7 months ago, God claimed me back.
I had lost my way after first getting to know Jesus when I was 14 or 15. You see, I felt called to the ministry back then, but I was told that could not be. No women in ministry. My world imploded and I think it is safe to say, that after what I recognised as the Holy Spirit was taken from me, I had nothing left. It was a long period of hopelessness. And still I kept feeling there had to be something more… Somewhere I needed to be. Something which somehow kept me safe even in that very dark valley.
A long and winding road
It took me 20 years to recover. and the road back was long. It was paved with the right people just at the right time. It was also paved with utter confusion, months of incredible emotional and mental pain which are beyond description, and a sense of being trapped in a maze with no exit. And somehow, it was blessed with an underlying sense of direction and survival instinct which I did not understand, but everyone remarked on it.
With the help of countless people, one mentor in particular, I came to a point where I graduated with a degree, then a career began, finally. I was over the moon, although I still struggled with anxiety, depression and a huge array of physical problems that just seemed to never end. But I could function.
A hug from God
In early 2018, I lost contact with this mentor who had supported me for many years. I was expecting to go mad with grief. Quite literally. But God had other plans, and He stepped into that gap, caught me before I could even think of falling, and held me completely safe in the biggest hug I have ever had in my life.
He has not let go yet.
The Holy Spirit is “dangerous”
I say that I was converted when I was 14, and I was. As far as I was able with my young person’s understanding, I gave my life to Jesus. I began taking part in church life and fellowship, gave testimonies, led a few groups… I had poems printed in a few national and Christian media, my testimony was printed nationally. My life changed from that of a rogue teen to the promising path of a young person exploring a call to the ministry, taking on responsibility…
I was earnest, very much so, but I never had a very clear sense of God talking to me directly in any way – apart from when I was writing poetry and messages. The Holy Spirit was a bit dangerous, I was given the impression: This speaking in tongues thing – probably not for modern day man. Gifts, yes, but figuring them out was very hard work, and you might get it wrong, and then perhaps God would be cross with you. Whether that was actually said or not, that was how it felt. So we stuck to Jesus, and to God the Father in passing when we needed to discuss creation.
Now, 20 years later, God has decided to reveal His love so much more clearly and directly. A few people have been central in helping me understand just how much God loves me AS I AM and JUST BECAUSE HE DOES. Not once I get to a certain point of holiness. Not when I am the right sort of ready. No, as I am, flawed and broken and occasionally not very nice at all, God loves me, and I am precious to Him.
As soon as that seed was sown properly in the gap that had appeared, and as soon as I had even a faint glimpse of what that truly means, this Holy Spirit of whom I had been somewhat wary, set about growing that into one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
More like Jesus
I used to think that somehow, even if God loved me, I would have to then work really hard to obtain a certain level of holiness to prove that I meant business. If I didn’t, then all I was doing was cause the Lord grief and crucifying Him all over again. But the Holy Spirit whispered deep in my heart: No, child. I will sanctify you. The whole point is that you can’t, but I can. I will make you more like Jesus. You are a new person in Christ, there is no need to struggle with any of that old stuff. Give it to me, let me do the work.
Let it go
I began to understand that once something was confessed and forgiven, which God has promised to do straight away when we ask, then it is gone. I have no right to continue to cling to it as if it were still there. After all, I claim to believe that Jesus died for my sins. If He did, and they are gone, then how can I hold on to them? If I do, how can I claim faith in his sacrifice? It did not add up. It was illogical. It was false. The Devil was the only one with an interest in making me believe that sort of story. I decided to ask God to show me how to just have full confidence in his promise. That changed my relationship with God dramatically from one moment to the next.
Because this is what I have found: When I ask God for something like this, which is not easy for me to believe and trust but which is so clearly in line with His Word and His nature, it is not uncommon for Him to be so incredibly generous that as soon as I ask, it has already happened. This space, where God’s Kingdom comes in my life and where I invite Him to come, by His Spirit, and do the work that is required, is instant. It is a complete change of my whole being which opens another area of ‘all mine is already yours’.
