Lover of my Soul

Dear Jesus,

So many intense feelings lately!  They crash over me with such intensity, I feel off-balance most of the time.  I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere.  I find myself sharing at such a deeply intense level, I make people uncomfortable.  I feel them shifting and gracefully finding an out so they no longer need to witness or hear my raw, unfiltered self.

Through all of this, I am being drawn closer to You.  I feel how intensely You want to connect with me at this new level.  I have felt You shifting my relationship from Papa God, to You, Jesus, my Beloved, the lover of my soul.  I have written about this, I have talked about this, and this word was confirmed in today’s message at church.  

I feel You beside me, and I feel myself yielding to You, to your presence.  I am learning to listen to Your still small voice and become comfortable following where I feel and see You leading me.

This is all so new and it is a little unsettling.  But I have been settled too long.  I have been settling for too long.  I want You to lead me in every action and every word I speak.  I know I won’t be perfect, I know I will fall short, and I know You know this, but You love me anyway.  You just want to hear me say these words. “I want to follow You, I want You to lead me.”

I am very tired my Love Jesus.  I want to go to sleep and feel you watching over me.  I want to dream about You.  I want You to speak to me in my dreams and tell me where You want me to go next, where our next adventure is.  Where You wish me to go so we can be together in reaching out to all who are lost, lonely, forgotten.  I want to dream about how much You love me and desire me, and want me walking so closely with You, I never feel alone or like I don’t belong.

Goodnight my sweet Jesus!  I love You! ~ Amen!

close up dark feather outdoors
Photo by Isaque Pereira on Pexels.com

Be an encourager!

I have a friend whose spiritual gift is exhortation, or encouragement.  He does not think of himself as a leader, yet the very act of encouraging moves people.

I am grateful for the time he shared his gift with me and how it continues to change my life and transform my walk with Jesus.

Be blessed dear friend!~♡

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Extravagantly Loved

Remember the feeling you have as a young lover, realizing there is someone who sees you as perfect and perfectly suited to them? This is also the experience you have when God allows you to see yourself through His eyes.  He sees you as beautiful, perfect and perfectly suited to be His bride. He shows you all those wonderful and unique things about who He created you to be and how all of this is fulfilled as you become one with Him

I am extravagantly loved and blessed by God.  He is so intimately beside me each day as I walk with Him and continue to grow in my love for Him and obedience to His will and way.   He has brought incredible teachers into my life always, and this year,  I am awakening to this truth more each day. Amazing…

I journal as a way of praying and talking to God, and before I write, I review what I have written months or years in the past.  At the end of this year I found an entry from May 29th 2017, which has become an amazing exploration of true intimacy with God.

Through this process I began corresponding with a wonderful godly man who I believe was a God led encounter to help both of us grow in our walk with Him.  I was asked to serve as a co-leader in a life group serving with a wonderful godly woman who continues to inspire me with her commitment and courage to become intimately involved in the lives of the women we were entrusted to lead. Our church began a series exploring the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  We were doubly blessed to have him visit our church as a guest pastor.  I was invited to become a prayer partner at my church campus.

Each of these I treasure as very special teachers and opportunities, brought to me by God, answers to my desire and prayers to walk more closely in true intimacy with Him.

This year started with correspondence from my dear friend, in which we exchanged our thoughts and impressions of what true intimacy with God looked like, using scripture as our guide.  I pulled from Song of Solomon and spoke of the intoxicating, all-consuming intense desires of young love and how our hunger and desire for God should drive us to seek Him fervently and relentlessly.  My dear friend took an altogether different approach, speaking of how a mature love, born of trials brings true intimacy with God.

I wrote, “Remember the feeling you have as a young lover, realizing there is someone who sees you as perfect and perfectly suited to them? This is also the experience you have when God allows you to see yourself through His eyes.  He sees you as beautiful, perfect and perfectly suited to be His bride.  He shows you all those wonderful and unique things about who He created you to be and how all of this is fulfilled as you become one with Him.

From this place, you are filled with a light shining for all the world to see.  You see everyone differently, you enter their presence, even in their sin and disgrace, and you see the beautiful child God created and longs to become one with, just as he became one with you.  Returning to your first love, being filled with that light shining for all the world to see, will draw all men unto Him.  Good works flow from this.”

He wrote in response, “I believe to experience a level of intimacy and intoxication is first required a level of maturity. Noticed that David went through a lot of trials and difficulties to experience intimacy with God, just as the apostles experienced those as well.  Even Jesus grew in stature and wisdom (Luke 2:52) before his ministry began.
I believe that when you love someone the way Christ called us to, and you respect and accept them because of who they are in Christ, and both of them are lovers of Jesus and lead by His Spirit, then something magical and beautiful takes place and that is when Eliza loses control and becomes spirit driven.

