Bible Forgiveness Freedom Jesus Life Change Worship

Facing the Past: Brokenness, Healing, and Grace

Michael and I met in a Freedom bible study group years ago, and we just celebrated two years of marriage and two years at Church of the King. It’s such a joy to be a part of this healthy, life-giving community. I’m a worship leader, and I was supposed to lead worship this weekend. Instead, I was offered an opportunity to take a break to recover from our trip and to prepare for our move, which is happening two weeks from today!

For a fleeting moment, I wondered why my sweet friend asked if I wanted a break. Did I seem worn out from leading five services the weekend before we left? Did someone else want an opportunity to step up? Insecurity threatened me for a moment until I recognized that this privilege is all about giving glory to God. It’s not about anything else, and part of being a part of this life-giving community means that the people surrounding me hear from God too. The Holy Spirit knew, before any of us did, that I’d need to hear Pastor Jacob’s sermon about dads in its entirety – today – in a place where I could cry my eyes out and receive prayer and thank God for what’s He’s done and what He’s doing in my heart.

My husband and I and our close friends just returned from a trip where I got to spend a few days with my dad. We went to many familiar places in the small town in Oklahoma where I grew up. I stood on the grounds of the university where I was told that I wasn’t cut out to be in college, and I beamed with joy and thankfulness (not pride) as I reflected on the education that I received at Tulane University here in New Orleans. I considered how blessed I am to help others get a fresh start in college and to study public health in graduate school at one of the top universities in the world. That night I was reminded of curses that were broken and the incredible healing that I experienced through Christ’s unrelenting love for me. 

I also had a heart-to-heart with my dad outside of the grocery store where I had my first job as a teenager. My dad was a pastor, and he and I went through some extremely difficult seasons that God has since restored, but there continues to be growth in our relationship too. When he commented on my desire to live my life seeking Jesus, I was able to share from my heart with him.

I left Oklahoma nearly two decades ago with a heart that was filled with deeply rooted bitterness, hopelessness, and despair, but years later,

I surrendered my life to Christ because of one thing – God’s mercy. 

During our trip, we also had dinner with loving people I crossed paths with a lifetime ago who have committed their lives to sharing the Good News with people around the world, and once again, I was reminded of God’s great mercy and his desire to heal us and use us.

I was reminded during a conversation that night that God is perfect and sovereign and detailed, and I spent time dwelling on his goodness with folks who have experienced it and desire to see others experience it too.

One the drive home, I asked the Lord to reveal to me who I was when I was a child – before I was old enough to understand that we live in a fallen world that’s filled with broken people who need our Savior. I sat in the silence, thinking back to my earliest memories, and I was at a loss until I thought about a cassette tape that I used to play as a tiny girl. Seriously, I wore it out. The Imperials album featured a song called “Praise the Lord,” which replaced the earliest memories I had for years.

When you’re up against a struggle that shatters all your dreams
And your hopes have been cruelly crushed by Satan’s manifested schemes
And you feel the urge within you to submit to earthly fears
Don’t let the faith you’re standing in seem to disappear

Praise the Lord, He can work through those who praise Him
Praise the Lord, for our God inhabits praise
Praise the Lord, for the chains that seem to bind you
Serve only to remind you that they drop powerless behind you
When you praise Him

Now Satan is a liar and he wants to make us think
That we are paupers when he knows himself we’re children of the King
So lift up the mighty shield of faith for the battle must be won
We know that Jesus Christ has risen so the work’s already done

Praise the Lord, He can work through those who praise Him
Praise the Lord, for our God inhabits praise
Praise the Lord, for the chains that seem to bind you
Serve only to remind you that they drop powerless behind you
When you praise Him

Praise the Lord, He can work through those who praise Him
Praise the Lord, for our God inhabits praise
Praise the Lord, for the chains that seem to bind you
Serve only to remind you that they drop powerless behind you
When you praise Him
Praise Him, praise Him
When you praise Him
When you praise Him
When you praise
The Lord

At that moment in the car, the Holy Spirit reminded me that before I even knew God existed, He knew me and loved me beyond my comprehension. He showed me that he was always there with me. That night, as I poured my heart out to God somewhere along I-49, I asked God to continue to reveal the parts of my heart that need to receive healing.

In tonight’s sermon, Pastor Jacob, who teaches at our church every year, reminded us that hurting people hurt people and that our dads can’t fix the pieces they broke in us, but God can and wants to. I know that because he’s done so much healing work in me and in my dad. He also noted that there are no perfect earthly fathers, but we do have a perfect heavenly Father. When he shared that the Bible tells us to honor our fathers, and I cried my eyes out – again – thankful that my dad is still here on earth and that I get to honor him.

Shortly after the sermon started, I knew that God created an environment for me this weekend to experience deeper healing and understanding that He is perfect. He uses everything – the good, the bad, and the awful for our good and His glory, and nothing in His care is ever wasted. (Romans 8:28)

Sometimes people think that when you become a Christian that life instantly becomes easy, but that’s not true. Satan hates God and his children, so he prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour. (1 Peter 5:8) He couldn’t defeat God, so he seeks to destroy his kids. Even so, Pastor Steve reminded us a few weeks ago that we don’t fight for victory; we fight from victory. We defeat the enemy through the authority of Jesus Christ. Check out Ephesians 6!

I was also reminded tonight, that God allowed me to marry a strong, patient, loving, generous, humble man of God whose biggest life goal is for us to live out God’s plan and purpose for our lives and our marriage.

I am so thankful for our pastors and their pastors, and I’m blown away by the Lord’s faithfulness and for His willingness to remind me that there hasn’t been a day of my life in which he wasn’t with me. Healing is often painful, but His Word says that God is our Refuge and Strength. He is so good! His steadfast love endures forever.

 

 

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