In The Name of Love.

In The Name of Love.

It amazes me as I sit here, butterflies rumbling like this is the first day of school, or the way jitters would always rush in before the quiet confidence, the peace that would overtake before every play, stage lights would come up and it was my turn to be someone else. This time, the lights are up, but it’s my turn to finally be me.

I am a Shameless Daughter of Eve, a child of God. It amazes me today, the strength, the fire and passion I see in the woman I am growing to love with ever-more patience …

I am, because He first loved me, brought the right people, at the right time, in what could have been a very different outcome.. I see a story, biblical in proportion in the ways God has pursued, saved, redeemed, found and miracle after miracle throughout my entire life been ever-present. Annoyingly So. Ever-So-Patient. The way I can now, through new lenses, see God’s hand, so intentionally crafting and shaping my life to teach and grow me as patiently as silver is purified. As much as our enemy would try to have us believe we are mere accidents, forgotten, unloved, abandoned, unworthy and alone, we are crafted from dust. That takes some thought and intention.

The enemy can only twist the truth. He is not original, his lies are somehow always connected to something true, something he wishes to either steal, rob or destroy from you. Your job is to look into your heart and find what that is, sometimes we can love this thing so much, it can become an idol – something within our life that we either hold higher, or “seem to know better” than God.

“Idols are super fun.” – Said no one ever.

We can even make false idols by denying God the glory he gets to have from our passions, when we choose not to pursue them, thinking again, we must know better. We don’t want to embarrass God after all. Right?? Oh so dead wrong. I even had an idol literally smack me on my head and it was something I had been praying for! PRAYING FOR?! What happened to that whole “I will not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord…rather join me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God” or “there is no condemnation for those in Christ”.. see, I used to think  that whole “don’t be ashamed of the testimony that is Christ Jesus” meant his story, his death, his resurrection and HIS life here on earth and I would think, how silly? Why would I be ashamed of that? I LOVE God for that, for he so loved me first that he sent his only son to die on my behalf and for all creation so that those who love him might come to live with him for all eternity.. But I had it all wrong. I was ashamed of MY testimony.. ashamed of who I am, in Christ, who he made me to be. My story isn’t pretty. I’ve done stupid things, been through horrific things, been through Whiskey Tango Foxtrot things, you the know the ones you go through and STILL wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy for the fact that you barely managed to crawl from the wreckage. But that’s just it. All the crap is just that. CRAP. None of it compares to the glory yet to be revealed in us. That’s not a “new heaven, new earth” idea either.. That is something we are meant to experience now. On THIS earth. In THIS time. It’s the GOOD NEWS of why its better to be born on this side of the time machine, not the B.C. They had to live with perfect law in order to present the MOST perfect offering to God to save us all. But what that sacrifice bought all who hear and receive that message is complete restoration. NOW. That’s what comes with FULL healing and restoration, FULL communication and relation with Jesus, the Father and The Holy Spirit. I went through spiritual healing a few years ago & refresh often to “stay slippery”, a favorite saying among our church, thank you SwanMom, The philosophy:**the enemy can’t get a foothold if you stay slippery. Remain in His Love, Keep in The Spirit and get rid of new crap quickly so that nothing can take root. But then it hit me, the testimony Paul is referring to, is your own.  And if Paul can be unashamed of his testimony what the heck is my excuse?

Paul had the BEST reason to be ashamed on BOTH sides of his religious war. On the one hand, he was very successful massacring Christians. Christians FEARED him, for their VERY life. He had POWER, was ordained through man, through their government to carry out these orders.. so when God meets him on the road, its just that.. That whole shitty part, the killing and murdering of God’s beloved kids – the children who inherit HIS throne, the very ones who Jesus just literally died to save, is a road God was with him on, the whole time. God didn’t just bump into him on the road and convince him to see the light. God’s timing was HIS and HIS alone.

O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago. Isaiah 25:1

One the other hand, once Paul stepped into his identity he opened up a whole new side of enemies, people who had trusted him and he was now the hunter being hunted. They very people and the very hearts God sent him to teach to, had no reason to trust him and every reason to hate him. He had every reason to feel shame in his actions, and yet had confidence. That kind of revelation, to be heard and received from those who should hate you most, your enemies, can ONLY come from God.. God revealed his very identity on that road to Paul, while calling out Paul’s very purpose, Who Paul was IN Christ. Paul was purposed, his story and passion, his knowledge from these crusades, knowing how the enemy operated and how to teach more effectively to Christians, every single thing that Paul had used for his acts against God could now be used for God’s ultimate glory. God wastes nothing. Every single hell on earth you have been through, every non-sensical job you have ever had, every single thing that you know to do is purposing you for what you need, for a task only you can do, because of who You are in Christ. God’s salvation is the story. His Glory, his suffering, his endurance, his joy, his triumphs, and they are sewn into our stories for us to recognize and know him better, but they are also used for his glory. If we don’t leave the shame behind, we let the enemy rob part of God’s story, His glory and His revelation as we are all saints, trying to fail better in an effort to walk with the Father, sink slower, focus harder on Jesus. I take GREAT relief and comfort that Peter is not ever recorded walking on water.. some things take us all a little longer to get and he is my great example in that, you can take joy in trying to learn the rest of your life. To Go and Do, not because you failed or get it all right, but because of your calling, for the glory of the one who lives in you.

