The Heart of the matter

I’ve been a little quiet lately. Its been an odd place of trusting in God’s promises for the future, but also guarding against the frustrations of reality seeming so very, vastly far from where we want to be… a strange tension builds into a sort of vacuum. This week has probably been the worst, resulting in lots of comfort eating yesterday and much vulnerability.

My struggle has been a heart issue and having to face that truth has been tough.  Its never comfortable facing the ugliness inside of oneself or realising just how imperfect you really are, beyond the social facades of pleasantries I’ve become so good at.  To be very vulnerable: I felt like a fraud – that I had had the audacity to begin a blog that testified of pursuing a godly relationship… and yet, in the depths of my heart was an icky mess.  What do I know of godliness or living up to the standards I speak so casually about?  More days than not, I do not get it right.  There.  I said it. I am a selfish, pride-filled mess of a person and left to my own devices, would destroy the absolute gift of a relationship that God has given me with G.  I have no righteousness, no sense of holiness or purity in my own being.

It sometimes feels like we live in a society that tolerates everything with reckless abandon, terrified we offend anyone.  And sometimes in the church, it feels the opposite; judgement comes quickly and easily.  I realise both statements are far extremes and equally unhealthy and incorrect.  But that’s the two extremes that have fought it out in my head over the past few days: the extreme liberal tolerance of all things waging war against the pharisee-like religious spirit of condemnation. Its exhausting.

Having said all of that, Today is a New Day.

I live by God’s Grace alone. At my weakest and my worst, His Grace and Redemption is most apparent. Does this mean I continue in my bad attitudes, mindsets and behaviours? Not at all… the revelation of His Grace only draws me closer to His Heart; wanting more than ever to change my ickiness for His goodness. If I really do want a relationship that not only testifies of God’s Goodness, but also extends His Kingdom, I need to be prepared to do things differently.  Having acknowledged my failings and brokenness, I choose to leave those past habits (even the ones only a few hours old) behind me – dead in the past – and step into a New Day.  I love that as I write this, the rain is pounding on the roof above my head, reminding me that God’s Grace washes away everything I release into His Redemption. My faith says I get a fresh start; I get to try again. This time, I choose to do it with God’s help. Beyond all the external behaviours and attitudes, God looks at our hearts – He examines the core of our being and draws out the broken pieces, healing those areas and replacing them with His Love.

Relationships are hard.  They have the potential to bring out the best in you, but also an incredible ability to draw out the worst, with the purpose of removing the filth for the benefit of healing… much like a drawing ointment pulls out a splinter in your finger.  Its both sore and liberating at the same time.  I guess that’s where I am at the moment: having thorns (there seem like so many of them this week) pulled out and its a little eina… but I am trusting that its a good thing. That as G and I prepare for pre-marital courses and me moving across to his church to begin growing together under the same spiritual teachings and authority, I know God is busy refining us – testing our foundations and the way we have begun to build this relationship.  We both desperately desire a relationship that has Him as our foundation, but we’re also human – and so, as the foundations are shaken, we can only hope that what remains will be strengthened in the next few weeks as big changes loom.

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Me before G…

Its a little difficult to know where to begin with this post, because where does one start in introducing themselves? I’m just me

Being a bit of an idealist, I was one of those girls who loved the idea of love – the idea that there was someone out there who God had created with me in mind.  When I was a teenager and it seemed like everybody was falling in love and finding boyfriends, I didn’t quite get it.  What was the point of dating someone if you knew inevitably you would end up with a broken heart at the age of 16? I wanted more; I wanted God’s best for me.  I prayed a seemingly harmless prayer that every aspect of my life (including my future relationship) be extra-ordinary, covered with His fingerprints… I wanted people to look at my life and know there was no way that I could have achieved that in my own strength – it had to be the God that I loved. I had no idea the cost of that prayer!

God is faithful.  And He hears our heart’s desires.  And sometimes it means we have to wait for His perfect timing.  And wow, did I wait. When all my friends seemed to be getting married and moving into the next ‘stage’ of life, I felt like I had been forgotten.  I’m not going to sugar-coat it and say being single was easy and I just embraced the season and loved Jesus (I did.  But there was also a lot of heart struggles and facing many, many insecurities.).  It was tough.  And lonely.  But yes, I did love Jesus and I knew I had trusted Him with this matter and no matter the cost, I was willing to wait for His Best, rather than chase after second-best… believe me, there were times when even I questioned my decision! So by the time I was in my mid-twenties, I had kissed one guy (a moment of boredom one New Year’s Eve which sadly meant absolutely nothing to me) and began dating a man through a set-up by friends.  The relationship was short and possibly borderline unhealthy, but what amazes me (in hindsight) is how protected I was; the most we did (physically) was hold hands – that’s unheard of in adult relationships… especially as he didn’t share my Christian values.

Fast forward a couple of years and I was again single, in my 30s and once again facing all those Identity issues at Jesus’ feet.  I fell into the same trap as many people: I threw myself into my work and church activities.  In many ways, I lost myself to good Christian ‘expectations’. In October last year, God began to speak to me about saying goodbye to old things in order to enter a new season.  Obviously I hoped it would include relationship, but being content in where I was, I simply followed Jesus’ leading and was prepared to go and do what He said.  He spoke to me about living ‘Simply, Slowly, Softly’ – to step back from several unhealthy lifestyle choices which had seen me running about trying to achieve acceptance from the ‘world’ and losing myself in the process.  By stepping back, I was being re-introduced to myself – as God had created me.

At the start of 2018, Jesus spoke quite clearly about hitting a re-set button; that He was going to make changes in my life that would see it vastly different by the end of the year.  The three areas He spoke about quite specifically were church, work and relationships.  I had no idea what that would look like or how He would make it happen, I simply chose to open my heart to His lead, and trust that He would lead me forward.  In spending some time simply sitting at His feet, I asked for insight into the year ahead.  He told me I would dance again – initially I had laughed because although I loved dancing, I had stopped years ago (despite having several prophetic words which always seemed to include the image of Dance).  It took my mother randomly suggesting it for me to really consider the idea.

So the first several weeks of 2018 was a time of Acceleration in Jesus; I felt like I was falling crazily in love with Him and on a massive spiritual growth-spurt.    In the midst of this, I prayed that before God allowed me to experience the love of a man, He would first help me to experience a greater fullness of His perfect love for me – that that would always be my foundation and First Love… that I would never turn to a man for affirmation and love, over Jesus. And that’s what He did. It was amazing.

And then I met G…

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