Featured

Restoration’s Story

Today, I am taking a break from the Upon This Rock podcast series to share of the mighty healing God has been working in my heart. May it bless you!

 

I used to believe in a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps Christianity and still fall into that old way of thinking sometimes. I have tried to live out “do unto others as you would want them to do unto you”, but not abiding in Christ’s love, rather, in my own waning strength. God has always seen my striving in fear and pride, and people have begun to see my sinful heart seeping out also as I have walked through Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

 

What people cannot see and God can, is the deep hurt I went through as a little girl that He is now uncovering to heal through exposing my weakness and sin.

 

I idolized my parents – those in spiritual authority over me and let the enemy steal, kill and destroy things in my life through that idolatry. When God’s Living Word spoke through me and I was turned away, I let the enemy wreak havoc.

 

I now know from my mother’s testimony in hindsight, that a deep pain was growing inside her heart, as she was unable to get through to her new son: to reach him with what she thought was sound discipline commanded of her by her loving God. Her son continued to rebel and unbeknownst to her, suffer greatly beneath a method of discipline pushed by Christian parenting organisations my Mum deeply respected. The very discipline I tried to stop my parents from carrying out.

 

Visiting my brother at his orphanage, where he was given up for adoption only 2 days old and spent the first 15 months of his life.

 

My Mum later told me, through tears, that she realized she had been doing even more damage to my little brother’s already traumatized brain and body. At the time, my parents had only just returned from almost 6 years of very fruitful, but also very tiring missionary work with six kids in tow, including their recently adopted 15-month old Romanian son. Not long later their own health would begin to deteriorate rapidly also, as they faced one health scare and illness after another.

 

Sadly, all I saw at the time, was not my parents’ growing pain, fear, exhaustion and illness and after a while, not even my little brother’s trauma and deep pain anymore. I became blinded by my own pain.
All I saw was what I interpreted as their withholding of love as they turned God’s Voice of love and truth in me away. All I saw is what I interpreted as their and God’s expectation of good behavior and physical punishment being meted out when we couldn’t live up to those expectations.

 

And even more sadly, I began to believe that the enemy’s lies defined my God as:

Someone who doesn’t truly see us, or our pain.

Someone who calls us to arise in obedience to Him, only to turn us away and leave us in the cold when we do.

Someone who punishes our missteps, while failing to address the pain and trauma at the root of our sinful behavior.

 

When my parents unknowingly turned away the Living Word in me, I began to believe I had to work hard to earn back not only my parents’ love and approval, but God’s also. I even deemed myself evil and inherently mismade. I looked up at my parents as if they were God and let the enemy blind me to their and His love, until trauma triggers racked my body, as God’s Word began to do its work in me.

 

It’s then, I was led to repentance, as God’s peace poured out upon me during corporate worship. I even got baptized as a twelve year old. But then, sadly, lie by lie, I turned away from God as the enemy attacked me for my open confessions of my weakness and sin. I embraced the enemy’s lies, turning my heart away from my loving God. I lived as a shell, attending church to be the good girl I wanted to be known as. I couldn’t wait to leave and stop playing the hypocrite I believed I had to be to be acceptable to God and in Christian community.

 

Those I trusted, who taught me the Word of God, sadly failed to understand the trauma triggers I continued to experience, as God worked to unearth and uproot the lies I had agreed to with in my heart. Unwilling to humble myself, I began to numb my pain and hide my sin to not be embarrassing to others and myself. It’s then I began to believe I was irredeemable,
until I finally fled the church and the idol of a god I had begun serving, altogether.

 

I believed the lies of the enemy, above the holy Word of my loving and compassionate God, who has never ever forsaken me nor stopped chasing me with His love, truth and grace. Twenty years later, God would open my eyes to faith and begin to show me that what I and others most hate about myself and themselves, is what He most loves about us. Coming to Him in our weakness, confessing our sins openly and weeping freely in His Presence, as His Spirit of love, truth, grace and peace falls upon us.

