Inward Reflection

Psalms 42:6 (NASB) Why are you in despair my soul? And why are you restless within me? Wait for God, for I will again praise Him. For the help of His presence, my God.

I like how David talks here, that he is going inward as to why his soul is in despair. An inward reflection is the stance he decided at this moment. Right now we are preparing to teach a series in our youth on how our emotions and memories are often tied together. They can, if we allow them to, define who we are. David had very high highs and some very low lows in his writings, but God still refers to him as a man after His heart. David was full of emotions, sometimes in his writing you can tell he was led by them. He had to make a conscious decision to allow God to lead in the midst of his brokenness. There are times you can see great strength coming out at the admittance of his weakness.

There are times that we try to come out of the despair by ourselves. We will go and tell those around us who will listen so that we can get a sympathetic hear. We try to numb it with watching videos. Some use substance to take away the pain. Even in our frustrations and in our pain, the one we can run to is our Father. Especially when you are angry, tell Him, He knows your heart anyways.

Ephesians 5:2 (TPT) And continue to walk surrendered to the extravagant love of Christ, for he surrendered his life as a sacrifice for us. His great love for us was pleasing to God, like an aroma of adoration – a sweet healing fragrance.

When I think of healing I do not always think of a physical need for healing. Some of our wounds are not able to be seen. Mostly I think of emotional healing. I do not like the way I react sometimes. In order to get to the root of that wound, I find that surrendering to the extravagant love of Christ, the one that we are told is there, I have to allow it to surround me. We can receive Christ as our Savior and not really receive this love. Some of us think that we are not lovable. We thank Him for saving us from hell, without realizing all that He wanted to restore within us. I walked this way for years. I truly realized what freedom felt like when I, that I do not have to be surrendered to my wounds, that I can receive a healing deeper than my physical needs.

I want to tell you that it is okay, not to feel okay sometimes. Charles Spurgeon once said, “I have a great need for Christ. I have a great Christ for my need.” He will not just take away the pain though, He wants to bring you through it. There is growth in that process. There is an understanding that happens so that we can love others when they are going through things. I have learned that in my hurt, I have hurt others. I have kept people at a distance so that I would not get hurt again. When I get to the root of my hurt, I can start to heal.

“I have a great need for Christ. I have a great Christ for my need.”

Charles Spurgeon

I was talking with the other youth leaders and told them that one of the reasons that I seemed so stand offish, not approachable, in my early years of leadership, was because I felt like I had to be perfect growing up. In turn, I would often snap real easily at people if I felt like they were lazy or messy. I was the oldest of three (ages five and three, my sisters are twins) to a single mother. My mother was nearly twenty four when she left my abusive father. When we finally got a place of our own, I felt pressure to make sure things were taken care of. We had chores, like all children should, but to a single mom who was trying to better herself, there was not much availability to have a messy home. Everything was always put away. Dishes were done immediately. My sister use to talk about how clean my house was when she would come over. I do not stress about it like I use to. I do the dishes in the mornings now (well sometimes). My sisters were younger and it seemed they did not “care” as much as I did, or maybe did not notice, that these things stressed my mom out. Later, I realized that I inherited that stress. This is at no way a fault of hers, it was something that I did not know how to process as an eight year old. Now that I am an adult, and with ability to surrender into His extravagant love, I can get to the root of why I stress. I did not like feeling that way, why God do I despair? He will help you work through to the root, if you let Him. I still tense up about some things, but I am getting better. You may need to talk to someone who specializes in this, that is perfectly okay. I would just encourage you to find someone who is grounded in pointing you back to Christ.

In Isaiah 9:2-7 (MSG) it talks about the promise of Christ, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—light! sunbursts of light! You repopulated the nation, you expanded its joy. Oh, they’re so glad in your presence! Festival joy! The joy of a great celebration, sharing rich gifts and warm greetings. The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants— all their whips and clubs and curses— Is gone, done away with, a deliverance as surprising and sudden as Gideon’s old victory over Midian. The boots of all those invading troops, along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood, will be piled in a heap and burned, a fire that will burn for days! For a child has been born—for us! the gift of a son—for us! He’ll take over the running of the world. His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness.
His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings. He’ll rule from the historic David throne over that promised kingdom. He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing and keep it going with fair dealing and right living, beginning now and lasting always. The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies will do all this.”

There are no limits to the wholeness He will bring. I like that. However, it does not leave out my surrender to to the process to receive that wholeness. Jesus knows what it feels like to be hurt and to have to work through the emotions to process that hurt, so in turn He could walk in perfect love. It is a process. It is okay in that process, like David, you feel despair. On the other side is immense joy!

John 15:11 (NLT) I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!

If you need prayer or someone to encourage you please feel free to email me at amanda@desiringformore.org.

My First Step into Surrender

I was 18 when God spoke to me about surrendering my life to Jesus. John and I were already engaged and he had just turned his life back around. A few months before I found out that he was a drug addict and had always been since we met (almost three years of ignorance). When he got totally sold out to Jesus this time, he was a changed man. I did not quite know what to think. As he was ministering one night, God spoke to me. He said, “Amanda, that pedestal you have that boy on, that’s where I belong. Stop basing your future on what is going on in his life. I can love you so much more than He can!” With that I was all in.

“Amanda, that pedestal you have that boy on, that’s where I belong.”

The next step into being “all in” took great courage. I had a deep desire for love. So much so, that I had instigated the sexual aspect of our relationship. Now, I was going to have to tell him that if we were going to go all into this Jesus thing, then we were going to be all in about Him and not about us…that meant no more sex until marriage. Thankfully, John was all in too. That meant he wanted to see me succeed in my relationship with God, so that our eventual marriage would succeed.

I am going to be honest. It was not easy. There was still that desire there for physical love, especially, when you already know what that feels like. I can tell you for a fact, our relationship with God saved our marriage. We were no longer dependent on each other for the “love” feelings. We have a deep love for each other. We know each other’s thoughts, and can even finish each other’s jokes. We know how to build each other up; in turn that means we know what will be the area that we need the most work in.

Why did we do it?

“Jesus fixed his gaze upon the man, with tender love, and said to him, ‘Yet there is still one thing in you lacking. Go, sell all that you have and give the money to the poor. Then all your treasure will be in heaven. After you’ve done this, come back and walk with me.'” (Mark 10:21 TPT)

What was the one thing that could stand between me and God? What was the one thing I was putting in His place? That was John. He did not belong there. As long as I was giving myself to him, I would not be able to keep God in His right place. We put “us” on pause. We still got married, it was just another two and half years after that moment.