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In The Dark Room With Jesus


“But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendent will inherit it.”
- Numbers 14:24

For years, I’ve been been stuffing down the hurts from my past that I didn’t think I had the ability to process, or survive, if I dug them back up. I have been sacrificing my wholeness so I can get by. There isn’t room for depression and sadness when you still have to function every day and take care of five kids. Right?

Then I went to the She Speaks conference in July of this year (put on by Proverbs 31 Ministries and Lysa TerKeurst) and it changed everything. You may remember me talking about this in a post several months ago. International speaker and author Christine Caine challenged us at the conference to “go into the dark room with God and let him do heart surgery.” Do you remember the old dark rooms for photo development? She said we will never be able to do ministry well if we are not first healed of our wounds and our pasts. She encouraged us to ask God to heal our hearts and wait on His perfect timing; to quit chasing our dreams and wait on God’s dream for us. Just like a dark room, if you try to move forward too fast, before you are completely ready (and developed), the outcome will not be what you wanted.

I was so tired of living with walls around my wounds. Can anyone relate to that?

I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere…like my dreams and goals and plans were dormant, collecting dust and making me feel without direction and purpose.

Living that way does not bring life. It keeps us from being fully alive and available to the people we love most in our lives, and to those we want to impact for the Kingdom.

In Numbers 14:24, Caleb had two qualities that God pointed out in Scripture, and blessed him for having:

1. a different spirit

2. he followed God wholeheartedly

I wanted those things, but my old wounds were keeping me from having those qualities. I keep trying to move forward, not realizing that I can’t move forward until I do some letting go first.

I decided to take a risk and dig up my wounds (the ones buried so deep in my heart that no one gets near them) one last time and show them to Jesus. It was hard for me to trust Him, but I did it anyway.

And He has completely blown me away with His response. It was liked the flood gates were opened when I gave Jesus the go-ahead to get in my business. It was the best thing I could have done.

In general terms, Jesus has set me free and brought healing to several areas:

Freedom from my wounds and heartaches from childhood and my teenage years.

Forgiving those who have deeply hurt me.

Letting go of shame and the deep wounds of infertility and miscarriage.

Learning to listen to Jesus’ Spirit and responding to what He says.

Replacing lies I believed about myself, others, and God with truth from Scripture.

Choosing to trust Jesus when I don’t understand every detail.

Finding joy in moments when I didn’t think it was possible.

He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. - Psalm 107:20

It was one of the most painful things I’ve ever done, but worth every difficult moment. I have to say here; I did not use “general terms” with Jesus. I had to bring Him every detail, every hurt, and every ugly memory. It was for my benefit, not His (he already knew it all). I had two very wise people I love and trust walk with me through this process. When I wanted to quit because it was too hard, they reminded me what keeping it all buried had been costing me.

And you know what I learned? I can trust Jesus. I want to say that again.

I can trust Jesus. You can trust Jesus.

He was right there with me through every step. What I learned too is that He has always been there. I felt loved and pursued, and He gave me back my dignity and confidence. Not confidence in myself, but confidence in Him. I love this quote by ReNee Swope in her book, A Confident Heart: “Over the past few years, I’ve found lasting confidence by living daily in the security of God’s promises. He’s led me beyond believing in Him to really believing Him by relying on the power of His words and living like they are true no matter what my feelings tell me. I’ve found that when I choose to dwell in the assurance of Whose I am and who I am in Him, I have a confident heart.” (1)

God showing me how much He loves me and teaching me about my identity in Him were keys to my healing. Who we believe we are and what we believe God thinks about us is the biggest factor, I believe, in whether we will find or miss the mission God has for us here on earth.

It was not a fast process. God has been working on me for many years. And I’m sure we aren’t done yet!

This quote is so true: “God sometimes moves mountains one pebble at a time.” - Rebecca Barlow Jordan

The other key that God is teaching me is learning to die to myself. Not anyone’s favorite topic, right?

There is a side of me (even though I’m not a young girl or teenager anymore) that still wants approval, still wants noticed, still wants someone to SEE me. That’s hard for me to write because it means I still battle with insecurity. When no one else sees me, God does. He is my security. I have His favor and love and He SEES me every moment of my life. I need to be constantly reminded of this truth. The Lord knows those who are his. - 2 Timothy 2:19. I love this verse.

I want to be someone who isn’t all about getting attention, but about serving others more than myself. Someone who loves others more than I love myself. And I want to pass those gifts to my children and their children. But to do this, I have to die first. It can’t be all about me. This is only possible with the Holy Spirit’s help.

My mentor said something last week that struck me: “You cannot give love until you first learn to receive love.”

Because Jesus has now brought wholeness to so many areas of my life, I can love wholeheartedly!

Do you have old hurts that you are still dragging around? Do you have wounds that need dealt with, and brought into God’s merciful light? Jesus is always a safe place to expose your wounds. Don’t ever forget that.

We must find freedom from the past before we can do ministry in our present.

We cannot teach our children to trust Jesus until we have first trusted Him with everything for ourselves.

And again, I believe it is all wrapped up in what we really believe about ourselves, our identity. Who does God say that we are? (See my post called Who Am I REALLY?)

Will you choose to start down the path to freedom today? I am praying for a “yes!” for every person who is reading this.

Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it. And you will find rest for your souls. - Jeremiah 6:16

I don’t know about you, but I want rest for my soul. I want peace. Life. Freedom. I want to ditch all my old garbage and be free for God to light a fire in my heart, to bring passion to my life, and to carry out the purpose He has for me.

I want to be on mission!

Will you join me?

Lord, we need you every moment. Help us to have courage to bring you our old wounds and hurts from the past, and let you heal them with your tender love and care. You promise to “bind up the brokenhearted.” It’s why you came. We ask for forgiveness and that you would heal our messy and broken hearts. You make us brave for this difficult task, and for that we praise your name. Amen.

I LOVE the song “You Make Me Brave,” by Amanda Cook, Bethel Music. I thought it was a great way to end today’s post. I love to feel encouraged even as we face really hard things. Jesus makes us brave!


Click on the image below to hear the song.


***If you would like prayer, help or suggestions for resources to help you through the process of healing from old wounds, please let me know by contacting me here. I always recommend the Bible as your main source for anything (God’s Word is what heals us), but sometimes other resources are helpful for direction and clarity of this difficult process.

 

Sources:
(1) A Confident Heart by ReNee Swope, Page 23-24

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If you are an imperfect wife, mom, daughter, or friend, struggling to stay focused on God in the craziness and find joy in the heartache, then we have something in common. I am a recovering perfectionist and daughter of the King, slowly learning to fully trust the One who sees me just as I am, and is already pleased. I’m so glad you are here.

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