Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Deep Calls to Deep

The candle flickered in the dark room. Music played as I studied my painting. I dipped my brush into the purple paint. Stroking it across the canvas I grew ever intense as the lyrics and paint mingled together deep in my heart.

¯ I am royalty, I have destiny… ¯

I paused. Something was stirring in my spirit. I pushed away from my work. The truth of those words began to embed in my soul. Feeling the weight of destiny brought a surprising and unwelcome emotion. Uncertainty entered my mind. Royalty? Destiny? I suddenly wasn’t sure anymore. Ambushed by doubts the enemy invaded with intensity. The battlefield was set for the war over my mind.

It wasn’t long before the attack of doubtful thinking became strategic in bringing in stronger forces. Obsessive dark thoughts gripped me in fear. Kicking and screaming I was taken prisoner with no one in sight to rescue me.

“Where are You?” I screamed.

Weeping uncontrollably I went in and out of reality. I heard the prison door slam. Tears turned to anger. And anger turned to threats.

“If You don’t show up I won’t believe You are real.
Do You hear me?
I won’t believe You are real!”

I continued to shout heated warnings to God as I fought for a sane life. This is it. I’m trapped forever on the edge of a cliff with a crazy sensation I am going to jump. As words of royalty and destiny echoed in the room I dropped to my knees and buried my face in the floor.  The lies and scary thoughts were nailing the coffin shut to my soul. “Where are You?” I sobbed.

My deeply troubled soul called out and longed for the deep healing touch of God. For what seemed like hours I became despondent over His silence. I cried out with no response from Heaven. I had been here before. Only it wasn’t hours of captivity, it had been years.

I became terrified these moments would once again multiply into months and then years. No, not again. I can’t bear it. Exhausted I lay in a heap of tear soaked tissues. When I was ready to give up—He showed up. There before me I saw His feet. He came to set the captive free. He was here, but His posture confused me. “Lord, why are you standing next to me? Why aren’t You down here holding me?”

I stand on the edge in place of you. I am your Protector and Defender. I will not let you fall.

I was taken back by His warrior sounding voice, but more so by His words. He took my place at the cliff’s edge? The image of the cross flashed through my mind as I remembered it wasn’t the first time He had taken my place. He rescued me—again. New tears came. Lord, I don’t understand Your ways or Your timing, but I am learning to trust You nevertheless.

I took another look at my painting. Careful strokes of purple declared my royalty and destiny. A strange comfort fell over me as peace became my pillow and I drifted off to sleep. He was here. I was safe. I am free. And He is real.

Where is God standing on your behalf today?

*Writer’s Note: If you are experiencing obsessive dark thoughts I encourage you to seek professional and/or pastoral counsel. This blog is only a brief glimpse of my healing journey of OCD and obsessive dark thoughts. Every person’s experience is unique. If you need help I encourage you to find a church, Christian counselor, and resources to help you. You don’t need to go it alone. Below are some links to resources I have used and music to speak truth and encourage your soul.
There is healing. There is hope. There is destiny for your life. You will overcome.

Midwest Center for Stress

Cucamonga Christian Fellowship

¯Overcome by New Life Worship

¯No Sweeter Name by Kari Jobe

¯The Anthem by Jake Hamilton

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Heart Exchange

Hot tears forced their escape as I climbed up on the treadmill. High expectations of distraction were threatened with reality. I was rejected. Even worse she was accepted. It wasn’t fair. The more I ranted and raved the more I became obsessed with her. And in this soul devouring game I played--I knew the bitter truth. I hated her. I not only detested the fact she was promoted, but loathed everything about her. From her feminine frame and ease with fashion to her commitment to God. I couldn’t stop fixating the many petty ways I disdained her. I knew I had gone too far. My rage pumped through every part of my being and I felt the danger of it exploding through my skin.

Hoping to drown out the chaos in my mind I turned up my iPod to maximum levels. I was desperate for relief, yet too weary to know how to pray. I chose to submit my crazed envy in the form of moans and groans. As the music played on, it was as if God Himself orchestrated the playlist to create a soundtrack to set the tone for this present day drama. As I listened in, God’s voice thundered ever so gently to the depths of my soul.

You feel jealousy raging within you.
Beloved, this is how I feel towards you.
I am jealous for you.

He had my attention. As much as He identified to my extreme emotions I could not ignore His were holy. Gripping the sides of the treadmill I held on for more.

Your jealousy keeps Me from having all of you.
I will not relent until I have completely captured every part of your heart.
I am jealous for you.

My pace immediately slowed as I became overwhelmed by His words. God’s rebuke wrapped up in His crazy love for me. He was after my heart—all of it. It was a wild expression of His passionate pursuit to capture every part of my soul. He took the very emotion I was overpowered by to demonstrate how He was captivated by me. Suppressing sobs within me I listened to His one request.

Give me your heart.

