Read His Words Before Ours!
It was January of 2016.
My heart was learning to love Jesus more each day, but the road was full of potholes with a constant up and down scaling of mountainous terrain. My marriage of 14 years was equally as roller-coaster-like. We still hadn’t found a rhythm of love and communication since walking down the aisle, giving birth to 6 children, and holding the ashes of our baby.
I loved writing with a passion so great it hurt my heart not to write, but again, I couldn’t find the rhythm to do what I dreamed. Kids, babies, laundry, dishes, homeschooling, church, marriage, tension, h a r d.
Raw footage from my journal in December of 2015…
So now, I’m curling into bed in the room where we’ve spent the last 52+ hours fighting.
Feeling as if I’ve aged 10 years in 2 days.
Tomorrow will come. I just don’t know how to face it.
how to look in their eyes.
how to look at the mess
in the kitchen
in our marriage
how to fix any of it…
Backing up farther to November of 2014, my marriage thick with perpetual conflict, God whispered, calling me to know Him better. Deeper. Every Single Day.
I had emphasized to others about regular, daily quiet time with God for years, but I was terribly inconsistent myself. A couple days here followed by weeks without reading my Bible. I blamed it on everyone and everything else except me. God called me out of my aimlessness, asking if I truly wanted to follow.
His Spirit moved my heart to YES, so with blank journal pages before me and Bible open, I tentatively stepped forward in surrender.
Every Day. No more room for apathy.
It was horribly awkward at first, but inexplicably, as days turned to weeks and months, the Lord became everything to me. I was alive, despite the brokenness around me. It thrilled me! A few weeks in, the Lord’s voice came again, “Pray for your husband and write it down, every day.” I remember the moment clearly, and my heart seemed to hold its breath, as if waiting for God to recant. Of course, He didn’t, He only waited for my response.
Would I follow?
Did I even want to say yes?
Before I could begin telling God why I couldn’t, the Spirit within me moved me to YES. I opened a new journal, hesitant at first, writing casual and surface-level prayers, until the Spirit groaned within me, urging my heart into full transparency as I interceded on behalf of my husband, and asking God to change my heart.
I tell you these backstories because it would be easy to begin sharing stories of how God has used Gracefully Truthful to reach women, to encourage them, and to bring about depth and intimacy in their relationship with God.
In the telling, it could look like I had made this happen.
But, I did not.
I know the truth.
I know this journey, this ministry, is not, nor has it ever been, about me.
Because I am utterly broken without my Savior.
Even my Yes to follow has always been an act of God from inside me.
With the one exception of that solid ground space in my heart where
Jesus had become more necessary than breathing,
Here, Lord asked if I would follow again.
It came in a rush of ideas and dreams.
It was well after midnight and I was still jotting down ideas of what this next step could be as I huddled under blankets in my bed. My heart beat wildly as the Spirit leapt within me, opening my eyes to next steps. Journey Studies, women studying the Bible for themselves, truth being discovered and lived out, the Spirit calling women to life from the grave, equipping women, holding out the life of Scripture with gut-honest transparency, redemption stories, living in biblical community, and the thoughts kept spinning.
The next day, I pulled in three of my closest friends and asked if they would be in for this crazy ride, wherever it led and whatever it meant. They prayed with me, they gave wise counsel, we held hands, and when God asked if we would follow, He had already prepared our YES.
Saying yes isn’t glamorous.
And it really, truly isn’t about us.
It’s about obedient surrender.
Saying yes to following Jesus will always, always come with a price.
This particular yes has cost my countless nights of sleep, evenings lazily watching TV, precious time with my children, and space for hundreds of other activities. This follow has brought me to tears and frustration, tension in my marriage, and so many moments of wanting to walk away.
It has also cost me my apathy.
While following Jesus will always require sacrifice, it will also burn up the impurities in your life you never even recognized.
This is perhaps, God’s greatest goal in asking for our yes, because it means we will become more like Jesus in the process, bringing Him more glory.
With the apostle Paul, let it be said of me,
Since I know what it is to fear the Lord, I am trying to persuade you to follow Him as well. What I am on the inside is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to you.
I am nothing without Christ.
I am not commending myself to you, but giving you an opportunity to be proud of God’s work in me. For if I am out of my mind, it is for God. It is Christ’s love that is compelling me to follow Him because I know this above all else: Because Jesus died for all, all those who are alive should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised to give them life. (2 Corinthians 5:11-15, my paraphrase)
Let my story urge you forward, Daughter of the Most High.
Not into doing great things for God, but for being a delighted over daughter as you enjoy His presence. In that precious place, His own Spirit will teach you to follow,
and to rest while you trust Him in your obedience.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!