There is a song by Kim Walker called ‘Where You Go I Go’,  and in that song there is a part that expresses what I believe intimacy is:

Jesus only did what He saw you do,

He would only say what He heard you speak,

He would only move where He felt you lead,

Following your heart,

Following your spirit.

I believe that intimacy with God is a Spirit lead life where complete transparency, complete dependency and complete obedience is found.”

This concept of letting go of the need to control, and taking a submissive and obedient role next to Jesus, the lover of my soul, helped me to see how submission and obedience is an incredibly intimate posture.  This is only born through trials, suffering, and the maturing of a love relationship with Jesus.

As our love grows, deepens and matures through the trials and storms we walk through with Him by our side.  Through this we come to trust and lean into Him.  Then, submission and obedience is the fully expressed union of two becoming one flesh.

From here, we no longer rush out ahead, trying to figure out and predict the outcomes, we simply go where He leads, following His heart and Spirit because we are so in sync.  We are in right relationship with him as the head and we as a fully submitted bride.

As I continue to meditate on this new insight, I find myself saying yes to opportunities to serve in my faith community, as the Lord leads.  It is no longer an obligation, but it is a joy and instead of draining me of energy, it energizes me.  I show up expectant and excited to see where God will lead through these experiences.

It continues to be an amazing and wonderful journey and He continues to teach me so much about His love for me and for all His children, for His beloved.

 

 

Inspiration

We view success as the money we earn, the possessions we acquire, the titles we hold, and the accolades we receive from the world around us. Yet God’s view, opinion, and ways are so far above the ways of man. We struggle to shift from this world view to the Kingdom view of our Father in heaven.

I was just thinking about a conversation I had with a  dear friend.  He was talking about how schools bring in speakers to inspire the seniors each year do great things with their life as they move on from high school and in adult life.  There was something unsettling to him regarding these lofty, grandiose goals being presented on our youth.

If I understood him correctly, I believe what he was conveying, is a need to acknowledge and encourage a life of sacrifice and a sense of peace for those who do the small things in life.  The dignity and honor of what one does to daily care for themselves, their families and their communities.
This brought to mind the sermons from one of my pastors who said that some of the greatest saints will meet in heaven be people we had never heard of who lived humble lives in complete obscurity out of the public eye.
So much of how we view success is based on the material world in which we live.  We view success as the money we earn, the possessions we acquire, the titles we hold, and the accolades we receive from the world around us.  Yet God’s view, opinion, and ways are so far above the ways of man.  We struggle to shift from this world view to the Kingdom view of our Father in heaven.

A few scriptures come to mind as I think about this concept.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”
Proverbs 14:12

Several things I have heard and read over the past week have been stirring my thoughts of this conversation I had with my dear friend.
The first is the following quote from Victoria Erickson…

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In the past several weeks I have been watching my dear friend make a life altering  choice, which from my worldly, fleshy perspective, ends all hope for a happy joyous future for his life.  Yet when I consider God’s words and His ways, I start to see his sacrifice as Christ’s call for those who wish to be His disciples.

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.  Luke 9:23

As I prayed for my dear friend,  I broke down weeping as I felt the weight of his circumstances.  I felt a sadness thinking about how unfair this seemed.  Him paying a price for another’s missteps and errors.  Then I thought, how ironic – as we seek to walk so closely with Jesus in true intimacy, only saying what He says, going where He leads, why wouldn’t we also willingly pay a debt we did not accrue?  Love those who have been unloving toward us?

I know my dear friend is sacrificing a lot, denying his own needs and desires to serve and care for someone who is unable to give anything in return, and from a worldly perspective this makes no sense.  But I have great respect for him and his decision.  He is an inspiration, and a true disciple of Christ.

In the Arms of a Loving Father

When I feel particularly small and vulnerable, I run to my Papa, knowing I can find rest in His arms.  I go to His word and pour over scriptures painting this picture of a loving Father who is always there, kind, gentle, and waiting with open arms.

When I feel particularly small and vulnerable, I run to my Papa, knowing I can find rest in His arms.  I go to His word and pour over scriptures painting this picture of a loving Father who is always there, kind, gentle, and waiting with open arms.  He enfolds me.  I see Him protecting me, lifting me up on His shoulders, singing over me as I fall gently to sleep in His arms.

…The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders. Deuteronomy 33:12 

‘The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. ‘Zephaniah 3:17

This is the image I have of God, my Papa, and have always seen Him as a safe loving place because of my earthly father.  My natural father struggled with depression and anxiety all the days I knew him.  He wasn’t able to do a lot of things many fathers do because of debilitating mental illness.  None of that mattered to me as a little girl.  All I knew, was if I was afraid or needed to be reassured, I could run to my Daddy and he would speak softly to me, enfold me in his arms and instantlypapas hug I would feel safe and cared for. 

