I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:16-21 NLT
As I was writing my prayers this morning, I found myself asking God why I’d made such horrible choices over ten years ago, and how I could hurt my family in such a way. Even though God has been healing some of the pain, every day I experience a great sense of loss in my family, loss of friends, loss of job, loss of a place that had been home to us for a very long time. I see it in my husband and kids, too, and it’s incredibly difficult. Over and over again my mind has gone back to that desperate gnawing away in my soul that caused me to do things I never believed I would.
I’m not writing this out of guilt or shame. Jesus has forgiven my sin and removed it as far as the east is from the west. His death on the cross paid for every sin I’ve ever committed or will ever commit. He’s taken away my shame and covered me with His righteousness. I cling to this truth for dear life these days. It’s my ever present unseen hope.
But the reality is, even though I am forgiven and not condemned by God, I am living out the rest of my life in a broken body that is desperate to go it’s own way, desperate for self-gratification, and desperately impatient. And we have a worthy adversary who knows our weaknesses better than we do, and he walks to and fro waiting for an opportunity to encourage us toward our default and destructive mode. But we must never forget that God always has a better plan, because that’s what happened to me, and sometimes I wonder if I ever knew that God had a better plan.
Growing up in an abusive home causes a victim to believe that evey time something bad happens that they have no control. In their powerlessness, they begin to lose hope of things ever changing for the better. Many of us never experienced a fertile soil of love to grow roots in, therefore it feels as if the sun of fiery trials will scorch us, or the thorns of the weeds around us will choke out every bit of life.
I remember like it was yesterday the yearning in my heart before the abusive relationship with my former pastor began. I was desperately longing for something to grow roots into; a home providing an environment of love. When this pastor and I began to talk and he expressed his love to me, I believed I’d discovered the priceless treasure of real love in fertile soil. I dug deep and buried my heart and soul in the relationship only to discover more weeds and thorns. But my desperate heart wasn’t willing to give up hope that this relationship was what I needed, and only after I’d been pierced one too many times, was bleeding all over the place , and felt I had no life in me to choke out, did I cry out to God to pull me out of this field of lies.
And I’m still thanking Him that He did, and that He placed me in the fertile soil of His love and forgiveness where I can finally grow into the person He created me to be.
But I have to admit my heart still gets so impatient at times. Growing in His fertile soil doesn’t provide the instant gratification that the shallow soil did, nor does it comfort me with the presence of the tangled up weeds of the abusive relationship that let me know I wasn’t alone. Sometimes the process seems too slow and very lonely.
I’m reminding myself today that the soil of God’s love is rich in the nourishment of His promises, and because He’s THE God who always keeps His promises, I can bank on it. He’s also working to bring about good in my life. He will finish what He started. He hasn’t, nor will He ever leave me alone. He won’t leave you alone either.
Today, I’m also very thankful for those of you who are rooted and grounded together with me in His love. It is my sincerest prayer that we’d all continue to grow deep roots into the rich soil of His love for us. That no shallow soil would satisfy us, and that the weeds and thorns would quickly be uprooted as we follow Him and not our own ways. That our roots would go so deep as we know His great love for us, that we’d know that nothing, nothing will ever snatch us out of His hand.
No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:37-39 NLT