Morning friends,

This is week one of a four-week semi-sabbatical I have given myself to “catch up” and refresh. I need to catch up on lots of writing projects that have gotten behind and need to refresh my spirit with some uninterrupted space to read books and ponder the things God has put in my heart. 

Sometimes when we operate at breakneck speed too long, we grow weary in the work. Even Jesus said to his disciples, “let’s get away by ourselves for a while” (Mark 6:31). Please pray for me. I need to use this time wisely. The first few days I found myself on FB much more than usual. It’s seductive and addictive. It’s harder for me to structure my time well when I have a whole day that’s open instead of jammed full of appointments. But the point of this break is to have no appointments on my calendar. I want to use this time well. I’ll keep you informed as to how it’s going.

Thank you, Dawn for gifting us with Part 2 of Arise, My Beloved. Dawn is going to be hosting her own blog around helping women build their identities in Christ. You can follow her at www.beholdmybeloved.com.

Next week I will be back answering another one of your questions. If you have a question you’d like me to consider for this blog, CLICK HERE.

Arise, My Beloved! Part 2

What’s Stopping You?

By

Dawn Stephenson

It was the worst day of my life. Walking into the Trauma Center ED Room, I had to tell my 17-year-old athlete son who was lying face up on a transport gurney that he had a 20 percent chance of ever walking again. Why was this, my job? I reluctantly conveyed to the ED Team that I didn’t even know what a spinal cord was. They patiently explained it carried the fluid that brought life, healthy movement throughout your body inside of the spinal cord. As if the snowmobile accident wasn’t enough, the thought of this lifelong outcome was incomprehensible. Yet that’s what happens when one of your perfectly aligned vertebrae shatters and goes smashing into your spinal cord. Alignment … when it’s out, it’s out. It matters not if it’s your spinal cord or life relationships. The net result is the same. Things stop working underneath the shattered surface.

Let’s take a look at that today, shall we?

Last week we discussed the importance of three things we need to live for a healthier relationship ~ with ourselves, in our marriages, and families. Yes, everywhere. Align, arise, and ascend were the three keys. Today we will take a closer look at some of the ploys, the enemy uses to stop us from properly functioning in each of these spaces. They are the things that hinder us from being our best selves. Let’s remember his goal is to steal, kill, and destroy. 

Align: As we look at our most intimate relationships, with ourselves and in our marriages, many of us can identify with my son’s story. We lay paralyzed, tears streaming down our faces, gasping for breath in excruciating pain, wondering how we ever got to this place. Sound familiar?

Alignment is key. When there is a shattering, a breaking, whether that is in our spirit or in a spinal cord, the net result is similar. Nothing below that broken space functions properly, if at all. The fluid can’t flow to bring life. Let’s think of it in an over simplistic fashion. The movement of the Holy Spirit is much like spinal cord fluid. It flows freely through our cord delivering life throughout our body. What if we were like our vertebrae aligning and fitting nicely underneath one another?  All of us fit together like puzzle pieces to carefully guard that fluid in a cage-like structure, much like the body of Christ.  Yes, and much like our marriages and family when they are in alignment. When someone shatters and is maligned, literally all hell has the potential to break loose. The severity of the break determines the amount of paralyzing damage. This happens in both spinal cords and families. 

The shattering vertebrae, (T12) in this case, literally sent shards of bone flying, the largest compressed against the cord prohibiting flow. In family life, those shards hit everyone within reach. Can you relate? Have you been hit by someone’s flying debris of implosion above you? Are you non-functioning or possess limited mobility because of its impact? 

In order to further understand the obstacle here, let’s make sure we are on the same page in terms of order of relational “vertebrae.”  To do that, let’s head to a verse that has been a complete source of confusion for me ~ until recently. I say that because I believe I’ve had the “order of alignment” incorrect most of my life.  Mark 12:29-31 is crystal clear about our order of alignment. The Hebrew people refer to this as “The Shema.”  It’s recited at both morning and evening prayer times. Take a look at it. It’s Jesus defining our relational alignment.

