Chapter 7: I AM Your Childlike Trust

Around the time God began to call me to intercede for His Body, the church, my friend Bettie recommended I read a book by Norman P. Grubb, entitled Rees Howells: Intercessor. Something in this book just broke me. Why did it break me? Grubb shared how Howells, just like the disciple Peter, was confronted with his own inability to fulfill the calling of his God. It was the very thing God had been confronting my heart with also.

It’s in that acknowledgement that God had Howells exactly where He wanted him: in a position to receive what he could never give of himself. It’s then, as Howells surrendered to God’s ability, that he began to recognize a pattern in his intercession. Not only would Howells pray for others, God would bring the very Word he spoke over others alive in his own heart, deeply humbling him in the process. So not only was he praying for the Body, he was proclaiming the Word of God in and through his very own body.

A few months ago, God led me back to Hosea 2 – a Scripture I had received for another, just before He called me out of my former church. And He showed me that what is described in this chapter reflects the very process He was leading me through also. 

As He led me to Hosea 2 for my friend, a friend He was about to ask me to surrender into His hands, He was in fact praying it over me also. That I, just as Peter and Howells, might live the very Word I was given in prayer for the Body of Christ.

What did that process of Hosea 2 look like in my own life and heart? First, He showered me in blessings upon my return to Him as a Prodigal child, as I sought His face and humbled myself before Him in His leading. Then, I saw those blessings He had showered upon me as coming from my own striving – from the steps I had chosen to take that led to my healing from trauma.

And she did not know

    that it was I who gave her

    the grain, the wine, and the oil,

and who lavished on her silver and gold,

    which they used for Baal.

Therefore I will take back

    my grain in its time,

    and my wine in its season,

and I will take away my wool and my flax,

    which were to cover her nakedness.

So, He humbled me anew. Sending fresh trauma triggers, He exposed my weakness and sin, as I openly confessed my need for God’s grace. Around the same time He began leading me to share specific Scriptures with one of my pastors. I now realize these Scriptures were not only confronting the false teaching going on behind the scenes, but also my own pride and idolatry.

The false teaching directly contradicts the Good News that declares Christ’s power as being perfected in weakness and the blood of Jesus as having broken the curse of sin and death. It sets itself up in the place of God. It denies the power of the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us to lead us to repentance – to save us from our sin and the penalty of death and to sanctify us on a daily and moment-by-moment basis. And it encourages people to put their trust in human doctrine, leading them away from an experiential understanding of our freedom in Christ, in a unique and very personal way, through the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

The false teaching does what I had wanted to do, after I began to pride myself in my “healing” from CPTSD. For, I had begun to set myself up on a pedestal, wanting others to follow what God had me do that had led to my “healing” from trauma. But beautifully, right when He had me sharing those Scriptures with my pastor, God began to humble me with fresh trauma triggers, to help me live the very Word He had me sharing. I didn’t see that though, until I looked back years later.

I began to face rejection in my open confessions of sin and weakness, and in my obedience to God’s prompting to share the Scriptures He gave me for my pastor. Each rejection I faced, as hearts hardened toward me, took me back to my childhood experience of rejection. I heard those same accusations from my past screaming at me, that I had agreed with as a child: “God has abandoned you, you don’t belong to Him, you are evil, look at how sinful you are, you are inherently wrong, God made a mistake with you, look at how you repel other Christians.” 

But this time, strengthened by my experience of God’s mercy and compassion to me in the past, I kept crying out to God. And He upheld me, even in moments I wanted to take my own life. He continually lifted me up out of the pit of self, pride and idolatry to set me on the Rock of His Word to me, restoring me unto Himself. 

He had me lay down every accusation of the enemy at His feet, where He clothed me in the truth of His Word. He repeatedly showed me that my identity and worth is rooted in Him alone and can never be stolen from me.

As I poured out laments before Him, in my deep pain through each rejection, He again and again filled me with such deep grief for those I was praying for. He continually exchanged the bitterness, unforgiveness and hatred in my own heart of stone for fervent love, compassion and mercy, uncovering His heart of flesh beating inside of me.

Now, I know that God led me out of that church just as a disciplinary hearing was being planned to remove me from the ministry positions I had been given. God had had me openly rebuke hidden sin – a rebuke that did not lead to repentance. Then, as I was rebuked by those present in my own wrongdoing, He convicted my heart, leading me to confess my own sin of looking where I shouldn’t have, which had led to the discovery of that sin in the first place. 

