Your Grace Abounds in Deepest Waters~ Hillsong United
Last night I had the privilege of seeing one of the greatest worship bands of all time on the last leg of their US tour. As I danced, sang, and worshiped my heart out at Hillsong United’s Chicago finale concert I was brought to a place I haven’t been in a long time. A place of complete and total surrender. Because grace is not deserving of the abundance God gives and can be perplexing, so we shun it because it simply doesn’t make sense. Yet I’ve had the privilege of receiving God’s grace first-hand several times in my life. First, as a wandering young adult who could have chosen loss yet somehow someway chose a life changing life. (Through that, Grace brought me one of the greatest joys of my life to this day.) Second, as a young adult who could have vanished at the hand of my own hand with an eating disorder that left me thin, depleted, and not as in control as I thought I was. Third, as a middle aged woman still longing for love and seeking it in all the wrong avenues, through a mind-numbing state. Doing so after a life of abandonment and loss of two infant baby boys in the span of 18 months. This time a clear liquid found in a bottle saying it was my friend and my escape, I clung to. Sure felt like grace at the time, yet it brought me nothing but sorrow, emotion of the evil kind, and so much devastation. That is where the true forgiveness came. When I was at my deepest darkest lowest cavern, Grace was with me when I wasn’t with it.
“As it is written: ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, and whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.'” ~Romans 9:33:
Shame. It comes it waves and it can wash over me faster and swifter than any tsunami that claims the land. The sun sets and that is when it seeks me out the most. When smiles fade and eyes list off to slumber is when it wakes me up from my hope of rest. Shame speaks mountains yet God overshadows all with earth shadowing lights that blind our view of what we believe. That is what I saw last night at the concert of a lifetime. With my teenage son, my eight-year-old son, and my husband by my side. Lights come, rains pour down, and prophets sit and wait. But if we cannot reckon our shame we are lost…in a sea of excellence made yet not received and that makes us simply a facade.
This is me.
When I am sober, I am a force to be questioned by the enemy. A force that God uses to move mountains and build bridges of struggle yet knowledge and peace of salvation. I know the gift He has given me.
Yet I struggle so deep and far into the past…
To numb the loss.
And my fear.
The pain I’ve suffered in this life.
I know what promise lies ahead for me, yet I fight them internally in a deep battle greater than all that has come before and will go into the sun. Because that is what happens when the darkness is threatened. I’ve overcome so much in my life. Why is this addiction the most difficult so far?
I’ve overcome so much in my life. Why is this addiction the most difficult so far?
Grace, what have You done?
Murdered for me on that cross
Accused in absence of wrong
My sin washed away in Your blood ~Hillsong United
The cross has taught me to live. At church this morning my pastor delivered a grace-filled message that ripped me open and left me tearful and broken. I feel the enemy has been working my whole life to tear apart the very things Jesus can use, the gifts I have despite the struggle, or more so because of the struggle to serve Him better. My pastor spoke of the fact that “I’m not judging you, that you should judge yourself.” And that, “The enemy is going to barricade you inside your hell to hold you back when you have come to know Him.”
Yes. And Yes.
Judging myself alone, I know the idol I need to leave at the altar.
Alcohol. My bitter enemy and most pretty war that calls me king: and gives me false joy.
The enemy haunts me down: even though I rededicated my life to Jesus six months ago and was baptized in the warm waters of Wisconsin last week… indeed I’m being attacked.
Can I overcome, yes!~
Am I predestined for greatness?
Indeed, I am.
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
As the showcase of lights danced on and the bombard of music sold my soul and the cadence of song continued in my heart to call me home, I clung to the cross that has declared that I let go of the one last lie.
The last everything that holds me back from everything God has planned for me.
So tonight as I write to God, to you, to me. I say this, that I want more.
God has given me a promise of forever. I want this to be it, a mercy seeking greatness that has been promised to me by my King.
Tonight my husband said something to me that moved barriers, “I need to hold onto the love that has been sung to me last night in the form of a voice so beautiful. A voice that said to me this morning in the form of a splendor of a speaker that God is using on this earth in the form of the leader of our church. Through the example our church used in a woman who bore her deepest soul on a stage that shown her every dark moment, yet draped in me all that I am and all that I fear and hurt so deeply.
As an author, many of you know God has called me to tell my story of childhood/adulthood parental abandonment, divorce, success, love, progress, and addiction. After an extremely convicting Saturday night spent with one of the greatest worship bands of all time, and a Sunday morning spent with a Journey Forward pastor who calls out and loves the people of his church as God has called him to do, I am left feeling challenged. To pierce through the dark and become all I am meant to become in spite of the enemy in the prime of my greatness. Not the pain, abandonment, fear, and anguish that makes me want to numb my future greatness.
So, I encourage you all to fight hard and find your greatest purpose God has for you no matter the challenge you may deem impossible. Join me in my journey as I say, my God,
I am Yours and You are Mine.