Living freely

Aren’t you relieved there are no identi-kit Christians?

We don’t have to look or sound alike.

Having unity together is more about fellowship and being united in love than having full agreement on more than the fundamentals of our faith.

We are allowed to be ourselves. See wood where others see trees. Sense Holy Spirit’s presence in a variety of ways.

God meets us right where we are, at our point of greatest need.

He chased me and wooed me with His unconditional Love.

It was something I’d never encountered before, but my empty, old before its time, desperate-child heart yearned for it.

Here was safety. Here lay security. Here flowed acceptance and peace.

And I came to faith in a ‘happy-clappy’ environment where joy and exuberance were the order of the day.

I wore ‘Jesus Loves Me/You’ stickers, a big grin, innocent optimism in sharing my new-found life in Christ, and a profound gratitude toward God for the glorious gift of salvation.

So I continued for a little while until mental health breakdown, partial recovery, followed by life’s multiple challenges, another breakdown and a haunting legacy of childhood abuse sucked all the joy out of life.

Depression and emotional pain skewed my thinking, clouded my judgement, and left me lost in the wilderness for many years.

Where did God feature? Was His love enough? Was it my fault?

A slow recovery took place and I had a fresh revelation of grace. I drank it deep into my very being as soul manna and sustenance.

But having begun my faith journey majoring on love and forgiveness, I was still largely ignorant of sin and reluctant to speak or think about it. This woman was already stained by her past, full of guilt, shame, self-recrimination and condemnation. And God loved her anyway. 

Because, wasn’t God a God of love? Didn’t grace and forgiveness cover all?

Oh yes.

Though grace is cheapened if we fail to fully appreciate the price Jesus paid to secure it for us.

Now, a little older (and wiser maybe?), though I still struggle with self-esteem issues and will always veer the conversation round to grace and encouragement than otherwise, it is gradually dawning on me how sin cannot be ignored or swept away.

And I am still getting my head around how to achieve the balance between hating sin yet not hating myself. Maybe you get stuck there too?

My soul seeks freedom from all that chained me and those things enslaving me now.

I want to embrace grace and be free to give it to others.

So I am leaning into His love as I think. question, talk about sin’s effects and outworkings, see how fallible and tainted I am and yet (marvellously) so dearly loved and cherished by our heavenly Father ~ just as you are too.

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Here is a ‘Prayer Whisper’ which God poured into my listening heart last February. It still speaks volumes to me and I hope it will bless you too:

file000402181324“How easily you can fool yourself that you’re not sinning. To justify your actions with excuses and cover-ups.

Allow My Holy Light to shine upon your thoughts, words and deeds. Do not be afraid of its consuming power. It will not harm you.

I seek only to burn off the dross and detritus you carry. Such things weigh you down, sully your relationship with Me and sour your interactions with others.

I want to set you free, even from those burdens you have barely noticed as such ~ so familiar have they become.

It is only in the cleansing which follows letting go and laying down that real change and transformation can happen.

Bad habits pollute your mind and body. Once you are able to set them down before Me, you can begin the process of breaking free from them.

Open yourself. Be real before Me. I already know everything about you. Seek to live freely and lightly in the liberty of My Presence.

My purity and power are available to enable and equip you for the next stage of your journey.”

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“The fact that God is love, that He is pure, holy and righteous is the reason why He is angry at sin. It violates, distorts, and destroys what His purpose is. Wrath is inevitable to a God of love, otherwise the love would be tenuous and weak” ~ Charles Price ‘My Daily Journey with Christ’ 

Joining here with Diana and other questing souls as we are #LivingtheQuestions and #LivingintotheAnswers

This week’s question:”What’s with all this talk about sin?”  You are very welcome to hop over and join in the discussion.

Also linking with Mel and Laura

Safety valves

Do you ever get to the point where you feel like exploding?

There are issues which can really make us mad.

Maybe something or someone has touched a nerve.

We feel raw. Wounded. Hurt.

Out of the blue (or so it seems) rage, anger, annoyance or other emotional pain come to the surface.

Feelings rise as steam and we long to vent somehow.

If our nearest and dearest are in range then they may be the unwarranted recipients of our spleen.

Perhaps we need a safe way and place in which to vent our feelings?

A safety valve to allow us to let go without losing full control.

An escape. Outlet.

It may vary greatly depending on the nature, duration and extent of our pain.

And the type of people we are, the resources we have and openings for letting go.

I have found many ways over the years to vent. Not all of them comfortable for others, sad to say.

Over the years, I have tended to rush more eagerly to the phone than the throne of grace.

Counselling gave me the tools to work through pain and see why it was so deep-rooted.

Now, I try to remember that God is always listening, caring, available  and – most important of all – loves us unconditionally.

Loved ones, friends and family can help us up to a point, but only God can truly heal, restore and make us whole again.

The poem below describes how those deep emotions can affect us and how I have found some help and release from mine.

Safety valve

Sometimes our pain

gets buried

deep inside

locked up

inaccessible

in a safe place

where we hide

our true selves

from prying eyes

yet wounds will

fester when left

unattended over years

and seep their poison

through our systems

releasing more

anxiety and fears

We need an outlet

safety valve to

vent within constraints

a catching-place

for leaking holes

where what is

heard is veiled

yet has intent

I express myself

through poetic lament

to pour forth

words as water

releasing mercy drops

that may hit

the spot for other

thirsty souls

©JoyLenton2013

This poem is part of a guest blog post on my friend, Barry Pearman’s site where I’m honoured and delighted to be sharing my thoughts on how poetry helps my mental health. I’d love you to come on over and read the rest there.