Keep Me Yours

About two weeks ago, I asked God for a Word He wanted me to receive that day and it was Psalm 32:7:

You are a hiding place for me;
    you preserve me from trouble;
    you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

As I shared it with a friend and told her that “deliverance” can also mean “to calve” and “surround me” can also mean “fetch me/cause me to come” I suddenly remembered something my husband and I watched on TV. It’s a series called “Farmer Seeks a Wife”.

One of the women woke early and because she got up then, she was able to partake in the calving. She was so overwhelmed by the beauty of that moment alone with the farmer, experiencing such an amazing moment alone together. It emphasized again for me the beauty of that hiddenness God calls us into, to be set apart unto Him and to still to His birthing of the new in our midst.

And then later, I sat there and read further in A Passion for the Impossible, a book written by Miriam Huffman Rockness about the life of Lilias Trotter, and just cried and cried. I sat with the Promise God gave Lilias right before her own weary heart and others’ discouraged hearts were opened wide to receive a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit – and to see hearts opening to Christ all around them after years of sowing without reaping:


Malachi 3:1
“See, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to His temple, the Messenger of the covenant you desire—see, He is coming,” says the Lord of Hosts. 

What I found so beautiful is that this birthing of new life came as Lilias and others confessed their own weariness and need for a fresh infilling of Christ. As they set aside time to seek God and to rest and recharge away from all their activity “for Him”, God moved mightily in their hearts and suddenly simulatenously in the hearts of those around them, who were then drawn to Christ like a magnet.

I have been drawn away into that quiet place with Christ afresh this week. On Resurrection Sunday Jesus drew me to His discipline of the disciples. As He entered the locked upper room, where they were hiding out in fear, He rebuked them for their unbelief and their hardening hearts, for refusing to believe those who had reported the Good News of His resurrection to them. In this rebuke of His disciples, Jesus uncovered the hardening of my own heart, the sorrow, unbelief and discouragement that I had allowed to hide out and fester in me, tainting my heart and my vision. And so, also so deeply encouraged by the repeated humbling of Lilias before her Maker, each fresh season of her life anew, I decided to take the time to lay my heart fully bare before God.

It’s funny how simple things really are, and how easily my heart softens at God’s touch, when all I do is I just draw near to Him, when all I do is just openly confess my discouragement, my sorrow and my unbelief. Jesus responded to me so beautifully through His Word, through a movie my daughter and I watched a few weeks ago, and through my husband’s uncovering of what lay beneath the surface.

God uncovered my dented pride (ouch), my clinging to the (oh-so-much better) past and the shame I have felt of my current (humble) circumstances. And He invited me into His seeing: into His pride in me, the new life and heavenly future set before me and my intrinsic worth in Him. As I embraced God’s seeing of myself and others, I could see how the sins of pride and unbelief had been sucking the joy out of me, filling me with grief and stealing my delight in learning from, growing with and connecting to those around me. And I rejoiced in the change of mind He gifted me, as He lifted such a heavy burden off of my shoulders, overwhelming me with His tender loving kindness.

As I was sitting with what God is doing in my life and heart, I came across this old poem I penned in prayer in 2018, and I so longed to share it with you, as it still so reflects the desires of my heart. May it bless your heart also to pray this with me afresh and to linger with our precious Jesus, inviting Him to show us all the ways He has already been answering these desires that are in fact the desires of His beautiful heart for us, His lowly, gentle and servant-heart.

KEEP ME, LORD



Keep me ever weak before You

That You might be my Strength

My Cup, My Portion.



Keep me needy on my knees

That I might know You ever more

Your life, Your grace, Your love for me.



Keep me humble

Casting here my burdens

Upon the One who saves.



Keep me thankful

Remembering all You've done

And all You've promised true.



Keep me breaking

Bread from heaven falling

Not hoarding, but in partaking gift.



Keep me pouring

My heart out like water

Panting after nothing, but Living Water.



Keep me seeing

Your hand upon

Your sovereign rule and reign.



Keep me learning

My heart here open

To Your perfect leading.



Keep me safe

Within your boundaries

Not stepping there beyond.



Keep me leaning

All my weight

Upon my Lord and Savior.


That I might live

Each day, forever

In Your holy Presence.



Keep me: YOURS.

Part 3: Chapter 3 – Day 7: Beauty for Ashes

Welcome to Day 7 of Part 3‘s Chapter 3 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is sharing a free will offering in a testimony the LORD gifted her through her weakness and need. It testifies to the blossoming staff of Christ’s holiness that leads and comforts us through the valley of the shadow of death, shedding the old for the new, as He calls us into His rest and peace.

Through His beautiful leading, Christ has been rooting me and grounding me ever deeper in the all-consuming love of the Father (Ephesians 3). God is growing me up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16). Slowly, by the grace of God, I am learning to let the living law – Christ – be my perfection and completion, as I learn to surrender the responsibility that is not mine to carry.

Recently, just before God commanded me to depart somewhere He had sent me, an older woman spoke of my sharing sometimes being like fire, meaning it as a rebuke. This came only a few hours before another woman had encouraged me to stop bowing before my idols and to continue to speak what God had been compelling me to speak. So, as the older woman spoke of that fire coming from my mouth as something to be corrected in me, I took it to God. He asked me to humbly thank her for her honesty and then to depart.

What I didn’t tell her, is that as I took her rebuke to the feet of Jesus, He returned it to me as a gift. He showed me that that fire was not evil in me, but His holiness burning in me. He showed me how He desired to burn the dross, not just in her, but the dross of pride and idolatry in me too. For, He knew of all those present, I most respected her word. So, He purposely allowed me to face her open rejection, for being His mouthpiece. He gave me the privilege of loving her as He loves us all: in truth and grace.

