The Second Part Of My Testimony: The Second Most Incredible Experience Of My Life!

 Rose

(FreeImages.com/Marie Jeanne lliescu)

The first biggest event in my life happened when I was four years old.  (I share that part of the story on my blog, under the “About Me” section):

At the tender age of four, I was aware of the fact that I sinned every day and quite a bit.  I knew I was guilty.  I attended a Bible club and became convicted of my need for God’s forgiveness.  I was overjoyed that Jesus died so that I could be forgiven and not need to be entrapped in my sin and punished for it.  I remember the day that I got down on my knees and simply asked Jesus to make me His child and to forgive me for my sins.  Immediately, indescribable peace and joy flooded my heart.  It was like millions of tiny prisms of light were reflecting rainbows into my heart.  I jumped and ran through the house, telling my family, “I’m saved!  I’m saved!”    My life was never the same after that.

The second biggest event in my life happened April 24-25, 2015. Here’s the story:

My husband and I attended a conference at my sister’s church that weekend.  For a couple of years proceeding my attending this conference, my sister kept trying to prompt me that I was not walking in my identity (as my Heavenly Father’s daughter).

I had accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation at age four, as I previously shared.  I thought since I knew it all in my head (the right words) and could say it (could say that I was His daughter) to everyone, that I believed it. I was blind though to what it meant to truly walk in my identity.

You can always know what you believe by seeing how you live.  What you live is what you believe.

[Note: When I speak of “God showing” me something, I am not speaking of some mystical vision or out-of-body experience like John and Daniel speak of in Scripture.  I am a visual learner, and I think in terms of pictures.  God will often give me a picture in my mind of something to help me understand the analogy or truth He is trying to communicate to me.  I also though always pray about each “mental picture” I get and ask the Lord to purify my mind and imagination because I don’t want to imagine something that is not of God. I then always take what I believe God is showing me, and I compare it with truth in Scripture.  Is the idea or concept or analogy Scriptural in nature?  I hope this clarifies any concerns anyone might have.  Furthermore, I do not claim any special revelation.  The only claim I have is this: I am His daughter, redeemed by Him, saved by Him, and being “sanctified” by Him!  What a “claim” that is!]

I awoke at 4:50 a.m. that Saturday morning to God’s Holy Spirit literally pouring over me, speaking to me.  He showed me a picture of waves that were like His Holy Spirit just washing around a huge boulder in my life (representing a huge area in my life that needed spiritual “healing”) and carrying away the dirt, sludge, and moorings holding onto that boulder. I then saw (in my heart/mind ) Jesus standing next to the boulder and myself, and He asked, “[my name], the boulder’s going over, are you ready?” Oh, yes, Jesus!”

I had come to the conference, broken and bleeding. I saw myself as a bird with two broken wings. A recent difficult situation had occurred the two weeks proceeding the conference, and I was left wounded and bleeding. God though was using that situation to prepare me for the healing He desired for me and that I so desperately needed.

As I lay in bed that Saturday morning, God began to open my spiritual eyes, and I finally saw all my self-loathing, all my lack of acceptance, my feelings of inferiority.  I realized that I had seen myself as the dog under the table of the Master, trying to find just a scrap of the leftovers of His love and attention.

I couldn’t picture myself as anything other than at the back of the pack. I would picture Jesus riding in triumphantly for His return, but I was always at the end of the line.

I couldn’t envision my husband and I having any ministry. Since I saw myself as inferior and a “leftover”, I saw my husband as God’s leftovers as well because I was just not “special enough” to get the best. I saw my children as inferior. Everything that I touched, everything that was considered mine, I saw as inferior and unworthy.

I was unable to fully receive love.

I knew that this was the “boulder” so I began to cry out to God, as we drove the second day to the conference, “God, show me what You think of me.” I was begging and pleading (always thought I had to beg and plead to get His attention).

We arrived at the conference to the beautiful sounds of worship music.

I began to sing along to the words of Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave: “I delight myself in you…” All of a sudden as I was singing, it was as if Jesus was singing the words to me. His love was washing over me in waves, and I was trembling.

(I can’t even begin to explain the emotion of that moment.  All I can say is that God was opening my spiritual eyes and ears to experience something I had never experienced before.  He was answering the cry of my heart that I had prayed just minutes earlier.)

I then saw myself as if I was flying through the heavens with Jesus holding my hand. It was as if I saw a few seconds of Him creating the galaxies.  (I could see this as a picture or movie all enfolding in my heart.)   Jesus spoke to my heart, “[my name], you were in my heart before time began. I chose you before time began.”

Suddenly, I could no longer resist His Spirit. I turned to my husband and asked him to go with me to the back for prayer with my sister and her husband who were on the prayer team with this conference.