My past changed
God even often heals things in retrospect, which tends to leave me completely awestruck. Thinking about all these years in the wilderness, one day the Lord decided to begin showing me all the times His Spirit had intervened, carried me, given me insights. I still have not got the full long list, but so many were the examples that I was convinced in principle, and in that moment, 20 years of feeling abandoned instantly changed to 20 years of feeling loved beyond comprehension. My past changed. God is so good, so generous, so faithful and He never stops healing and creating.
The Holy Spirit asks for permission
It is not rare that I have a little chat with the Holy Spirit. I can feel He is up to something, perhaps, and there is this little pause. It’s the gentleman side of the Holy Spirit. I find it very touching that the Holy Spirit waits. Waits for me to invite Him to do what He needs to do.
Jesus Christ is Lord in my life. There is no area of my life I wish to keep from Him. He has bought me with His own blood and apart from that, I wish, from the bottom of my heart by His grace to serve Him and to submit to His will. And still, His Spirit waits for me to invite Him. It is both very kind, and it is also such a treat for me to be allowed to say: Yes, please, Lord, thank you for asking, please come and rule in another dusty corner of my life that I had not seen or not quite been ready to hand over. I invite you. Go on, overwhelm me with your power of restoration. Make me who you intended me to be. You are welcome here. I surrender.
Hungry for God’s blessings
Another thing I have been asking God for more lately (and I am honest with the Lord, I say to Him: Lord, I am a greedy girl. I am going to be bold and ask you for something now because I know you are so generous.). I said to Him: Lord, show me how to allow myself to receive all your blessings. Show me how to just let you be the generous God you are and long to be. Show me how to not hide or shy away when you want to bless, show me how to not reject what you want to give me, show me how to let myself be overwhelmed and swept away by your generous grace and love and to not try to limit you. And as God is showing me how that looks, it is fundamentally changing my understanding of God, His love for me, and my own understanding of my potential in Christ. Because if God decides to bless, if God wants to give me something, if Jesus needs me to be something that I am currently not and He wishes to equip me, and if I do not set about blocking that because I am listening to a load of rubbish from the Liar telling me that I’m not worthy and other variations on that theme, then God can indeed do anything God likes, even in my life. And He does.
No more separation
I will never in a million years be worthy in myself, but when God looks at me, He sees someone He loves. Dearly. Dearly enough to give His Son to die a horrible death for me while I was still a sinner, at my most horrible. And He sees me-in-Christ, the person he intended me to be and who He is transforming me into. I will tell you something: I do not want to actively contribute to any separation between me and God’s purpose for me. Because what is sin apart from exactly that: Separation from God’s will? And where does sin lead? To death.
Overwhelmed by His love
But I am so alive. I am more alive than I have ever in my life been. Dead to sin and alive in Christ, living a life which He is living through me, where He is changing me for the better and where He Himself is teaching me what that looks like. So gently. So lovingly. And through Jesus’ sacrifice, I am justified, clean enough to be in His holy presence and sit at His feet and worship Him with all I am.
And if you ever find me, completely out of character compared to the self-conscious, unyielding, argumentative, hopeless and rootless girl from a few months ago, – if you ever find me, on my knees, with tears streaming down my face and a huge smile, odds are you have found a princess who used to not even think herself worthy of the air she breathed, overwhelmed by the love, grace and abundant blessings of God, and realising that the miraculous sense of direction which somehow kept her alive, was the Holy Spirit she so feared, which is now guiding her towards what God wanted in the first place.
On so many levels.
If you see her there, just smile. God is healing everything in ways that only God can do and there is no end to His blessings.
How would you live if you could truly believe that God loves you as much as He says He does? If you could look into the loving eyes of Jesus with gratitude, yes, but with no reservation, no shame, no need to hide from His gaze?
Let Him bless you as abundantly as He longs to.