This morning, I woke up at 7am with the arms of Jesus wrapped around me.
I’ve been run so ragged lately. A whole month of traveling, no stability or consistency in my time of rest and with the Lord, and emotions running rampant. The past week in particular, I’ve been a total witch to my husband and anyone who is unfortunate enough to be in my path (can you say road rage??). The thing is, I’ve been struggling through this though – it’s like Paul wrote in Romans, “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” And honestly it’s a huge step for me, something that I’ve been working on for the last year, to admit my true brokenness, that I am a total witch with horrible thoughts a lot of the time, and that I need Jesus so badly. And this week I’ve felt utterly and totally attacked with this feeling of wanting to crawl out of my own skin, this quiet rage rising inside my chest waiting to explode.
But instead of letting it explode in anger, the Lord knocked me down with a “glorious, inexpressible joy” this morning that can ONLY be attributed to Him.
Steven and I had a precious, precious time last night with our dear friends Chris and Julie Bennett who live in Norman, OK. The Bennetts are a couple who have walked together through a fire that is unimaginable, and they have come forth shining. They share this with everyone. You can’t help but be around them and feel the goodness of the Lord who saves us in our brokenness. Last night, we talked about community and living the true Christian life, the Christian life that is not found in the walls of many churches in America, the kind found through trials, through the testing of our faith, through experiencing Jesus in those times when you shouldn’t be finding joy – but you are. Throughout the conversation, I kept thinking about how I’ve been so self-focused rather than others-focused lately, so consumed with my exercise schedule and eating right and making sure I apologized enough times to Steven for being a total hormonal witch. I didn’t want to be social; I just wanted to crawl into a ball. I kept thinking last night about how I want my life to be all about bringing the lost to Christ, but no matter how hard I strive, I can’t make it happen. As much as I want to be this "super-Christian," it doesn’t seem to work. And then the topic came up in conversation last night: what Jesus really wants is our hearts. I can keep striving to do more and more, but He's just simply wanting my heart. Hmm.
And now, this morning, I woke up a new woman, and I can’t read one single word of the Bible without crying. I can’t even remember another time in my life when this has happened, but I rolled out of bed with the only phrase on my mind: “This is the day that the Lord has made.” I immediately kissed my husband and opened the blinds and threw open the curtains. I went in the kitchen to make breakfast and starting singing, This is the day that the Lord has made…over and over. I put on my Worship Room CD and with the first song, tears started streaming down my face, and I lifted my hands in worship standing right there in my livingroom, in my pajamas, singing, You are the table of mercy, You are the feast of forgiveness, let us sit down and taste that You are good…
When Steven got out of the shower, he saw I was crying and asked what was wrong and what I was feeling. Somehow I was able to choke out, “I just feel completely knocked down by the love of Jesus! I literally feel His arms around me.” It was such a complete 180 from how I’ve been feeling lately that I KNOW it was God who did it. This is so sweet of Him to do. He didn’t need to do this to prove that He was good. But He did it for ME. All I can think about is how much Jesus loves me. I think the song from Sunday School has finally clicked :).
From the song "Close" on The Worship Room CD...
Kick down all my walls
Come with your wrecking ball
So I can see You
Give me ears to hear
Your voice so loud and clear
Lord I need you
I need you now to
Draw me near to where you are
Lead me Lord, direct my heart
I want to be where you need me most
Draw me, bring me close, close
And then these beautiful Scriptures…
The Hope of Eternal Life ~ 1 Peter 1:3-8
"All honor to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for it is by his boundless mercy that God has given us the privilege of being born again. Now we live with a wonderful expectation because Jesus Christ rose again from the dead. For God has reserved a priceless inheritance for his children. It is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And God, in his mighty power, will protect you until you receive this salvation, because you are trusting him. It will be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while.
These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him, you trust him; and even now you are happy with a glorious, inexpressible joy. Your reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls."
I wish every morning was like this morning. I wish every morning I lived like being born again was a privilege. And I hope I remember this “glorious, inexpressible joy” the next time I wake up feeling like the whole world is stacked against me. I hope I remember that what God really wants is my heart. MY heart. Because this morning, He has it.