“You unravel me, with a melody.
You surround me with a song
of deliverance, from my enemies,
till all my fears are gone.”
~ No Longer Slave lyrics from Bethel Music Publishing
This season in my journey with God, He is gently disentangling complicated knots deeply rooted in my soul. I am being unraveled. “To separate or disentangle the threads of a woven or knitted fabric, a rope. To free from complication or difficulty; make plain or clear; solve” is how Dictionary.com defines the verb ‘unravel’.
I’ve been wrestling in my spirit with a concept for weeks, probably months, potentially my entire life. It is not just the concept about ‘Have Faith in God’. I am wrestling with the security I feel in my relationship with Him. He is Love, but what does that really mean and how do I let that knowledge effect my life? I am wrestling with wholeheartedly entrusting to God, Everything – Everything that makes up me, that is important to me, that belongs to me. I wrestle with wholeheartedly trusting God’s desire to provide our every need. I know He is able, but does He want to protect and provide for my family in this incredible nautical adventure?
He is gently unraveling my shredded garment that cloths me in defeat.
Unhealthy ideas I believed about myself due to my perception of other’s actions toward me. Relationships that are just…complicated. I can think of certain specific situations where motives were wrongly read, grossly misunderstood and I was sentenced: not worth any amount of mercy, time, understanding or second chances. I seriously struggle with rejection; not being wanted, left out of the group, very much alone. For years I projected this “not being good enough” for relationships with family and friends who have walked away, with a stand-offish God of whom I’m terrified will turn his back and walk away from me if I mistakenly mess up.
Recently I was graciously given a book called “Uninvited – Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely” by Lysa Terkeurst. This author must have taken a peek at the journals I have filled throughout my life. I can relate to her experiences chapter after chapter. She gave me a new perspective on a Bible story I’m very familiar with. A story I can relate to all too well.
“Most of us have been made to feel like we don’t belong at some point in our lives. It’s a bummer to be left out, not chosen, and overlooked. But when someone of great significance in our lives makes us feel like our belonging is more of a question mark than a security blanket, we become very sensitive to even the slightest hints of rejection. The wound is reopened, and rejection’s infection sets in.
For David, it wasn’t just that Nabal rejected his request for food. Nabal rejected him as a person and a leader.
‘Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse? Many servants are breaking away from their masters these days. Why should I take my bread and water, and the meat I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men coming from who knows where?’ David’s men turned around and went back. When they arrived, they reported every word.’ (1 Samuel 25:10-12)
Nabal’s dismissal of David conveyed:
You are not known.
You don’t belong.
You aren’t important.
You are not valuable.
You are not secure.
…Nabal’s words struck an existing wound. Nabal wasn’t the originator of David’s wound, but he certainly hit it dead on when he rejected David and his request.”
Lysa goes on to say in her book, “I believe the deep wound was caused years before by David’s father, Jesse. In 1 Samuel 16, when the prophet Samuel went to Jesse, asking him to bring before him all his sons, he did just that, with one exception. He left David out in the field. Either he had totally forgotten about David or held him in such disregard that he never thought David had a chance to be the chosen one Why bring him in?
Either way, that’s hurtful.
Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, ‘The LORD has not chosen these.’ He asked Jesse, ‘Are these all the sons you have?’
‘There is still the youngest, ‘Jesse answered. ‘But he…is tending the sheep.’
Lysa continues, “…that must be one of the lamest excuses he could give for not including David in what surely was the biggest event this family had ever taken part in. If David’s father had any regard for his youngest son at all, he could have found someone else to temporarily tend the sheep.
Lysa says she suspects behind that statement were some thoughts like: ‘Well, yes, I have one more son- the youngest, David. But he…doesn’t look like a king, doesn’t act like a king, doesn’t smell like a king. So, I didn’t invite him.’
Uninvited by his own father.
Can you imagine how David must have felt when they finally went to get him and he stumbled into this event fresh from the field? Dad brought everyone else but me. And with an emotional dagger steaming with red-hot rejection, David’s father inflicted a mark on his heart that read, “You don’t belong.”
You don’t matter as much as your brothers. You aren’t important enough to be remembered. You are not valuable enough to be considered. You are not secure with this family who disregards you.
Even though Samuel went on to anoint David as the future king, I can’t find where Jesse ever tended to his son’s heart. Isn’t it crazy that on the same day David achieved the ultimate success of being named the future king, he was overlooked by his father? No amount of outside achievement fixes inside hurts. Those hurts have to be soothed by replacing the lies with truth.”