 

The catalyst was my mother. The Holy Spirit poured out upon her through her battle with glioblastoma multiforme. She confessed her doubt, fears, unbelief and sins openly. She spoke what her heart believed, even if it was infected by her own pain and sin or pierced us in its powerful truth. And she sought and received my little brother’s forgiveness. As she did so God embraced her and led her to repentance, as I felt the palpable peace of God pour out in my midst.

 

My Mum, our youngest daughter and I, not long after Mum’s cancer diagnosis

 

The Psalmist of Psalm 34:4-5 tells us: “I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.” This was my Mum.

 

Isaiah 58:6-12 ESV reminds us:
6 “Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed[b] go free,
and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
11 And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.

 

In all the places my parents could not give my little brother what he needed most, God moved in His power to redeem, restore and empower my little brother. He honored my parents’ pouring out. Oh how we all need that kind of grace as parents, in our inability to give our kids what they need most.

 

My little brother and I on his visit to the Netherlands, last summer.

 

Now, through God’s presence with him through all the trauma and heartache, my youngest brother is becoming a repairer and restorer, giving others, including me 😊, what my parents were unable to give him. Giving others what God has poured into him in his need and is continuing to.

 

My little brother is a truth speaker in love, so wise, filled with compassion and a pursuer of kindness and grace. My parents’ weakness has become my brother’s greatest blessing.

 

In my seeking of God after my Mum’s death, that palpable peace awakened a hunger in me. God began to show me how even in my Prodigal journey He had started uncovering His pure desires in me and His purposes for me. He started showing me how He used my parents’ and my weakness for good in my life also.

 

Beauty unfolding from ashes. A field close to my home in the Netherlands: the country God chose to rewrite my story of pain and trauma into a story of joy and freedom.

 

When He opened my eyes to faith, I spent a full year in a small English church being fed the pure Word of God. Then, He led me to a new Dutch church. This church was filled with men and women, who were hiding their weakness and pain from their God, and sadly, once again, I would do the same.

 

Yet again, just as a child, God called me to speak the truth. And just as a child, I began to cave, as the lies that had rooted in my heart as a child, came calling. God’s Word called me to arise in Him to speak the truth, as trauma triggers racked my body and uncovered the legalism still enslaving me also.

 

What I didn’t realize at the time is that these triggers were His gift to enable me to live the truth and not just speak it. He used the triggers to break my hardened exterior and reveal my weakness and sin in open confession before others.
I obeyed His call to speak the truth, but often I let the waves of absolute terror triggered stop and stall me from persevering in the truth, the very truth that was sent to heal not just those at my church but my own heart also. But even there, He was working HIS perseverance into my heart, as He built up my trust in Him.

 

Even in writing this post, my heart and body have walked through major trauma triggers, and I have stopped and stalled, run and hidden and come back into the light again. Healing is hard and holy work. Praise God He perfects His power right there in our mess.

 

At first, I looked back, filled with grief because I saw the exact thing happened that I was so afraid of happening: I hurt many of those who I spoke the truth to. But what I am also starting to understand is that God uses that pain to work a deeper compassion in us, as we continue to intercede for the fulfillment of the Word that He has given us and that is rejected by those before us.

 

As we dare to feel and pour out our own pain before the foot of the Cross, Jesus gives us His pain for His Body – not just for us but also for those who have rejected His Word in us – and He turns our hearts to His steadfast Promises of truth and grace. He reminds us that He perfects His power in His Body’s weakness causing us to arise from our place of shame to embrace His grace and love, and to pour it out freely upon others.

 

The very same pain I caused as Jesus worked His obedience in me, I experienced from the other side, as a little girl, when a prophetic word was spoken over me that has since come to pass: my Prodigal journey to the other side of the world and my work with many children (I became an au pair and high school teacher). Back then, that prophecy filled me with even more terror than I was already walking through with the trauma triggers. Now, I know God sent that prophecy to show me He always saw me in my need and to take me deeper in His grace now.

