The grass crunched under my brisk walking shoes as my 5th grade arms seemed to swim through the air in an effort to get me to my destination quicker. I was headed to my newly discovered safe place…my fort…the place I could be alone and be, me. Most 11 year-olds were concerned about their bikes, their next sleepover or memorizing the lyrics to Vanilla Ice or New Kids On The Block (ok…yea…that was on my mind too)…but nowhere near as urgent, as needed as my time in my quiet little hideout in the woods near where I grew-up. I found the tree one day during my journey through the wooded lot behind the house. To this day, I have no clue what drew me to this particular tree, except the fact that it was so incredibly easy to rest in its low-lying branches…it was like a recliner built by the Creator.
But the moments I remember most about this secret place of mine was lying next to this tree, on my back, arms outstretched, feet outstretched and just gazing into the welcoming clouds as they floated by. It was in those moments that if I stared just long enough, I could dream I was flying…soaring into the clouds, to a place free from touch, free from pain, safe, secure and it was at these moments I felt myself breathe. I believe now that deep down I held onto a faith that this dream could, one day be possible…although I had no clue why or how. All I clung onto through these moments was the hope in that place of freedom.
All of my life I have seen clouds in this way. Riding in the window seat of an airplane is such a rush for me…I still love it today!
What would you do if suddenly your dream, the longing of your heartbeat suddenly became reality? What would you do if you were not limited by time or money or even circumstances?
It’s a thought that you can chew on for a bit…right?
For the past six weeks, our Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study has been going through Renee Swope’s book “A Confident Heart.” This week, I found myself in chapter 8 “When Doubt Whispers I Don’t Have Anything Special To Offer.” The passage for this chapter was…
You have searched me, Lord , and you know me. (Psalm 139:1 NIV)
I hated that passage for most of my life. I had this image of this pure, Holy, blameless, righteous God (all accurate by the way) entering my heart with a smirk in His upper lip…almost as if I had been caught hiding something. As He went searching through my baggage, He left empty handed and I felt hopeless. I didn’t want God to know me and continue to just stand there while my life, my trust, my dignity, my worth…all who I was continued to be hurt by the very ones I was supposed to be able to trust.
That is why my time at my secret place was so important. It kept faith alive. It kept hope alive. I kept searching…those clouds were always there…I had to find a way to get there, somehow.
Now a wife and mom in my 30s, the clouds still make my heart beat faster and just a few weeks ago I finally found that very freedom I had been searching for in the corners of my soul for years.
Here’s a hint – the God in the Bible is real. The “god” we allow our circumstances to create is not the Abba as described in His love letter to us. Once you see God for Who He says He is, there is no going back. (You may need to re-read that a few times). In essence, through circumstances in my life over the past few years, I saw love from others like I had never experienced or allowed myself to recieve. I knew something was wrong with my view, but the hurt, the pain, the constant war going on in my brain was not ending (if anything, it was getting worse). Through Gods hands, He led me to my online Bible Study group, allowed me to trust others and led me to making some amazing connections in my real face-to-face life. I found myself at a retreat which allowed me to lay years of hurt, pain and soul wandering on the altar and…leave it there. My healing journey started at that very moment…and continues to this very second. I went from being lost to found, trapped to free, hiding to known and from being angry to overflowing with love.
And suddenly my dream was reality…for me.
But as I boarded the plane to return home, whisking through the clouds, I noticed I was the only one smiling. When I looked into the faces of those around me, I saw loss, confusion, pain, suffering, hopelessness…so many farmilliar emotions to me. For weeks this has created a burning fire in me…a burning fire of a calling to renewal.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)
Take the concept of the Matrix and Men In Black…add a lot of God and satan’s lies and in a nutshell you have my unfolding dream. I truly believe in the very core of me being that God rescued me from a life of doubt, shame, suffering and hiding in order to bring His hope through my pain so that others can soar in the freedom of His love with me.
I know I’m not alone. I know there are others out there that have literally tried everything to end the constant, never-ending emotional pain inflicted on them through this life. I know there are others that have lost the belief that there is a God who created them in His image, an Abba Daddy that sees a true, pure and magnificent masterpiece when He looks at them. There are those who so desperately want to feel and experience the Fathers love, but they are questioning if it really exists.
…if that’s you…let me tell you today that yes…it does exist. You are loved. You are precious. You have a hope and a purpose in Him. Grab your Bible and keep searching for Him.
Let me also add that I’m still healing and that journey for me will continue through the rest of my earthly life…but I am no longer defined by my hurt, nor by my pain, nor by anything this world may hurl in my direction (good or bad). Daily, hourly…constantly I am reaffirming and renewing my identity on His promises and experiencing the freedom only Christ can give. It’s incredible and available.
So – my dream is to help the tired, the weak, the hurting, the desperate…to help them “renew their minds” through a relationship with the God of the Bible and the Abba of the here and now. I started this blog as a way to express what God is doing during this new journey. What I’m finding is that He not only brings our dreams to reality, but through Him He allows us to stretch for so much more!
I want to be a published author and speaker boldly sharing my experience with trusting God, offering hope to the hurting, sharing my testimony overcoming disabilities and offering inspiration to others through Him.
I want to get a second major (or Masters) in psychology.
I want to write a book (in progress).
I want to get myself into opportunities to assist and be there for those searching for God (He is opening incredible doors there as well).
I want to dig deeper into understanding my spiritual gifts (exhortation, faith and wisdom)
I want to dig deeper and understand my personality (a smoothie blend of choleric and sanguine)
Funny…I went my entire life not knowing who I was and running from God. Now I know exactly who I am and can’t seem to get enough of Him. May you find Him in the clouds today!
If you are looking for a great resource to start “renewing your mind” let me suggest you start by checking out the free resources available on Renee Swope’s website. Refer specifically to “Promises To Personalize.” Great resource to get you thinking!