none besides [You];
[You are] the Lord, and there is no other.
[You] form light and create darkness;
[You] make well-being and create calamity;
[You are] the Lord, who does all these things.” (Isaiah 45: 2 – 7 ESV)

 

Thank You that Your purpose will stand and You will do all that You please. Thank You that through Jesus You have brought Your righteousness near. Thank You that it is not far away and Your salvation will not be delayed.

 

Thank You that every wave of shame and fear that hit us, hit You first on that Cross you bore for us. Thank You that You see us and have never forsaken us. Open our eyes to see You being our portion, our Rock, our Redeemer and the Lifter of our head right now. Open our eyes to see YOU, where religious rules have blinded us from taking hold of Your beautiful Promises. Help us to take ahold of You that we may release our pain and bitterness and walk by faith into the healing, mercy and unity of Your Son, the Holy Spirit and You, our Abba Father.

 

Thank You that with You as our Head, we, the Body of Christ, shall rise again, healed and whole. Thank You that even now, we are already seated in heavenly places with You, safe and secure in the seal of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for allowing suffering in our lives that You have purposed for good: to open our eyes to who You truly are and to free us to be loved, just as we are. Amen.

 

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