The Gift of the Dividing Sword

In Spirit One

A Poem by Anna Louise Smit 

 

How do we rise above

A world who sees us

Dimly lit

By Him in us

Who’s

Shining

Ever brighter still?

 

How do we believe

The God who rescued us

And set our feet to dancing

Through horror and trauma

Is not

The harsh and cruel

The enemy would have us believe?

 

How do we

See ourselves

Through Faithful’s eyes

The One who’s

Seen and held and led us

Into weakness we abhor?

 

How do we

Shine the God

Who set us free

Through our Prodigal paths

To strip all shame and fear

To unfurl more of Him

In our weakness bare?

 

How do we

Let go of judgement

For the very past

He has rewritten

For the very weakness

That is teaching us to abide

To root now strong

In Him?

 

How do we

Wait

Bear patiently

Release each and every

Accusing tongue

Wielded to wound

Not as our brother’s or sister’s

But as the voice

Of our mutual enemy?

 

How do we

Trust again

Not in seen

But in

Promises fulfilled?

 

In dividing sword’s

Own healing streams

In trials’ smelting fires

In healed and whole

In Christ’s own stripes?

 

When I was little, my parents moved us all to the other side of the world. There, they planted a church that grew to become what I embraced as my family. It was a family shepherded by my Dad, the one I looked up to in awe. 

 

It was my safe place, my home and my delight. It was where I felt most accepted, loved and known. Until we moved back to our home country, where my world shook to its very foundation. 

 

My safe place was stripped away, as the pastor father and the ministry mother I idolized as God, succumbed through repeated trials, to lies. Rather than embrace the foundation of Jesus that now lay exposed in them and in myself, I began to believe my God had created a mistake with me. 

 

Because I idolized my parents as God, I began to believe that the Truth that spoke so strongly in me and divided me from them, because of my idols of self and man, was proof God had rejected me. And I began to believe my fearfully and wonderfully made body and soul was not only rejected of God, but inherently evil and mismade. I shook through the terrifying winds and waves of spiritual abuse and its accompanying trauma. I sunk into the quicksand of shame, when I could not protect someone I loved from harm. In bowing to my idols of self and man, I didn’t understand that Jesus didn’t call me to be strong in myself or to protect other people for Him, but to lean into His strength and His protection of us all.

 

The church that was once my safe haven, became the place I felt most forsaken. It became the place I looked for proof of God’s rejection in everything that made me different. It’s then I began to believe my simple attire, my repeated tears of repentance in worship, my hunger and my thirst for God and the Spirit’s touch upon me in my weakness set me apart not only as odd, but as one who could never be loved and accepted, just as she is.

 

It’s then I began to believe the very Truth that continued to cry and weep and ache in me, was a lie. I began to believe that I was different because God had rejected me. Rather than seeing the gift God was pouring into the weakness I abhorred, I was frightened and ashamed of my weakness and of the sin that was being exposed in my heart to be washed clean.

 

But it’s now I see the Truth. It’s now I know that every time my tears flowed so freely in worship and my parents were told there was something wrong with me, it was because the shackles of pride and shame and fear I was clinging to so tightly through the spiritual abuse, were being loosed. It’s now I recognize the times I thumbed the pages of the Psalms crying out in prayer, pouring out my anger and my pain and underlining the Promises Jesus gave me as something beautiful, not something to be ashamed of.

 

I see my tender Heavenly Father embracing me, right where I felt most alone and most forsaken. I see Him weeping every time I met the lies of my accuser, not with His sword of truth, but by hanging my head in shame and agreeing with the lies.

 

I see Him through my Dad interceding for me, as He led him to speak Scriptures over me in prayer that would later show me God saw me and was right there with me.

 

And I see Him in the confessions that freely poured from my mother’s lips, as Jesus embraced her in her weakness. As the cancer stole, killed and destroyed her flesh, Jesus moved through the social filter the cancer lifted from her brain. My Mum finally spoke freely, bringing all into the light for God to rightly divide, restore, redeem and unveil His glorious abundance not only in her own heart, but mine also.

 

 

And I see Him in my running away. I see Him setting my feet upon the Rock of His faithful steps before me. I now see how each time I braved His House again to find no open, no welcome arms there, that this was His gift to me.