One thing that the enemy has shaped and twisted over my head, my entire life, is something I can step into today, intentionally, with confidence, knowing I am a good and worthy daughter, treasured and loved more than diamonds and gold.

My identity was revealed beautifully deep and pitifully hysterical to think back on, a few years ago, during a slippery session.. I had two women of faith praying over me. I was miserable. At that time, I had a disabled and very broken husband on my hands, a toddler and I was a mess. I felt alone. I felt like we had come too far, trusted God with so much and I didn’t even know where to start digging to try to find a lamp to see where in hell to begin to climb out.

Pit. Of. Despair.

Every attempt to get me to find hope and see reason, fell from my cheeks, I could not hear them and did not care. Then one of them called me to attention in the name of Jesus. They demanded to know who I was in Christ, who did GOD say I was. Snot and tears bubbled out as I pitifully answered in a very quiet, a very broken voice, ‘his radiant bride’.. a giggle burst out as the women both, slightly shocked and breathless of finally finding something about who God says I am… bigger than my mess, bigger than the shit. They both prayed blessings over me and I could feel the tears of joy mingling with snot running down my cheeks. I couldn’t have cared less. I didn’t understand the word, the phrase or the timing right away, but accepted the blessing and his identity over my life. I look forward to even  more revelation with him on that, but for the past five years, the life-long pursuit and thus-far journey to discovering what that looks like and what that means, has left me completely in Awe of His greatness, His love; How he goes for my heart, pursues me, and treats me not as I see me, not as I see the story, but through his truth, as his Queen, his radiant bride, his glorious creation.

So… long story.. that gets published in 2017. But short story. I am a writer, a lover of words and a shameless daughter of Eve. I am a writer. A blogger, a journalist, a journal scrap-booker, a ThisIS30 writer, which so far has mostly been spiritual or life lessons… Oh.. and the thing the enemy had me so twisted over???  This area of my life has been down right assaulted by the enemy my entire life, and that is my sexual evolution with God over the course of my life. I also write just as passionately about sex. I write with complete abandon in this area of my life, it was in this area I first began my career as a writer (and still publish). I literally adore seeing the different parts of the world that tune in. Sex is a subject I am well read on, have studied since I can hardly remember and have had some pretty hysterical experiences.. also some horrific ones… but, it doesn’t matter how many times the enemy has tried to literally rob, steal or destroy this passion, The Love I have for being so shameless in the Father, in trying new things and not being afraid to fail, the joy I have in passing occasional wisdom and fun tips to a friend, or through a blog or in studying and exploring in child-like abandon with my partner in love is one of God’s greatest blessings to me, so healing and so restorative. I will not rob God of his glory by hiding that from the world or my peers, for though I can remember I am destined for a new earth and a new heaven where my ideas feel more natural, I can remember, I am here for a reason, I have a heart after God’s people and a love that runs deep, all through the grace of my Father. This is a part of that, it certainly doesn’t define me, but it is one of my favorite passions, I write with intention while leaving room for abandon.

Whether I am successful or fall flat on my face, one of the greatest victories we can have over the enemy is when he realizes all his attempts to destroy who you are, what you were made to do for the kingdom were only fueled for the glory of the Father. It’s choosing not to become lost in the story, I once heard, the enemy hits those who believe not because he can actually remove them from the father, they are already marked and sealed with Christ, but to make them as ineffective for the kingdom as possible. When we believe what he says, that’s what we allow him to do.. When we realize this, That he can no longer shame you for the story or part you played, is the day you can expect him to blow all hell loose. For he has lost you..

Let me repeat, Nothing is ever wasted.

Once you realize his game, the enemies shit becomes God’s fertilizer for what only God knows, and what he does best in partnership with those he has ransomed. His ways are indeed, mysterious. The older I grow, the more I learn and see, the more convinced I am, that letting go, allowing the mystery of God not to overwhelm my experience of him in the present, is the way to trust him completely. I truly don’t need to get it all, but today, I needed to detonate this fear, this shame, what feels like one of the final straws  to completely break free. This is Who I am. I pray that my passion and ideas on sex would never muddy the waters so that my love for Jesus and HIS glory in what God made to be good, to be beautiful, to be worthy, lovely and admirable is always present, always seen first, and never used for the enemies misconduct. And I also know, sex is not the point. It may have been where I started my official published career, but it does not define me, does not box me in.. I write about passion, passionately, because I love deeply. Where ever my career takes me, I know my passion will continue to lean in with the Spirit as I let go of fear and take hold of his truth more and more. In whatever you do, do it for the Lord.. that’s my shameless sex writing career. It’s taken me places I never thought I would go, but in that, God has been present and gracious, he has wasted nothing but purposed every lesson with such fine-tuned intention. It’s a ridiculous story. But it’s also my life. In the name of love, through Jesus, I can testify to God’s goodness. It doesn’t matter what life has done to you, what you have done to yourself or where you have been or where you think you are going. It is all meaningless. The most important thing you can do, at any point in the day, is show love, to any person, stranger or thing for the one in you and because he first loved us.

I mentioned I am passionate, yes?? In the name of Love.

P E A C E  be with you today and always Saints & Friends.