Thursday, April 26, 2012

One year and a NEW heart later...

This particular week of my life has been jaw-droppingly significant. So monumental and important, that I’ve had to dust off my laptop and get my fingers typing and sharing on this blog again. Not only do I want to record it for memory's sake, but I believe there are others out there who may in the future identify with me (but probably do not realize it yet).

Actually, this particular post is a continuation-- well, maybe even a back-tracking of sorts-- from the previous entry before this one. There were a few statements in that testimony that I now believe need to be adjusted. Go back with me there for a moment as I quote a few sentences:

Throughout the following months, God did a major, unexpected work in my life... A work so significant that I’ll always remember it as the most altering season in my life next to my salvation.
Right there! Did you see it? I plainly stated that God did a work in my life that I described as major, unexpected, significant, most altering... but then used the phrase “next to my salvation.” Now THAT is where everything changes. Because what God Almighty has revealed to me over the last 72 hours, is that that particular work WAS my salvation.

*Right now, go ahead and picture me running around, jumping like a crazy person with tears streaming down my face*

Are you familiar at all with the story of Nicodemus from the Bible (John 3:1-10)? He was a man who had LOTS of religion but also a dead heart. He was able to point to Jesus and acknowledge the supernatural in Him, but had never experienced the supernatural work of God in his own life. How very sad it was that Nicodemus considered knowledge of the law and outward works equivalent to salvation! It’s even more sad for me to acknowledge that I thought the same way as Nicodemus for 30ish years.

I grew up in the church, learned in the church, prayed “the sinner’s prayer” in the church, was baptized in the church... Basically everything that the world expected of a lifelong, Southern-Baptist-soaked, over-churched “Christian” to do, I did. Unfortunately, the main character of that journey was “I” and not God. My god was me and my heart was stone. Until last year.

Back to quoting from my previous blog post, look at my description of what God awakened in me:
Plain and simple, the ruler of my life was me.  My spiritual walk had become grossly disordered from my efforts to pridefully manage and cope with my own sin, yet blaming and exposing my husband’s sin at every given opportunity.  The choicest affections of my heart were soaked in my flesh and not in my Heavenly Father.  I learned that He longs for me to find my security, identity, approval, and emotional gratification from Him, knowing His resources will never run dry.  My time in the Word gradually changed from trying to search out Biblical grounds for divorce to learning about the fear of the Lord and His opinion of me.  Once my true self was fully broken, exposed, and laid on the altar before the Lord, I was in a position for Him to then supernaturally and wholly heal my marriage. 
God gave me a new heart. His Holy Spirit blew in and gave me life. It was HIS work, not my own. Hear this loud and clear:

God saved my marriage by saving ME!!!!

The only person I had capacity to love before was myself... And I did an awesome job of it. For once in my life, I didn’t set out on a new behavior modification program or a new commitment to try harder to love the Lord. It took GOD HIMSELF cleansing me from all my filthiness and from all my idols (myself), giving me a NEW heart, and putting a new spirit within me (Ezekiel 36:24-28). There was nothing that I did, said, or committed to. It was the complete work of the Lord.

So, yes, absolutely this “addition” to my previous post is significant. But why today? A month before my husband and I were separated, I had entered into a new mentor/discipling relationship with an incredibly Godly woman (who I now LOVE dearly and won’t ever be able to thank appropriately). She had encouraged me to start a journal of what God would teach me in the months ahead and so I did. But once things in my marriage were at their worst and separation began, my journaling stopped. I was too numb, confused, and (now I know) spiritually dead. Until 3 months later, God awakened me and I picked up my pen again. Here’s a picture from my journal of that day:

How awesome and COOL of the Lord to reveal this to me exactly one year after it began! 

I do believe the many years in my life before this illustrate God’s relentless pursuit of me. But I clung tightly to self-righteousness and approval, never really grabbing hold of the Gospel. Little did I know then that the Person of the Gospel would grab hold of this tired, bored, selfish “Christian” and make everything NEW. GLORY!!!

ALIVE in Christ-