Last October God healed me of digestive troubles that for several months had left me unable to eat most typical foods. He heard the prayers that I finally asked for. Any remaining symptoms were negligable.
I wanted to run around and tell everyone, but there was one problem: though my body was healed, my heart was still sick. What should have been joy was tainted by fear, shame, and sadness. I was afraid that I would sabotage his healing. I was ashamed that instead of doing everything I could to take care of myself, eating had become a source of comfort and control, and out of this situation grew a frustrating depression.
My deepest sorrow was that in my unrest, I couldn’t find stillness in God’s presence. During the many, many times that I turned to food or distractions I found it nearly impossible to pray at all. I felt though I didn’t deserve to enter God’s presence. Yet where I felt the deepest shame and hopelessness, I also felt assurance that I am God’s and he would bring me through it. That assurance was like a candle lit in the distance; a light so small yet undeniable in the darkness, and by it I learned that I cannot escape his presence.
Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. Psalm 116:7 ESV
A dear friend I visited this Christmas spoke mountains of wisdom to me to that effect. She told me to stop striving. She told me to rest in God. She told me that he does not want to change me, because he has already changed me by His Spirit.
In my heart I could not understand what she said, but I knew it was true and I longed for it to take hold of me.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8
In the week after that visit I began to fully recognize the spiritual attack against me. For months I had followed the enemy’s bait into darkness. Finally, in a moment of struggle with anxiousness, God lightened my darkness by his peace.
All of the fear and shame that pinned me down have vanished.
As I had the joy of sharing with my church in Leavenworth, I feel as though God has given me clear vision. I see everything through different lenses. God is allowing me to witness his hand mending my heart, reminding me of my identity, and reprogramming my thoughts to rest in Him. This is pure joy.
1 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
3 The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad.
Day by day I see God’s involvement in my life. Sins and struggles are falling away, like the scales that fell from Paul’s eyes. It is not necessarily easy, but in each moment I find myself thankful for weight lifted from my shoulders. I am thankful for freedom from the tempation to eat all the time. I am thankful for freedom from the temptation to hide all the time. I am thankful for the growing clarity with which I am beginning to see myself and my surroundings. I am so thankful for God’s promise to complete his work in me; that he is with me.
“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Psalm 145:18
Most of all, I am thankful for the price he paid, that he revealed himself to me, and that he has given me faith to call on Him and to trust his goodness in the light and in the darkness. “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” Psalm 150:6