Alignment No. 1 is seemingly straightforward: to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, our soul, our mind, and our strength. That’s pretty much a mirror image of the way that He loves us. The Gospel account is ripe with verses that define that reciprocity: John 3:16 and John 15:3 are a few that come to mind. 

Alignment No. 2 really held the key for me as to why my deeply marred soul bore the rampant ruins of the most intimate relationships in my life that were fiercely flawed. The verse states that we are to “love your neighbor (husband, family, etc.) as yourself.”  Wait!  Stop right there (screeching halt sound)! Backup!!  This is an enormous truth shift. My entire life this had me scratching my head when I got to the “as yourself” phrase. How am I supposed to love my neighbor correctly if I’m not supposed to love myself?  I was taught that self-love was prideful, sinful, and selfish. I was to die to self … destroy the “flesh man.” The answer to that is yes … partially. In the fleshly sense of the word that is all true. My confusion was the enemy’s tactic to keep me in bondage for over 50 years.

However, what Jesus is preaching here, dear sisters, I believe is the key to proper Alignment No. 2. We learn to love ourselves next … in alignment directly under Him (with NO ONE else in-between). Like the properly aligned vertebrae, this is how life is protected. We love ourselves the way He loves and sees us ~ the mirror image of using all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength to see ourselves as He does. Love yourself this way.

We can’t blow through this. We need to sit with this … marinade in it. It was a life-changer for me. Simply put, we need to become His beloved. Because, sisters, understand this; until we get this right, there is no way we can love others in a healthy manner. He tells us that.

Our love for others stems from the overflow and understanding of our healthy love for ourselves.Click To Tweet

From what I see, this is where most of us “shatter” just like my son’s vertebrae. It’s where I did. I kept trying to “love others,” but it kept not working. I was working from a “needs-based,” “people- pleasing,” “adultified child,” and “overproducer” place. Please feel free to insert any of your own labels in here, there are plenty more. 

To get this right, we simply must submit to the work. This is the “work” required of us in the “working out of our salvation with fear and trembling” in Philippians 2:12-13.  It’s the process of our own “Glorious Unbecoming.” We are developing here, the CORE strength just like what’s needed by our vertebrae to stay in place and in alignment. We are undoing the collateral damage accumulated on the timelines of our lives inflicted by parents, friends, relatives, the “whomevers” and “whatevers” that we encounter along the way. Jesus sits desiring to transform us. He tells us that He has put all that we need to accomplish this in us upon our salvation in the form of the Holy Spirit. He leads us in all truth according to John 16:13. We simply need to lean into the process.  He stands ready and “faithful to complete the good work that He started in us” (Philippians 1:6).  So kill the flesh man self, come alive in the Spirit man self, He died for the privilege of you to do just that!  Then and only then are we properly aligned with precious life protected, no obstacles in between us and Him! 

Now we are ready to take on Alignment No.3, the healthy, intimate loving of others. Do you see this? Is it just me? Have you held these beliefs as well?

Arise: Now let’s take a look at some of the hindrances to arising. To do this, we must back up a step. The problem comes when we try to arise in the fullness of our identity when we are still out of alignment. In essence, there is a broken vertebra above us (think in terms of our own understanding or our mate’s). The net effect is the same. We begin to feel the paralyzing effects of an unhealthy relationship. What I’ve witnessed personally, and what I repeatedly hear from others is this: Too often when we reach out for help within the evangelical community, we are shut down. For me, it was, in essence, akin to being on that gurney paralyzed and screaming for help. Some of the responses to this situation that I encountered, and what I’ve heard from others was this, “You simply need to love more, try harder, do this or that.” It was as ridiculous as being asked to perform our own surgery! It hurt. It wasn’t the same mercy and grace that Jesus offered. We expect to find help and healing in the church, not to be wounded by “friendly fire.”

