I'm 're-entering' my home life after a beautiful, intense and time-warp of a trip. I just spent four days in the mountains attending the Deepening Weekend (Zoweh - the Deepening Weekend) and it somehow feels like so much more time has passed by. My friends and I joked with one another that it was like entering into Narnia. Like we all just slipped into Narnia together and went on an epic, magnificent, life-altering adventure with Aslan and with all of his kingdom's hosts. And it's like we just encountered Aslan and he touched parts in us we didn't know were there and he gave us names we didn't know we bear. It's like we grew old, crowned with new names and new hearts, riding through the woods with winds whipping through our hair and laughter ringing out and... oh, what is this?
We felt our way back into the wardrobe and tumbled onto the floor in an empty room from whence we came. A lifetime had passed but back home it had been but a few moments. Had it really happened?
It's disorienting but, truly, we are oriented. We are back in this old life, in our old homes, but with the knowledge of more. No, with a sweet taste of what is and what is to come. The larger story.
This weekend, God came for the hearts of His daughters. And I wonder: how is your heart?
Maybe your heart is overwhelmed. Tired. Burdened. Aching. Broken.
Maybe your heart has endured so much that it is almost unfeeling. Numb. Apathetic.
My heart condition was like plexi-glass. You know, those barriers in stores between shoppers and cashiers? Yeah. That was the state of my heart, the image I saw in my prayer time. It stung, but I knew it was true.
I've been praying. Crying out to the Lord. Because in the last year and especially in recent months, this barrier has been something that became undeniable. I wanted to bring people in but it felt impossible. I froze. Shut down. Pushed away. You can see me. I'll let you see me. But I am in control and you may only see me to the level I allow before you hit my wall. I am guarded. This is for my protection and, unfortunately, often detrimental for others.
This condition of my heart has had consequences. Out of the overflow of the heart, right? There have been so many things I have been repenting of, surrendering, desperately crying out for. I often would ask God, "Why? Why can't I ______? What is wrong with me?"
Daughter, let Me show you how you have been wronged. How your young heart has been assaulted and misused and how you have learned to cope and defend.
Heart work is hard work.
There are parts of us we would rather keep packed away. There are wounds we carry that we fear will break us if we dare touch them.
Maybe it's time to break. Break open like a dam.
I know, beloved. I know the risk. I know the excruciating pain of entering into brokenness. It goes against every instinct. Willingly walk into my deepest, darkest hurts? I literally live my life in a way that is crafted to avoid that very thing.
That's withholding. That right there is a big ol' plexiglass barrier to abundance. Intimacy. That, friend, is not living. That's a dead (wo)man walking. That right there is a prisoner.
Our hearts need a Surgeon.
Who better to give our bleeding hearts to than a Perfect and Loving Father?
What I am always surprised to find (and WHY?) is that my Abba actually knows me better than I know myself. It's like He was there in all of the trauma I experienced. Those memories I repressed? That abuse I stuff back down whenever it threatens to rise up? He knows it. He knows it is like poison within me. It becomes poison to the people around me. The people I love and whom I'm trying to love well. My love is hindered; both ability to give and to receive.
How can we love the Lord with all our HEARTS, souls, strength and minds, and then love our neighbors as ourselves, if we are withholding our whole hearts from the God of love? From the One who IS Love and the One who loves us with an everlasting love and the One who renders us able to love because He first loved us?
Invite Him in to perform heart surgery, dear one. It is guaranteed to hurt. I wish I didn't have to tell you this. It will require a risk and a courage that goes against every fiber of your being. Your flesh may scream at you, your heart may very well feel as if it will shatter. And it may, in some way or another. But the other guarantee is that your surgery will save your life. It will recover and revive your heart.
It will be worth it. Making room for more of God in our hearts always is.
I did this. Again. The hurt that God entered into this weekend blindsided me. It was another layer of healing that I didn't realize I needed. My Father knew and still, there was a very real part of me that wanted to run. No, no. Not this. Not more pain. My heart cannot take it. Please don't make me.
Beloved, of course you don't have to. But you have a choice to make. And He is always gentle and always kind and always inviting. I say I was blindsided but I realized even that was not true. My Father has been preparing my heart for this for months. And He is trustworthy (trusted and worthy) to enter into the very heart He created.
So I entered into the heart work, the holy work, and found there were big, heavy, nails, large enough to fasten not only my sin, but the sin of others towards me, on the cross.
Wow, Jesus. What a Savior. What a great, unfathomable, impossibly good Love.
There is a part of me that is sitting in a great room where the wardrobe, the portal to Narnia, stands. And if I'm being honest, there is a part of me that wonders if anything in my heart has truly changed. Was it worth the suffering? The vulnerability? The exposure?
Is my heart truly transformed? Did this really happen?
Outside my window is a clue, pointing to truth. In a few short days (back home where everything appears to have remained the same, remember?), spring has sprung. New life has actually BURST forth. When I left, the trees were still bare, the flower buds shut tight. And I wondered if spring would ever come.
This morning, I woke up to find... an exuberance. A flourishing. New life.
And I know that this has really happened. It is true. Because in the Kingdom, even the dead things give way to Life.
Written By: Olivia Caldwell
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