This month I prayed for a word from God, a word that conveys His theme or message for my walk with Him this year. I’ve been doing this for about eight years now. Prior to this, the thought of asking God for “a word” seemed strange and a little radical. Apparently, following God is a radical thing to do as He takes you to places you never thought you’d go! The journey is where God’s love story unfolds…
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
These days, I eagerly look forward to the time each new season when I Pray and ask God for a new word for me. What would you say if I told you that God has a word for you too, in fact, not just a word, but an entire poem, stanza after stanza of personal expressions of His deep, unfailing love? As you read my story, I pray that you would consider how God has spoken to you or may be speaking to you right now. I pray that the lines of your love poem would begin to take shape as God speaks them into your heart and mind in His perfect timing.
It is easy to forget how much God loves us, especially in seasons when we are feeling unloved, overlooked, or forgotten. People may reject us, ignore us, or leave us, but God never will. He never does. Of course, we can reject Him, ignore Him, and walk away from Him. Sadly, we often do. I believe if we truly understood how much He cares for us, we would not reject, ignore, or leave our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we would run to him!
The first time God gave me a word, I didn’t ask for it. It was in a season of great trial and tribulation. I was in a place of oppression and bondage and desperately desired to be free from my circumstance. I prayed this prayer often in fact during that time and one day, I heard the Holy Spirit speak into my mind, “be bold”.
Everything changed that day. I was in a deep pit, trapped in a cycle of abuse, a cycle that began when I was child. I felt worthless, weak, lost. When God spoke those words, I felt anything but bold. I wanted to cry. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself or be bold in a way that wouldn’t result in pain and rejection and the potential loss of the only security I knew. This was ironic because I lived in fear, fear of many things, not physical harm, but deep unrelenting emotional and mental pain. The sad truth about abuse is that it becomes the place we are most comfortable. Our prisons become our homes.
Well on that day, with two small words, God gave me my eviction notice. “It’s time to move forward”, He said. It was time to stand up and face what was breaking me. We tend to think that it’s other people that are our problem. That if they would not do this or if they would start doing that, we would be better. But the truth is, in every case, we are the ones who need to change.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Bible, NIV. Matthew 7:3-5)
Ouch! Hypocrite! Not me?! In truth, we are all sinners, we all fall short. The moment we are able to humble ourselves enough to even consider that we may be “hypocrites”, no matter what someone else has done, we are positioned to see the truth; “and then you will see clearly…” This is what our loving Father needs us to see, that if we focus on our relationship with Him, admit our own weakness, and in doing so acknowledge our need for a Savior, then we will see clearly. The lies we have been believing will be revealed, the darkness can begin to fall away as God replaces it with light. The light of His word and His love.
Humility is a difficult place to get to sometimes. Pride provides a sturdy shelter, nothing gets in or out. But shelters built on pride are nothing more than places we hide. Better to stand in the open air of humility and prepare to weather the storm, because God is the only shelter that protects and provides.
I wasn’t there yet when God spoke to me. I was still in the “what plank? I don’t have a plank…” stage. But His voice resonated and repeated in my mind… “Be bold”. Clearly the message here was that I was not being bold. So what was I being? I had to really think about what I was doing that would make God speak these words into my life. I began to prayerfully ask God to show me what these words meant for me, in this time, at this place. How could I be bold?
Here’s the picture that began to emerge in the days that followed as I prayed, read the Bible, and sought the counsel of believers wiser than me: I was stuck. I was not acting like a person who knew that God loved her and would never leave her (the plank). That was the truth that I needed to embrace to begin to end my suffering and the suffering of those around me who were caught in the trial with me. To be bold, I had to trade my old identity for the new one I had been given many years before I’d lost my way. I had accepted Christ, asked Him into my life, then slowly over time ignored Him and turned away. I needed to remember who God was, who He said I was. His words gave me the courage I needed to step out in faith.
What then shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us then who could ever stand against us? (Romans 8:13)
Speaking these words out loud, claiming them, planting them in my heart, I stepped forward in the boldness of the Lord, letting go of all that had held me captive and choosing instead to let the love of Jesus set me free! I was afraid, but I acted bold as the Lord continued to lead me one step at a time.
It’s true what the Word of God says, there is no love that compares to the love of God, it is beautiful and pure and beyond our comprehension. In letting go of my safety, my dependence, my pain, I lost nothing and gained everything. I left my toxic relationships and God restored them. I left my loss and pain and found joy and peace. I left the comfort of old habits and found new freedom. God is love, and He is good!
For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not calamity, plans to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
“Be bold” was the beginning of a beautiful love poem God gave me over the next eight years. He is composing new lines in my heart and in my life to this day, words that guide and heal, that bring joy and revelation, each one leading me closer to Jesus.
What word has the Lord given you? Can you remember His simple messages to you over the years? If you take the time to write them down, you will begin to see the personal, perfect, passionate poem He has authored just for you. God truly LOVES you my friend, rejoice and remain in Him!
…in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)
Trust in me
Love your neighbor
Surrender your will
Pray for my people
Give glory to me