The journey to rediscover my heart started with not recognizing it had been lost along the way. It had been lost in seeking to please people and being oh, so busy trying to do so. It had been lost in seeking to meet expectations set by others as well as myself that I believed were not even high enough for God! It had been lost because I didn’t know there was a battle raging for it before salvation as well as afterward.
The incredible truth of His love for you and also me is that the Lord is always working behind the scenes and sometimes on center stage to lead us to the truth of who we are and what He has placed in us.
Maurice Wagner in The Sensation of Being Somebody was one of my early companions on the journey of discovery. He set my feet on the right path many years ago when the pastoral counselor I had worked with introduced me to his book. His words urged me step-by-step to learn more about who I was, how I came to be that way, and the truth the Lord had designed for me. His balance and wisdom were uncommon and started to free me in subtle as well as obvious ways.
“Our security is not in our ability by faith in God to get Him to change our situations so that we will be less disturbed by the conditional and variable factors, nor is it in the fact that He might heal our bodies or reduce our pain. Our security is in our submission to His divine scheme of things and in our accepting what He can and does mean to our sense of true self-identity.” (Maurice Wagner)
Learning from him helped me begin to set aside the ways (both unhealthy and healthy) I had used to verify myself with little success. He would open passages of scripture I had read, but now “heard” differently.
John Eldredge and Brent Curtis would open my understanding to the battle for my heart and the enemy’s scheme to keep that battle outside of my awareness.
“Before Lucifer could become a true citizen of hell, he had to kill the desires of his own heart. He did it with scorn and much scorn was required. And this is the strategy with each of us: to kill the desire that would eventually lead us back to the One who loves us, using all forms of shame, contempt, apathy, anesthesia, and perversion at his disposal.” (Eldredge and Curtis in The Sacred Romance)
If he could not succeed in deadening our hearts completely, he would entice us to pursue “less wild lovers”. Less wild than whom? The Lord, of course, is the wildest of lovers! Who but He would be able to thwart the schemes and devices so deftly laid? Who but He would provide a way of escape from what would seek to destroy us? Who but He would sacrifice Himself for us rather than accept our separation from Him eternally?
What “less wild lovers” would he use?
“Our adversary also seduces us to abide in certain emotions that act as less-wild lovers, particularly shame, fear, lust, anger, and false guilt. They are emotions that ‘protect’ us from the more dangerous feelings of grief, abandonment, disappointment, loneliness, and even joy and longing, that threaten to roam free in the wilder environs of the heart.” (Eldredge and Curtis in The Sacred Romance)
On the path to wholeheartedness as I recognized the battle for what it was, Eldredge would help me see another truth in Waking the Dead:
“You must remember that the Enemy is always trying to pull everyone else to do to you what he is doing to you. As I said earlier, he creates a kind of force field, a gravitational pull around you that draws others into the plot without their even knowing it.”
Discovering, learning, and accepting my story as part of His story that He fully intended to use for His glory, would equip me to listen more effectively to the stories of others and what healthier community would look like.
“…you must know each other’s stories, know how to ‘read’ each other. A word of encouragement can heal a wound; a choice to forgive can destroy a stronghold. You never knew your simple acts were so weighty. It’s what we’ve come to call ‘lifestyle warfare’.” (John Eldredge in Waking the Dead)
Learning those things brought more discernment and wisdom in those who became my comrades in arms for the daily journey. We stood for and with each other in the battle for our hearts. They too would be a part of the path to wholeheartedness.
Then in Sandra Wilson’s book, Into Abba’s Arms, I would have my heart stirred by the words she shared that she sensed the Lord speaking to her during times of journaling. As I read those intimate conversations she had with the Lord, my heart longed to have Him speak with me in such ways. Yes, He spoke to me through His Word, through the beauty of nature, through the messages of pastors and teachers, but I knew Sandra was experiencing something I had not known. My thirst was awakened for a different level of intimacy as I read the words she had ‘heard’ such as these:
“Your love is precious to me. You are precious to me. Learn to rest in the reality of my presence whether you are fainthearted or strong hearted. Keep listening to me. Keep coming to be with me in these quiet, special times.”
Yes, I had used a journal before and poured out thoughts, feelings, concerns, and prayers, but I had never taken moments to listen for or record His responses. To recognize that He had been waiting for me to listen for Him brought fresh rays of light to my heart. I knew at once why it was important to write down what I sensed because in the few times I sensed something from Him, it was not so easy to hold His words in my heart as time passed. One more scheme of the battle for my heart was evident in that.
And so it was that on a frosty January morning more than twenty years ago I would begin a new journal and write these words to Him:
“Sandra Wilson’s book—how inspiring and real! She’s right! We/I don’t take much time to listen to you and hear your personal words to my heart. Please, forgive me. I want to do better. Help me find my way through distractions into your arms.”