I thank you Papa, God for blessing me with a Father who helped me run to you with no fear or reservations, knowing I can find rest, complete acceptance, and breathe, free from fear, judgment and condemnation.  You are my safe place. 

I recently found the song “Lean Back” performed by Worship Mob, which brought up all these wonderful images of Papa God, and how He used my natural father to teach me about His love.

Lean Back

You will never leave

Your love sustaining me

Me & Dad
“Lean Back” is this image of me and my Dad. 

 

Before I even knew what love was

You’ve brought me here to rest

And given me space to breathe

So I’ll stay still until it sinks in

I will lean back in the loving arms

Of a beautiful Father

Breathe deep and know that He is good

He’s a love like no other

Now I can see Your love is better

Than all the others that I’ve seen

I am breathing deep all of Your goodness

Your loving-kindness to me

YouTube Video of Lean Back

 

Falling in Love

God pursues us, longing to bring us to a place where we are lain bare, vulnerable, true and honest with Him. No pretense.  It is in this place we press in, coming closer to Him, closer to His Heart.

I saw two lovers in the park, sitting by a pond.
He leaned in to kiss her, and when she saw my approach, she pulled away and blushed, embarrassed to be discovered with her love.
I smiled, as I saw myself in her.

God is taking me through a journey showing me so much about love, human expression of love, and His love for me.  I have thought a lot about the parallels of the intimacy between a man and a woman, and the intimacy we are to have with God.

The Bible shows us in the Song of Solomon a very intimate picture of two lovers.  Here as we read the sensual experience between the Shulamite and her beloved, we see a yearning desire to be together and experience each other in the most intimate ways.  One might ask how such a sensual book becomes a part of the Holy scriptures?  What does God want us to learn from these two lovers?

Think about your own human experiences with falling in love and being married.  Does anything you have experienced in human relationships compare to those portrayed in Song of Solomon?  This book is a part of the Bible for a reason.  Great Scholars and mystics know the spiritual experience we have with the infilling of the Holy Spirit is akin to the deeply intimate physical experience of a man and a woman in love.

God pursues us, longing to bring us to a place where we are lain bare, vulnerable, true and honest with Him. No pretense.  It is in this place we press in, coming closer to Him, closer to His Heart.  This intimate experience with God both soothes and ignites a deep yearning to know Him more.  Differing from the human experience, one is never left feeling diminished or insecure about His intentions.

The language in Song of Solomon, rich with images of two young lovers, stir the heart and senses.

Here are a few of my favorites…

Song of Solomon 2:4‭-‬6 NKJV

He brought me to the banqueting house, And his banner over me was love.  Sustain me with cakes of raisins, Refresh me with apples, For I am lovesick. His left hand is under my head, And his right hand embraces me.

Have you ever felt this love sickness wash over you as you worship the Lord?  The deep longing for more of His presence and the desire to sustain this feeling?

Song of Solomon 8:6‭-‬7 NKJV

Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm; For love is  as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave; Its flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it.  If a man would give for love All the wealth of his house, It would be utterly despised.

Here I recognize the intensity and single minded focus on the state of love, state of worship to our Lord…begging to be marked forever, sealed to the One you love. God’s love for us burns eternal and is not quenched.

I cannot say that I have personally experienced falling in love with someone, though I am deeply in love with God, with Jesus. I relate very much with the feelings expressed in the Song of Solomon as it relates to the times I spend worshiping our Lord.

My experiences with human love have never taken me to a place where I felt outside of myself or deeply loved.  I have loved people in my life.  I loved a man and I was married for a time.  There are many people in my life I have as close friends, and I respect them and love them dearly.  But there is no intimate love.

I have always been embarrassed or ashamed of any feelings resembling romantic love.  I feel incapable of getting outside of my head and listening to my heart’s voice.  I analyze every aspect of starting a relationship with someone.  There is always a point of elimination, convincing myself it would never work.

God has been challenging me for the past six months or more to really look at these feelings and actions.  I question whether my relationship with God also mimics this behavior.  Being overly cautious in taking those steps forward and acting like a person who is head-over-heels and madly in love with the One who is a lover of my soul.

I see this in my reluctance to witness to people about the relationship I have with God, reasoning it is private and personal.  This is despite what His word tells me, and I know His heart is leading me to do:  Step out of my comfort zone and tell people about all I’ve experienced with Him, how great His love is, and share the things God is revealing about the person who’s in front of me.

I wrote the poem at the beginning of this article several months ago.  I think how I look like the young girl pulling away, embarrassed by her love.  It is how I appear to God when I am faced with an opportunity to lean in and share God’s great love.  He is so patient, loving, and kind.  I feel Him coaxing me to trust and let go, to fall deeper in love with Him.  Everything I was created for and how I am to walk in the world will be fulfilled when I let go.