Now I will uncover her lewdness

    in the sight of her lovers,

    and no one shall rescue her out of my hand.

And I will put an end to all her mirth,

    her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths,

    and all her appointed feasts.

And I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees,

    of which she said,

‘These are my wages,

    which my lovers have given me.’

I will make them a forest,

   and the beasts of the field shall devour them.

And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals

    when she burned offerings to them

and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry,

    and went after her lovers

    and forgot me, declares the Lord.

Beautifully God placed a dear friend in my midst who had had a dream about what just unfolded and that dream encouraged her to speak up and affirm the choices He had asked me to take through His Word: both to speak up about the sin I had discovered and to confess my own sin. 

In His great kindness to me, God then led me out before that disciplinary meeting could take place. His punishment of me was to strip me of all that was suffocating His breath in me. 

At first I struggled to receive God’s love for me and His protection of my heart in this stripping. He took away what I didn’t realize I had begun to build my self-worth and identity upon in the pain and shame I felt through all the rejection. But then, this lifting off of the chaff, this loosing of a much too heavy yoke, became His greatest gift to me. 

I now see how God only took away my idols to reveal the beauty of Himself in me – truth, love and grace. He showed me that I need never be afraid of His discipline that is so different to the world’s discipline.

No! God’s training of us is never sent to shame and condemn us. It is never sent to set us aside to become worthless, as we remain chained to a vanity that leaves us perpetually empty and out in the cold. His discipline of us – His children – is a chastening in love that is sent to convict and free us of our sins that we might be set apart unto Him to bear abundant and abiding fruit. 

In His great kindness to me, God led me out into the wilderness, to allure me and restore me unto Himself. He revealed His deep compassion for me in my weakness, meeting my desperate need to just be held in His arms. He revealed Himself to be so very different from the idol I had made of Him – an idol I had fashioned after my own idols of self, man, ministry and church.

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,

    and bring her into the wilderness,

    and speak tenderly to her.

And there I will give her her vineyards

    and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.

And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,

    as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.

Not long after we buried my Mum, about three years earlier, God had given me a personal Promise to hold onto. I had framed this Promise with photos of my Mum, my sisters and myself (Isaiah 51:3, NIV):

The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.

What I didn’t realize is that for this Promise to be birthed in me, more and more, God would have to lead me into the wilderness to uncover my parched and famished heart and soul. For, only in His gardening – and not my idols’ – could the seeds of His Word take root and flourish in His heart for me. As Jeremiah 31:4 (ESV) puts it:

And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

By God’s grace, I am now relearning how to turn to Jesus in my need, as His childlike trusting heart in me is unfolding piece by piece. And it is in Jesus fixing my eyes upon Himself and the finished work of the Cross that my Savior is exchanging my hunger, thirst, pain and disgrace for joy and gladness, thanksgiving and the sound of singing. He is opening my eyes to His love for me right where I am. By His grace, I am learning to receive Him in those He has hemmed me in with, as He is now leading me out to a spacious place with Him.

 “And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord. 

God is truly sowing the Word of life so richly in my midst, as He is leading me and others around me to openly confess our weakness and sin before each other, to speak the truth to each other in love and to freely extend mercy to each other. We are learning and growing together, as Jesus is revealing Himself to us in an intimate and personal way.

“And in that day I will answer, declares the Lord,

    I will answer the heavens,

    and they shall answer the earth,

and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil,

    and they shall answer Jezreel,

    and I will sow her for myself in the land.

And I will have mercy on No Mercy,

    and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’;

    and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’”

Yes, I am tasting and seeing the goodness of my God in the land of the living. For, in His love, kindness and mercy to me, He is proving me to be His child. Christ’s childlike trust of our Abba Father is unfolding in me and setting me apart according to His purposes for me.

And as I come to Him for mercy in His hemming in, His compassion is being awakened in me. As I daily lift my broken body and my broken heart to Him, as I daily join Him in His suffering, He is declaring His eternal healing not just over me, but over His whole Body and heart.

