It was the 1st of June 2012.
The hardest year I’ve ever had just ended on the farmers calendar.
My husband and I had been sharemilking business owners for a year… working every single day and steadily approaching burnout.
It was like nothing else we’d ever experienced.
It was difficult looking beyond the next day let alone being able to even look further down the track to see what we were actually working toward.
The most important things to us (Church, family, friends) had become luxury items.
The things that were of most importance to us, the things that made us ‘us’ in most ways were unintentionally put on the back burner – any spare time was needed for rest.
I was going through an identity crisis.
My spirit was withered.
My creative wells were dried up (explaining my giant blogging absence).
I’ve always known my creativity comes from God and I was so tired I was distant… distant from the creative source.
Life was miserable and we were forced to question ourselves in every way you could.
Why are we doing life like this?
Why do you believe what you believe?
When you come up with an answer.. why do you believe that answer?
Questioning is painful and at times ugly – but pushing through to find an answer is liberating.
I found myself asking why I even ‘needed’ to go to Church?
Why did I believe in Jesus?
The truth is, the root of my belief in God does not come from the influence of my Christian parents, nor by listening and believing someone else’s account or ‘interpretation’ of Him.
The heart of my belief in God – the thing I draw from, is I experienced Him for myself.
It was simple, I gave God a chance to reveal Himself to me and He didn’t fail to show up.
His presence overwhelmed me and filled me. The Bible says that those who seek, will find – and it is true.
I am a walking testimony to that.
Dan and I always knew we couldn’t do all the work ourselves – we needed to employ someone to take the load off.
We sacrificed the finances so we could be freed up, even if it meant individually taking time off.
I was finally able to go to Church without feeling like I needed to sleep all day again
One of my biggest loves and passions is worship through music. I don’t have to be involved in the making of it, just give me an opportunity to sit in it and I easily get lost in it.
I’m a believer that if you believe in something or if you are going to be involved in something – don’t do it in half measure. Be authentic to the true meaning of that ‘thing’.
So I found myself one morning, sitting in the back row at Church in the middle of the musical worship set.
I wanted to dance.
To physically express my worship to God.
To dance because he is good.
To dance because of his ultimate sacrifice in my honour.
The thing holding me back was the fear of what the person next to me would think.
I saw that my ‘worship’ wasn’t authentic to my own real definition of worship – true reverence and adoration of God with spirit, soul and body.
For the first time in my life, I saw I was stuck and had only ever been giving God a half measure.
I saw that I was fearful of what people would think of me. Bound.
It was like a light switched on and revealed a shadow internally – I would do everything to see myself ‘freed’ – to see the shadow dissipate with a brighter wattage.
I knew if I wanted this, I had to step out and do something, anything, at the next opportunity – I’d better ‘catch the bus’ while it was stationed or I might never do it. So I did all I knew I could physically do.
The next Sunday, with my heart threatening to bust out of my chest, I put one foot in front of the other, and walked the five rows from where I was sitting to the stage during the worship set. Our Youth Pastor was thrashing about, so I joined him.
Abandoning any thought about what others might think.
That moment was the beginning of the journey that has changed my life completely.
It came with a decision of wanting freedom, then reaching and grabbing for it.
The feeling of ‘stepping out’ in such a way was a taste of freedom.
It was like I realised I was living a life like being a prisoner ‘in the hole’ – and then being given the opportunity to become a part of the general population by being allowed yard walks.
I could feel the air for the first time in a long time, I could see the sun, but there were of course still brick walls and barbed wire fences still keeping me in.
With that taste of freedom, I started seeing God like my favourite dessert. Chocolate mousse.
When I eat chocolate mousse, I don’t want one teaspoon today, another teaspoon tomorrow.
I want to eat THE WHOLE THING… and I want it all the time.
I could go for some right now actually. (Not pregnant)
On that day, I didn’t just want a teaspoon full, I wanted to be on the outside of the prison.. in chocolate mousse heaven (like that old Cadbury ad, except everything was mousse, not dairy milk chocolate).
The very next Sunday, I had my first prophetic word (a word inspired by God) to give during the prophetic time – ME. Little Elizabeth from Whangarei. The girl sinner with the dirty face.
