All-Sufficient For Me, For Us All

I penned most of the poem below as God called me to witness to the finished work of the Cross at a place where I was met with turning backs. He took me back into a situation that mirrored what I had walked through as a little girl.

As a little girl, I rested in accusations of condemnation and shame, as God called me to speak the truth in love and I was met with rejection. I moved behind those clefts and didn’t come back out from behind them for years, walking a Prodigal path of 20+ years, until God’s peace poured out upon me and opened my eyes to His deep love and compassion for me and for the one I so loved (and thought he had abandoned too) in our pain. The Good Shepherd picked me up out of that thorn bush of my accuser, that I had been caught in, and carried me home across His shoulder.

Jesus now continues to remind me, again and again, that He has already carried all my sin and all my shame to the Cross, annulling all charges against me. He showed me then, as I penned that poem, and He continues to remind me now, that He took all of my sin and all of my shame and all of my afflictions to His lips, to drink it all for me, to then lay on a Cross for me to die in my place, so that I would never again have to bear the weight of sin’s curse. Yes: not just our sin, but also our pain and our shame was nailed there to die, as Jesus stood in the gap for us.

As I first penned that poem, He reminded me that all spiritual authorities claiming my service and even my life as payment for my sin have already been fully disarmed. They have NO claim on me. This is something the “freedom” teaching at my old church that I stood up against, when God commanded me to do so, explicitly denies.

I once wished I could say I didn’t return to hide behind those clefts, but I no longer carry that regret with me. I experienced massive trauma triggers, as the lies I had embraced as a child came calling for me again, with even greater intensity, as I spoke up: “you are evil”, “you are possessed by an evil spirit”, “you don’t belong to God”, “you are divisive in speaking up”, “you are disrespectful and disobedient toward the authorities God has placed over you in speaking up”.

My whole body shook beneath their weight. But rather than shake His fingers at me, Jesus wrapped me in compassion and called me out of the place of my suffering to heal me in His tender compassion and protective love of me.

I remember the moment I notified my pastors of my decision to leave my church, as the moment the dark oppressive cloud lifted away. It’s not until then that I realized just how much of a captive I was to fear. A few months later I penned a letter declaring the truth I had failed to stand firm in until the end. I sought my pastors’ forgiveness for allowing my fear of man to supersede my fear of God. I never received a reply.

Through that letter, Jesus turned me away from my own failures to stand firm in His love, to rest in His perfecting power in my weakness for me and for the members of my former church, including precious friends God parted me from, one of whom I watched become less and less confident in God’s love for her, the more invested she became in the “freedom” teaching that was fed to her.

My healing journey didn’t end there. I began embracing the lies of my accuser again, after sending that letter. I began to agree that God had called me out of my church because I had failed Him and His church, rather than receiving His pride in me for obeying His will for me to leave and His compassion to me through the triggers of trauma. I even began questioning my own sanity in my obedience, as I deemed myself “crazy” and yet again a person who “causes division” in churches, deeming my pastors’ silence as proof of my mental instability and their need to distance themselves from me. I didn’t heed God’s call to me rest in His redemptive power.

Then, God once again called me to leave: this time the Christian social media scene. It’s then again that I felt the tension that had been taking my body captive, release, as the fear of man once again gave way to a holy fear of God. In the time away, Jesus helped me to once again release the lies of my accuser. He helped me to release the world’s (and religion’s) definition of the word “prodigal” (shameful) to embrace His definition (“lavishly loved”). And He helped me to see the little four year old who gave her heart to Jesus and how she at that moment entered a Promise of restoration and redemption, a Promise sealed by the Holy Spirit unto eternity.

He has been birthing me afresh in the Truth I once received as that little girl, who loved and obeyed her Savior wholeheartedly. He has been laboring in me to restore my greatest joy in life, which as that little missionary and pastor’s kid was to rest at His feet, to listen for His Voice (in myself and His creation – including the people – around me) and to worship Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength, no matter what others thought of me or how they responded to my obedience to God’s will.
 

Stand and Rise
A poem by Anna Louise Smit 
 
Shame, it keeps me 
Resting here unseen
Safe from stares and fingers pointed
No, let me remain hidden, kept.
 
But then I hear You call me forth
From safe of hidden, kept 
And I step there from behind the clefts
From sheltered now to wide of open space.
 
But the silent stares, the voices stilled
They bind my tongue
And halt my step
Shame, my mask returns.
 
Broken, the word in silence speaks 
Groping now for air 
I see her sitting there in dark of night 
Behind the clefts she moves my frame.
 
His sweat like drops of blood
Fall upon my earthen ground
Behind the clefts, He meets me there 
Ashen face upon this ground in prayer.
 
“Remove this cup from Me,”
I hear Him speak
“Yet not My will, but Yours be done
Shall I not drink the cup My Father gives?”
 
Sin and shame
Fear and tears
You bore for me
To lips did take and drink 
That You might meet me here 
Behind these clefts.
 
Thank You, LORD 
That not one thing removes
Your cup of love
You drank it in full
All my sin and shame
And fear to lift away
And my tears
To wipe away.
 
You know, you walked, you lived
My sinful curse You bore
That I might never
Bear its weight
Nor walk alone
But strengthened
Held so strong
Safe, in my Father’s arms.
 
Thank You, LORD 
Each step I take
Beyond these clefts 
As accusations
Of condemnation fly
You hold me strong
Hidden in Your grace
For me.
 
No, not my will
But Thine be done
On knees surrendered
Face to the ground
I know
You’ll strengthen me 
Here to stand and rise.
 
I know Your peace
Your joy
Your faith
And never-ending love
My every step
Shall meet and tread.

Thank You, Jesus
Thank You, Papa
Thank You, Holy Spirit
For raising me now
To stand and rise
To a new life

Unbound and free
For: yes, your angels
Have strengthened me
You are lifting away
My heavy yoke
To now reveal
Your grace that is
All-sufficient
For me
And for us all.

 

 
Thank You, LORD.
 
 
 

Romans 8:37-39 (ESV)
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
 
Psalm 23: 5 ESV 
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Moments after publishing this piece on coming out from behind the clefts, I opened my email inbox to find a devotional with this message in it. I couldn’t help but edit my post to add it here:

If you are a woman who learned to hide or make yourself small, please know this is not the life God has for you. If you are a woman who has felt like you have to mute your personality, your take-charge attitude, or your leadership abilities, please know this is not the life God has for you.

God wants the best of you.

And God wants the best for you.

God wants for you to heal, for you to come out from hiding.

God wants for you to learn how to grow big inside yourself, full of His Spirit and might.

God wants for you to learn how to stand up for the convictions inside of you. [Ephesians 6:10]

How Do I Find My Way Out?
For: faithgateway Devotionals Daily taken from:
The Best of You
by Dr. Alison Cook
Observing Painful Patterns

2 Comments

  1. Amen! Praise God for His uncovering, His unfolding, and His calling us out into the great wide open space of His sufficiency! I’m so very grateful for the process He continues to uncover in me also. So beautiful, dear Anna.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen! Praise God for His uncovering, His unfolding and calling out into the wide open spaces of His sufficiency. So thankful to God for your friendship and the affirmation you are to me in sharing your journey so openly with me too.

      Liked by 1 person

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