Fire departed from her and others’ mouths there also, and by the grace of God I was able to receive that fire as a precious gift from Him. Each child of His in that place changed my mind in one way or another. They filled me with such compassion and understanding for people in my past that I had failed to see and love as Jesus sees and loves us all in our weakness and need. I began to understand in a deeper way why and how my loved ones had turned to sin to numb their pain.

I realized that we were in fact not so very different from one another. For, each one of us had just been so longing for the healing comfort of our God in our pain, as we watched those we so loved turn away from us in their inability to love us and receive us as God does. Ironically we couldn’t see that in numbing our pain, rather than acknowledging our weakness and pouring out our pain out at the feet of Jesus in prayer, we too began to walk a path of rebellion and to turn away those we loved most.

And it was because of God’s fire flaming in our midst that I was freed to confess a past sin of mine in public for the very first time, as the shackles of shame and condemnation fell off of me. God gave me the honor of glorying in His embrace in their midst and to thank Him for the gifts He poured out upon me in that place, as I departed.

Now, I see how that fire of His in that place was just like the fire in the burning bush before Moses: the holy fire of God’s Word, setting Moses apart unto Himself and burning away the dross of his sin and shame, turning the ground Moses stood upon, into holy ground. 

No longer did Moses remain a fugitive after taking the law into his own hands to try and save his people. No, because of that burning bush, Moses heard the Voice of His God. He bowed his knees and walked into a new life, set apart unto His Maker. The Word of God, through whom His people would be freed from their slavery and, a generation later, led into the Promised Land.

As John 12:24-25 (ESV) puts it:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

Thanks to the gift God gave me as a freshly returned Prodigal to intercede for my pastor in his weakness and need, and many others since, my own weakness and need has been repeatedly exposed. Through each trigger of trauma, in all the intercession and iron sharpening iron, my God has been lifting the enemy’s accusations and causing me to arise in His holiness. He has clothed me in His justice, that was wrought at the Cross, and led me out to become His cloak and crown of justice to others, in their weakness and need.

He has been leading me to throw off the old of pleasing and hiding behind a mask of self-righteousness. He has been rerooting me in His love: “so that [I] may no longer be [a] [child], tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes” (Ephesians 4:14, ESV).

When I first began praying for my pastor and my church as a freshly returned Prodigal child, God gave me this Word as a Promise, as trauma triggers began to shake me (Ezekiel 3:8, ESV):

I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.”

Now, looking back on the past four years, I can see that God has been fulfilling this Promise to me. He has placed the helmet of salvation upon my head, so that when the sparks fly as iron sharpens iron, I no longer take it as proof that God has rejected me. 

I receive it as proof that God is in our midst, leading us all to repentance. I now know that He is giving us beauty for the ashes of our dross that He is consuming by the fire departing from His mouth. I am learning to embrace those flames as His desire to fashion me into His image, by His transforming power. 

He is strengthening me to (Romans 12:2, ESV): “not be conformed to this world, but [to] be transformed by the renewal of [my] mind, that by testing I may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Praise God that His mercies are new every morning. Each time I have wanted to return to the old He has purposely cut off, or I have wanted to put myself on a pedestal of self-righteousness by slandering those I have left behind, God has opened my ears to receive His Word of truth and grace. 

He has rebuked the sin in me and called me to walk in His holiness, to declare before Him: “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment…O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:4, 15-17 ESV).

He has continually rescued me, softening my hardened heart and teaching me to draw upon His love and affections for me. He has led me to deny myself, to take up my Cross and to follow Him. And, through His living Word and the precious Spirit-led sharing of people like Bettie, who He wove into my life right before my first church breaking, He has repeatedly lifted my pain and exchanged my sackcloth of mourning for a headdress of praise. He has caused me to arise in His wholesome Word of truth and grace with fresh hope, filling me with all joy and peace in believing, through the power of His Holy breath.

Praise God, Christ’s fire of holiness is flaming us each alive. For, it is our Jesus, who compells us through His living Word to throw off all that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles us. It is He who empowers us to run with perseverance the race marked out for us, to fix our eyes on Him, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him, our Jesus endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Oh let us ever consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that we might not grow weary and lose heart.

Through each physical departure, my God has been teaching me to depart my own fleshly thinking (that has told me to stay and fight in the flesh or to stay and bow to my idols to be loved and accepted) to instead die to myself and live unto Jesus. Interestingly, literally to “go” and bear fruit means “properly, to lead away under someone’s authority (mission, objective).” Isn’t that beautiful? Jesus is leading us out under His authority to fulfill His mission – the Great Commission.

Interestingly “unwholesome” talk literally means “overripe” and “rotten”. So, when Jesus calls us to leave somewhere, where His Word is not being received, it is so that we can leave behind His ripe and uncorrupted fruit that it may build up those we leave behind in Jesus, in His perfecting. Rather than clinging to the Word He is prompting us to share in fear of man’s rejection and letting our accuser divide our hearts and corrupt the pure and unadultered Word in us.

As we hide ourselves in Him, allowing His Word to hedge us in, we can wait upon God in trust, knowing the battle is not ours, but His.

Psalm 119:114 (KJV) Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

Yes! All Promises are Yes and Amen in our Jesus! The perfect Jesus, who our Heavenly Father sent into our hearts, through His Holy Spirit that we might not dim our light, Jesus – the Word fulfilled – but shine Him brightly into the world that not we, but He may call many Sons unto glory.

Come (Isaiah 40:26):

Lift up your eyes on high and see:
    who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
    calling them all by name;
by the greatness of his might
    and because he is strong in power,
    not one is missing.