You know when a download comes upon you from heaven and moves through your entire being? And every cell in you begins to vibrate with the sound of redemption and identity? That happened to me this morning.
I have been struggling. Struggling to connect with God, feeling guilty over not praying like I should… Seeing a visual image of me, connected by a thin wisp to Father instead of being bound by thick ligaments within His Mighty Right Hand.
We just returned from a small family gathering. There is nothing in the world like small family gatherings to open your eyes to your own blind spots, your own inconsistencies, your own lack of compassion… Your own judgments. And believe me, mine were exposed. I could hide them fairly well in the beginning, but by the end of the week, it was exhausting trying to hide my junk anymore. So instead of cutting off evil with good, I heaped my own brand of toxicity upon the toxic meal that had been dished out through unsuspecting brokenness from the moment we all came together. Oh Jesus, help us.
The funny thing is, I almost made it. The second to the last night we were there, God opened up a conversation between my niece and me. She is eleven, almost twelve, and is a very spiritual person. I say spiritual – not religious – because religion is the farthest thing from her mind. But she sees in the spirit realm, and the sense I received was that she needed to know that the things that she sees are real. She’s not making it up. And God is allowing her to ‘see’ these things to teach and guide her in her gift. She knows Jesus as Savior, and she is learning to let Him into other areas of her life. It was an amazing conversation. God has big plans for her. BIG plans.
And then the very next day, the toxicity from my sister-in-law temporarily overtook me. Had I been prideful after that awesome conversation with her daughter? Did pride open up a door within me in which my own annoyances seeped out? Maybe. Or did I stop waiting for The Lord? And became weary? At any rate, my sister-in-law’s toxic unforgiveness began to wear me out. And I heaped tone and word of exposure – not exhortation – on her. Not exactly the best use of my prophetic gift. Oh Jesus help me.
Unsurprisingly, I did not feel better after that. My belly, the area where Living Water pours through me, began to swirl and ache and become clogged. And me, in my own unforgiveness, became blinded to my own agreements with sin and death. Self-justification rose up instead of self-examination. Judgment took over instead of Mercy. And fear began to rule instead of Peace. Oh Jesus. Help me.
It took almost the entire five and a half-hour trip home to work through it all. To forgive. To receive forgiveness from Jesus. To yield to The Forgiver within me. And still, the unsettled feeling remained. We went to church last night. I did not feel Him. I prayed before I went to bed. I did not feel Him. Oh Father. What have I done?
And then this morning:
“Do not base our relationship on what you feel.”
“I know Papa. I try not to.”
“Trust Me. Even when you feel this way. Trust what I AM doing. You are not held by the blood of bulls and goats. But by the Perfect Blood of My Son. Are you thankful for that?”
“Thankful? Of course.”
“Then you have MUCH to be thankful for. Remain in thanksgiving. Remain in Me.”
And it happened. The dam within me imploded and the Living Water burst forth. Tears wet my cheeks as, in repentance, I gave thanks. In thanksgiving, I repented. I could feel the oppressive nature of ungratefulness and unforgiveness lift away from me. Remain in thanksgiving. I know this. I know to remain in humility and thanksgiving. And yet in the heat of the moment, I chose to fix my eyes on everything but the Author and Perfecter of Faith. Father, forgive me. I choose You. I choose Thanksgiving. I choose to remain in Thanksgiving.