A Freedom Story: from Promise to Peace

Jan
2012
01

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Last year right about this time, we (My four boys and my husband), were driving from San Diego to Los Angeles along the beautiful Highway 1, a freeway that runs parallel to the California coastline. My husband and I were holding hands and getting in some heart to heart talking time.

This conversation was the catalyst to walking in greater freedom I could not have imagined capable a year ago.

I’m going to tell you upfront in my blog, I tend to be candid, honest and open in my freedom journeys (if just for the one who needs it or the one who’s heart says, “me too!”).

If talk of Doctor’s appointments that involve breast exams make you squeamish, you may want to stop right here. If not, I invite you to go on this journey with me and grab your greatest fears by one hand and tremendous HOPE for freedom by the other. I pray by the end of my words, you’re ready to confront your own fears and begin the journey to what your heart desires, yet doesn’t know.

We’ve heard the quotes that say,

“Embrace the process,”

“Enjoy the journey,” …

Just to feel they reinforce the ambiguous-ness that the words actually mean to the reality of our hearts.  I’ve prayed the dangerous prayers, “Take everything, heal everything, in every place, in every way, let your freedom bell ring in me unhindered. For your glory Lord, I’ll give it voice!”

Heck, I didn’t know what I was praying! But, I quickly found out. Here is my story … a year long answer to my prayers:

I’d been teaching at women’s life groups for a couple years at my church but at this time I had been asked to teach on a team that taught prayer at our church on Sunday mornings.  I LOVE prayer, the season was right, I was all in and excited.

But then something unexpected happened. I walked in my first time to teach and my eyes scanned the room … all I saw were the men that were there (I had previously only taught to groups of women). My palms got clammy, my heart raced a bit, I felt nervous and then … I felt a familiar anxiety that I couldn’t put into words. I closed my eyes, dug deep to connect with God and delivered what I felt like He had given me to share on humility in the place of prayer. God was faithful to hold my hand, I left confidant I had shared what He put on my heart.

As I walked away, I couldn’t shake that God was putting His finger on something that needed untangling, that needed to be … free.

Ever since I’ve been married, I’ve always said,

“I only like talking to men that are my husband,”

and laughed nervously, being totally content if he was the only man I ever talked too.

The truth was, if a man ever talked to me too long, I’d start to feel socially retarded and look for a quick exit to the conversation. I didn’t know anything different. I didn’t know what I didn’t know … about me.

As dawn was setting in on that beautiful coastal highway, where we were driving, I began to share my heart with my husband, that I was experiencing the fear of men … figuratively and literally! It wasn’t that I thought men would act inappropriately toward me, I just felt insecure and lacked confidence my voice held any weight which caused me to not know my place (there was a little girl in me that had felt that way for a really long time). He held my hand a little tighter and told me he thought I should meet with our friend that was counselor, pastor and ministered in freedom. Big fat alligator tears formed in my eyes and began to stream down my cheek without restraint. All I could say was … “I’m just so afraid.”

As the words came out my mouth and by judging the crazy anxiety I was experiencing just thinking about it made it obvious that “something” was out of alignment. I knew it had a grip on me and it was time to bottom out my fears and, “take them to the mattresses!” (quoted from the movie, The God Father, which means to face them and take them out!)

I totally dragged my feet a month or so. Sometimes taking on your ugly isn’t number one on your list of things to do if you know what I mean. But, eventually I did it. I was nervous. I wanted to throw up.  I was embarrassed to even say I had such a weird fear … I was kind of afraid of where it might have come from. I’ve been through a lot and seen some crazy things. I was standing on the truth that my God never exposes what He doesn’t want to heal. He is a good God.

I walked into a room to meet with someone thinking I was there to talk about this man fear but I walked out with God addressing the way I saw God as father because of my connection with my earthly father. What I thought was the main deal was just a symptom of a bigger deal. I didn’t know God as Daddy. I knew Jesus as deliver and husband. I knew the Holy Spirit as comforter and best friend. To be honest, I was totally content not knowing God as father, didn’t think I was missing out.

As I grieved this lack of fathering in my life, God made me some promises. He shared with me how He loves creating something from nothing. How He hovers, how He creates and how He rests in what He has created. He told me Day 1 of my healing would be separating light from darkness/ truth from lies. Each day (process) would build on the other until I could rest in my new found freedom.

It sounded great. Who wouldn’t say amen to that?! My heart anchored itself in this promise. I asked God for Holy Spirit homework, a way to come in agreement with the process He had started.

