Something happened, and now I know,
he touched me and made me whole.
~ William J. Gaither
My heart was now drenched with joy, love and hope. But I knew this next process—of allowing God to clean house in my heart—was going to take some time. I had a ton of baggage to haul out the door!
So I began the process of allowing God to burn the decomposing refuse in my heart so He could finally—fully—move in, redecorate and establish permanent residence there. No reserving a secret, off-limits spot for myself in its dark recesses.
My first step was to stop approaching God with less of a laundry list of “I wants” or “I know I will be happier ifs…” Instead, I approached Him with a more humble, contrite attitude. Some things I quickly admitted I didn’t deserve and fully prepared my heart to accept His answer, no matter what that answer might be. I appealed to His mercy, focusing on His will rather than my own.
Finally, after so many years of struggling between the persistent voice of God and the empty lure of my tidy collection of idols, I discovered what it meant to have real faith in Jesus. Faith that only our loving God can give you.
I remained unsure how He’d fulfill His promises or manifest His faithfulness, and, for a short time, I still continued to imagine that having faith meant never experiencing doubts or fear. (I’d eventually learn how to deal with those!) But the reality that God knew what I needed, and would always be faithful to me and to those needs, finally permeated my calloused heart and hard head. Comprehension of what living in His will meant emerged in vivid clarity. I began to fall in love with a Savior whose power, authority and grace know no boundaries or limits.
His grace propelled me forward on the ascent from suffocating despondency that had engulfed me. I felt energetic, purified. Forgiven! In grace, I moved confidently and aggressively forward into the acceptance stage of grief. Without dismissing that grief, I made a conscious decision to face forward and look to the future with strength, hope, and a new life.
This new hope—this spiritual rebirth—brought with it a reawakening of maternal longing. Along with this hope came thoughts about one more attempt to have another child, to chance another pregnancy.
But there were several things I knew: Until I could joyfully anticipate a pregnancy without needing to have a girl, or desiring to replace Victoria, I wasn’t ready. If I tried to force my desires upon God, I wasn’t ready. I would handicap my healing and myself, and be poorly prepared to receive another gift of life from Him. And I’d be inadequately prepared to confront another loss.
I was on the right road to complete recovery, just beginning to grasp what the grace of God truly means for a Christ follower.
What I didn’t know, and what I’d soon discover, was just how much further into the depths of anguish, despair and fear that God and His grace would lead, follow and sustain me.
Do you know the Lord at all? Do you think you know Him? Do you really know Him? Or are you, like I was, living a life of deception, of unreality, a life Reverend Karen Vonnoy calls, “Virtual Christianity?”
Have you deceived yourself into thinking you and the way you live your life are okay? As Vonnoy says, “Our society caters primarily to our wants and not our needs. We play games with ourselves about those wants and needs, and [probably in order to make ourselves feel justified and more righteous] we rationalize our behavior with others and draw them into our virtual Christianity.
“Deception contributes to the death of our spirit and we begin to die inside. The greater the deception the greater the turmoil within. Then you set up an inner resistance and avoidance of spiritual matters.”
The question is: What is the state of your heart? Is it full of turmoil or peace? What’s your future look like? Do you know where you’ll be spending it? (Future is an important thing to think about since all of us will be spending a lot of time there.) Have you deceived yourself?
If you’re trying to intellectually rationalize all of this, don’t. Why?
Because it’s a heart issue, not a head issue.
Want to get in on this God thing? There’s nothing mysterious or complicated about it. There’s no ritual you need to perform, no special chant or prayer you need to utter. Just ask Him. Honestly seek Him and ask Him to reveal Himself to you and change your heart.
When you do He’ll write you on the palm of His hand, make you a part of the family, start preparing a place for you in eternity, and tell you great, unsearchable things you did not know!
NEXT WEEK: Before I head into Part 2 of my story, I’m going to give you 11 steps to help you defeat depression, or at least make it more manageable. I’ll incorporate recent neuroscience research, integrated (alternative) medicine advice—including manual therapies, exercise, diet and natural drugs—and an overall solid approach to healing: emotionally, physically and spiritually.
Make it a great week!
Thanks for joining me!