This past Sunday in my church God gave me the opportunity to share my testimony. This is my story and all He had done in my life as I learned about a necessary desperation for Him. The prayer I prayed so often as I wrote this:
“Make this all about You, Lord, please make this all about You.”
I pray it still.
I found that every day looked different. Some days intimacy was about fighting for survival. This necessary desperation to know Him and know He is true.
Some days it was in a quietness and trust, feeding in green pastures and lying beside still waters.
Immersing myself in the Word and prayer, I longed to know more and more of Him even though some days it seemed as if my prayers were talking into darkness, but I found prayer so central to my being that if I ceased to pray, I would cease to live.
And I begged for eyes to see Him.
I found myself asking, “Is this you, God?” and as time passed, the question passed with it, and now I find myself saying, “This IS you, God.”
And He showed Himself to me over and over again… glimpses of His grace throughout each day, and I found joy in Him that gave me strength.
He showed Himself through others… through those friends with whom I could fully entrust my heart, through others from this church body and community serving us and through the prayers of many asking Him to sustain me, through YOU… you fostered my intimacy with God.
He showed Himself through my husband, who denied so much about himself to walk through this with me. Who looked at a wife who had lost everything, scarred and bald and ugly and weak and wounded and never once, never ONCE looked away. Brian fostered my intimacy with God.
He showed Himself through the childlike faith of my children. My children fostered my intimacy with God. He showed Himself over and over and over and over, because He knew I needed to see.
Because there were days when the darkness was overwhelming. I cringed through the nights because that’s when Satan’s lies were loudest, chanting in my ear. And yet because I knew Him, I could take those thoughts captive and scream truth over the lies of Satan, and because I knew the Light, the darkness would dissipate. Not overnight, not immediately, but faithfully and always.
And I knew, that even if the struggle of this trial never ended, I had a future and a hope…. eternity in fellowship with Him.
As I saw Him over and over and over, as my life became more and more about Him, then my life became less and less about me.
One Friday night during my chemo treatments, some friends took Brian and me out to the Joshua Wilton house for supper. After putting the finishing touches on my outfit for the evening, I sat down next to Bella while she ate her supper and we waited for the babysitters to arrive. I watched as she relished each bite, smearing stuffing and veggies all over her face and hands. After a bit, my red-headed beauty turned her mush covered face toward me, stretched out her smeary hands and opened her arms in a hug. “I yuv you, Mommy.” she belted with gusto. And immediately I shrunk back from those messy hands. After all, I was dressed to the hilt. “Oh, honey, don’t touch Mommy, you’re all messy.” Then it hit me what I had just done, and I looked at Bri.
“I wonder what it would be like if God said that to us.” I said.
What if God said that to me? But He didn’t… He didn’t the day I asked Him in my heart and He never does nor will He in my mess, in this becoming… this beautiful dance of faith, repentance and obedience. He doesn’t turn away, He only draws me in and shows me Himself.
As I long to abide more and more with God, to go deeper with Him, part of that process is seeing more of my sin. It’s a good thing. It’s a necessary thing. But it’s a hard thing. It’s hard because instead of being consumed by my Savior, it’s easy to be consumed by guilt. The accuser wants me to focus on the sin and the mess and become even more self-consumed. And in turn, he wants me to become messier. He wants the mushy, smeary face and hands to get mushier and smearier as I shovel in the lies of the world, the flesh and the devil. He wants me to lose sight of the unsearchable riches of Christ.
But God doesn’t look at me and say, “Don’t touch me. Don’t reach out to me unless you’re clean.” I am already cleansed because of Christ, and nothing can change that. His love for me isn’t based on anything I do or don’t do. He doesn’t look at me and focus on my smeary hands and my mush-covered face.
He looks at me and sees beauty.
He looks at me and see His child, His daughter.
He looks at me and He sees my mess.
And He reaches out to me.
And still He says “I love you.”
I long to live every day feasting on His sufficiency and not my own. Fully satisfied in Him. And when I am satisfied in Him, I am satisfied with all He has called me to do and bear. Living in grace for each day.
Grace. Strength. Peace. Beauty. Rest. Forgiveness, Joy. Surrender. Love. LIFE.
George MacDonald wrote:
“Oh God, I said, and that was all. But what are the prayers of the whole universe more than expansions of that one cry? It is not what God can give us,but God that we want.”
When this all began, there were two questions I wrestled with the most.
Is He enough?
Is he worth it?
I stand before you today, alive, to tell you.
He is far more than enough.
And more than just being worth it, He is the only one worthy.
To God ALONE be the glory.
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