I grumbled when I saw the patches of ice on my windshield. I was already running late for work, and I didn’t want to make the time to go back inside for warm water to throw on my windshield. I reached out and touched the ice and felt its thin fragility beneath my fingers. I nodded triumphantly, hopped in the car, started the engine, turned on the defrost, and flicked on my windshield wipers to their highest speed.
The Lord really rocked me during my time with Him this morning. He showed me this picture of Him in Heaven. I couldn't see His face because my gaze was locked on the hem of His white robe. It was swishing back and forth in constant movement. It was so bright and light and white and there was so much movement that it was almost dizzying. He was moving, the angels were moving. Heaven was actively moving - on my behalf. He then told me that my idea of His characteristic of "constant" was not full. We often call God "constant." He's unchanging, steadfast, dependable, and faithful. We know these things to be true, but then sometimes we can't see Him moving in situations in our lives and we start to lose hope.
Last night I finished writing and editing a blog post about war and surprise attacks in areas where I thought I'd seen victory. No more than two hours after I posted it, I was under attack again.
One of my dearest friends and I were talking about a specific situation in my life, and she was sharing her heart with me. What she had discerned from the Lord and what I had heard from Him myself were conflicting and tension was mounting. I suddenly found myself angry and questioning her intentions. Our interpretations of what we were hearing about this specific area were not lining up, so I immediately threw up a wall. I started backing away from one of my best friends – one of the sweetest gifts from God in my life.
As soon as I sensed the wall go up, I started praying and the Lord started unveiling my eyes. It was like a switch flipped, and I saw it for what it was – a very crafty attack of the enemy. The more I prayed, the more He revealed about the attack that had been set out against me that night.
Wars are being waged around me. Everywhere I look, I see the darkness and carnage that only war can bring. As I’ve navigated the treacherous landmines of my own battlefield, I’ve found myself glancing to my right and to my left and seeing the battlefields of my friends and family. War is everywhere.
Don’t get me wrong – there are times in your life when you have to go to war with your own flesh. One of my friends says that sometimes looks like the Lord squeezing everything out of us that doesn’t look like Jesus. And sometimes? Sometimes that just looks like war. As hard as some of these times have been, I’m thankful for the pieces of my own dying flesh I see littering the ground. Each piece of dead flesh represents a specific area in my life that didn’t look anything like Jesus. My Papa, the Great Physician, skillfully and carefully wielded his scalpel, surgically removing those decaying places out of me. He tossed those pieces by the wayside so they would no longer encumber me. He got rid of them so I’m able to look a little more like Jesus. And for that I’m thankful. But just because He’s a skilled surgeon doesn’t mean there was no blood shed in the process.
This past week during worship, I felt like I was hitting a brick wall over and over again. I kept trying to push through it, but I was making no headway. I started praying and seeking the Lord, asking Him why I was having such a hard time entering into His presence and giving myself over fully to Him in worship.
The Holy Spirit gently nudged me to recall the moment we started singing the first song of the set. Even though the song was personally significant to me, I wasn’t singing it with my usual joyful exuberance. Instead, I found myself feeling a little sad as we sang. What a juxtaposition – feeling intense sadness during a song about God’s miracle-working presence.
The song brought up some really sweet memories, but they felt as distant as His presence that day. With those memories came the harsh onslaught of comparison. But this comparison was different than anything I had ever experienced before. For one of the first times I can remember, I wasn’t comparing myself to other people. I was comparing myself to… myself. I was comparing my current situation to the places and seasons in which I had walked in the past.
Over the past few months, the Lord has taken me on a journey unlike any I’ve ever traveled before. As I’ve walked the path He’s set before me, I’ve been blown away by how gracious He’s been to me. He has dreamed the biggest of dreams with me. He has spoken the most beautiful promises over my life. He has answered some of my greatest prayers and fulfilled some of my deepest longings. He has healed places in me that were in desperate need of healing. He has injected me with hope.
Along the way, He did something I wasn’t expecting. He showed me my Promised Land, and then He showed me the steps it would take to get there. I started walking in faith toward what I knew He was calling me to.
Not long after He confirmed in my spirit what direction I was to head, I started running into walls of opposition. The enemy started coming at me with some of the strongest spiritual attacks I have ever experienced. My mind was attacked by whispers of lies from the enemy. My finances were hit from all sides. My closest relationships were in turmoil. Confusion and chaos abounded in every area of my life.
I'm a creature of comfort. I like cozy. I like warm. I like inviting. I really like familiar. I don't completely balk at change, but it's generally best if I can have some time to process that change is happening. I have to warm up to the idea.
I've lived in the same apartment for four years, and I have never rearranged furniture. Not even once. I've added a few odds and ends here and there, but all the rooms are basically the same as they were four years ago when I moved in. Once I get a room how I like it, I keep it that way. I've never been one to just randomly rearrange furniture. Goes back to that whole loving-the-familiar thing, I guess.
I love the reflection and readying that comes with each new year - reflection on the past year and readying yourself for the year to come. I've spent a lot of time the past few days reflecting on all the things 2015 has taught me. (More on that soon!) I've learned more about myself than ever before. I've grown more spiritually in the past few months than all of my years combined. I've made new friends and let other friendships be put to rest. I've walked through times of deep sorrow and times of buoyant joy. 2015 was good to me. As I think ahead to 2016, a common theme keeps popping up: purpose. I see a connection between the noun form of the word and the verb form of the word. Both have been on my heart the past couple of days. I want to live a life of purpose (n.), but to do that, I must purpose (v.) my heart and my mind and my soul and my body to do those things.