Today I go into the class for Mending the Soul. We are nearing the end of chapter 9 which is entitled, “Surrendering to God’s Love”. In today’s part of the chapter one finds the words that for abuse victims, we find them experiencing their Christian walk through their mind rather than their heart. When I read this I thought, “what other way is there is know your walk with God but through your mind?” I was then hit with the fact that God has been trying for years to get me to understand that my eternal spirit lives in my heart not in my mind.
This chapter continuously brings to the forefront the anger one has hidden deep within oneself. Anger from never being recognized and instead, being abused; always being belittled and never being praised, and the list could go on and on. The hurt from childhood has to be brought out in order for one’s heart to be exposed. It was the child’s heart that was hurt repeatedly for years that drove one to his mind in order to protect his heart. Little did I know I was doing that, but I certainly recognize it today.
Trusting the Love of God when one felt as though he didn’t matter to God or He would have protected you, seems ridiculous until you work through all the steps in this chapter. This is my third time through and I’m still finding more to surrender. I wrote in my journal that I find more reality by listening to the others share their hurts and all of a sudden I feel the same pain of my own which is now no longer buried deep within me. I can then let it go.
God is so patient and kind providing this opportunity for us to heal and trust Him in ways I never thought possible. How I’m learning to love Him more and more!
In the 2nd verse of The Refiner’s Fire it says: “I’m learning now to trust His touch, to crave the fire’s embrace….” It seemed God was wanting me to ponder this as He wouldn’t let it go this morning. I’ve never been one for simply touch. Hugs–yes. Touch–no. Well, as I began to allow myself to see Jesus laying my head on His chest and simply holding me there, I saw myself relax instead of becoming tense and uptight. I’d never pictured this before for me. It was then that the meaning of the second part of the phrase, “to crave the fire’s embrace” began to take root.
When fire is enveloping anything it engulfs it and opens it up getting to the core of whatever it is burning. As the fire has begun to embrace me and consume the protective cover around me I’ve had all of my life, I find a boy who is wishing to be held. He doesn’t have any fear of it as this adult has always had. When Jesus opened His arms to this boy he went into His arms.
This fire of our Refiner is consuming. But, just as silver and gold is purified with intense heat, we are too. The fire didn’t consume this little boy–it revealed him. The beauty of God’s creation is found each and every time when we allow Him to “have his way with thee”.
As I read through the words of “The Refiner’s Fire” again this morning I had to stop where it says, “Each time His purging cleanses deeper, I’m not sure that I’ll survive….” When I was in counseling and therapy I was told by each of the counselors I may never get rid of the deep rooted desires regarding gayness. This was planted so early in my life that I might just have to live with this, I was told. I’ve always hated this about myself and wondered why God wouldn’t remove it? Yet, the words say, “…cleanses deeper” so I pray again that this time it will go deeply enough to cleanse this sinful desire. I know that God has used my message of struggle to give permission for others to voice their struggle. Even when one doesn’t consider it a struggle, they speak to me because this desire is in common. So, if I am to live with this for the remainder of my days, I will try to do so with gladness of heart knowing God is using this to His Glory and Honor.
What God’s Light does reveal for me this morning is that the desire is not sin. Acting on the desire is the sin. The desire also doesn’t make me less than another man nor does it make me like my brother. It does however make me like all other men–human with sinful desires each one of us must face and surrender. In light of all this I asked God to remove it knowing He can. Yet, if He chooses to not, I will still rejoice that I am His child!
The Refiner’s Fire continues to burn. In the first verse of this song it says the fire burns with sacred heat white hot with holy flame. With any kind of flame comes light and the hotter the flame the whiter and brighter the light is. What is profound to me is that the Light of Jesus which is generated from this sacred heat identifies that my old beliefs about me were lies. It then replaces those lies with truth. God didn’t ever despise me because of my past, I was the one who did and Satan had me believing the world would too if they knew. The other thing that is amazing is that instead of obliterating my memory of my past (which I had prayed desperately hundreds of times He would do so I could be whole) He created the desire to tell my past so others could feel safer opening up about their own.