Eye-opening comments such as, “There are marriages here in this Sunday School class that are worse than yours,” “Gee, it would be so much easier if he would just hit you so that we could see the bruises,” or “Consider it a privilege to join Christ in His sufferings when you are hit.” When these comments are being offered as “guidance” or “counsel,” it leads one to believe there is another ploy at play here from the enemy. 

It makes one wonder that if in the battle to protect the sanctity of marriage and family throughout the evangelical community, we are leaving behind bleeding, wounded individual souls that comprise the marriage. Not everyone falls into this category in the evangelical community, but it’s been my experience. When that happens, it becomes a prime breeding ground for an idolatry vacuum that creates an evangelical oppression of the abused.   

When these responses are uttered, the broken are left feeling misunderstood or unprotected with no voice ~ just where the enemy would have them. They return to the crazy spiral of self-doubting and destructive relationships at the directive of uneducated lay and professional counsel.  It becomes nigh unto impossible to value one’s own precious soul (the one Christ commands us to love others with) when it is continually being burned as a sacrifice on the altar of the marriage covenant and family. 

But we are called to a higher place. The arising and subsequently the ascending is allowed to happen when we begin to detach from these flawed systems. When we come to value our own soul as Christ did, first and foremost as the precious creation He made us to be … His first, outside of a marriage covenant. Once the proper alignment is in place directly between yourself and Him we are free to operate in the flowing grace of His economy ~ an economy of proper alignment. We are free to flourish there and arise. We are then able to understand and develop the capacity to love others well with no more crippling effects. 

As for my son, he is the carrier of a miracle! The hospital’s top surgeon “just happened” to be on call that holiday weekend he was injured. A mastermind who delighted in taking broken pieces and shards and creating an environment in which they could knit back together … as one. This environment, with these broken pieces (and the assistance of a LOT of titanium), actually fused together even stronger than the original spine to protect that life-giving spinal cord fluid ~~ Aha! Isn’t that just like the Master we serve!  Oh, what He can do in our lives, in our families, in our own broken hearts when we give Him the scalpel.     

Fierce Christ Sisters, do you see the enemy’s ploys? Do they make sense? The enemy is hard at work to shatter. The question is: whom do we allow to wield the scalpel? Let’s chat about it in the comments below.

19 Comments

  1. Aleea on July 5, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Thank you Dawn, great teaching. . . .so, so much to ponder and learn from what you have written.

    “Fierce Christ Sisters, do you see the enemy’s ploys?” ―Yes. “Do they make sense?” ―Yes and No. . . . .What is the model for Satan? . . .Satan is our real enemy and is wrecking marriages and lives and is absolutely a real, living spirit being. . . .But beyond the scapegoating, in the Bible, there are *all* kinds of these satanic/demonic entities/forces: there are demiurgos, archons, Satan, demons, aeons, et.al. . . .What is the integrated model for all this? Who does what, when, where, ―how??? . . .But even though I don’t understand it, the spiritual battlefield is infinitely greater than the physical, and God is more willing to bless with a sort of divine ecstasy those who see the devil as the enemy rather than those who see other people as the enemies. . . .I think Satan dreads prayer and wants to keep us from praying for each other. He probably fears nothing from prayerless study, prayerless work, prayerless Christianity. Satan’s plan for us is self–improvement vs. abandoning ourselves to God in prayer.

    “Our love for others stems from the overflow and understanding of our healthy love for ourselves.” ―Absolutely!!! That is so, so important to understand. Love is an inside job and comes from our CORE, our factory of ourselves, ―the way we treat ourselves, ―the love we give ourselves. Above everything else, genuinely love yourself first. Christ’s self-love is powerful and it’s the best love that you will ever have. When you love who YOU are, your relationships will generally be healthier and your life will be happier. Self-love sets the standard in how we allow others to treat us and how we treat ourselves. Your happiness and well-being is important, protect it by always loving/valuing who you are!