Celebrate Jesus and Behold Him Face to Face

The Word translated as compassion, and as “mercy” in the King James Version in the verse: Luke 6:36 CJB Show compassion, just as your Father shows compassion, has also been described by the HELPS Word-Study as:

Cognate: 3629 oiktírmōn (an adjective, derived from 3627 /oikteírō, “express visceral-compassions”) – compassionate, experiencing deep pity (lamentation) as God has for people who look to Him for help in their difficult situations.

Are you, like me, going through a situation that is deeply grieving your own heart right now? Are you feeling hemmed in, in any way? Will you join me then, in bringing a lament before our Heavenly Father, in pouring out your heart before Him with me, just like King David did repeatedly?

Oh may the compassion of our LORD Jesus meet us in our weakness and need. As we come to Him, may He not only pour out His mercy and compassion upon us, but also birth His compassion and mercy in us afresh, for His Body, as He reveals His trusting childlike heart beating inside of our own body.

Before you join me to read the Scripture for today aloud, I invite you to slow with me to listen to this song:

As you read the Scripture below aloud, what word or phrase lingers? 

Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to reveal why it lingers and what God our Father wants us to see, know or do in response to His Word to us.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! Luke 13:34 (ESV)

Part 4: Chapter 2 – Day 3: Deaf and Mute No More

Welcome to Day 3 of Part 4‘s Chapter 2. Today, Anna is bringing forward our 3rd free will offering of scarlet thread – the cleansing blood of Christ.

Months ago I read about Joni Eareckson Tada visiting the pools of Bethesda. Just after she was paralysed the story of Jesus healing the lame man of 38 years old at these pools, caused her to cry out to Jesus to not pass her by, but to heal her also.

But now, so many years later, she saw that even though she was still paralysed, God had in fact answered her cry. She realized what she had seen as His withholding all those years ago was in fact His miraculous giving. For, now she awakes daily, crying out for God to sustain her and to live and love through her. Her paralysis – her weakness – invites her daily into God’s perfecting power. As Joni leans upon her Rock and Redeemer, it’s truly no longer Joni who lives, but Christ who lives in and through her, daily, by the power of His Spirit at work in her.

Now, I recognize that God has been longing to give me the same gift He has been giving Joni: through a different kind of paralysis. Paralysis from triggers of trauma. I can see how God’s withholding of immediate healing (from Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), has in fact been His heart-wrenching gift of mercy to me.

Just like a good Father, He wants me to learn to exercise my own free will. He wants me to love Him and others, because I experientially know His love for me. And as I walk through triggers of trauma, these triggers are what are inviting me to lean into His perfect love for me.

Choosing to receive that perfect love, is what is casting out the enemy’s accusations and condemnation of me, piece by piece. Accusations and condemnation that I once received as God’s rejection of me. Now, God is empowering me to walk into the light: to speak the truth in love, to confess my sins freely and to boast in my weakness.

Through each trigger God has been declaring me a Temple of His Holy Spirit and His beloved child. Each shaking is forcing me to directly face the accusations of the enemy that I once agreed to, so that this time, clothed in the experential knowledge of God’s love for me, I might release these accusations to walk into Christ’s cleansing love and grace.

This is pretty much a daily occurrence for me. Even just the other night, the LORD convicted my heart of a situation I had allowed fear to guide me into hiding His light in me. But as I laid that crippling fear before Him, He gave me a spirit of power and a sound mind. He clothed me in His thinking. He changed my mind (caused me to repent), as He lifted away my fear of man’s rejection and enabled me to speak up, clothed in His love and acceptance of me.

Funnily, that morning I had sat with the verse “We love Him, because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) and I had invited God to show me how He loved me, that I might love Him as He loves me. I now see how that very repentance He led me to was His answer to my prayer. Through this experience God reminded me that nothing is impossible for those who believe.

Mark 9:23 (ESV) tells us: And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Jesus said this in response to a request for healing from a mute and deaf spirit. I can empathize with the boy who was afflicted with this spirit. For, trauma can paralyse you in a similar way – it can close your ears to God’s Word and close your mouth from declaring the Good News, binding you in a constant state of wakeful hypervigilance, as you choose to sow unto the flesh and not unto the Spirit.

Beautifully, PTSD is in fact the body recalling past trauma in a more rested state, giving us a fresh opportunity to process past traumatic events in a healthy way – to this time agree with God’s Word to us and to release the enemy’s accusations against us, as we repent and seek God’s cleansing. God sends those triggers, not to harm us, but to open our ears to receive His Word and to open our mouths to speak what He has given us to speak.