 

A gift to strip my idols. A gift to lift away the cruel pedestal I placed myself and others onto. A gift to lead me toward the day His peace would pour and I could truly receive it. The day I would no longer hear a person, or a church calling me come or sending me away, but I would still to hear His Spirit calling out through the enemy’s every attack: “Beloved, You are mine.”

 

 

And now I see my parents and my church, the very ones through whom the enemy attacked the everpresent light of Christ in me in my weakness and my blindness, as God’s own gifts of grace. Gifts to humble me beneath His mighty hand in my weakness. Gifts to teach me to stop placing myself and others onto cruel pedestals. Gifts given me to teach me to embrace our human weakness as purposed of God.

 

Now, I see the valley and desert, as places where God’s power pours most powerfully to open our blinded eyes. Now, I look back at that little girl pouring out her heart in pure worship before her God and I can honor the power of Jesus in her and receive the dividing sword of truth as a gift, not to refuse but to embrace.

 

But, it’s then 

He reminds me yet again 

Turns me to Himself 

To the Way of the Cross

To the joy before me set.

 

And in remembering

All He’s given 

My knees 

Now humbly 

Bow again.

 

I rise anew 

All weight releasing

For Christ alone 

I’m now unafraid 

And unashamed.

 

I’m shackled free 

In Faithful’s breath

In laying down

I now see us

One again.

 

The anger and the pain 

Dissolve

As Promises my lips 

Now find.

 

Incense pure

Trials are flaming here alive

 

Sweet scent wafting

Rising strong

 

In Spirit One.

 

Mind if I pray for us all today?

 

Father God, thank You for every single person who gathers here. Thank You that each one of us, the world over, are fearfully and wonderfully made. Help us today to shed any lingering shame or fear that we may see ourselves and others as You do.

 

Where we have walked through spiritual abuse, knowingly or unknowingly, help us to receive Your kind and patient love. Help us not to minimize what was done to us but to come in our weakness and our need. Help us to see, fully acknowledge and cast our burdens of anger, pain, unforgiveness, unanswered questions and bitterness upon You. Help us not to believe that we must first clean ourselves up to be acceptable in Your sight.

 

Help us not to hush or twist the truth in the name of “mercy” or to avoid conflict or losing each others’ love and approval. Help us also not to wield the truth as a weapon to deny Jesus in each other but to speak it in love to defend the beauty of Jesus in each other. Thank You that Your dividing sword will yet bring the healing for which it is sent. Help us to wait patiently for Your grace to bind us together as One, for Your blood to heal, restore and redeem all that has been stolen, killed and destroyed.

 

Thank You for even just this weekend giving me beautiful glimpses of the restoration, redemption and unity You have already brought my Dad, my Mum and I. Father, give each one who visits this page similar glimpses of Your grace at work in their lives. Help them to see the fruit You are bringing through the dividing sword You have wielded in and through them, even where it has caused much pain, loss and sorrow because of the enemy’s attacks. Help us all to continue to surrender to Your will and to trust fully in Your Word.

 

Help us not to believe that we need to fix others or that others need to fix us or that we need to fix ourselves. Help us remember that all we need is You, the God who gave His only Son to draw us into His healing arms.

 

Thank You that You are in our struggle to release our burdens. Thank You that You have given us Your Son, who promises that through HIS power poured out in our weakness He will yet complete the work He has begun in us. Help us receive Your kindness, Your compassion and Your patience in this healing journey. Thank You that every Word Jesus speaks to us is true and pure.

 

Thank You for the finished work of the Cross. Thank You that You are the God who invites us to come boldly before Your throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and receive grace in our time of great need. Thank You that You like no other know how we feel. Thank You that You like no other know the horrific weight of fear and shame that has been laid upon us by our enemy who hates the stunning beauty of Your Son in us.

 

Thank You that You long to stoop down low to bathe and bind our wounds. Thank You that You are the God of all comfort, who comforts us so that we may extend the same comfort to others. Help us to acknowledge our pain and receive Your comfort today that we may be a channel of Your comfort and grace to others.

 

Search us, God, and know our hearts;
    test us and know our anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in us,
    and lead us in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:22-23).

 

Heal us, O Lord , and we will be healed; Save us and we will be saved, For You are our praise. (JEREMIAH 17:14 AMP) You are the potter and we are Your clay.

 

In Jesus’ precious Name, Amen.

 

 

 

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