“Need grace.” That's what I heard from God this morning. It wasn't a question: "Need grace?" It was a statement: "Need grace." A loving command, in fact: “Need. Grace.”
I shared with a trusted friend and spiritual mentor, seeking prayer support. She was quick to pray with me. Then she gave me some advice that I will forever treasure. She suggested I get hold of a copy of a book titled: A Guide for Listening and Inner-Healing Prayer, Meeting God in the Broken Places, by Rusty Rustenbach. She told me that rather than trying to fix the relationship, there might be more benefit to my seeking what God wanted to fix in me, and leave the relationship in His capable hands. Her counsel felt right; I heeded her advice.
I ordered the book; it came, and I began reading. This has been a profound experience for me. That's the most succinct way I can put it.
We all have circumstances in our past that we can look back on and understand their impact in our lives, either in a positive way, or in a negative one. If I were to ask you to write down your personal list, you would have no trouble. I know I don't.
So when I set out to work through the prayer sessions/chapters in this book (and I'm still in the middle of the process), I thought I knew right where God would lead me. I thought I knew the areas in my heart where He would want to minister. In fact, I've experienced inner-healing prayer before; it was a great experience. But when we moved from the area and the church where I received that prayer ministry, I never found that resource again. I didn't know that I could get it for myself, directly from God, with the guidance of this study. (And the book provides instruction so that you can pray with others, to help facilitate this same kind of healing in their lives.)
So, as I was saying, I set out to hear from God, expecting I knew what He was going to say and where He was going to lead. Was I ever surprised when He led me back to a vivid memory from when I was barely six years old? Without belaboring the details, let's just say an unfortunate experience with my first grade teacher led me to formulate some wrong beliefs that have shaped my entire life; a root of shame took hold of me, and for 48 years, I have lived with the deep-seated belief that I am not worthy of love.
That was last Monday's quiet time revelation.
God very clearly refuted that lie. “You are a priceless treasure to me.”
Now, that is not the first time He has tried to impart that truth to me, but it is absolutely the first time it traveled from between my ears to my heart, where it was finally able to penetrate my spirit and free me to really believe it! With the help of the book, I renounced the lie.
Today, I had another day off, so I set out to enjoy another leisurely quiet time with God, feeling certain now that He would lead me to the expected destinations in my memories, for further healing. The surprise was on me, again. He led me, instead, to another seemingly innocuous childhood memory. This one had resulted in my forming this erroneous belief: You are worthy of love only when you are perfect.
God gently reminded me that no one is perfect, nor can they ever hope to be so. (Duh, right?) True, but it's amazing how, even when we know something in our heads, we can still hold firmly to lies in our hearts; deadly lies. Lies that steal from us the abundant life Jesus died to give us.
As I contemplated this latest revelation, Jesus whispered to my heart: “When you insist on believing that you are worthy of love only when you are perfect, you experience an up-and-down life; you are up when all is going well, and you are down when you mess up or things aren't as you expected them to be. That's not the kind of life I died to give you. No! I gave my very life, so that you would have an abundant life, full of grace, mercy, and unconditional love” (John 10:10). “When you believe the lie, it hurts Me, because it devalues the gift I gave you.”
It's no different than Adam and Eve. They had the truth, but they chose instead to believe the lie that the enemy whispered in their ears, and that was counted as sin against them.
When we choose to believe the lies that the enemy whispers to us, or that we conjure up for ourselves when life is hard, we are choosing sin, giving something else first place in our hearts; when Christ wants to be in that place, and died for the right to be there.
Romans 3:23 resonated in my mind: "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." This truth is not an excuse to sin; but when we do mess up, we have His grace.
Then I heard His heart: Need grace. Need. Grace. It's not an option.
I wonder what Chapter Six will bring...
Visit Cheri’s blog, November 21, 2013.