But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31
There are times in our lives when we think we know enough to survive, and we do for a while. There are times in our lives when we think we know enough to thrive; and then there are times when we think we know enough to quit it all. We’ve heard enough lies. We’ve seen enough heroes fall. We’ve felt enough heart-ache. In those times, we often do quit. I did. And for all the above reasons.
At the same time I began to believe God wanted more of me then I knew how to give. I had given Him everything I know how to hand over. I had prayed enough surrendering prayers. I had wept at His feet more times than I could count. But, for some reason, I hadn’t the peace that all was settled long ago. So, for this reason, I quit. I stopped most of my communication with my Father. I no longer eagerly soaked in the words of love He so desperately wanted to share with me in His Word. I was bored and doubtful of everything. It came slowly. I didn’t just stop all forms of worship and comfort in one day…that’s how it usually goes, doesn’t it? We aren’t very honest with Him and we play pretend for a little while until we finally say – “God, I just can’t do this anymore.”. So, I just kept telling Him that. I couldn’t cry anymore…I couldn’t pray with any heart. And if I did pray it was like a “Please bless this food into my body and bless this day.” sorta prayer. It was misery. I couldn’t stand to be alone anymore. Without Him I could do nothing…and because I couldn’t find Him in quiet time, I couldn’t have any quiet time.
Afraid to be Fooled
For about two months now I have been without peace whenever in silence or in Church. Working out and constant time with family has been a good outlet, whether its watching movies or playing games. At least I didn’t turn to drugs, right? 🙂 (LOL) God was still guarding my heart during this time…I didn’t close my eyes to His signs…I searched everything that came in front of me for answers. I wanted hope…and most of all, I wanted truth to replace the lies I had once held dear. Yet, at the same time I doubted every possible word I heard. It was being confirmed to me that nothing could get me on a “spiritual high” again that was tried before. So, I continued to be restless.
My close friend, Emily, invited me to a weekend retreat she and her mom were hosting over the 1st and 2nd of January. I was eager to do something and planned on going, but I was inwardly preparing myself not to get on a fake high again. Just because the other 4 girls and 3 women were going to go ‘deep’ did not mean I was going to do that anymore. I wasn’t willing to put myself out there again to be dropped for the umpteenth time. I listened to everyone talk and joined in, I was in the mood to enjoy myself a little and I did. When we sang praise though, I couldn’t enjoy myself. Otherwise, I was honest.
Being Honest with Weakness
When it came time to get to bed we were asked if it was alright if we split up and prayed in pairs. I agreed whole-heartedly and said I really needed prayer. I couldn’t even tell you exactly what was wrong with me but I knew I did need that. I have been willing to be healed and I longed and inwardly begged for prayer over my soul. Ann, one of the women there and also a mother and a dear friend quickly asked to pray with me and I was glad. I really love her and needed her encouraging words. When we sat down alone in front of the blazing fire-place and bowed our heads I searched my soul for the strength to pray for her and came up with nothing. I breathed deep and hoped she was willing to speak first.
The Breaking of Walls
As Ann began praying – thanking God for me with the most encouraging words of affirmation and love, I began to find tears somewhere deep – they wanted out. (There is something to be said about thanking God first for the soul at hand and all the qualities you admire in them before you even begin interceding for healing and/or blessing. It is a time when prayer changes you and then you change things. Hearing that you are loved almost always brings healing. Have you ever experienced it?) Then she began speaking the exact problems that have knocked me down. She began praying that God would replace all the new-realized lies with truths. I began letting the tears out in shock. Quietly, ever so tenderly, she continued on and asked God to help me find rest and accept His grace…at this point I just went into peace. I hung on each word and waited for the next and hoped she would never stop. I don’t how long it was before she did. But when she did I thanked her and began praying for her with only love driving me. I prayed thanks and then for blessing and restored patience and joy. My prayer was short and to the point. Once I said amen I just bowed my head and held my face in my hands. She began reading to me out of Galatians – from which she has been reading for the past year. She wanted eye contact from me as she spoke of grace and not of works. (I am going to read all of Galatians…again and again and again!) She told me that we need to believe all work for salvation and grace were done at Calvary – I had died to self long ago and God wanted nothing more from me now. I could rest in Him. All the ‘work’ I need to do is wait on Him. I don’t need to put burdens on my own back to ‘do good’ and ‘keep busy’. Of course I could say nothing to that and just breathed deep in trying to grasp it all. She began praying again…and it was well with my soul. God had told me through her prayers that He knew my heart and had been listening all the while with sorrow.
Of course the next morning, when we exchanged notes we didn’t know who would receive when we wrote them, Ann pulled mine out of the bowl with her eyes closed and I pulled hers. How did I guess that would happen? ( 😀 )
I am healed and He has renewed my strength and I’ve finally accepted Grace. I finally believe all was finished at calvary…and Jesus is very near.
Have you found grace? If so, when and how did it come? What is grace to you and how has it affected your life?