Hope for the Bruised Soul

I’ve just started Lysa Terkeurst’s book ‘The Best Yes’ and already I’m loving it and already getting lots of ‘meat’ from it. The following, from Chapter One really jumped out at me…

‘In this great day when most women wave banners of authenticity about our pasts, we crouch back from honesty about our presents’

  And ain’t that the truth?  It’s a tricky thing, opening up, saying ‘this is where I’m at right here, right now’.  It is much easier, it rolls of the tongue much smoother, when we can talk about things with the benefit of hindsight, and sometimes even from a place of victory.

  But there is power in shared story.  There’s good stuff that comes from opening up and being honest about our presents.

  Today I can sit here and write about my bruised soul that is on the road to being fully restored.  And if I can see the healing that is taking place, if I can know the goodness and glory of God’s hand in this, then I really need to share this with you.

  I was chatting to a friend the other day about how I came into this new calendar year with a heart that was a little bruised and crushed, but now I’m in the fixing process.  And I am.  In the process of being fixed.  And it is a process.

  How I came to be in this bruised and crushed state doesn’t really matter.  Life happens.  Curveballs come.  Sometimes things compound.  Sometimes you don’t know who to turn to for wise counsel.  Sometimes you can’t talk things out.  Seasons happen. Just stuff, right?

  But the neat thing is….bruises change colour, and they heal, and they go away.  Souls can heal.  Things that were crushed, can be smoothed and soothed back into their original shape….and sometimes what they are newly shaped into, is better than the original. And even if crease lines are still visible – they are there to tell a story….

  My creaselines are there to tell a story….a story of God’s goodness.  Of His faithfulness.  Of his far-reaching hands that embrace me and remind me of my worth and significance as His daughter.

  So how are these creaselines being formed, as I am going through this ‘fixing’ process,  as the Master Potter gently and deftly pulls the walls of my heart back into alignment?

  *  time – time is my friend.  Time by myself.  Time with others.  Time that isn’t rushed.  Time to think.  To dream.  To pray.  To read my bible.  To read good books.  Time is a precious commodity and I think we could all value it a little more.

  *  worship – there have been certain songs that have just spoken to me, spoken deep down, and they continue to minister to me, any and every time I hear them.  So I put them on repeat.  And I listen again.  On some level I don’t completely understand there’s a connection formed…and with that comes healing.  One of those songs is ‘No Longer Slaves’ by Bethel.  Another one is ‘Come Alive, (Dry Bones)’ by Lauren Daigle.

  *  people – People can be downright scary for a person whose soul has been hurt by….people.  And there’s the temptation to withdraw from everyone when this has happened.  But you have to know that people can also be Jesus with skin on.  The right people can speak truth in love.  The right people can blow on those embers that need encouraging into life again.  The right people can be a safe place for fears to be faced with, prayers to be prayed with and laughter to bubble forth with.  I’ve been spending the last four months or so rekindling pre-existing friendships from before we moved overseas, but also building new friendships.  And it is exciting seeing God’s hand in this.  It takes vulnerability, it takes conscious effort to not over-analyse how I may come across as, or how or what I may be misconstrued as being, but it is worth it, so very worth it.

  To be in community is priceless, and to have friends become family…….I’m so very grateful.

  You know I’ve been a pretty ‘solid’ Christian for a good number of years now.  My Christian walk is something I take seriously, but that didn’t stop me from taking a bit of a hammering from life.  Sometimes it isn’t a matter of if, but of when these storms hit that hurt us and cause a bit of temporary misshapenness.  But it is temporary, and shouldn’t we all be in some process or another?  Aren’t we all in the Refiner’s Fire?  Take heart friend, if your creaselines are being hammered out and moulded back into shape, you’re not alone.  This surgery is for a greater purpose and the master surgeon is at work.  Together, we’re in the very safest of hands.

There is a lot of hope for our bruised souls.  Always and forever.

Empty Vessels

If there was ever a prize for the person with the most diverse range of people that they followed on twitter I think I may be in the running for it.  Among the people I follow on twitter are a few celebrities, some pastors, a chef, some home executives, my hairdresser, and some registered dietitians to name just a few.  As long as the tweets I read are not full of self-promotion, I love twitter. I find it inspiring and encouraging.  More so than Facebook.

This week I read a tweet that has been quietly marinating deep within for a few days.

‘The oil ran out because the empty vessels ran out…fresh oil comes daily to the empty vessel’ – Mark Peterson  (Pastor at C3 Church, San Diego).

The more I think on this, the more I love it.  Love it.

It is referring to 2 Kings 4, in which Elisha the Prophet ordered the widow to collect empty vessels and he poured oil from the sole thing she had in her house – her single vessel of oil, into the empty vessels.  Therefore providing for her in a tangible and helpful way.  She was destitute, and had no way to help herself.  But God saw her need and through Elisha provided over and above.

The widow was obedient, she collected as many empty vessels as she could.  And they, in turn, were filled.  She must have felt like a bit of a twit.  Her neighbours must have thought she had lost her mind.  What could she do with empty vessels, when all she had was one single pot of oil?  But, as Spurgeon says, ‘Her faith, when exercised, was equal to the emergency’.

God takes care to deliver us in ways that exercise OUR faith.  We’ve never going to get results for the Kingdom if we’re not growing.  If we’re not trying new things – if our ‘tent pegs’ are not being enlarged.

What does that look like?  How can we make that happen?

To me – it is by starting off with being an empty vessel.  Less of my selfish desires and wants.  Emptying myself of the things I feel are important.  Surrendering myself.  Saying ‘Not my will, but yours Lord’.  By being ready to obey.  What does that mean?  You know that quiet calm voice in your head, that tells you to do something that you wouldn’t think of yourself….that is often the Lord.  Quietly, because He is a gentleman, directing your ways.

As long as there are still people unsaved – we need to be empty vessels.  Spurgeon says ‘Our own fullness shuts us out from receiving God’s fullness’.  I love that.  As long as I am concerned about my world and my life and my issues – my eyes are not on Him and on others around me.

Coming back to the widow and her oil – the vessels were not half-filled.  No, God’s not like that.  He’s not the God of half measures – in Him there is FULLNESS of joy.  In Him, my cup runs over.  We serve a mighty, mighty God.

Daily, repeatedly, I need to empty myself of me, so I can be filled, to the brim, with Him.