Thumbing though old journals, desperate for God to speak, when my eyes fell upon this entry from many years ago. It was a powerful reminder of how far my Good and Faithful Father and has brought me. It was also one of the key unveilings of my true beauty. However, there are many, and every one of them is intertwined and significant to my beauty becoming fully ALIVE. Also, each have played a crucial role in birthing this amazing new women’s retreat coming this April 8-10th “Beauty fully ALIVE”.
Let me share one unveiling now:
A few years into my second marriage the Lord began awakening a passion in me for women’s hearts and their marriages. But as this passion grew unexpected warfare plummeted into my own young marriage – which immediately led to the enemy’s whispers… ”How can you teach other women when you can’t even get it right yourself”? I realized in that moment my greatest struggle was also my deepest passion. And I was desperate for God.
Over the next three years every time there would be a heated discussion between my husband and me I would resent, keep score, pout, personalize, internalize, compare, push away, want revenge, and vow to not need him so much again. His words regardless of their intent were like daggers, which penetrated deeply. Unknowingly I left fragmented pieces festering where they pierced me and they oozed bloody lies covering the truth I was desperate for.
This continued on and off. I would fight “worldly”, then surrender, diligently seek the Lord, then feel stronger, be loving, then make failed attempts to be a good wife. Ultimately each strategy failed. I thought I was praying all the right prayers, memorizing all the right scriptures, attending all the right Bible Studies, cooking all the right meals, doing all the right things. Yet it was all performance = acceptance driven. I no longer dared be vulnerable so I performed. However, my performance mentality left my heart falsely satisfied, desperate, and thirsty for more.
I could not seem to shake this defensive attitude or this hunger, and he could not seem to penetrate my wall. What was going on? I wanted to be loving, vulnerable, forgiving, and inviting, but behind my wall there was failed striving. I was desperate for God and cried out. WHY GOD? Here I am with a passionate heart to help women, but no matter what, I keep failing.
A few months went by and everywhere I went I heard: “as a deer pants for water so my soul thirst for you.” Okay Lord, yes I am thirsty. Then a guest singer came to our church; guess what he sang? Yep – “As a Deer Pants for Water so My Soul Thirst for You”. Then the very next morning on my daily walk I veered off the road and made my way down to the waters edge. Standing straight across the lake from me was a beautiful deer coming down for a refreshing drink. The floodgates of my heart burst forth and I cried vigorously, “Lord, what are you trying to tell me? I know I am thirsty and desperate for You, but what else? What are you up to?”
And then the dance to unveiling my beauty began.
Through the next several weeks I was led to read and watch John and Stasi Eldredge’s books and DVD’s (Captivating and Wild at Heart). The truth was astounding. I had been in darkness veiled and blind. But, now He was removing my veil one layer at a time, and revelation like the ocean waters began pounding over my stone wall wave after wave. My eyes and ears were opened to life altering truth. Darkness turned to light. I wept for days! It was sweet, refreshing, and covered in grace. He revealed to me I was severely broken, shattered, wounded, and bleeding profusely. I kept performing, attending, memorizing and learning but there was no intimacy, relationship, healing, integration, nor trust. I was trying to offer life and love from behind this broken, wounded, mangled, and distorted place. Therefore, what I offered was exactly that. It was a severe heart issue. I HAD NO IDEA!
Through this new journey of His wooing and pursuing my heart, the Lord showed me my “defensive attitude” was actually built out of starvation, desperation, and protection. I had been wounded in the past from other men, and with each wound I began constructing a grand yet deadly wall around my heart. Unintentionally I drug the old wall of stone right into my new marriage and tried my best to love freely and wholly from behind it. Needless to say I failed –again and again and again! What I built for protection was imprisoning me.
Praise Jesus- Praise Jesus that was not the end of my story. No, He did not forsake me nor leave my heart to die behind my wall of stone. The dance to freedom continued as I sought Him like never before. Hand and hand we began tearing down the wall one brick at a time, and replacing each with garments of truth, love, healing, wholeness, and restoration. Once parched, weary, overcome, and walled in, I was now becoming beautiful, satisfied, refreshed, victorious, alive, and free. He was awakening my heart to more, and quenching my thirsty soul.
This chapter of my story has increased my passion for women’s hearts. Remembering it has reconfirmed my deep desire to educate, inspire, encourage, and usher other women into freedom. It’s also one chapter upon many others which led me to offer my new women’s retreat, “Beauty fully ALIIVE”. This gathering of women is an invitation to MORE. He is calling His daughters to:
SHAKE OFF THE DUST
Beauty fully ALIVE
He will not force His way in; He wants to be invited. He does not want your performance, perfection, rules, or religion. He wants your heart so He can begin unveiling your beauty and revive your heart to becoming fully ALIVE! There is a great unveiling waiting for you, and it is time for MORE!
RETREAT DATES: APRIL 8-10, 2016
Retreat speakers and guest: Ashley White, Pat Domangue, Melanie Massey, Tallie Maybray, Amber Zambie, Michelle Crouse, Gary Ratcliff, Lindsey Nadler, Kelsey Bohl, Kathy Boggs, and Dana Milford – WHOA!
DETAILS RELEASED NEXT WEEK