Forgiven

This actually wasn’t meant to be a blog post.  I was starting a letter to someone, but it went in another direction.

There is a question that has been on my mind a lot lately.  One that I have been asking myself, and the Lord.  I can’t seem to get an answer, or if I do, I don’t hear it.  I ask myself if I am okay?  Is it normal that I do not desire to be in leadership anymore? That I do not desire to preach, teach, or prophesy?  I ask if this is normal,because at one time it is exactly what I did.

The only thing that I want and desire in my life is God’s presence.  All the other things, I don’t even care about anymore.  Do I want His will for my life?  Hands down, YES!  To be honest, I’m not even sure that I ever wanted to be in the ministry.  I never set out to be a leader.  Heck, I never even thought about it.  It just happened.  All I’ve ever wanted was the Father.  To hear HIS VOICE, to feel HIS LOVE, and to do HIS WILL.

I think at one time, I thought that if I heard Him speak to me, that I would know that He loved me.  I felt that He only spoke to those who are “important.”  Who doesn’t want to feel important in their life?  I know that I never felt good enough growing up, and that has hindered my walk in God so often.  I hate that even though I know what the Bible says about me, I still struggle inside.   It really doesn’t matter how much anyone knows the Word in their mind, because it’s only when it becomes revelation to you that it can bring about change in your life.  I have taught about God’s love and His forgiveness many times in the past, but not all of it went deep down into the recesses of my heart.  I imagine that this happens to many people, and many leaders of the church.  Sure, mostly every Christian can quote John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  However, it doesn’t matter how much you can quote the scriptures.  I personally don’t care if you can stand up in a pulpit and quote the whole bible from memory, for that matter.  Parrots can repeat what people teach them to say, but do they know what it means?  Probably not.

I have read scripture after scripture in the Word of God about how much I am loved and valued.   I have read about His forgiveness.  I have read about His mercy, and grace.  Although I was in leadership and teaching about these things during a season of my life, I never fully understood these things the way that I do today.  What has changed?  Well, for one, ME.   I have changed.  How did this change come about?  Let’s see.  Hmmm….

I hate to mention this part, but I guess it is needed because this is the part that caused the change.

Deep breath.  I was hurt while I was serving in the ministry as a leader.  I was hurt by the leadership, and my church family.  The details do not matter.  During this season of my life, after being hurt I decided to walk away from my calling.  I never walked away from God.  I still loved Him, and even realized that it was man causing the hurt, but I could not go to church.  I would try going so many times because I missed corporate worship greatly.  There is nothing like coming together and worshipping our Lord and Savior in the corporate body!  I just couldn’t bear the pain in my heart.  I would go to a church, and everything would come rushing back to me.  The pain and the hurt would grip my heart, and I couldn’t go back for a while.  I kept trying over and over, until eventually I stopped even trying.  During this time, all my friends from my former church stopped talking to me.   I started slowly dying on the inside.  Everything that I had “become” was no longer relevant to me.  Things in my life that was once functioning, no longer functioned.  Sin began creeping in my life little by little, and I became numb to it.  I ended up going through a divorce, and moving back to the town where I grew up.

During this time, I learned more about the love of God than ever before.  I finally understood the Scripture that says in Psalms 139: 7-8, “Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I flee from Your presence?  If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.”  It didn’t matter what I was doing, or how I was living, God never for one second stopped loving me.  He never once left me.  He never once turned His back on me.  Even though I was running from everything that I was called to do, and doing everything I shouldn’t do, my heavenly Father was there waiting on me to return.   I am just like the prodigal son that was mentioned in Luke 15:17-24.  My Father wasn’t waiting on me so He could punish me, or degrade me with harsh words.  No, He was waiting on me with outstretched arms so He could hug me and pull me close to His heart once again.