    “. . .We simply need to lean into the process. He stands ready and “faithful to complete the good work that He started in us. . . . . Then and only then are we properly aligned with precious life protected, no obstacles in between us and Him!” ―Absolutely!!!

    “It makes one wonder that if in the battle to protect the sanctity of marriage and family throughout the evangelical community, we are leaving behind bleeding, wounded individual souls that comprise the marriage. Not everyone falls into this category in the evangelical community, but it’s been my experience. When that happens, it becomes a prime breeding ground for an idolatry vacuum that creates an evangelical oppression of the abused.” ―Absolutely!!! Why are we trying so hard to fit in when Christ saved us to stand out? . . . If we can wrap ourselves around the idea that in Christ we are something incredible, then we will stop excusing behavior that rapes our very soul. We were never meant to teach someone to love us. We were meant to be loved, ―period. The higher you climb, the more Satan will take notice. ―Keep climbing! If we do, all of us will be on Satan’s list of most wanted. ―That’s the list to be on, as frightening as it sounds! . . .There’s not one thing in life worth having outside Jesus Christ. Christ is all I want. Every single morning, all of you, I am praying for.

    “As for my son, he is the carrier of a miracle!” . . . .Wonderful, ―just wonderful!!!

  2. Sophia on July 5, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Yes!!! My counselor is always reminding me …TOP DOWN life. God first, self care second(our core!) marriage a distant third…children…church. So elementary to me, learning at a snails pace. And life like this does not ‘feel’ natural to me. I have always been a survivor and survivors don’t do self love and care. So against my feelings I am learning to say no to a lot of life, and yes to self care and love. Life is different now.

  3. Barbara on July 5, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    I agree that Satan works through the lies of faulty belief systems. In this way he can work behind the scenes, not attacking us directly but indirectly through our own beliefs and reasoning based on these beliefs. The Holy Spirit works in us to transform us through the renewing of our minds to His truth (Romans 12:2). The scalpel is His word, living and active and able to pierce to the center of our beings and shatter the lies (Hebrews 4:12, Jeremiah 23:29). I find it exhilarating and also slightly nerve-wracking to know that I am responsible for what I believe! God allows us to choose our beliefs; may we choose well!

  4. Nancy on July 5, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    Hi Leslie and sisters,

    Your intro Leslie prompted me to share a brand new teaching ( from this morning)

    Today my small group did week 6 of the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Course. We looked at Daily Offices and Sabbath.

    I thought I’d share about the Sabbaths.

    ” Biblical Sabbaths have 4 foundational qualities that distinguish them from a ‘day off’.
    1)Stop. “To stop” is built into the literal meaning of the Hebrew word. We have limits. God is on the throne running the world. We are called to let go and trust him.

    2) Rest- Once we stop, we are called to rest from work and ” doings”

    3)Delight- We are to slow down so we can enjoy what we are given

    4)Contemplate- We are to ponder the love of God. Every Sabbath we taste the glorious eternal party that awaits us when we see him face to face (Revelation 22:4)

    Sabbath is like receiving a gift of a heavy snow day every week. Stores are closed. Roads are impassable. Suddenly you have the gift of a day to do whatever you want. You have no obligations, pressures, or responsibilities. You have permission to play, be with friends, take a nap, read. Few of us give ourselves a “no obligation day” very often. God does- every seventh day.

    Think about it. He gives you over 7 weeks a year ( 52 days) of snow days, every year!”

    Here are two questions we was asked to contemplate:
    What difference would it make in your life is you celebrated a Sabbarh every week?

    What questions, concerns or fears do you have that keep you from making this practice a part of your weekly rhythm?

    I found it mind blowing that God would grant us an entire day like this every week.