As I began to pray, I began to pour out everything God was showing me.  I suddenly saw that the night before when I had been able for the first time to lift my hands high to God (during a worship song), I was still the broken bird.  I was the broken bird, waving its broken wing and saying, “Jesus, look at me. Look at me. Is there anything that you can find in me to love?” As I kept praying, it all poured out, God showed me that I had a “wound” from the past that had left me feeling unprotected and a vow that I had made that I would protect those around me. I had become my own god, without realizing it.

God was speaking to me that I had to “step out of the boat” (of my old ways) to walk towards Him into “freedom.”   God revealed to me that He had protected me and that He would protect me because He is a good God.  He showed me that He was protecting me even when I didn’t realize it. He showed me that my husband had been given to me as a protector of my heart, even when it was broken and bleeding and not aware that it needed to be protected.

As I was pouring out my heart to God, I was picturing myself as the prodigal daughter running to the Father. And all of a sudden, I saw that the Father was running towards me.  All I can say is, my heart ran smack into the heart of God, and I had finally come home.

The bird was set free to fly!

This feeling of absolute peace, well-being of soul, wholeness washed over me.

Life was no longer about a struggle to just walk in freedom enough to be free or to just have enough faith so that (my faith) would keep me. I suddenly realized it was about complete and utter rest in the Lord, an attitude of receptivity to Him. Just letting Him be my all in all.

Before this healing, I had trouble submitting.  I had been so wounded by “spiritual abuse” from spiritual authorities over me that I had trouble trusting.  I also had trouble submitting at times to my husband even though he isn’t an abusive type.  I had “learned” to be independent to “protect” myself and had seen so many situations of spiritual abuse from husbands towards their wives that I was scared to trust my own husband. 

When I experienced healing in this area of trust, God showed me one of the main causes of rebellion.  He showed me that rebellion comes from distrust. Once God healed me of my lack of trust, I was able to verbally and literally completely entrust my heart to my husband. For the first time ever, my husband truly and completely had my heart! (Before this, I knew that I was withholding a part of my heart from my husband.)

This area of healing is completely transforming our marriage!  God is showing me how much He loves me that He is giving me this extra special gift of protection in my husband.  It has been a joy to experience this protection.

This is transforming my parenting! I am learning to no longer focus on my children’s behaviors and even on the “performance” of their hearts.  Rather, I am learning to focus on helping them to walk in their identity as His sons and daughters and what that looks like.  I am teaching them to trust the heart of their Heavenly Father.  There is more peace and more love present!

God continues to show me other areas. He showed me that there was a lot of fear in my heart that was a generational sin: it was so large it was like this hideously massive vine that it had become the size of a tree. God spoke to my heart that I was to get my shovel out because we were going to chop away at the roots running into my line of the tree [figuratively — not literal].

The Sunday morning following the conference, I awoke with it being a “resurrection morning.”  [“Resurrection” in the sense that God had done so much “healing” in my spiritual life and heart that everything seemed so new and pure and beautiful — just like I imagine it was like Resurrection morning.]  It was as if Jesus asked me to walk in the garden with Him.  (I could picture it in my heart.  I felt Jesus “wooing” my heart, showing me how precious and beloved and accepted I am to Him.  It was all so tender and so beautiful.)

Earlier as I had been preparing for church, I had some thoughts again that I didn’t feel attractive, and I knew they were lies from the enemy. God prompted my heart to go to my husband. I did, and my husband said, “[my name], you were created in the image of God. You are His image-bearer.”

Then a little later while I was taking care of my toddler at church, it was if I heard Jesus say, “[my name], come walk with me in the garden.” In my mind, I could joyfully picture Jesus wanting to spend time with me.  If was as if, we walked together. Again, I saw as if it were that Jesus bent down and picked a flower and handed it to me and said, “You are a flower in my garden.”

On Monday, I awoke to a beautiful song, flooding my heart. The awareness of being “cradled in the bosom” (metaphorically) of the Father surrounded me. That day, it was as if I heard Jesus say to me twice, “[my name], come on a walk with me.”  Twice, He showed me a picture of walking me to the top of a mountain and below there was turmoil all around and coming. Jesus calmed my heart with the truth in Scripture that He will protect me and will walk with me through it all difficulties I might have to face. Twice that day as I was driving, I came upon huge traffic jams. Both times, God opened a way for me to go around and avoid the jams. Jesus then spoke to my heart, “That is what I am going to do for you when the challenges of life arise, when turmoil arises. I will make a way for you around it and through it.”

On Tuesday, the Lord encouraged me with the words that freedom is not about having enough faith so we walk in freedom. If that were so, we would be relying on our own faith to keep us. Faith is about a complete surrender and attitude of receptivity to the Lord. It is about resting in Him, abiding in Him, finding our strength in Him. Faith is just walking towards Jesus and walking hand in hand with Him.