~Uninvited, Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely by Lysa TerKeurst pages 95-98
Confessions from a wedding photographer…behind my camera, I quietly wipe away silent tears when a dad toasts his beautiful daughter, telling her how proud he is of her. He recounts treasured memories which he holds close to his heart of when she was little. He couldn’t be more proud of the woman she’s grown up to be. Her radiant life has touched many people’s lives for the better. When he tenderly holds his daughter during their dance, I snap photo after photo of the proud, loving fatherly look in his eyes…and my heart breaks. I wish my dad would look at me like that. Hold me like that. Love me like that. Be proud of me like that.
With the right pair, there is a moment so incredibly tender between a mother and daughter on a wedding day. I encourage mom to turn to her daughter and give her a tender hug before helping her get into her bridal gown. Memories flash through their minds. How fast time flew from babbling infant to beautiful bride! Two independent women share a sweet loving bond. I quietly snap photographs of tender moments that happen so quickly, wishing I had a healthy relationship with my mom.
Need I mention the bond between best friends, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, counsins…family. I snap candid photographs of families and friends joyously reunited together sharing memories and swapping lively stories. My heart breaks. Those I held closest to my heart, my absolute best friend of two decades, immediate and extended family members, have all turned their backs on me and my family and have walked away within the last three years. The dagger of betrayal told to my flushed face was that ‘god told them to walk away.’
Voices from memories play in my head. “Hello raggamuffin! Where is your brother, my favorite grandson, Danny-boy?” “Jen, you’re like a radio that needs to shut-up.” Rejection feels like I’m not worth the time to pursue or get to know. As a teen, I heard two phrases constantly at home: 1. Honey, I’m so thankful Your choices never gave Me grief. 2. Darling, I will never forget… I’m told I was mature, ‘adult-ish’ by the age of 6. Before the age of 10 I adapted the mentality that it is better to be seen and not heard. I was terrified to do something that would grieve my parents, for heaven knows they wouldn’t forget, and neither would I. Love had strings attached. Often I felt damned no matter what choice I made. I became an extreme introvert. Every now and again, I will still meet someone who has known a member of my family and silently accept their astonished statement, “I’ve known your family for 15 years and never knew you were apart of that family!” This falls into the same category of answering “I’m fine” when I’m really about to die on the inside.
I want so badly to stop living in mental and emotional defeat. But how?
While washing dirty dishes, I was listening to Beth Moore’s podcast “Grasping My Everything.” “You are a capable woman!” Beth proclaimed. “You are not ineffective nor unproductive! That is the Devil’s lie. That is your old self talking. In Christ, we have the Full Power of the accomplishing work of Jesus from beginning to end:
Incarnate – Jesus can relate to everything I feel.
Crucified – I am dead to that sin, that old way of thinking.
Raised – His mercy is new each morning. I can come back to life after each devastation.
Ascended – Jesus indwells, empowers, gifts, equips and comforts me.
Seated – There is no king above my King! He knows me by name. He knows my every need. Jesus is seated in All Authority, interceding to the Father on my behalf.
Beth encouraged, “Living a powerful victorious life begins with living powerful, victorious days in Christ. Dare I keep living in defeat when Jesus says, “Everything I have done is yours for the asking! Everything I have done is ment to impact your day!”
I was so incredibly encouraged by this message from Beth Moore. Here is the link to the whole 30 minute podcast. http://subspla.sh/j2czbbq
There is a song from Phillips, Craig and Dean that I cherish. It’s called “When God ran”. It starts with declaring the Majesty of Almighty God. Proclaiming His Victorious Names. And then the chorus:
“The only time I ever saw him run, was when He ran to me. Took me in His arms, held my head to His chest and said ‘my son’s come home again!!’ Lifted my face, wiped the tears from my eyes. With forgiveness in His voice He said, ‘my son, do you know I still love you?‘”
It’s songs like this that play at just the right moment when I know God is confirming His love for me. It’s the friends we’ve met here at the marina who have blessed us with: friendship, extra apples from their orchard, an oil heater, a kayak, an electric 3 horse power motor and then an 8 horse power gas motor, a stainless marine barbecue, stainless poles for our back deck, time and energy helping with boat projects, a sailboat!! The use of a house throughout the coldest parts of winter!!! The list of blessings is long!!! Jesus knows our needs and has met every one of them when we needed it most. From the depths of my heart I thank each person who has been the hands and feet of Jesus, reconfirming His love for my family and I!!! Thank you!! Thank you!! Thank you!!!
