October 21, 2013

Patmos

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:04 am by Broken & Brave

Jesus had twelve disciples.

These were men He hand picked to invite to follow after Him. They discarded all of their cares and personal interests, to come walk along side of Him ~intimately ~for a season. They dropped their nets that they fished with and they came…

Of the disciples, which do you identify with the most?

For me, it is without a doubt, John the loyal disciple.  John walked intimately with Christ. John loved Jesus intensely and Jesus loved him as well. Jesus loved all of the disciples much. Each had their own flavor to bring to the group, their own personality, complete with strengths and weaknesses. John was the only disciple to stay with Jesus, as close as He could until the end of Christ’s life. John watched the Crucifixion. John was spared martyrdom and spent his later years on the island of Patmos. It was on this island that he received numerous revelation and wrote the New Testament books of the Bible; John, and the epistles 1 John, 2 John and 3 John.  It is also believed John wrote the book of Revelation while isolated on the isle of Patmos.

John, I believe, was very tender hearted and gentle in disposition. Maybe this is why Jesus spared him some of the anguish the other disciples had to endure. Those most duly noted for their boldness and heroism had the disposition coupled with God’s Power of the Holy Spirit to carry out the tasks of the first century church and to endure horrible deaths for the sake of His Name.

Have you ever had a deep wound?

One that was so deep it was extremely slow to heal? When it does heal, it leaves a scar…a thick one. The scar is thick as a protective layer over the disturbed nerve endings to prevent more acute pain in future. When a deep wound gets reopened repeatedly it takes longer to heal and the scar becomes even thicker. Our hearts function much like open flesh. Our emotions are tender and childlike to start, but life happens and slowly over time all people lose a measure of their childlike innocence. Depending on a persons experiences and general disposition, how soft or hard our heart becomes over time, chance and choices varies.

When our heart gets wounded it leaves an ever fixed and deep mark upon our soul. The younger you are when you receive deep hurts, the harder it is for them to heal properly and completely. This truly affects how people view all the rest of their life and the choices they make. The deeper the wounds at the younger the age the thicker the scar and greater the numbness one has to Pure Love. In fact, many reject it because they have become comfortably numb.

I believe in modern day America most adults walk around with a moderate to strong level of numbness of heart that is their survival mechanism to prevent “heart injury” or emotional discomfort or pain. Many have pains of past that haven’t healed properly, but have scared over, only covering a deep, open wound beneath. Those who have this kind of pain struggle deeply with close interpersonal relationships because the pain is below the surface but permeates who they are. The more naturally soft-hearted a person is (for some are just wired more sensitive than others) the more easily they hurt and the harder they become. Some of the meanest, grouchiest people are really just people manifesting deep, deep unresolved pain. (Sometimes it’s just because they have a bad attitude) More often than not, they don’t even know why they are the way they are. Sometimes they don’t care and they are content to stay that way. Sometimes they struggle and struggle to overcome, to adopt a better worldview full of optimism, but only fail and wind up disappointed because break through never came. To properly fix a wounded heart you have to go to the “heart specialist” Jesus Christ himself.

My whole life a am very sensitive and tender person. As a child I recall my feelings being hurt very easily and I was very quiet, timid, meek. I never shared my feelings, but the depth and breadth of my feelings on all levels were overwhelming and I didn’t know how to process them. As an adult I know now, because God has shown himself faithful. Through my own lifelong Patmos experience, He has groomed me and taught me for I know I am to be used as His “heart surgeon” administering healing to the wounded of heart. In fact, I have a special eye to spot them. It’s like the Holy Spirit puts a bulls eye over their head and He begins to speak to me about their hurting heart. I begin to dream about them, pray for them and exercise the full armor of God through combative prayer for them. (Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities and dark forces Eph. 6) Sometimes, the recipient never knows I had anything to do with their breakthrough, but God has been kind to me and I am right there when they testify within hours of it occurring. I never say a word, but on the inside I am glowing because I know God doesn’t have to give me that, He just does because it touches my heart and I know it was all Him anyway. It’s like I received a front row sea to watch Him do what only He can do…LOVE.

I have a particular burden for people who have experienced widespread rejection in their life. I wrote in a blog a while back how loneliness was a lifelong nemesis for me; that nasty spirit has haunted me all of my life. That’s exactly what it is…a spirit. The more intimate I walk with God, the harder “he” hits me (the spirit of loneliness). Well, loneliness has a long time friend who has also been a lifelong nemesis of mine, Rejection. My first major experience with rejection happened when I was 5 years old. It devastated me. I won’t even repeat the story, but it so pierced my heart I will never forget the sting. Ever since it was like a bad movie; same scenario on a new day with a new vehicle of rejection. Almost always did the rejection come from female peers, but it has not been exclusively so. The older I got the more malicious the rejection was. Sometimes it was just outright mean and other times, many times, it came as a false friendliness that never included, only excluded. You can see how loneliness and rejection can work together. I spent most of my life feeling like I was friend to everyone but friends with no one.

So, why am I telling you all of this?

