Friday, March 13, 2020

Seeing God Everywhere

This has been the strangest and most amazing 5 days of my entire life.  There have been so many tiny little miracles that have happened since Monday morning.  Really, the fingerprints of God extend beyond that.  God has been moving and working for days, week, months, for all of eternity really, to bring me to this point in time.  To bring my heart to this place where I want nothing more than to live a life fully surrendered.  Not surrendered just a little bit or only where my fear is concerned.  Not just surrendered where my marriage and family are concerned.  But COMPLETE surrender.  The kind that the world and even those closest to me may struggle to understand.  Surrender that truly believes "God, no matter what comes my way, you will continue to give me JUST ENOUGH."

I had physical therapy again today, and learned yet another lesson.

Let me back track for a moment, just to share how I ended up at the location I did for therapy, because I believe it was the hand of God, even in that.  Kris and I work in Brentwood and last month when I had my surgeon follow up, I was so excited to be cleared to do things again, I had Kris take me up to the office where we both work so I could see everyone.  My boss, who lives in Ohio, happened to be in town that same day.  That was the first thing God orchestrated surrounding therapy.  I told Matt that I was cleared to ease back into normal life and to start physical therapy.  He began to tell me about a guy he knew, literally a stone's throw from where we work.  He actually stopped what he was working on and walked me over there and introduced me his buddy, who was a physical therapist he knew there.  I got scheduled for my first appointment that same day.  I had no idea where to even begin for therapy-I had been planning to find a SSM place near the house and just do what I have always done.  But God was preparing the way for something different, something better.

None of us knew a few weeks ago the lessons God would teach me through this therapy experience.  None of us knew that Brentwood Center of Health is exactly where I would need to be, specifically this week, as he has been teaching me to live this life of true, complete surrender.  He knew I needed someone to be gentle with my neck, as I wrote about in my last post.  He knew what he was preparing to teach me, about just how gentle my God is with me.  How gentle he is with all of us.

And he knew the words the therapist would speak to me today, words that went straight to my heart and words I heard God speak through.  As I was leaving today, we were talking about how I've lived with this chronic pain for over 15 years.  And he explained that prior to today, instead of going straight to PT the way I have always experienced it, he felt it important to help me get some relief from the pain first.  The harder work, the stretching and exercises, they can come later.  This time though, he did tell me that he had gone a little bit deeper into the tissue/muscles than the last 2 times.

A little bit deeper.

Okay, God.  I hear you!!!!

These last 5 days God has been taking me deeper.  Deeper in relationship with him.  It is so different than anything I have ever experienced.  And physical therapy is completely different too from all the others.  Do you see the connection?  There's NO way the therapist could have known that God has been calling me to go deeper in my relationship with him!


God starts out gentle.  He gives us just enough.  He takes us just where he needs us, and he does it gently, and lovingly, wanting to ease our pain.  But once you begin healing, as you respond favorably to his administrations, he will call you to go deeper.  He needs to go deeper, because healing can't just be on the surface.  It isn't done that way. 

Healing isn't complete unless you go deeper.

Your spiritual life cannot be full and powerful unless you go deeper. 

That's the message God affirmed today.  He has shown me, as I have gone deeper this week, that there's more he can heal and transform.  And just like therapy today, it can be painful.  Going deeper isn't always easy.  It may bring pain.  It may feel hard.  But in order to truly heal, deeply in a way that matters, you  have to go deeper.  You have to surrender.  You have to be willing to put in the hard work and willing to endure some pain, if you truly want to experience complete healing from what ails you.  And I can promise you this:  God will not leave you abandoned to the pain.  When you ask him to take you deeper, you have to also believe that He is right there and will carry you if the waters get too deep or the pain gets to be too much.

You have to learn how to breathe through the pain.  That's something I'm practicing at therapy and home - breathing.

My mind was always moving at a millions miles a minute.  This week, while at times it has been easy, there have been other times where I feel my mind racing, or I have anxious thoughts, or I begin to worry about something outside of the current moment.  I'm trying to get in the habit of taking those moments and learning to breathe and just be still for a moment. 

I don't have to panic.  

I don't have to be afraid.  

I can breathe, be still, and remember that my God who has always been faithful, continues to be faithful.  

In every moment.  

In every breath.

And in doing that, in surrendering to the therapy, in surrendering to the pain, I will find complete healing.

I heard Oceans by Hillsong on the drive to physical therapy today, and heard it with new ears.  In light of what God is calling me to, this idea of going deeper.  The line that struck me the most today was this:

Your grace abounds in deepest waters.

His grace ABOUNDS when the waters are over our heads.  When we feel like we are drowning, his grace is even greater.  It abounds.  It can wash over us and fill us.  Grace can be seen in the deep water.  Do you see it?  God give us His grace freely and willingly.  But it is onlys when we go deeper that His grace is multiplied to us.  Shortly after that, this line comes rushing in:

Where feet may fail, and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and you won't stop now.

That's what I've been marveling in all week.  God has been faithful in so many small and huge things thus far in my life.  It would be foolish to limit Him and think He won't be faithful still.

When my marriage was dead in part due to my adultery, He was faithful and restored what was in ruins.

When my heart was broken from watching my husband struggle in addiction and deceit, He was faithful and eventually restored beautiful memories that I thought were lost forever.

When my guilt and shame was overwhelming and suffocating me, He was faithful and restored my heart to His own.

When my hope was shattered and I didn't believe anymore, He was faithful and restored that, even to the point that anyone who knows me well knows that HOPE is my favorite word.  It lives in and through me and experiencing hope again fills me with so much joy. 

You don't know how good it is to hope again unless your hope has been stripped away.

But none of this could have happened if I hadn't decided to go deeper.  

8 years ago he called me back to Him.  He rescued me from the mess I had made of myself, and he set me apart.  That's why I started this blog back then.  To be set apart.  To share how out of the worst mistakes of my life, out of the darkest moments, God redeemed and restored me.  And here I am today, with a renewed heart for this blog, because I am being called to go deeper.   And being called to lead others to go deeper.  I don't have all the answers and am not a Bible scholar, but if you are on the precipice, if you are ready to go deeper, then jump into these deep waters with me and let's show the world how faithful God is.  How powerful He is.  How beautiful He is.

Because if you are ready, He is ready to take you to where your trust is without borders.  That's where I find myself right now.  Trusting without borders. I have never understood what that  meant and couldn't comprehend what it looked like until now.

And I am living in victory and freedom from fear that for 41 years was my constant companion.  Freedom from the anxiety that crippled me.  Freedom from the pain controlling my mind and my actions.  Freedom from sin and guilt and shame, because I accepted the free gift of grace and forgiveness offered to me on the Cross.

Are you ready to go deeper?

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