As I was grocery shopping on Tuesday, I could only be amazed at the strength and peace I felt as I just kept resting in Him, allowing Jesus to be my strength, wisdom, and peace! It was a joyful experience to just delight in the Lord and in turn to rejoice in my 18-month-old son’s presence. I knew that God was giving this interaction between my son and I as a picture to people of what His love for us looks like. I could feel Him loving others through me. I would and will be a conduit of His grace to others, and others will see the Father’s love through me as I walk in complete surrender to Him.

God also gave me this picture of Heaven literally being right ahead on a path, kind of like in Pilgrim’s Progress. He showed me that I was there on the path, along with many other witnesses, taking the hands of people and pointing them to Heaven, to Jesus. I was telling them that the Kingdom of Heaven is so close and Jesus is right there. I was pointing them to the Father.

So on Tuesday, as I was fully feeling God’s power flow through me and as I was aware of this joyful calling I have, the Lord allowed me to be a witness to His work in the heart of a young man.

I brought my cart of groceries back to our van and carefully wove between the car parked beside my van. As I did so, my 18-month-old son leaned down to the young man in the car beside us (my guess is the young man is in his 20’s) and said, “Hi. Hi.” The young man then said something along the lines of, “You are a cutie.”

At this point, I felt like my mouth had come “unhinged” there was such a filling of the Holy Spirit. It was literally like liquid gold pouring out of my mouth as the next few minutes unfolded.  [If you have experienced this you know what I mean.  It is a time when you are completely resting in the Lord, and when He is in the one speaking through you, giving you the words to say.]

I felt the Lord filling me to say, “He is incredibly special! [in reference to my son] I am so thankful for the blessing He is to me!” I then turned to the young man and said something along the lines of, “You are incredible too.”

As I continued to unload the groceries, I heard the young man say through his open window to my son Weston (sitting in his car-seat), “You just made my day.”

The Lord then spoke to my heart, “Go to that young man. I have a message for him.”
I walked over to him, leaned into his window, and gently asked, “May I tell you something?” He replied with, “Yes.”

With God speaking through me, I then said, “I went to a conference this past weekend that completely changed my life.” I then told him a summary of what I shared in the first part of my testimony to you.  I then went on to say, “Every boy and girl, every man and woman is longing to feel accepted and special. So, we fill our lives with stuff like drugs and sex and other pleasures so we can try to fill that need in us to find someone to love us and who accepts us unconditionally.”

I then looked the young man in the eyes so directly and said, “God does not make weak men. God does not make inferior people. God does not make mistakes. You were in His heart before time began. He loves you. He has chosen you. He is calling you to Himself. Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes unto the Father except by me’.”

At that moment, two people got into the car. Without any delays or pauses, I asked him, “May I pray with you?” There were tears in the young man’s eyes, and he said, “Yes.” I then began to pray, “Jesus, show this young man what you think of him, how much you love him. What do you want to tell him today?” I paused for a little while and then asked, “What did Jesus tell you?” He responded with something that I couldn’t clearly hear because of the quietness of his voice and the traffic noise, but it sounded like, “I am his son.” (In the beginning of our conversation he had already told me that years before he had asked Jesus to forgive him for his sins. )

I then asked him, “Do you accept that [that you are His son, created for a purpose]?”He said, “Yes.” I then prayed over him. As I finished, I looked directly into his eyes again and said, “God is calling you unto Himself for a very special plan and purpose that He has for your life. You have to let go of the little boy to run into the arms of Abba-Father so that the man God created you to be emerges.”

As I turned to talk away, I saw that the people in the car were this young man’s parents. They quietly said, “Thank you.” It was a holy moment.

For when God takes a rod, it becomes a symbol of His power. When God touches a stone, it proclaims His righteousness. When God fills a place, it becomes a sanctuary to His holiness. When God hangs upon a tree, it becomes a symbol of His unending love. And when God fills a human being made from dirt, we become a testimony of His beautiful enduring life of grace!

This song so summarizes it all: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJxw6k_d25Q (“The First Time” by Mercy Me)

Being Or Doing?

Tulips

As Christians, we often define a person’s “godliness” by their actions, words, acts of service.

Many books, blogs, Bible studies, and radio programs are centered around the character of the Proverbs 31 woman (from the Bible).  Her actions are described in great detail.  Perhaps, the assumption is made that if we do more of what the Proverbs 31 woman did, we will also be a “mini-Proverbs-31-woman.”

As if one can be by doing… 

The concept of good works is so ingrained within our culture and certainly within our religious institutions.

There’s plenty of Biblical basis for this teaching.  The book of James in the Bible says that “Faith without works is dead.”

There are stories like the “Good Samaritan” in the Bible, which show that God finds physical acts of service the definitive way that we demonstrate love.