God allowed it all for a purpose. I know women are emotional and some cannot handle their emotions as well as others. Though I am deeply sensitive, God has gifted me with this unusual ability to compartment it like a man can. I can stay laser focused despite how I feel.  God’s always got his eye on the final product. He desired to take all of my sensitivity and compassion and deep love for people and groom it so I could love the “throw aways” (but not exclusive to the down and out).  At least, that’s what the world would call it. I call it God’s chosen band of misfits. I feel I can call them that because I feel like I am one, for like I said, I have spent my whole life with the ability to fit in with any clique or group but never truly feeling I belonged in any of them….a misfit. I don’t consider this a bad thing. The fruit and blessing of living in my own kind of private island experience is how God has shown himself relevant and real and amazing in my heart. I sometimes feel I could burst I am so full of His love. In fact, I usually have to go find someone to love on (kindness, encouragement, consideration, hospitality) because if I don’t share it with others, it literally begins to hurt inside my chest. That, my friends, is supernatural. The average person would say that it was “weird”, but only because they haven’t experienced it.

Fear, judgment, criticism always stem from a lack of understanding and information.When you know that, it makes it easier to let it slide.

It wasn’t until I was in my mid twenties that God opened up my eyes in revelation. Until that point I always would pray and ask God what I was doing wrong? Was I not a good enough friend to others? Was I not kind or considerate enough? I really wanted to know because I ached for close friends, but was horribly afraid to actually have any because I had grown comfortably numb and didn’t allow anyone in really. People thought I was nice, it wasn’t like I was mean, I was just afraid. Then He did it. He touched me in the midnight hours and told me exactly what I needed to hear. He said it wasn’t anything I had done “wrong”.  We all make mistakes, of course, but this was about something deeper He was stirring and preparing me for. It was something he allowed for all the reasons I just explained.

  • God will always take your misery and turn it into a ministry.
  • He will always take your pain, if you let him, and replace it with Victory . He will take your ashes and bring you Beauty.
  • He cloaks His favor around the lost and they become found.
  • God has eyes that peer deep into the soul of man, the inward man, the one that no one but He can see.
  • God is not impressed with titles, accomplishments, education, wealth or possessions.
  • He truly, only cares about the heart.
  • He cares about the things that will last.

The older I got and the more wisdom the Lord poured into me as I lingered in His Word and Presence, the more I saw as He sees. Because I am such a people lover and I have so much grace for people in my heart I tend to gloss over things easily, forgive readily and move on quickly. I can get along with pretty much anyone. I have been called “relationship glue” because I can function as a people “buffer”. It is not uncommon for people to share with me and then thank me for making them feel “comfortable” and for not “judging them”. I just listened. I don’t feel I am doing anything special, that part is God. But when you feel you have spent much of your life under a microscope of judgment, you decide if that is who you will become or you are a judgment free kind of philosophy…that’s me.

If I hadn’t had so many bazaar and unusual rejection stories, I wouldn’t be able to identify with Christ’s Crucifixion. When I read about the crucifixion, I can hardly read it to be honest, because my heart and mind immediately go beyond the sheer horror of His physical suffering and straight to His heart. What kind of emotional suffering he endured from those he loved so much he died for them! Unbearable to even consider.

I also know that if I hadn’t been isolated of sorts then I would have put all my hope, love, joy in my human relationships. Instead, I have built and lasting foundation of Hope that resides in my relationship with Abba Father.  I am blessed and I have to focus on God’s heart continually, for I do long for the love of people, too. I know it is a supernatural gift to love people so strong. Nicole, all on her own, would have become very comfortably numb and embraced the thick scar of heart had my Abba Father not stroked my heart and nurtured the wounds and taught me abiding pleasure in Him. The key is, as the blows of rejection grow stronger with the years, just like the loneliness, I cannot allow myself to loose what He has given me. I have to protect my blessing. For if I do not, then when the Lord chooses to use me on ever deepening levels, I would not be adequately prepared to fight the spiritual battle on behalf of others. I wouldn’t be able to walk on the water, out to the drowning souls, to pull them up and out. Instead, I would be in the water hanging on to the side of the boat, no free hands to help.

How do you know if your heart is calloused and dull?

  • If you struggle to “feel” anything; People cannot give what they don’t have.
  • If the thought of vulnerable intimate conversation with others scares you, then maybe you have some heart wounds that need some healing, too.
  • This is a subject people don’t like to share. They “brave” it out and come across strong and “together” because they are protecting the pain.
  • They don’t want to be rejected.

It’s ok if you feel this way. God has put me out here on the skinny branch of a Faith Tree, sharing my story in absolute vulnerability, as though I were standing before you naked. I am not worried about whether or not you reject me. Many will, but the one’s who are ready for a healing in their heart will be ministered to. Those are the ones I am interested in. I am here for YOU. You may never share with me, that’s ok, just know that God sees your broken heart and he has a little topical ointment for your soul that will do the trick. He can heal your bleeding heart. He can close up the gapping wound. He can restore it once again to look brand new. He can bypass the scar and permeate your heart with one that is

Whole …Vibrant… Like new.

He gives Beauty for Ashes.

 

Surrender that “thing” to him. It was burned up long ago…

He wants to make you like new.

YOU are a Champion of Heart.

Much Belief for you and in you…

~Nicole

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