    • Aleea on July 6, 2017 at 6:05 am

      . . .Absolutely. . . .God presents the Sabbath rest as like a shelter we can enter into (Hebrews four, et.al.) . . . . Every time we turn to Christ in faith it is like a moment of Sabbath, a little of eternal rest and glory (―that party you are referring to :!:). To me, the gift of that moment is not in what we do but what we receive. ―It is the Holy time set aside to receive the greatest gift God ever has to give, which is Himself, in His own Son (―And no way do I fully understand it, not at all because it is not just about worship. It is about work stoppage!) It is about withdrawal from the anxiety system of Pharaoh (―the bosses, at work or at home or in my own head from my childhood programming, ―wherever) the refusal to let one’s life be defined by production and consumption and the endless pursuit of our families private well-being.. . . .I was thinking today, as I was driving, about at least one indication of my unbelief which is my tendency to measure all my challenges against my own adequacy instead of God’s promises (―which I often discount. ―I don’t even know why. I know better. It’s really hard to *really* trust.) To enter that Sabbath rest, we must end self-reliance and trusting in our own abilities to overcome difficulties, rise above our challenges, escape tragedies, or achieve personal. . . well, personal anythings. Pausing for prayerful listening, even for a few minutes, brings everything that is important back into focus. . . .Actually, what we want is for the Sabbath to be a way of life “casting all your anxiety on Him,” to find that in actual fact “He cares for you” (1st Peter five, et.al.) It is using the keys to the Kingdom to receive the resources for real life, abundant living. . . .The keys to the kingdom are waiting for me if I will enter that Sabbath rest.

  5. Ana on July 5, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    Love your powerful written comment: “Why are we trying so hard to fit in when Christ saved us to stand out? . . . If we can wrap ourselves around the idea that in Christ we are something incredible, then we will stop excusing behavior that rapes our very soul. We were never meant to teach someone to love us. We were meant to be loved, ―period.”

    There are dysfunctional patterns of behavior developed from childhood and/or family of origin that we take into adulthood and into marriage that “rape our soul.” And in my case it’s my husband. He doesn’t get his dysfunction is emotional abuse by which he disconnects from me for days and he’s unwilling or unable to change or seek counsel. I find myself in a hard place from time to time. I cry out to the Lord. I’ve talk to my hubby. I wonder if I excuse his wrong behavior because at least he’s not physically abusive or calling me hurtful names. I know God sees his behavior. I’m in a quandary as to what to do other than maintain my self-care and core-strength.

    • Nancy on July 6, 2017 at 10:46 am

      Hi Ana,

      I love Aleea’s comment, too, that we were never meant to teach someone to love us.

      In the case of my husband and I, what I was meant to do was get out of the way so that The Lord could work directly with my husband. It was very difficult to ‘let go’ and observe, in order to find out if my husband would choose to submit to The Lord’s Love. Could he accept Christ’s love for him?

      No, I couldn’t teach my husband to Love.

      My job is to allow God to Love me, then allow myself to accept Love from me, then Love my husband in giving him what he needs ( in his case what he needed was ‘tough love’, or limits).

      “We love because He first loved us” 1 John 4:19

      • Ana on July 6, 2017 at 12:02 pm

        It’s really key to live from a place of core strength of loving oneself. And In knowing our Father’s heart. In order to process and respond in strength and in truth to the hurts, offenses that wreak havoc on our souls.

        • Aleea on July 7, 2017 at 5:33 am

          Hello Ana,

          I have dysfunctional patterns of behavior developed from childhood abuse (—both verbal and physical) and I am in psychotherapy trying to heal from them. It is very, very hard. I keep going but it is so hard. “I want you to be free” is the message I hear many, many times when I pray. . . .

          “. . .he disconnects from me for days and he’s unwilling or unable to change or seek counsel.” . . . —Oh my, I’m the total opposite. All I want to do is connect, ―deeply connect but it so often becomes co-dependent when I do.

          “I wonder if I excuse his wrong behavior because at least he’s not physically abusive or calling me hurtful names. I know God sees his behavior. I’m in a quandary as to what to do other than maintain my self-care and core-strength.”

