Recently, I once again dropped to my knees to cry out: “oh, LORD, break this horrid sin of pride in me.” But what I heard God speak to me, broke me. I heard Him reply: “Anna, can you let me be proud of you? Do you know just how proud I am of you?”
I just cried and cried and cried. I realized I was so focused on myself that I was failing to praise my God for all HE has been performing in and through me. I began to see how HE has been so strong in me. How HE has been perfecting His power in me. How every time HE has drawn me to come to Him in my weakness of pride, HE has bowed my knees in deep humility, to rest at His feet.
The One Word God gave me for this year was “celebrate“. I sensed Him asking me, not to celebrate what I could physically see, but what HE has been opening my eyes to see in the Spirit: His eternal Promises unveiled. His life, breath and person unveiled in all those He has been calling me to intercede for through the power of His living Word at work in me: including myself.
And as I listened to a sermon on pleasing God today, I wept again, as I saw Him affirm His pride in me. For all those times I went where He asked me. I spoke what He asked me. I faced the enemy’s accusations. And I closed the doors He asked me to, to find myself all alone with Him. Rejected by man, but oh so loved by my Papa.
My Abba Father suddenly turned my thinking on its head. All those places, I left, with my head bowed in shame, as He asked me to leave. All those places, where the Word God had me speak and live out was rejected and I wanted to stay and bow before man, believing man to be God. All those places are not a testimony to my shame. They are a testimony to God’s saving grace. To the Son of God’s obedience at work in me and my Abba Father’s growing pride in me.
Each of those closing doors were Christ’s invitation to receive His internal vindication, by the power of His Holy Spirit. The internal vindication Jesus received, as He walked this earth, facing one rejection after another, for doing the will of His Father. For, Jesus glowed in the love and affirmation of His Papa, who was oh so proud of Him.
I suddenly saw how each closing door has been Christ growing His heart of love, mercy and compassion in me. I saw how those closing doors have been God’s humbling to enable me to enter into His Sabbath rest.
For, each closing door has brought me to my knees in gut-wrenching, honest lament and in that place He has opened my eyes to see what He sees and He has filled my heart with His pure emotions and thoughts. He has enabled me to embody the Word He spoke through me in each place He had me leave.
For, He has repeatedly broken my heart in grief for those I left behind, causing me to pour out prayers of blessing over those who have accused and even condemned me. He has spoken His Promises of life over them through my mouth. I have literally felt His oil of anointing pour out all over me, with my knees pressed to the ground. And He has also humbled me to search for and retrieve the beautiful grains of truth hidden in each accusation.
“Draw near to me, Anna, and I will draw near to you.” Bitterness and unforgiveness only has room to grow in my heart, where I begin to clothe myself in the enemy’s accusations to believe that man’s rejection is God’s rejection of me. It only has room to grow in me, when I withdraw from my God, believing it is He who has withdrawn from me.
But praise God! My Papa is teaching me to remember that HE never leaves His children and so, when I feel His absence it’s because I have withdrawn from Him. He is teaching me in those moments, to turn back toward Him. To draw near to Him to pour out all that’s hiding within me. And right there my God puts everything in its rightful place, humbling me in my pride to rest in His saving grace.
He vindicates me and those I feel condemned by, by the power of His Holy Spirit. He opens my eyes to see Him – Jesus – in the face of my every accuser, until all I can do is weep at His mercy – not for those who have accused me – but for me.
His mercy at calling me unto Himself, so that my knees would now bow before Him alone to rest in His labor of intercession and love through me. So, that the Word He had me speak before them and the Word He had them speak before me, can now be brought to life, in me and in them, in our breaking. So, that I can see the fruit of the Word He gave me to pray 6 years ago. The Word He has kept praying through me all this time: “Oh LORD, teach me to walk in the light of Your love. Give me an undivided heart that I may fear Your Name above all else.”
Oh yes, I have messed up, grandly. I have clung to the enemy’s accusations. I have clung to people as my god. I have turned around and asked people’s forgiveness for doing the very will of my God. I have walked in unforgiveness and bitterness.
But now I see, how God has been training me in righteousness. How He has been growing me in gentleness and kindness. How, through each breaking, He has been humbling me to rest in Him alone, to surrender all else into His hands that I may love others as He loves me. How He has been fathering and mothering me.
Now I see, I am a new creation, no longer in condemnation. For gone is the old. And here is the new!
Now, I no longer see these closing doors as my shame. I see them as proof of God’s heart of mercy and compassion at work in me. I see these closing doors as His stepping stones for me. Stepping stones into greater and greater humility and a deeper and deeper knowing of His love for me and His pride in me.
Yes! Papa! Today, I choose to receive Your pride in me. I honor You for all You have done, all You are doing and all You are yet to do through Your Son. For, I know I am not my own. I am Your masterpiece.
And You, You are making something so beautiful out of me: not because I am so strong and so good, but because You are so very faithful to Your Promises. You are so very faithful to perform and complete every good work You begin. Praise You!
I choose to celebrate You, Jesus. I choose to celebrate the Promise: the unveiling of more and more life in and through You. For, no! You are not done with me – with any of us – yet! Come, LORD Jesus, come!