After yesterday’s post I spent the day in temptation forgetting that Satan does his best to try and manipulate this Light of God into showing the world how sinful I am rather than showing God’s healing. I needed to be reminded that the pureness of God’s Light from this sacred heat is always cleansing and never destructive. Oh how easy it is to twist this truth however and for a moment I was there. God has reanchored His Truth again.
Our choir director, for some reason, was inspired to have each of us spend time with our devotions to see what God would say to us regarding this song’s message. It is sure causing me to step back into areas I find needed a little (lot) more attention from this sacred heat so that in growing weaker in the flesh I would grow more confident in my weakness knowing God’s Strength has taken over.
The Refiner’s Fire is still very much in the forefront of my mind and my soul. As I was journaling with Jesus this morning much more insights came to me. The one which stands out significantly is that the Refiner’s fire is to purify–not destroy. Satan had me convinced that if I were to admit to my past abuse I would be destroyed. My career would be destroyed and I would be of no value to anyone–especially me for my only value was in my work. But, all of this time, Jesus Christ was waiting for me to awaken just a sliver to trusting Him with His Message–He wanted to free me, not destroy me.
This message is so powerful! It is the very essence of where the men in the Mending the Soul class are. Each one is needing to face Jesus with a decision–Will I, even for a moment, allow myself to believe You were with me in my time of abuse? Will I, even for a moment, allow myself to believe I am loved by You? Will I, even for a moment, look into Your Face and tell you I want to believe this even while I’m trying not to hate You for allowing this abuse to happen to me!
I write this post with such passion. I lived in this place of bitterness, hatred and confusion for years. Yet, today, I know this Jesus as my Loving Savior, my Lord, and my Refiner Who used the Fire to heal me rather than destroy me! This is for each one of us too!
“The Refiner’s Fire” is a song I first heart over 30 years ago sung by Steve Green. He is a tenor who sang great gospel songs so I’d often learn and sing them myself. This particular song is one our choir director recently had us begin to practice. She asked last night that we take the song home and read through the words each day this week and see what God would want to say to us about them. I know this song well. I remember when it first came out and I got the music. I thought I’d have to steel myself to sing it. The message rings too close to home. Thus, I never did sing it, I just listened to it a lot.
The first verse goes, “There burns a fire of sacred heat, white hot with holy flame; and all who dare pass through its blaze will not emerge the same. Some as bronze and some as silver, some as gold, there with great skill, all are hammered by their sufferings on the anvil of His will.” Then the chorus reads, : “The Refiner’s fire has now become my sole desire. purged and cleansed and purified, that the Lord be glorified. He is consuming my soul, refining me, making me whole. No matter what I may lose, I choose the Refiner’s fire.”
I awoke several times during the night with these words going through my mind. I know God has much He is wanting me to learn as I go through this task this week. Thus far, it is bringing back the memories of all the therapy and the challenge to test what was being revealed from it. The words, “all are hammered by their sufferings on the anvil of His will” and then in the chorus, “purged and cleansed and purified, that the Lord be glorified”. At the time of the therapy I had little idea how God would be glorified, yet He uses every hurt to help someone else address their own making all of it worthwhile. Then I realize I am more whole than I had ever been. The amazing work of our Father is incredible!
Yesterday’s class for Mending the Soul was a very tough lesson for some in the class to hear. Each and every participant is struggling with the concept that God loves them and that they matter deeply to Him. It has taken me most of my life to wrap my own mind around this truth also, so it is not that I don’t understand their struggle. How does love allow abuse to happen to a young, helpless child? This one fact is a toy in the hands of Satan. He easily influences a young mind into thinking he is not of value to God.