It is in the ordinary acts of daily service that we wear the skin of love.

Why then does it seem like as Christians we are often so busy doing good works to the exclusion of quality and quantity time in God’s Word?

Why then does it seem that the family gets the “leftovers” of our time, while the bulk of our time and energy goes to the “ministry”?

Why do ministries seem to be experiencing high levels of friction and tension and in some cases the permanent erosion of friendships and relationships?

Have we become people that are more captivated by religious activities, actions, and duties then we are by Jesus Himself and the simple love of His people?

Are we so busy running ourselves ragged over so many needs that we haven’t stopped to inquire whether or not they are specifically something to which God has called us?

Do we stop to question why we do the things we do?

As someone once said, “What we say ‘no’ to is just as important as what we say ‘yes’ to.”

The Bible also records a short story about Jesus’ visit to the home of two sisters and the brother:

Luke 10:38-42

38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’[a] feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

41 And Jesus[b] answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

“Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Martha was busy trying to prepare a meal to meet the physical needs of her guests.  Her goal was a good desire: she wanted to take care of her guests — that’s what a good hostess does, right?

On the surface, it could have appeared that Mary was selfish and lazy.  She sat at Jesus’ feet while Martha appeared to be doing all of the work.  If we judge the two of these woman based on their actions, it would seem like Martha was the most “godly” in action, until she opened her mouth.  Then we begin to see perhaps a complaining spirit.  Yet, we could say she was being a leader.  She was giving directions to those under her to keep things running smoothly.

Jesus’ response though was so unexpected in many ways.  With His ability to discern the hearts and intentions of people, rather than their outwards actions, Jesus “cuts” to the heart of the matter.  He addresses the reasoning behind Martha’s actions and complaints: fear and anxiety.

Jesus then praises Mary because she chose the better thing.  What did Mary choose?  She chose to sit at Jesus’ feet.

Mary chose worship (that is when we truly “sit at Jesus’ feet”) over works of religious duty. 

Mary chose humility over a haughty spirit that desires to gain status within religious “spheres” by outward displays of service.

In the book, Think Differently, Live Differently, by Bob Hamp, he describes in allegorical fashion the story of a young man who was born to trapeze artists but was lost as an infant and was raised instead by farmers.  As a young man, he is found by his birth-parents, returns to live with them, and begins to train for that which he had been “born”: being a trapeze artist.  In this book, the author is comparing humanity to this young man.  (We were created for something so much greater than what we live in our natural, fallen state.  We were created to walk in perfect harmony and freedom as God’s sons and daughters.  Yet through sin, we are separated from God and begin to live as if we are someone else’ child…  God’s desire is to bring every man, woman, and child back to Himself — into a life-giving, life-transforming, and freeing life as His sons and daughters.  Through Jesus’ gift of salvation, we can begin that process, but then we must learn how to live as His sons and daughters.)

In his book, Bob Hamp, says the following:

“When he slowly told his father that he knew he could never develop the skills that the others seemed to have, he waited … for the reply of disapproval that he had grown accustomed to on the farm.. This time the sharp words never came.  Instead, his father’s eyes welled with tears, ‘Son,’ he said, ‘ we thought you were dead.’

‘Of course, I want you to learn these things,’ his dad responded, ‘but it is not for me that I want this, it is for you!’

‘Son, the trapeze is in you, the high wire is in you,’ the father said.  ‘If you learn these things you will be learning who you are.  I want you to learn so you can become who you are , not so you can make me happy.’

…Tears filled his [the son’s] eyes and his throat felt thick.  They really did not need him to perform in order to be pleased with him … He remembered again why he had decided to leave behind the life he knew.  He did not leave because he wanted to work hard and be a disciplined acrobat … He did not leave to impress anyone … He left because of something in him not because of something in someone else.”

In I Corinthians 13, we read that love is the foundational principle.  Love is what God calls us to.

13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.

1 John 4:19

19 We love Him[a] because He first loved us.

Image result for love of God

What was the greater thing that Mary chose?  She chose Jesus.  She chose sitting at His feet because she loved him.  Because He loved her.  She was “abiding” in the presence of the One Who loved her.

In John 15, there is a beautiful passage about abiding in Jesus.  This is what Mary chose.  This is how we begin to live as we were created: to become more like Jesus.  This is how we are able to love others; we love because He first loved us.  We learn and live love when we learn at the “feet of Jesus”.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will[b] ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

Abiding in His presence speaks of a complete and utter trust in our Heavenly Father and surrender to Him. 

It speaks of an attitude of receptivity and of obedience.

It speaks of being full of His presence and of being led by Him — not by our own selfish, fearful, and proud ambitions.

In order to truly do what He wants us to do, it starts with “being” who He wants us to be.  That begins with being in His presence.