My Avenger

I love how God teaches me.

I love that God loves me so much He invests in me.

I love that He speaks to me in the stillness – and sometimes in the crazy not so stillness – in those “not so still moments” He may have taken me behind the wood shed to get my attention but He still speaks to me.

Gently and lovingly.

I love that He loves me so much He continues to grow me and make me more Christlike.

I love that I am embraced by Him. Have you ever been hugged by God? I felt it just this morning writing this post. It was hard to be this real sharing about this season of refining.

I know He is refining me when He begins bringing to mind stories, or phrases, or even people in the Bible. They usually are applicable to exactly what He has me working through in order to grow and refine me.

In recent weeks He purposefully is refining me in the area of self worth. And while that journey in itself is for a completely different time, what He is showing me and how He is preparing me for this monstrous battle in itself is not only personal and intimate – but comforting and assuring.

In recent months I have shared my struggle with comprehension and how I thought less of myself because of that. That battle was over internal issues – things another person can’t see with their own eyes, but Ms. O’Brian, my 5th grade teacher, she saw it. I had scribbled  “stupid” all over my desk and paper. She tried to counter what I believed to be true about myself, but it didn’t work. I thank God for Ms. O’Brian often, even after all these years. (I wish I could tell her she made a difference in my life). I have carried the lie I was stupid with me all my life, believing because I learned differently I was less than others. I also shared a few weeks ago how the Lord showed me I wasn’t stupid – but simple and how He can use my simpleness to take me into a deeper understanding of what He is showing me. He has also used that simplicity to show me that things really aren’t as hard as they seem sometimes – that it is a gift to be able to take things at face value and not have to know the every detail in order to believe or understand. Can I tell you what confidence that has given me? Not an arrogant confidence by any means – but a confidence that I was created with a purpose and designed exactly the way the Lord wanted my brain to work? I find myself no longer ashamed to ask what something means or to just simply say, “Sorry, I don’t get that. We can just keep that for another day!”

Because God has taught me it’s okay to be simple, and because the Lord is so gracious to show me how I learn best – I no longer carry shame in how He uses the basics to take me deeper in to Him. That is a giant He took down.

Now, He is preparing me for a giant so big – so heavy – it weighs more than I do – just following through in obedience with this post increases my heart rate, I feel fluttering and panic coming over me, and tears – painful tears that expose the pain so deep in my heart I find myself doubting that I can ever look in the mirror and be satisfied with me. And believing my husband could ever find me desirable – well – let’s just leave that right there for now.

But – this lesson is no exception. The Lord has been preparing me for months over this new battle – self worth – a life long destructive battle that runs deep in to the very core of my being BUT one He is going to conquer – I know this because He has ever so delicately been massaging my heart in order to prepare me for the acceptance and victory that is coming my way. How do I know He has been massaging that heart muscle to prepare it for acceptance and growth? Because He has been orchestrating words, counseling sessions, scripture reference and one particular word over and over and over for weeks – Gideon.

Oh Gideon. My how God is using you to speak to my soul.

It blows my simple mind amazes me how scripture from thousands of years ago is so life applicable today.

To each of our own lives.

There have been times I would read scripture and it was so much this and that and come and goes and who did what, when, and where’s and who’s on what base that I would get overwhelmed and stop pursuing what I knew God was putting before me.

But since I have learned simple is better for me, I go to a child’s reference book (the one I have shared with you before that I originally bought for my children) and I read a summary of what is about to take place and I read how the journeys of old are life applicable today. I then look at the questions being asked at the end of the summary that take me to scripture and because I have a basic understanding of what is taking place, I am able to read scriptures knowing what I’m looking for and am able to break down the pieces and segments and study more intently – more personally – more intimately with life application.

Here’s what I learned today in this simple book that I missed in scripture reading but now am able to go back to scripture and see –

– God allowed the Midianites to control the Israelites (killing their sheep, cattle, destroying their crops) for seven years. My first response was how stupid to live in bondage for seven years when they know how to solve the problem. Immediately the Holy Spirit quickened my spirit and spoke, “and how long have you been in bondage over self worth?” Hmmmmm – all my life, Lord. “How long did you harbor resentment in your marriage? ” Nine years, Lord. Okay – can we go to the next thing, Lord?”

Then the Lord showed me the Israelites had to be in a place of desperation where they are willing to surrender to the fullness of what God wanted for them. God allowed certain events to take place to get them to that point of desperation. How many times has God taken me to a place of desperation in order for me to completely surrender so that I might be free from my own captivity.? Too many to count – but this battle of self worth is probably the hardest I’ve had to work through.

How do you change your view of yourself when it has been instilled that you are nothing if you are fat or don’t look a certain way?

How do you undo what the eyes have seen and stop comparing yourself to every tv star, every porn “star” (can someone tell me why a porn “person” gets to be a “star”? How about the addict that is living a new life in Christ? Don’t they need a star – or the single mom’s out their kicking butt and raising three girls without help? She needs a star! Or the teachers investing in the lives of children above and beyond the call of work? Oh heaven – they need a lot of stars!) every stranger on the street, and even church members sitting on the same pew, whose skirt is so tight and short it’s an open invitation to look or one that exposes not only her cleavage but so much bosom is showing that nothing is left to the imagination?!

