I have been meaning to write before now, but I have been attacked spiritually and I could not seem to get the words out. I couldn’t even make sense of what had happened after the first day, and when I first came home from training everything was so clear.
“I’m losing it! Oh no! I’m forgetting everything God showed me! I’m falling back into my old ways!”
And then a little glimpse of something came back to me.
Put on the new self.
I riffled through my retreat journal to find the bible verse about putting on the new self. Wouldn’t you know? Day two: Ephesians 4: 20-24 (but I like to include 25)
20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
I have started to believe the lies again. I have been telling myself lies again. “If I don’t feel God with me, then he isn’t with me.” LIE! Ok, here it goes…
Day Two (Read about day one here)
Day two felt more like week two. I remember walking into breakfast and thinking “why are they serving oatmeal for lunch?” I had only been up for 4 hours and I felt like we had accomplished so much.
God already spoke to me and it was only 9am. I had already sobbed and leaked snot everywhere and it was only 9am. Oh boy, this week was going to be a long, hard, journey. But I’m jumping around. I want to tell you about what God said to me in the early morning hours of Day two.
In Ephesians 4:22 Paul says, “put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires.” I knew I must ask the Lord some questions:
God, what is my disease? What are my deceitful desires?
What should my new self look like and act like? How am I going to keep this up?
But I wasn’t quite ready to ask God those questions. I had them, but I kept them to myself. Because to ask those questions meant I wanted the answers, and to be honest, I didn’t want the answers. What if those answers meant I had to give up something I relied on, like sugar, or my obsession with fitness and dieting, what if God asked me to let go of my desire to be a mom? No, I wasn’t ready…I couldn’t ask those questions.
But God is persistent. He wanted me, all of me, and he was not going to let me off the hook.
We started our daily meditation. I’m going to encourage you to do this meditation right now. Seriously, it only has to take 15 minutes and then you can read what God showed me.
I would tell you to close your eyes, but then you wouldn’t be able to read my directions, so take a deep breath in…1…2…3 Breathe out…1…2…3 Breathe into your belly…1…2…3…4… And sigh out through your mouth….1…2…3…4. Keep breathing long and deep and read the following story (out loud if you can) and then just sit for 5 minutes reviewing the story in your mind. Then read the first set of questions and ask it of yourself and sit for another 5 minutes pondering. Then read the second set of questions and ponder for another 5 minutes and then end in prayer.
“Once upon a time in a faraway kingdom there lived a prophet. This prophet had a wonderful treasure. Word of this treasure came to the king. When the king heard of the treasure he thought he ought to see about it.
“So he made his journey to the faraway place where the prophet lived. When the king arrived, the prophet, who knew he was coming, was waiting for him. The king said, ‘I am your king’. And the prophet replied, ‘Yes, sire, I know’. The king said, ‘I understand you have a hidden treasure here.’ And the prophet said, ‘Yes, I do.’ So the king declared that he would like to see the treasure. The prophet agreed and led him around the side of the hill. There stood the prophet with his hand on the doorknob to a door leading into a room built into the hillside.
“The prophet turned to the king and said, ‘Sire, before I open the door I have a question for you: how far in would you like to go?’
“The king looked at him and replied, ‘Just far enough to say I’ve been there.’”
- Imagine yourself into the story. Who are you, the king or the prophet? Why?
- Imagine the room carved into the hillside. What does it look like? Smell like? Feel like? What type of atmosphere does it have? What is in the room? What is hidden there? How far into the room will you be going?
I was the king, but I said, “I want to see it all! I want to go in all the way and experience it all!” but when I sat and thought about it, I had literally just had this experience with God during bible study. I literally just told him, “I don’t want to ask those questions.” When I saw the situation from an outsider’s perspective I could easily say, “Oh king, don’t be such a fool! Why would you travel from far away and not want to experience the entirety of the treasure!?”
“Ok God, you got me… I’m ready; I want to experience all of you…”
“What is my disease?”
“You, my dearest, are the biggest liar you know. It’s killing you. Stop telling my precious daughter these falsehoods.”
“Who? Who have I been lying to? I hate lying to people, it makes me feel sick inside, so I think I would remember lying to someone.”
“You, you are my precious daughter, and you lie to yourself hourly, almost moment by moment.”
“Oh…I thought those words, “deceitful desires” were a little bit harsh, but I guess its reality. So what are my deceitful desires?”
“I would like to hear you answer that question yourself: what are your deceitful desires?”
“Well, I desire to be perfect, to be healed, to be skinny, to be healthy, to be fertile and full of life, to be loved, desired, wanted, coveted, and idolized. Some of those I see are deceitful, but not all of them. To be healthy, fertile, full of life, and loved isn’t deceitful.”
“Those are not bad desires, but the deceit is that you believe you aren’t those things already. I have made you Radiant, not “I will make you Radiant” but “I HAVE MADE you Radiant.” It is done. “Be fruitful and multiply” not “become fruitful and then multiply” you already are fruitful! Just be! You are already multiplying, just be! Be. Abide in me and be. Stop trying to perfect the past, stop trying to find perfection in the future, just be present with me. Be.”
“Oh…huh…..well….touché God, well done.”
“Thank you, my dear.”
“So, how do I do that?”
“Spend time with me, in my word, in silence, in stillness, and obey me.”
“I think I can do that.”
And then God gave me a vision. I was lying on my back and my small group sisters (the other 7 women in my cabin) all had their hands on my belly and they were praying.
“Seriously God? I barely know these women. I can’t ask them to pray over my womb! They are going to think I’m so weird! No, I can’t do it. I know I said I would obey, but that is just too bizarre. I know nothing about them, and they barely know anything about me. How will I ask them that? When do we even have time for that? No, God, it can’t happen, not right now anyway, it’s only Monday…maybe by Friday…”
He didn’t argue, He didn’t agree.
I wrestled with that thought for the rest of the day. But I just couldn’t get the courage to ask for prayer. Plus, God said he already healed me. He said I just have to be. So why would I even need prayer if I am already healed?
That night my small group (we call ourselves the Holy Embers and I’m going to refer to my group as that from now on) gathered in our cabin and each gave a short 5 minute testimony. During that time, one of the beautiful Embers, told us about the miracle of her two children. She was told she would never get pregnant, and then she gave birth…twice. I embarrassingly lost it. I ugly cried right there in the circle. I couldn’t stop. And God told me to ask for prayer when the testimonies were done, and I didn’t. I ignored him and made excuses.
“You know them now, they know you now, ask.”
“God, we are all so tired, it’s 9:30pm and we all just want to go to bed. There is no time. No one is going to want to lay hands on me and pray. No.”
And we all went to sleep (well some of us, some of us couldn’t sleep…but we pretended to sleep anyway).