Through daily triggers God is in fact waking me up to His love. He is inviting me into His healing and wholeness, as He declares me His own, through every trigger that comes. As fear shakes me, He reminds me, just as He did that boy’s father, that all things are possible for the one who believes. He invites me to walk in the fear of the LORD, as He cleanses me of my sin and lifts away my every fear.

Now I know that PTSD is in fact a gift from God. He refused to allow me to remain tethered to the enemy’s accusations that I agreed to as a little girl. Accusations that have silenced His beautiful Voice in me for so long. Now, He is inviting me afresh, in a more rested and filled with His Word state, to clothe myself in the truth that I might once again speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

But now, as I begin to speak up for those whose voices have been silenced by trauma, I do so as one who knows what it is to have had her own voice stolen and restored. And so, I am filled with such overwhelming hope and a faith built no longer upon my own ability to bring about what my heart aches for, but a faith built upon the solid Rock of my God – a God I know to be faithful and true to His every Word.

No, God never condemns His children in their weakness, but runs toward them with open arms. He invites us to run our race clothed in His strength, as our own strength gives way. Paralysis is a gift. It is the thorn in my side that is teaching me to die to myself and to live unto Christ.

There have been times in the past, both as a kid and an adult, where speaking up in response to God’s prompting has led to deep rejection and wounding to my heart. It is in that place, as my cries for mercy for those who cannot speak up for themselves were left unanswered by fellow believers, that I began to clothe myself in the accusations of the enemy.

But what God has been tenderly teaching me through more recent experiences of man’s rejection, is that I can always trust His heart. I can trust His heart of love and mercy toward me, toward those He has asked me to speak up for and toward those who are rejecting His Word in me. Man’s rejection is not God’s rejection of the very Word HE has given me to sow – that He and not I – may bring the fruit in His beautiful timing. Just as He did more than twenty years after I had spoken up as a little girl for my traumatized little adopted brother.

I now know that where that speaking up – that living in the light – causes people to turn their back on me, that this is in fact also God’s love for me. For, through this kind of rejection, God is inviting me into a deeper knowing of His heart of love and mercy for me and for His Body.

Yes, those whom God loves, He also disciplines. Hebrews 12:11 (ESV) reminds us: “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” The painful discipline I let drive me down a Prodigal path as a child, as I clothed myself in the enemy’s accusations and chose to idolize my parents as God, is now reaping the fruit for which it was originally sent, as I am now choosing to take up my Cross to follow Jesus, and not the enemy.

As the enemy has come prowling afresh, God has given me the choice to accept the accusations of condemnation against me, or to depart under a new authority – His authority. Beautifully that is what “go” also means, when Jesus commands us to go and bear fruit that abides: to depart under a new authority. Now, empowered by His grace, through my falling and getting back up again, I am learning to walk into the light and to fully release those He asks me to into His hands.

My old thinking told me I was doing “the right” and “godly” thing, by remaining silent to avoid confrontation and division – which is also what was expected of me by those around me. But God’s Word at work in me compelled me to change my mind and speak up. He showed me that there is no peace and no unity in the Body apart from Him and that true wholeness in fact only comes through the sword of life. Through the Word of God being wielded, as we open our mouths to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.

Yes, Love (God) delights in the truth – in our speaking of the truth to each other in love, and in confessing our sins and weakness freely before one another. Love does not delight in our hiding and pretending that we might remain “acceptable” to one another. And where that truth sets us apart from each other, it does so only to ultimately put us back together – no longer unequally and heavily yoked to one another – but equally and lightly yoked to Christ alone, who makes us One in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Jesus also reminded the disciples, who tried to heal the boy with the mute and deaf spirit in their own strength, that even the most stubborn spirits that cripple our loved ones can still be cast out. How? Through our own abiding in the Vine, as we choose to seek God in prayer and fasting to hear and obey His Spirit’s leading, from moment to moment. And that will more often than not asks us to lay down our life for another – to become as nothing to them that we might lift up the Name of Jesus in their midst.

Here is a short clip of Joni’s testimony to God’s daily saving grace. May it bless you, as it did me:

Will you join me, as I finish in prayer?

Father, thank You for loving us first. Today, I ask You to show us afresh how You love us, that we might love You, just as You love us. In Jesus’ precious Name, Amen.