The lies of Satan and the manipulation of Satan are brought out in yesterday’s lesson. One’s mind can easily understand this, but one’s heart truly needs to have the healing truth of God’s Holy Spirit touch it. In my own case, I needed professional help getting me to the place where I could literally confront God with this. In so doing, He has so faithfully brought me to Him time and time again showing me the power of choice (free will) He gave man. I have that same free will choice too. I am at the place now where I can choose to relive those lies of Satan for myself or I can choose to believe I have mattered to God all along. I was a victim of dad and my brother and Satan can no longer convince me that I was a victim because God didn’t care.
I’ve prayed this morning for the black cloud of lies to be penetrated for these men. God’s miracle of truth is going to happen for them for each one of them is greatly loved by the same God Who transformed my own beliefs. God is working and the lies of Satan will be seen as such!
Today we begin chapter 9 in our Mending the Soul class. The title of this chapter is Surrendering to God’s Love. After spending the first 7 chapters addressing all the areas of abuse and the impact of each one, we have to face this damage in chapter 8 and stay out of denial from it. So, chapter 9 now has us beginning to see that the real miracle of healing doesn’t come from us doing more work, it is now time to surrender to God.
One of the toughest realities at this point is that the same God who we thought didn’t care for us as children is the very One we surrender to now that we are out of denial. It is very sobering to realize how wicked man can be in his selfishness. This was a huge awakening for me when I finally quit denying my past. It is even more sobering to realize how much God ached for the victim of abuse while the abused was in the hands of an abuser. God gave man free will and He wouldn’t interfere with it, even though it has it’s own reality for the abuser. All this said, now it is time to begin to trust, believe and practice faith in the very God Who has loved each of us from the beginning–even though we had no clue of this love.
I pray this morning that our participants will see this Light from God penetrating the darkness of their soul so that believing they matter to God sticks. Faith and Trust have a much better chance of taking root when we start to believe. God is so patient and loving in this process of healing. How I love and thank Him for His Graciousness!
This past week has been a test of endurance and patience with a lesson tied to it. Each day I have asked Jesus to lead the work in the schools/districts for which I consult. We have faced some attitudes and behaviors which needed to be addressed in order to turn our teaching into student learning. At the end of Wednesday and Thursday I was greatly concerned that our work seemed all for naught. However, just as God does, yesterday was the turning point. It all came together and as the day ended, God’s Light had penetrated darkness and we were seeing as one team.
I write this because this morning God reminds me that He works in all of our affairs if we turn them over to Him and let Him lead. This is true in our recovery, in our daily walk, in our work place, in our home and every connection we have. There is no place in our lives where God isn’t present. However, if He is going to be Lord of all, we need to give Him the “all”. This week has been a good reminder of this. Lastly, it has been a great reminder that I never want to give up until God’s Light is shining brightly.
God is Amazing and does Amazing Work when we give our all to Him and stay with Him. This has been my lesson for the week. How much I love HIM!
It is Friday and this week has been very full with Celebrate Recovery topping off yesterday. Our lesson was the one called HOPE. I was struck as I listened to it to hear the words in Step 2: “I came to believe….” This lesson of HOPE follows the first one, DENIAL and the 2nd one, POWERLESS. It is amazing to me that I am powerless to do anything about what I had believed for so long about who I am and what value I might have to God and others. I HAD to earn this. Finally, after all of these years, I found those words meaning a great deal when I heard them last night: I came to believe.
The first time I ever remember hearing the word, spirit, was my dad telling me he had to break or kill that spirit in me. Little did I understand that God had made me of value to Him from the time I was conceived. Not until I finally recognized and then rejected the lie of my own self-worth was I able to replace the lie with self-love, self-appreciation and self-confidence. I’ve written about this several times over the past couple of years. But, all of this came flooding back last night as I heard this lesson on hope. These words, I came to believe, were the start. I can believe because God gave me HOPE that what He created in me is of value to Him. I’ve been able to rest in this truth for the first time these past couple of years.
A couple of the men in share group are where I had been–replacing what they know is a lie. I know God will do the same for them as He has done for me. The lesson concludes with the statement, “Don’t give up until the miracle happens.” I pray this for them and they even brought this out in the open as they shared. How good our God is!