          . . .Ana, I didn’t respond right away because I wanted to pray, ask God for wisdom and really think before I wrote this. I also really like Nancy’s answer [. . .Love my husband in giving him what he needs ( in his case what he needed was ‘tough love’, or limits)] and her answer may be more correct than mine —so, you should do what the Holy Spirit tells you to do. What I would say is that the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are in Christ. . . .Who you are, who God wants you to be. Who Christ wants you to be. . . . .Yes, smart, meaningful risks! —Always consider taking them. “I’m in a quandary as to what to do” . . . .Ana, I bet you already know the answers you seek, but you may not what to know what you already know because . . . .well, because that means you are going to have to get way out of your comfort zone: setting boundaries, setting consequences, all the hard to implement stuff. . . .I hate leaving my comfort zone and my counselor is always telling me that safety is my number one felt need. —Again, you should do what the Holy Spirit tells you to do but let’s say you are miserable and unhappy. —Okay. . . Find what’s really valuable and sacrifice it to God. . . .Sometimes the reason that we are suffering is because we just won’t let go of the thing that’s biting us. —And the crazy thing is that too often, when people let something go, really turn it over to the Lord, it goes away, sorts itself out and then comes back. —So you don’t even end up even losing it. But unless you are willing to let it go, to *sacrifice* it, we make no headway whatsoever. So one of God’s rules seems to be: If people are impeding your development (—your aligning, arising and ascending —what Dawn has been talking to us about), you sacrifice your relationship with them. . . .Again, be careful and do what the Holy Spirit tells you to do. . . . .But sometimes, we must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that Christ has waiting for us. That frightens me even to just say that! But if you deeply follow Christ (—really risking for Him) you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living. Follow Him, get the best counseling you can from qualified people that have a proven track record of solving your specific issues (Ana, —real evidence; demonstrable results), these are the “wise others” in the CORE model: O –“Open to the Holy Spirit and wise others to help you grow.” If you identify with the part of your being that is responsible for real transformation (—the Holy Spirit, in the “O” of the CORE) then you are always the equal, or more than the equal of the things that challenge you, —and don’t be afraid. I feel like a hypocrite saying that, I am so often afraid. If you do, doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. I say it this way: The caves you fear to enter hold the treasures you seek. The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are, —but who you are. If you can see your path laid out in front of you step-by-step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step the Holy Spirit guides you to take. That’s why it’s your path, Ana. Not Aleea’s, not Whomever’s . . . .If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. . . .I’m praying for you and your husband.

        • Aleea on July 11, 2017 at 11:58 am

          “. . . .And when I take this hard thing to God, I’m going to truly let go of the life I planned so I can have the life Christ planned for me long ago.”

          That’s awesome Ana!!!

          I’m praying for you and your husband, each day and my prayer group is praying too. I so believe in prayer. I always say it is the best thing I and my counselor do. . . .But no amount of external love can ever replace the love that Christ can give us through the Holy Spirit. . . .Also, internal compassion is the love we so desperately need to give ourselves. When someone really loves you, the way they talk about you is different. You feel safe and comfortable. That’s what we must be to ourselves too. Our task, it seems to me, is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within ourselves that we have built against it, —against Christ. You have the ability to love others when you truly, compassionately love yourself first. Only the development of compassion and understanding for ourselves (*ourselves* internally) can cause us to have real compassion for others *externally*. . . .It is the reverse logic that God always seems to use: The way right is left; the way up is down; the way to save your life is to lose it completely. . . .Evil does its worst, but God takes it as the actual raw material by which to bless people. —Turning even the greatest evil into the greatest good. . . .For me, that is really hard stuff to process. —It’s almost unbelievable! . . . . And yet, all our identity rests in the knowledge of who we’re created to be. No one should under or over estimate themselves, because if you belong to Christ it should be your Light, not any darkness, that should most frighten you. Honesty is vulnerability. We never lose by loving like that. We generally lose by holding back. . . .Jesus is about *radical*, sweeping, encompassing empowerment. Our deepest fear should never be that we are inadequate. . . .our deepest fear should be that we are powerful beyond measure.