I picked some safe men that every time I saw them; I made eye contact, gave them a side hug and pressed in to have a conversation. Even had some friends that humored me and stood with me, every time I saw him and his wife and we greeted I would say, “Side hug! Staying free!” It started to get easier, but I still had to try. I had to work. I had to focus.

Then days and months went by and I actually thought … wow … I’m getting good at this! Well, until I went to get my eyebrows waxed, I walked into an empty nail salon and the four women not working stayed seated, the one Asian man got up to help me. I started to stress a little. Any man 2 inches away from your face, feeling their breath while they struggle to tweeze that one stubborn hair, I believe would test anyone’s freedom.  I quickly told the Lord, “if this is because I’ve been prideful saying how good I’ve been doing, I am so sorry!” Then the Lord and I laughed together. That may seem weird but I know He laughs with me.

Like I said earlier, this issue I was taking on was just a symptom, a greater thing was happening at the same time. I was changing the way I saw God. Because they way you see God will directly effect what you will receive from him.  You see, if you don’t see God as a good father who gives good gifts and is good to you, even when life is telling you different, then you won’t receive His love, His peace and His grace to be empowered to life-FULL living. God is not a God that is good to everyone else but you. He doesn’t want to heal and free everyone else and not you. He is good to you.

The scripture and truth my heart mediated on this year was Luke 15:20, from the story of the prodigal son. The father’s reaction in this story tells us so much about God’s heart to us as father that that He is longing to reveal.

So he got up and came to his [own] father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently].” (AMP)

Sometimes our own shame, condemnation and fears keep us from wanting to come to our Father because we feel embarrassed. If we’ve been in leadership or Christians for a while we feel like we should have it more together by now. I think it’s important to note, who ran first in this story. The father. Your heavenly Father runs to you first too! He is moved in tenderness towards us when we turn to Him. He wants to embrace and kiss us fervently. You see, we have a Father in God who wants to hold us before He heals us. The way we think about God will determine what we receive from Him.

In my life I’ve have never identified with the statement, “Daddy’s girl,” but ending this year I’ve never felt anything else could be more true. I’ve never felt more confidence in prayer when opposition in life comes my way. I just tell the enemy, “you’re messing with the wrong girl! I know who my Daddy’s is!”

The more God rewrote what fathering is in my life … the more all the symptoms of not knowing fathering began to fade.

Just a couple weeks ago I had to go my OB/GYN who had delivered two of my babies, to check up on something. IN the past, these appointments provoked the anxiety I talked about earlier. Every time I had an appointment, it couldn’t go by fast enough. It was the one thing that got all up in my fears business and because of that, I tried to avoid it. I know, not good.

BUT THIS TIME SOMETHING WAS DIFFERENT!

My doctor had to do a breast exam so the nurse came in with him. He has always talked through the whole thing, which I thought was just stupid, let me close my eyes and run away. But this time I didn’t even realize it, I chatted right back with him. I was even looking him straight in the eye and … I was asking questions.

“Who is this lady?!  When did she get here?!” I thought.

It was a new me! Zero anxiety. Zero trying. Zero work. Zero focus. I couldn’t have mustered up this kind of peace if I tried. The fear … It was gone. Totally gone. Gone!

When I got in my car I heard the Lord say, “It is finished. Rest in your freedom.”

I began to be overwhelmed by God’s goodness … I was seeing what change looked like on me … what freedom looked like on me! I was proud to be God’s daughter … I was proud of me, just like I knew He was of me for stepping up to the plate and tackling fears that wanted to keep me tangled and cause me shame.

I hope you’ve caught a glimpse of what process and journey can look like. There is freedom that is immediate and there is freedom you walk out. Never be settled with what you see in front of you … dare to look into freedom’s horizon. To hear God, receive His promises and embrace His ways.

We all have come face to face with fears in our lives. Some have greater grips than others. Those greater fears tend to torment and lie to us making us feel if anyone ever knew about them, they would think less of us. We continue to suppress them or we tell ourselves we aren’t prepared to face why we have them.

Freedom offers us so much hope and hope offers us so much freedom. Have hope as you look 2012 in the eyes. Ask God what new thing He wants to do in your life. Ask Him what ways you could be freer in 2012 then you were 2011. It starts with a promise and it will end with peace.

You only get one life to live, one story, own it, grow it, and share it!

Great Love to you in 2012 as you take on all the freedom that belongs to you!

Signed,

~Ris: A Daddy’s girl!

“Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.” Isaiah 42:9 (AMP)

11 comments

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