I still remember wanting to vomit – not wanting to even get in my car to make the trip to Church. I felt some sort of stirring that I didn’t understand as I was hammering and chiselling (putting makeup on), but I knew I wanted and needed to ‘catch the bus’ if there was going to be one stationed.
Catching the bus is another expression for taking a ‘window of opportunity’. If you don’t catch the bus, you’ll miss it. Another bus might come, but it could be late. There might even be detours. You’re not even guaranteed that the next bus will even come at all.
So I caught the bus. I decided to be obedient to what I felt was Gods voice. The way I saw it, even if I wasn’t sure of myself – I would ‘catch the bus’. I’d rather put myself out there and risk looking like a fool if it was a chance to show God my love. So that He would entrust me with more. So I could keep the rhythm of putting one foot infront of the other. So I would grow. So I could be free. So others could therefore enter the grace of walking in that freedom too.
Bringing me to November last year. I had an incredible hunger to go deeper.
I got to the point where I didn’t know what to do with myself. So I did what I could, I pictured myself in the throne room.
Jesus sitting on His throne, me on my knees before Him.
I had a large quantity of packing boxes infront of me, some tattered, some dirty, some new… in those boxes were everything that made me, me.
There were boxes filled with the ‘shameful’ things, another one with the ‘dirty’ things, another with the ‘best’ parts, ‘dreams’, ‘hopes’, ‘faithful’ things, a box labelled ‘family’, etc.
Everything that made me me, had it’s own box.
With every box, I pictured myself ever so vividly pushing it to Jesus’s feet.
With each box I pushed, his arms opened and scooped them up.
There were tears in his eyes like He’d been waiting throughout eternity for this moment.
Every last box I pushed and gave to Him – telling Him that every last part of me belonged to Him.
I was at the last box labelled “family”. I followed suit with the ones before and pushed it thinking that was it. I looked up and saw that He was waiting. I didn’t understand! Didn’t I just give you everything?
I looked around and saw tucked behind me was a box I was subconsciously protecting. It was a box that I then noticed my right hand was handcuffed to. It was the one labelled “Eva” – my daughter.
For the first time, I saw this for what it was.
I was holding this box back from Jesus. This part of me I wasn’t letting him have.
I didn’t want to give it because I was terrified. I held fears over this box. I didn’t want the circumstances that surrounded my life as a youngster to happen to her.
My heart ripped. I loved Jesus with all my heart, I loved my daughter with all my heart. I had to make a decision, keep doing things in my own strength, or handing them over completely? I sat and cried, and then I made my decision.
With much pain and fear, I pushed the “Eva” box to Jesus… my mothers heart weeping before Him as I said to Him, “Your will be done… I choose to trust You more with her, then I ever could with myself”. It was like a soundwave went through the room…every link in the chains that bound me at the wrist exploded as pieces were thrown about the floor. I was filled with an overwhelming sense of security. All fear in an instant was blown apart.
He scooped me up and He had me.
I was not mine anymore.
From there on out, whether or not people were willing to ‘catch the bus’ with me, I knew that He was in me. I was certain of His ownership over me. I was certain that where I was going was the right direction. I had true heart knowledge that I was His and that He was mine.
It’s 9 months on from that very first day I stepped out, and I’m still moving! – I can’t count how many times I’ve put my hand up in a prophetic time or have had a spontaneous or prophetic song or have in one way or another, ‘stepped out” (everytime I still feel the urge to vomit)… all because I see my journey as just that… a journey.
You progress, you put one foot infront of the other, you get scared at times, you’re uncertain at times, but you carry on.
You go up hard hills, you run down the easy sloping otherside, you keep the rhythm up through the plains.
You keep your fire stoked, especially in the dark. You throw fuel into the fire to keep it burning (in my case it’s the distractions in my life).
You feed healthily, you watch what is going in, you protect He who is within you. You keep going!!
So here is my prayer for you:
Regardless of your beliefs, I pray that you truely are able to question yourself. That you are brave enough to ask the tough questions and face the true answers. That you wouldn’t settle for doing life mediocrely. That you would be authentic. That today is the day you choose step out in uncomfortable and scary ways so that you grow, produce fruit and can share the fruit with those around you.
That you would surrender and realise you don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.
That you can enter the grace of walking in freedom too.
That you would catch the bus and you would catch it on time.