My head spun. His request required forsaking all offenses. What would I do without my right to whine and complain? Was I brave enough to give in? As doubts entered my process I became mysteriously enticed by the hope of freedom from hatred’s grip. He was giving me courage. It was time. Wiping away sweat and tears I surrendered to the One who calls me Beloved. To my surprise the transaction was not complete. The Lord took His turn in what was to be the Great Exchange. Taking His own heart from His chest He placed it within me. His gift took my breath away.

I opened my eyes. I was still at the gym. Nothing had changed around me, yet everything was transformed within me. I was finally free. Free of me. Who would have thought that in this smelly, sweaty place God would give me His holy and pure heart?

Will you do a heart exchange?—I dare you.

Click on the link below to hear the song God moved to my playlist that day.
You Won’t Relent by Misty Edwards

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Dagger in My Heart

The dagger pierced my heart. I couldn’t breathe. Excruciating pain set in. I could feel the sharp point of the blade cutting deeper into my artery. What just happened? Where did it come from? Where was I? In a daze I looked down to see a menu in front of me. I remembered. I was at a restaurant celebrating my friend’s birthday. It was the server who unexpectedly thrust the dagger into my heart. ‘God help me’ was all I could muster, yet the words were inaudible. I felt it lodge deeper within me. ‘Please God’. I was losing oxygen quickly. ‘Please God. Help me’.

Help came. I first heard His voice. I looked up and saw Him. I could see the pain in His eyes over this terrible act He witnessed. He quickly began His work. There was only one thing to do. Damage from the stab of rejection could only be repaired by His holy acceptance.

You are Mine.

His voice was intense. He repeated it over and over.

My beloved, you are Mine.

I caught my breath. It was as if oxygen was administered and flowed through my veins. I felt life returning to me. It would not be until the next morning when the dagger was removed, but these words from my Lord were what truly sustained me through the night.

The next morning I arrived at the spiritual ER. The alarming discovery was what I thought to be a short dagger was in fact a mammoth sized sword wedged into my heart. It was determined it had been lodged inside of me for many years—possibly decades. The thoughtless words from the restaurant server only pushed the existing weapon deeper in. These unsettling findings led the two experienced surgeons to remove the life threatening object from my body at once. The moments were intense and unbearable. Just when I thought I would be overcome by the pain, my Lord brought peace. It was over. I was free from the dangerous grip of rejection on my life.

Soon I was breathing normal again. A warm healing balm was poured onto my open wound and the mending began. Sweet warm sensations were such a contrast to the lifetime of heartache. It was a feeling I have never before known. Ever so softly I heard the heavenly melody of His love singing over me restoring my wound from the inside out.

Before I knew it my wound was only a scar. I was released from their care and I walked out into the bright sunshine of the January afternoon. I put my hand over my heart. It was a painful process, but I was finally healed. I did not leave without a lifetime prescription. My life depends on taking daily doses of the Lord’s love and acceptance. And I am one who will take it everyday.

Will you?

Go to  to hear God’s love song over you

Oh How He Loves/ Kim Walker-Smith

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Spiritual Tumor

I thought I was over it until I saw her. The memory of the offense filled me with rushing waves of rage and indignation. The eyes of my heart beamed darts toward her. I was so overpowered by these emotions I forgot where I was. Oh yeah, church. I’m supposed to be good here. Yet, I could not put on the bogus smile and pretend. I was hurt. And it was quickly turning into a feverish anger towards this woman and every person in close proximity of her. I took a deep breath trying to shake it off. I looked at her again. She was worshiping our Lord. My heart dropped. She had freedom—and I did not. This made me feel even more miserable. I couldn’t deny the truth.  I was intentionally choosing to fuel my fury.  I was fooling myself thinking I was punishing her only to realize I was the one suffering the consequences. Lord, how do I get over this?

Come into My presence.

It was an invitation to enter His presence through worship. I took one more glance at her, now jealous that she was absorbed in the Lord completely unaware of the trials and troubles in her own world.

Lord, the very freedom I desire in this moment is being displayed by the one I won’t forgive. This is hard. How do I move on from this? How do I let go?

Come to Me.

I exhaled deeply. A stubborn spirit coupled with shame for my immaturity weighed heavy on my soul. I closed my eyes.  I knew His agenda--it was to completely eradicate my own. Even as my heart longed for freedom, I wrestled to enter into His presence. My grip was tight on validation. Before I knew it the music faded. The moment was gone. My heart agonized. I did not yield.

Refusing to worship the Lord keeps the offense alive within me. I am at risk of this spiritual tumor spreading to every part of my life. Will I choose to prolong this self-induced ailment? Or will I consent to God to cure my soul with His gentle healing balm? History tells me God will wait for me as I choose. My record proves I will ultimately relent. And when I do my gracious God will do as He always has…

Love me. Heal me. Free me.

I want that. Don’t you?