Another podcast that has so profoundly impacted my heart on this particular topic of wrestling with my security in my relationship with God is Beth Moore’s podcast called “The Art of Growing Up“. I want my stay-at-home, beloved wife, homeschooling mom life – to be a blessing to others. I want my life to matter, to make a difference for the better. “You will never be a mighty woman of God until you realize you are a Dearly Loved Child!” Beth proclaimed. “How does a Dearly Loved Child behave?” she asked. “There is a confidence a dearly loved child has, that a child who doesn’t know she’s dearly love, lacks. We cannot go back and relive our childhoods, but we have a re-do with God. Right now I can become a healthy Child of God. I can know I am Your Child, God. I can know that when I sleep, I sleep right in Your presence. You know every tear I’ve cried. You know every struggle, every worry, every fear, every responsibility, every stress placed on my shoulders. You are my Father, and you Dearly Love me as your Child.” I have listened to this podcast from Beth Moore over and over and over again. It has so blessed my heart. This is the link to this incredible podcast from Beth Moore. http://subspla.sh/vcncxqq
Every time our church sings “Child of God” by Bethel Music Publishing, I cry. I am being unraveled from complicated knots of rejection and loneliness. I am being pursued and persuaded to the dance floor of life by Jesus…to dance upon the water with Him! Psalms and promises of His unswerving love He sweetly sings to my soul. He is delivering me from a devastatingly deceptive way of thinking. There have been times when my heart hurt so intensely, I wanted to give up on life; wishing with everything left inside me for Heaven and Jesus’s arms, where I would finally be wanted and accepted. I’ve come to the conclusion that God must have something spectacular planned for my family and I for the devil to so assault me with rejection throughout my whole life. He has tried to shut me up. But I will no longer be enslaved. When I say I cling to Jesus, I seriously Cling to Jesus as my Lifeline. I cling to the knowledge He has a plan for us, to prosper us and not harm us, a purpose too wonderful for me to imagine.
“There is something wonderfully sacred that happens when a girl chooses to realize that being set aside is actually God’s call for her to be set apart.” Lysa TerKeurst says in her book “Uninvited”.
Jesus choose me. Jesus calls me His Beloved Child, His Daughter! He lovingly calls my Name. He strongly desires to spend time with me. He continues to strengthen my relationship with husband and children while enriching our lives with a new family of friends here at the water’s edge. He has a plan and a purpose for my life. My hope is to hear my Heavenly Daddy say, “I’m so proud of you sweetheart. You are beautiful!” I can’t wait to throw my arms around the neck of Jesus. I would weep, and just be held close to his heart, safe in his strong, loving embrace.
Last year I learned how to take life one day at a time. Through winter I boiled water in a kettle to have hot water to wash my dishes. When I turned my electric kettle on, I needed to turn the heater off or I would blow a circuit. Our boat has 30 amp power. A normal home has 200 amps of power. Our shower wasn’t done yet, so nightly I would bundle my four children up and we’d walk to the public bathrooms 1/8 mile away. One day at a time, I figured out how to thrive an entire year. On clear cold winter nights I would step off our boat and look up at the stars and think to myself, “walking to the shower, I get to see the Big Dipper and all these beautiful stars. The real thing is better than wallpaper.” I made it through winter one day at a time. I became a strong woman last winter. I’m much more optimistic approaching this winter because we now have hot water, a beautiful shower and a better heater…with a vent right at my feet keeping my feet warm as I wash endless dirty dishes!!
This winter, I’m learning to literally free fall into God’s loving arms. I’m beginning to recognize when I get restless, then fearful in my spirit, afraid God has forgotten me. I crave God’s constant reminders that He sees us, loves us and will take care of us. Kinda like my husband and children crave constant reminders of my faithful love for them. On one such struggling day, a small bird literally adopted us. It perched and stayed unafraid within inches of us. Happily, it even perched upon our outstretched hands. In my soul I felt His sweet gentle whisper, “I see the birds and take care of them. You are more precious to me then they.”
This summer and early fall I have joyously embraced our huge backyard here at the marina and have absolutely delighted in spending time with my kids. We’ve rollerbladed, thrown the ball, kicked the soccer ball, learned how to skateboard, built sand castles, gone on walks… and then I’ll step back and watch my kids play. I delight in their laughter. I encourage them to keep trying when they learn something new and difficult. They are courageously confident youngsters because they are securely loved by their dad and I. Knowing my deep love for them, I better understand God lovingly wants to participate with me like I participate with my children. He loves to hear me laugh. He delights to bless me. He kisses my face with the gentle breeze. He holds me close when He sings, reminding me of His promises. He is unraveling my defeat and clothing me with budding confidence in His Never Failing Love. He is Faithful. I am finally finding rest and security in my relationship with Him. I am His Dearly Loved Child.
Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you.”