Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My God is a Chain Snapper:)

This Thanksgiving eve I find myself wanting to write about only one thing: the testimony of what Jesus Christ has done for me!

One of my favorite Psalms in this season of my life is Psalm 107.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out! Tell others He has redeemed you from your enemies. Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom, imprisoned in iron chains of misery. "Lord, help!" they cried in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress. He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom; He snapped their chains.
(verses 1-2, 10, 13-14)

I love this Psalm so much because I feel as if I could have written it myself, concerning my own life. I've been on a transformational journey these past few years and today I want to testify about the chain-snapping power of God in my life! It's the blogger's version of speaking out!

This time 2 years ago...
I was sitting in that place of darkness and deepest gloom that Psalm 107 speaks of. I was entrapped in sin, exhausted from the sick cycle of striving to get it right but always failing. Hopelessness set in, and I came to place where I honestly believed that redemption was a lost cause for me. Over time my conscience became more seared, so I was no longer ashamed of my sin. I was actually determined to enjoy it since I "couldn't" get free. I told the Holy Spirit to shut up so many times that in general I stopped hearing from Him.

Those iron shackles of darkness and gloom were not formed overnight. The formation of these chains began for me at a very early age but took a turn for the worse in 1997, at the age of 13. By 2008, after over 10 years of addiction that left me battered and exhausted, I gave up on my relationship with Jesus.

The great news is He never gave up on me.
He just kept waiting for me to give Him permission to invade my broken life with a holy invasion.

In December of 2008 my life hit an all-time low and I re-dedicated my life to Jesus. I didn't want to because I felt too messy, too broken, like I needed to have a few clean months before coming to Him. But I'm so glad I didn't wait! If I had waited until I was all cleaned up, I would still be sitting in that dark prison of sin. And though those first several months of confession and accountability were pretty ugly, He was so committed to me. He gave me wonderful friends- one in particular, Charity Starr Ramlal, who committed herself to seeing me restored to wholeness in Jesus. She even took me into her home and let me live alongside of her, keeping me accountable and calling me forward when I felt too weak.

The journey since December of 2008 has been full of challenges, and I did not change overnight. But when I finally had a love encounter with my Father, unbelievable things began to happen to me. God removed the shame of my sin, so that I could actually view myself as a pure, untainted, whole daughter of God. Like a little girl whose father just cannot help but delight in her! He filled me with joy in His presence, a joy that on several occasions has overtaken me so that I cannot control my laughter. He let me step into His presence and experience just a taste of His glory, so heavy that I could not stand up under it. He baptized me in His Holy Spirit and with fire and gave me boldness to share His truth with the lost. These outward manifestations are simply the overflow of the deep inner healing and redemption that have taken place.

So when I read Psalm 107 I think back to my prison chains of shame, fear, addiction, and hopelessness. I remember that He has snapped my chains, He has restored my soul. Anytime I sit down and meditate on all He has done in my life my heart literally feels as though it is going to burst out of my chest. No exaggeration, seriously, He overwhelms me! And when I worship through a song that speaks of redemption the song resonates with my restored heart, and I cannot keep myself from going crazy! How can I do anything but dance, sing, and shout when He has done what I thought was impossible for me?! Extravagant worship, generous giving, and abandoned lives are a normal response to that kind of miracle!

So this Thanksgiving I'm thankful for the past 2 years of miraculous transformation He has brought to pass in my life. I'm thankful that He did for me what I could not do for myself. He transferred me to a new kingdom, He restored my soul. He snapped my chains and set me free! Hallelujah!!

He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.
-Psalm 40:3


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Go Through!

Two Sunday nights ago Pastor Paul spoke on being a "Go Through" Christian.

The message has really impacted me! It challenged me to think about how many times I've deliberately avoided situations that could have really refined me.

I must admit, I have become more of a "Go Around" Christian than I ever should have allowed. I've avoided trials and tried to ignore painful memories in need of His healing. I have all too often "medicated" myself with constant activity, relationships, food, work, shopping; things which seemed like the easy way out of going through any sort of pain. I realize now that in going around instead of going through I was robbing myself of opportunities to be refined; depriving myself of potential growth.

I'm not trying to be sadistic here; we as Christians don't need to go around looking for an opportunity to experience pain. But we must not seek a way around a God-ordained trial when He brings us to it. We must go through.

Consider James 1:
"Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing."
-James 1:2-4 (NLT, emphasis added)
James 1:2-4 tells us we should consider trouble to be an opportunity for great joy.
Not just joy.
Great joy.
Troubles and testing are the fertilizer for spiritual endurance. Maturity is forged in the fire of testing. So let it grow (don't avoid it!). Go through.

Similarly, the author of Hebrews writes:
"Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that He has promised."
-Hebrews 10:36 (NLT, emphasis added)
How can we mature unless we go through?
Honestly, we won't.
And deep down I think we know it.

When you "hit a wall" spiritually will you pull back, or will you press through?

This is truly my season to go through, considering trouble as an opportunity for great joy. Patient endurance is what I need now, so I can continue to walk in His will for my life. It is my season to advance in the face of trials instead of pulling back.
And my guess is it's yours too.

If you take His hand and go through, you will know a great joy! He is refining you in that trouble. Strengthening you to endure the years of ministry, marriage, parenting, evangelism in your workplace, and/or whatever else He's called you to! He will make you perfect and complete, needing nothing!

Let's encourage each other as we go through today.


If you shortchange the process, you shortchange the promise.
[got this from my friend Charity Ramlal,
I'm not sure whose quote it is originally!)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


From my journal on 3/2/10:

They are a people of purpose.
They live above the fleeting feelings and emotions that characterize their peers. They are not cold, but controlled.
They love deeply, weep when life is lost, grieve when one loses their way, and are familiar with the sting of rejection. Yes, they are deeply touched by emotion, but they refuse to be defined by the feeling of the moment.
Their hearts are touched but never dissuaded from their sole purpose
to serve their God with abandon.
Any feeling that threatens to undermine that purpose is immediately taken captive and brought under control. Their passion is for their God, their life in Him alone.
They possess a singular, eternal perspective; setting them apart from a generation who survives as nothing more than a wave driven and handled by the sea of culture.
This chosen generation -
they are a people of resolve.