  6. Nancy on July 6, 2017 at 7:19 am

    Thanks Aleea. Yes, the daily offices ( some practice these MANY times per day) are exactly what you are describing- mini Sabbaths.

    And yes, the goal is to constantly be able to receive! To Abide.

    The thought of a weekly snow day brought me such delight. I LOVE watching our girls face when I tell them to look at the snow outside and announce a snow day. They are DELIGHTED. The lightness that comes into the day is extraordinary. To imagine that God wants THAT for us! Wow.

    Many think of the Sabbath and daily offices with resistance , but that’s because there is misunderstanding of what these are. They are not more ‘to do’s’, but the COMPLETE opposite 🙂

    • Connie on July 6, 2017 at 10:02 am

      Thank you for this. What a beautiful way you have of telling about this delightful gift of the Father. I have long wondered why so many church-goers seem to feel they are ‘getting away with something’ when they don’t keep the Sabbath as intended. Like it’s a burdensome law. Since when do we rebel when our boss at work gives us a day off? 🙂

      This year it rained too much to plant our spring crops in this area. I can’t help thinking of the verse, when Israel was in captivity, “and the land enjoyed its Sabbath rests.” They had never, to my knowledge, kept the year of Jubilee, or many of the Sabbatical years. We cannot break God’s laws, we can only break ourselves over them. He will get what’s His one way or another. Not because He is vindictive, but because He knows what is best and we ask for it if we don’t pay attention.

  7. Debbie on July 6, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Dawn,
    This is deep, mind-blowing stuff for me. Literally this AM it’s exactly what I heard the Spirit speaking to me as I journaled.
    I believe I allowed the voice of my husband to override the voice of my God. Complete misalignment. I see things now I hadn’t realized before. I’m learning, crawling in Truth praying I will arise! So very grateful for what you have shared and how it has ministered to me. Like a baby trying to eat steak…but I’ll get it, by the power given to me by Jesus! I rarely, rarely comment on things like this but it is so resounding to me. Thank you and blessings. Debbie

  8. Dawn on July 6, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Nancy! Aleea!
    I simply love this thread.
    Yes! We were designed to “ascend” into the eternal Sabbath peace He died for us to receive. That is our work – the work of staying in rest — in Him. The Psalm 91:1 type.
    Yay! I simply love how well He loves and protects us!
    Thank you for such great wisdom you two!

  9. Dawn on July 6, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    Nancy! Aleea!
    I simply love this thread.
    Yes! We were designed to “ascend” into the eternal Sabbath peace He died for us to receive. That is our work – the work of staying in rest — in Him. The Psalm 91:1 type.
    Yay! I simply love how well He loves and protects us!
    Thank you for such great wisdom you two!

    • Aleea on July 7, 2017 at 6:51 am

      “. . .The thought of a weekly snow day brought me such delight. I LOVE watching our girls face when I tell them to look at the snow outside and announce a snow day. They are DELIGHTED. The lightness that comes into the day is extraordinary. To imagine that God wants THAT for us! Wow.” . . . .Nancy, beautiful word picture! I can actually “see” that.

      “They had never, to my knowledge, kept the year of Jubilee, or many of the Sabbatical years.” . . . .Connie, they probably didn’t and thus missed Christ when He came. Entering that rest would have provided the fine-tuning for hearing God’s messages amidst the static of their lives. “Do no work.” —Just make space. Learn that you don’t have to DO to BE. It is so hard to accept the grace of doing nothing. Staying with it until we stop jerking and squirming.

      “Yay! I simply love how well He loves and protects us!” . . . .Dawn, —just wonderful. I love to hear faith statements like that!!! Hearing them increases my faith! That’s just so beautiful. —All things as they move closer and closer toward God are so beautiful, and they are so ugly as they move away from Him.

