If I asked you to pause still and listen long enough for each exhale, would you hear your heart beat with peace and genuine contentment, or might you feel a void or incomplete?
This is a small window into my redemptive story . . .
Because emotions possess the power to transport us to the past, I can relive a moment, as if it were today. Like the time I stood timid on stage in wooden heel pumps, waiting for audition results.
I was selected to be, ‘Extra’ and sternly told, “Whatever you do, don’t dare speak a word, just stand silent!” Though it was theatre drama, the forceful command to be silent, felt like a life sentence. Almost instantly, rolling off his lips, these instructions impressed intimidation upon my teenage heart, cementing the message, you’re unqualified for the part, unskilled to speak.
The pattern of rejection from peers and pursuits, continually left me feeling less than and more like a miss-fit. I desperately wanted to know my place, my purpose, where I belonged.
Mama led me to the Lord at age three, but my need for a Father’s approval had me reaching for the world around me, rather than receiving my identity from the Word, within me. I took one bite of deception, then another, till I was drawn away to some dark, muddy ditches. I ended up empty and more broken, than when my search for significance began.
But one cool, summer eve, God interrupted my worldly pursuits with Holy presence. I was brought to conviction, as from a friend’s mouth flowed the unexpected proclamation: “God is here Jess, He’s here tonight, calling you home. This night will change your life forever.”
And it did.
I couldn’t refuse, deny or hide from the piercing persuasion of God’s fervent, faithful pursuit. Overwhelmed with His kindness, I stumbled to the bathroom floor, kneeling in repentance, I unfastened the zip lock on my bag of tea leaves, (ahem), emptying every last bit of bright green. “You have my attention, God.”
I was nineteen then, many moonlights ago when gradual separation unto and sanctification through, Jesus, my first love, began again.
God answered my restless search for purpose, with His relentless pursuit. And in the pages of grace and truth, the longing to belong was satisfied.
I began to sense a call to share His Word, speak His truth and spread His love. It required faith as speaking stirred a familiar subject of fear. But God replaced those old messages, ‘stay hidden, don’t speak, just be silent,’ and rewrote His affirming Word all over my heart. Like this one from Isaiah: “He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.”
God called me from self to surrender and through His Word, the inward journey of refinement continues. I could have never imagined the life-altering events, shortly following my surrender at nineteen. How timely His truth turned my life around, for I then knew where to anchor my hope, in the midst of stormy seas and waves of turbulent, trying times.
Like you, I’m sure life has brought joys and sorrows, gains and losses, desperate prayers and desires fulfilled; alongside all the detours and delays that dark nights bring. But His Word continues proving fiercely faithful as His truth transcends and triumphs over circumstances.
Scripture remains my strength in weakness, my delight and joy, my advocate in adversity, my burden-bearer and calm in chaos – He is forever my faithful friend and Father.
I’ve called God Savior most of my life, but I desire to be a daughter, whose calling, vision and greatest desire, is crowning Him, Lord of Lord and Kings of Kings. Amen.
Will you join me in this wild, fulfilling, God chasing journey of refinement and redemption?