You see, I kept putting off coming back to where I belong because I didn’t feel worthy enough.  I felt dirty and unclean because while I was living in the world, I became like the world.  In Romans 12:2, it talks about not being conformed to this world, and I had done just that.  Not only that, I let the fear of man keep me from running back to God.  Fear of man, you ask?  Maybe a better way of putting it is that I let the fear of the opinions of man hold me back.  I feared I would lose what little friends I had gained while on the run from God, just like I had lost all my other friends that I had in church.  It’s funny how the enemy works.  He whispers to you, “You know that the friends you have now won’t like you if you start walking with God again, and they will abandon you just like all your church friends abandoned  you.”  This is another thought that I have battled, “The friends you have today know all the terrible things you have done in your past and will think you are just a hypocrite like everyone else.”  Well, guess what?  I no longer care.  I’m tired of these minds games that I deal with. Did I do things I shouldn’t have done?  Yes.  Do I regret it?  Yes.  Guess what though?  This is the most important question anyone should ask.  Is she forgiven?  YES!  YES!  YES!  I tell you this right now, one thing that I know more now than anything I’ve ever known in my life, and that is this truth…  I am LOVED.  I am VALUED.  I am TREASURED.  I am FORGIVEN.   I am REDEEMED.  I am RESTORED. I am the APPLE of HIS eye.

In case you are wondering, I am going to church again.  I kept dipping my toes in the water here and there over the past 6 years, and a couple of years ago began making an earnest effort to find a church.  What can I say?  I’m a hopeless romantic.  Once you know the true love of the Father, you will never be satisfied without it again.  You can search for it in sex, drugs, and rock & roll…you will only find imitations and cheap fulfillment that will go away when the buzz wears off. (that’s another post)  I digress.  Last year and part of this year I began my healing journey at a wonderful church down the road.  I love how they worship the Lord!  However, on March 20th of this year, God told me this, “A new day has sprung forth.  It’s time to stop wondering in the wilderness.  It’s time to start the next part of your journey.”  So, I took a step of faith and went to the place I knew He had been leading me to go.  To say that God has been restoring me and healing me feels like a great understatment, but it’s exactly what is happening, and has been happening in my life.  I have been tiptoeing around this, and many people have no clue about my past in the ministry.  I only have shared it with a few select people.  You know that song by Dianna Ross, “I’m Coming Out”?   Holla!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, in going back to the question at the beginning of this post, “Am I okay”?  YES.  I am more than okay.  Some of the other things I am praying about, but for me right now, the most important thing is knowing God, and spending time in His presence.

There is so much more that I could say and will sometime, but I’m trying not to write a novel in this little blog post.  Trying not to quote scriptures everywhere was hard enough.  LOL

To all of my friends who knew me then, and know me now.  I am still me, just a better version.  I may mess up sometimes.  I may say things I shouldn’t.  I may do things that might offend you.  I may believe a certain way that you don’t, but it’s okay.   Right now, I am a work in progress.  Truthfully, we all are.  If the speck in my eye bothers you, try removing the log out of yours before you decide to pass judgement.   If my posts bother you, then unfriend me or unfollow me. It won’t make me stop loving you.

Don’t think I am all stuffy and can’t have fun. I still got it going on, because that’s just how me and God roll.  You may have always thought you knew me, but honey you are just getting started.

To be continued…………

 

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8 thoughts on “Forgiven

  1. Dana,
    I am so thankful to just get to know you for the very short time I have. The transparency that you are walking in is refreshing! Thank you for posting this it’s very timely💜❤️💖

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  2. Dana. This message is so uplifting. You will never know just how much these words have helped me! You are a very special lady and I am proud to know you and happy to be your friend!

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  3. WOW!! Thanks for sharing Dana! Most people are never transparent because of fear…fear of what people (friends, family, Church) will say but it was so refreshing to hear your truth! I’m sure everyone at some point has asked God that question “I’m I OK?” and I’m sure everyone at some point will say they thought about quitting (if they can be honest.) The truth is we all get there, this crisis of faith but knowing who God truly is will always keep you or bring you back! Love you to Life…continue your journey…I can’t wait to see what the Finished work will look like!! (kisses)

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