In the hushed moments of silence filled with uncertainty that He would respond, I would sense His response to me in the warmest and gentlest of words:
“I’m always waiting. I long to listen to you and hold you in my arms. You nurture others each day. Let me nurture you. I chose you. No one can pluck you out of my hand.”
With those words, the love story between us would change, as day after day I would return to my journal after my time in His Word and prayer. Year after year as the journals took up more space on my bookshelf, He would whisper His love, grace, and truth into my heart that would make it whole again and lead me to discover what He had created in me from the very beginning for His purposes and glory before all the other voices I had listened to had drowned out the only One who knew.
20 thoughts on “My Heart….Found”
I have just about read the whole bible this year. I have the beginning of the old tesament left and I will have done it. I skipped around and read it according to what I was learning about. I have purposely tried not to read any other books about scripture. I didn’t want any interference betweeen me and God. I got a NLT bible and got into it. It reads like a modern book, so much easier than the KJV I grew up on. I was floored how many tender lovely ways God’s love for his “precious ones” is described. Just like this:
Hosea 2:14-16 (The Lord speaking about Israel)
“I will will win her back once again.
I will lead her into the dessert
and speak tenderly to her there.
I will return her vineyards to her
and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.
She will give herself to me there,
as she did long ago when she was young,
when I freed her from captivity in Egypt.
When that day comes,” says the Lord,
“you will call me ‘my husband’
instead of my master.”
Like WOW! He really wants to have a relationship with us, right!
Beautiful revelation however it comes to you, along as the Lord speaks to your heart!
Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home!
All so true, Sherry! Thanks for sharing how He has moved in your life!!
Hi Pam! I wanted to rise up out of my computer chair and do a fist pump after reading your last lines here. So proud of you!! And what an inspiration you are to me.
You know, like St. Augustine, that God was there all the time. What a wild lover indeed, although I don’t think many think of Jesus that way. Maybe like me, they don’t listen enough. I am inspired to sit in the quiet more and listen for the love song of my Savior. He is always with me, even when I blindly look outside of me.
What fun that would be!!! The idea of Jesus being a wild lover was a marvelous concept John Eldredge and Brent Curtis gave me! I think the Lord gifts us with each other to encourage us along the way to His heart. Hope you are having a beautiful Sunday!
Thank you for sharing your journey at Funtastic Friday!
Blessed to do so!
Yes, yes, Pam. You and I share this same affinity and fondness for journaling.
I do believe that God used it to save my life …
Why am I not surprised at that? Love you, my friend!
I appreciate your thoughts. I am not much into journaling as such but I am learning to meditate on a scripture and be quiet and listen.
Bloggers Pit Stop
Whatever works for each of us is how the Lord will use it to reach our hearts with His words to us! Blessings on your day!
Powerful post! “Help me find a way through distraction into Your arms.” I think that sums up the cry of my heart these days… So many distractions. So little time. But that one thing so crucial to they way I handle it all is the one that so often gets cut short. Thank you for your words today. Blessings!
Thanks, Liz! I smile when I recall I first wrote those words in 1999 and see how little things can change no matter our age, circumstance, etc. I appreciate you stopping by! Have a blessed weekend!
I have loved this series, Pam. It’s so precious that you have saved God’s words that He whispered to you over these last 20 years. And when you have looked back for all of us to share with you, it’s almost as if you have raised an “Ebenezer” here: hitherto hath the Lord helped us! I think it’s so important to look back and let Him show us how He has opened our hearts through the years. I have a “Remnants” journal that I am working on, with His help, looking back to see the remnants of His Glory scattered throughout my story. –Blessings to you!
Thanks so much, Bettie! It’s been great to have you make the trek with me. Your words about raising an Ebenezer really hit me when I read them….lots of truth in the value of what you said. Always enjoy connecting with you! Blessings on you until next time!
Thank you for sharing your journey and making the road clearer for us.
My honor, my friend!
Pam, I love this post!! God has often worked with me over the years to be still and listen for His voice. You’ve also introduced me to some books I’ve not read and probably would enjoy. Much love to you, friend!
Thanks, sweet friend! I cannot think of a book I have mentioned in this series that you would not:)! Loving you…
How wonderful that you are being guided to day by words that came to you twenty years ago. And the truth that God is always at work behind the scenes is one that I have to keep coming back to in order to reconcile myself (sometimes) to the seemingly inexplicable events that puzzle me.
Blessings, Pam, and thanks for these good thoughts.
Thanks, Michele! I am reminded of the value of remembering when I read the verse about overcoming him(the enemy) by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony. We can too easily forget the power of our testimony and words be duped into not remembering, valuing, and sharing as He guides.