April 21st I celebrated my birthday: The day that God ushered me onto this planet and thrust me into the world! I wasn’t really going to make a big deal of it but God seemed to have other plans. While driving to work around 6:50am, I had what I thought was recollection of a message my sister had written on my birthday a couple of years ago. But it persisted and I found myself in tears of joy; I soon realized it was not that message, but my Lord, my spiritual brother Jesus, speaking to my heart. “Happy birthday to my amazing and beautiful sister, whom I love!”
Once I recognized who was actually in my head, pure elation fell over my entire day and extended itself outward. Did my Abba Father understand how much I need such love being poured into my very soul? Absolutely! The message shifted a place within needing shifting. To receive such warm edification from my Savior, whom I so desire to have look upon me fondly and proudly, flooded my heart, instantly healing a very deep hurt.
A Banner of Love
“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.”
(Song of Solomon 2:4)
One of the joyous gifts I’ve received from my life in Christ Jesus is no longer scrutinizing my past and mistakes. Not looking back is a wonderful thing, especially not holding onto regrets. While this is how we are instructed in scripture to live, sometimes God will have me in a place of retrospect, for which there is a purpose under heaven. Presently, God has me in a place of waiting. It seems as though the past few years have indeed been one battle after another and I have chosen to believe God has a beautiful banner waving above my head that only He could see. I am believing for what is beyond these battle years.
The Lord planned a surprise party on my behalf for this year’s birthday. He is celebrating the victories of the past and to come. I cannot wait until the day I am able to run to the throne room of God and throw myself before my Father’s feet, worshipping him on my face. Relenting it all to Him. I have now worked through a lot of emotion that was locked up over the past several months. Not locked up on purpose, rather for lack of the ability, physically and mentally, to let go and let God have his way with my heart. On my birthday I sensed a release of my spirit back out to live life again, and to do so with a restored vision and deeper understanding of Him in every detail. Yet, still underneath the protective wings of my savior as not to experience any unnecessary suffering.
Hindsight = God’s Insight
I find myself, at moments, in a place of retrospect and have taken the “what” of my life to the Lord for understanding, or at least a flicker of the “why” behind what has been happening. My spirit continues to receive from a sermon our pastor began at the new year about battle years vs. banner years. My mind recently began revisiting what life resembled in the years prior to relocating from Southwest Florida, where I lived for the better part of 18 years, back to Cincinnati, Ohio, where I grew up. It was always my heart’s desire to return and God made that possible, although not in the timing I’d hoped.
Comparing the two versions of my life is like comparing spring and fall. The first five years of my new walk with the Lord transpired while in Florida. There, I was instantly surrounded by a sweet yet fierce circle, women of faith who protected, comforted and helped me flourish in my relationship with the Lord. These women encouraged what they saw the Lord doing in my life and who I was growing into, through Him. So much of my early identity in Christ is tied to that protective barrier. However, I absolutely accept what God has allowed to transpire in my life over the nearly two years since returning to Ohio. It has grown and stretched my faith, my identity in Christ, and my ability to find strength in Him, to new proportions. There has been a great falling off in my life, of people, self and need for anything of this world.
Life before relocating was much simpler and easier: I worked, I went to church, Bible studies and women’s groups. I had sunshine and love all around. I ran through the rain and had time to allow it to refresh any weariness in my bones. The only real stress I experienced was remedied quickly or let go of through exercise and rest, two things I do not presently get enough of, and it has effected me adversely both physically and emotionally. I’ve had to learn to lean on God and God alone to get me through days of little sleep, pressing illness and great stress. In other words, the two year old legs have been replaced with adult legs. Milk with meat. God has tested, then proven, the strength of my faith in Him.
Yet, through it all He has shown himself both to and through me, in miraculous and beautiful ways. He has provided for and blessed me beyond my greatest expectations (which I have none). I am so humbled by this it is hard for me to share the blessings publicly. My belief in Him is stronger than ever by way of relying on myself less. I simply don’t have much fight within and I believe that is what God wants, for me to absolutely give him the right of way to fight battles on my behalf. I’ve become so numb in my exhaustion I, at times, cannot even mutter my prayers, or keep my eyes open to read the Word. I trust that God reads my every thought (prayers) and knows my heart is absolutely for Him and him alone. His word is tucked safely in my heart to retrieve when needed, and for this I am grateful.
“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11)
Banner Years are Ahead
The banner…it’s not a true banner rather glory filled banner years (adj. leading or foremost) God has set before me after successfully navigating through the past few years consisting of constant battle. A battle against the devil for my family and God’s best for them, against an adversary who tries to take me out. A battle against a fierce Jezebel spirit that the Lord revealed is generational iniquity in my family. I declare, however, it stopped with me, in Jesus name, on October 27, 2009. The day love won, breaking the bondage of the Jezebel spirit which has run rampant through my family. The devil is defeated, in Jesus’ name!
The Lord has given me the authority to stand against it, full armor on. Yet, despite the armor’s heaviness and the darts of the enemy being sharp and difficult to dodge, I stand firm. Helmut down, and shield held tightly against my chest to ward off evil so His good can prevail. I find myself (very) ready for tangible victory, not merely victory hoped for. The banner years…Oh, how I pray they come sooner than later. I declare Friday, April 21, 2017 as the first of many great banner days to come, going forth in Christ.
Thankfully, upon occasion, I get to lay down in green pastures. Have no doubt when my head hits the pillow every night, I’m out for the count until the alarm sounds the next morning. The banner years…I won’t plan for something I’m not 100% clear on, however, I believe the Lord keeps showing me glimpses. Do I completely understand what I’m seeing? No, but I patiently await His next call to move.
Thy Kingdom Come…
Only God knows why he placed a veil about my heart which temporarily blinded my ability to see much good in this world and in people. I’m much more a realist at present, and less the optimist I’ve traditionally been, however, I feel myself rebounding in every passing day. In moments of clarity when I’m able to see through the mist, my Creator dumbfounds me with heaven on earth. The wait is oh-so-worthwhile, but dang is it hard on my tender soul! Some days I wonder what this butterfly is going to resemble when she breaks through the cocoon and takes flight.
He has broken me all over again in the past few years. Comprehending the purpose of it all, as I do today, dumbfounds me because of the deep hurts and pains I’ve had to experience. Yet, he uses every turn of the way through writing as ministry and in those whose path He puts me on. If it is all part of whatever ministry is to come, so be it. We must walk through deserts and valleys in order to find God so intimately. My one job is to trust He’ll usher heaven down to earth; turn deserts into deep waters and the valleys into mountaintops, because if we just wait, they always do with God as our source.
God knows I seek a fresh outpouring of Him in my life. He also knows how very much I need to know He still loves and sees me! And not only Him, but others might see me through eyes of love. Hence the overflowing messages of love, respect and encouragement received from many people, some quite unexpected, on my earthly birthday this year! Thank you Father for we know that, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)
This birthday I am feasting on Your gifts of perfect LOVE and freedom in Christ, amen!
“Your Kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven…” (Matthew 6:10)