  10. Missy on July 6, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    I’ve been pondering my “self love” a lot. Like you Dawn, my upbringing was much about eradicating selfishness from my life. I guess I internalized this into meaning that any action, investment (of time or money or thought), or anything that put me first was wrong. With a loving, sacrificial partner in marriage, this poor balance would not be so destructive. With a selfish abusive partner, it’s a complete disaster.

    I’m learning day by day how loved I am by the Father. I’m seeing the amazing beauty, the intelligence, the grace and wisdom that he’s deposited in me and that has grown in me by persevering through and seeking Him first in my trials.

    I’ve also realized (quite recently) that one of the best ways to remind myself of this is to surround myself with people who SEE my worth. Being in a marriage relationship where my worth is consistently undermined, it becomes essential not only to daily hit the reset button and remember how loved and valued I am by Jesus, but also be reminded that others see and value it too! Oftentimes for me, the abuse creates isolation.That isolation has kept me from experiencing His words of love spoken to me through others. I can’t let this happen, no matter the cost!

  11. Nancy on July 7, 2017 at 8:30 am

    Dawn,

    The imagery of a spine being aligned is powerful indeed.

    5 years ago I accepted Christ. Before that I had not practiced the greatest commandment : to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and soul, and mind and strength. This re-alignment has been massive. This shift created incredible changes in my life – everything has been turned upside down in the process. I most certainly don’t ‘have that one down’, but my focus is now narrowing in on the second part; to ‘love my neighbour as myself’, specifically the ‘as myself’ part.

    What I’ve very recently put together is that The Lord had to address serious mis-alignments within myself before I could even accept Christ.

    Through huge losses ( the loss of my mind ( psychotic break), and very soon after that, my father) The Lord drew my attention to the mis-alignment between my mind and my heart. My inability to articulate my feelings left a black hole between my brain and my heart ( which when under great pressure- infertility- created psychosis). Learning to articulate my feelings began to build a bridge between the two. This was 15 years ago. Establishing a certain amount of emotional health (bridging the gap between mind and heart) was necessary for me to accept Christ. Also, the counselling I had was not Christian, it was secular.

    What was important, was that the bridge was being built.

    Maybe that is the space where grace enters in? Maybe there needs to be a pathway in order for the Holy Spirit to enter in? It’s interesting that I’ve always thought of my neck as this space – now reading this, it is a part of my spine.

    Now, as I Said earlier, He is really having me focus on the ‘as yourself’ part of the command. The leaking of spinal fluid from this part of my spine certainly comes from the shattered vertebrae that is my mother’s definition and experience of love – of God Himself. She is the quintessential church lady – her life revolves around the church, and yet she is a controller. And so this double life has created massive damage in my ability to feel loved and valued for who I am.

    Through the practice of Daily Offices and Sabbath, He is addressing this, head on. I begin my daily office by climbing into His lap and imagining words of delight that He speaks to me, This is very different than praying.

    I am catching glimpses of what it is like to love ‘as yourself’. That piece of my spine is currently under re-construction.

    Psalm 91 is one of my favourites, I love that you referenced verse 2 with regards to ascending through the practice of offices and Sabbath.

    Metaphors are so powerful. Thank you for this one- it will stay with me.

  12. Ana on July 9, 2017 at 10:28 am

    Aleea, I want to thank you for taking me into your prayers and putting together a thoughtful and Godly response. I needed to re-read and marinate over the treasures in your words. I do need to consider taking good healthy risks like sacrificing the relationship that has been biting me. I relationship that bites me hard pretty frequently. I am definitely taking my relationship and sacrificing it on God’s alter. And when I take this hard thing to God, I’m going to truly let go of the life I planned so I can have the life Christ planned for me long ago. I am doing that this morning. I am learning how to stay in peace, rest and full of joy in spite of the circumstances that weigh me down. My help comes from the Lord and from his people full of his Spirit and wisdom. Thank you Aleea!

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