How do you surrender the worry over what your husband is thinking knowing your skin is rippled like cottage cheese full of cute little dimples (ha!), a lot more wrinkly than hers, and you could wrap a building with sagging skin and other parts that just don’t seem to be where they are supposed to be anymore – 

How do you become free and confident in who you are in Christ? Because I know what all the scriptures say – I know I am fearfully and wonderfully made and made in the likeness of Christ. I know I was chosen and that God has a plan for me. I know in the sight of Jesus He is pleased with me. I know He thinks I’m beautiful because He tells me. I know all this in my head – but my heart – it can’t grasp it. I can’t even consider it a possibility because I have been told all my life I would never be successful if I wasn’t tall, thin, and beautiful, because I have seen fat people laughed at and made fun of all my life – because it was a way of life that I used to partake in –  

As I was writing that previous paragraph I sensed the Holy Spirit massaging that heart muscle again – and because I know what’s in your heart, I see your beauty. 

“Oh Lord, help my unbelief.”

I didn’t plan on the depths of that information being exposed, but even so, there is no doubt I am not the only one being defeated with the giant of self worth.

Here is what I learned through reading about Gideon this morning.

God is with me.

God was with the Israelites in the battle against Midianites. Gideon saw his people as weak and himself as the least in his family.

God is with me in this battle to believe with my heart.

He is my avenger.

And while I am weak, and the least of these, He is my hope. He has me in a pivotal spot between desperation and surrender to the point where I yearn for complete freedom in Christ. He will bring it to pass because He is preparing me to take this giant down. And I believe with all my heart He will use this battle I am facing in order for me to one day help someone else walking through the same struggle. I could never understand how someone could know something in their head and not believe it in their heart until the Lord revealed to me to that I didn’t believe what He says about me. The very words I share and use to speak life over others – “you are valuable. You are beautiful. You are worthy to Him. You are more than the number on a scale. You are not defined by your size. Success is not based on your height or size but in your obedience to God’s will in your life!” – I know it in my head and I believe those words fully over others but yet somehow I don’t see myself as worthy of the same words. As I am typing all these thoughts out – I hear the Holy Spirit mourning as He whispers, “So you are calling me a liar” and my heart breaks.

Another massage to the heart muscle to break me in to victory.

“Lord, help my unbelief.”

I don’t know what else the Lord is going to show me through studying Gideon, but He has impressed it upon my heart to read about him in every translation of scriptures I have. It has been a full morning just getting through the basics – I know there is much more to come because we haven’t even gotten to the battle yet – maybe when this study is complete (and a few more therapy sessions 😆) I will be walking in the fullness of Christ – fully free from captivity of self-worth knowing my physical body is what God designed me to be.

For months I have been praying that the Lord would overwhelm me – He has honored that prayer – healing and restoring relationships that were spiraling downward. I am in awe of the layers of pain He has been healing over the last nine months and I wait expectantly for what is yet to come. There is no doubt I will have a follow up post to declare the victory over the battle of self – worth.

Maybe that is why He wanted me to write this post so others can see the glory in our great God?

Maybe I’m not the only one plagued with defeat in this battle? I promise to pray with you and for you. I don’t have to even know your name or that you exist because our Lord knows. And He wants you to be free just like He wants me to be free.

I heard a new song on the radio yesterday and I can’t stop listening to it. It goes along with the Goliath Must Fall by Louie Giglio I have been working through and it will be the song I play for the Charis House girls Thursday when we begin our study. Regardless what your giant is that God is wanting to take down, this song applies to you. Please take a minute and listen to it.

This is my prayer for me, and for you:

Sanctus Real – Confidence

I’m not a warrior
I’m too afraid to lose
I feel unqualified for what you’re calling me to
But Lord with your strength
I’ve got no excuse
‘Cause broken people are exactly who you use

So give me faith like Daniel in the lion’s den
Give me hope like Moses in the wilderness
Give me a heart like David, Lord be my defense
So I can face my giants with confidence

You took a shepherd boy
And made him a King
So I’m gonna trust you and give you everything
I’ll be a conquerer
‘Cause you fight for me
I’ll be a champion claiming your victory

So give me faith like Daniel in the lion’s den
Give me hope like Moses in the wilderness
Give me a heart like David, Lord be my defense
So I can face my giants with confidence
I’m gonna sing and shout and shake the walls
I won’t stop until I see ’em fall
Gonna stand up, step out when you call
Jesus, Jesus

I’m gonna sing and shout and shake the walls
I won’t stop until I see ’em fall
Gonna stand up, step out when you call
Jesus

So give me faith like Daniel in the lion’s den
Give me hope like Moses in the wilderness
Give me a heart like David, Lord be my defense
So I can face my giants with confidence, yeah

Give me faith like Daniel in the lion’s den
Give me hope like Moses in the wilderness
Give me a heart like David, Lord be my defense
So I can face my giants with confidence
I’ll face my giants with confidence

Songwriters: Matthew Ross Armstrong / Jordan Michael Bailey / Tony W. Wood

Confidence lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

avenger

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