 

Now, I think I understand why that prophecy repelled me, rather than drawing me toward my God. I was filled with the fear of man rather than the fear of God. I was hardened in my pride and unwilling to humble myself in my sin.

 

The pain that prophecy caused me was the very reason why I had told God I didn’t EVER want to step out in this gifting He has given me to see what many others cannot. It is also the very reason I believe my pastor, in his kindness toward me and protection of me, didn’t think God could have given me such clarity and wisdom in my intercession either. And yet this is the very reason why God has given me this gift. He has given it to me to humble me, to embrace me, to heal me and to grow me in His mercy.

 

Now, Jesus is taking His mercy so deep in me that I am becoming the woman my Mum prophecied I would become from the womb: a grace (Anna) warrior (Louise), who like Anna in the Temple, would immediately recognize the baby Jesus.

 

 

God knew, that this time, as the attacks came upon my return as a Prodigal, there was one fundamental difference: I trusted Him enough to keep crying out in my pain, fear, anger, distrust and unbelief and He heard my every cry. It’s then my healing began anew, as God led me out of my church to begin restoring me in the purity of His Word.

 

Now, He is enlarging my heart to run in the path of His Living Word. Now, I am beginning to see and feel, not just my own pain, to surrender it at the foot of the Cross, held in my Abba Father’s arms. But, I am also seeing and feeling Christ’s pain for His Church, for myself and the very ones I was angry, bitter and unforgiving towards. For us, who are genuinely seeking to love and be obedient to our LORD and Savior, but do not see we are embracing our idols and lies.

 

Now, I also see how His heart ached, the times I bowed to pride, shame and self-righteousness, embracing lies, apologizing for speaking the Word or pointing fingers and hurting the very ones God had called me to love, bless and forgive.

 

I now see how each one of us suffer silently, as we allow the enemy to enslave us to pride, fear and shame. We pierce not only the weak and vulnerable in our midst, who are unable to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps anymore, but ourselves and our precious Savior. We allow the enemy to blind us to our own weakness and our own desperate need for Christ’s love, grace and compassion.

 

Paul tells us in Galatians 1:8 in the English Standard Version:
“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.”

 

I now see the truth of this Promise and its gift. My curse for turning away has been Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. And yet this curse is forcing my faith life into the open. It is forcing me to receive Jesus with my whole body, mind and soul. It is cleansing my Body from all lies, as the Truth, Jesus, does His work in me. This disease is forcing me to arise in the Truth, to heal.

 

As Christ ever intercedes before the throne of God for us, His Church, He is fulfilling the Promise to make us One: body, mind, heart and soul. For, judgment must begin at the House of the Lord. But for us, the Church and Body of Christ, judgment is satisfied as we bow at the foot of the Cross in His leading and strength.

 

Beautifully, as I am letting go of my own pain now through His intercession in me and for me, I am beginning to pour out Christ’s tears for His Bride also, as He leads me to pray His sure and steadfast Promises over myself and His broken Body. I am being embraced and corrected in the loving discipline of Christ. Especially in my very own home, where I am finally learning to see and embrace Jesus in myself and my family: a family He gave me so many years ago to bless me, as I fled Him in terror.

 

Although I do not attend a church myself, in obedience to God’s leading for now, I have been surrounded by His Body. Men and women who are loving me through my weakness and my confessions of sin and helping me to trust God again. I am receiving His love, truth and grace in my home and being mothered spiritually by women who are walking through healing from trauma, as they boast in their weakness and soak in God’s love. My husband, children, extended family and friends are wrapping me in Christ’s compassion. They are leading me, just as my mother’s testimony continues to, to the Cross.

 

I am also being blessed by an online church, whose pastor continues to lead me into more and more repentance and healing through Christ at work in him. And I am being SO encouraged by the healing and redemption I am seeing unfold in my Dad and little brother, who are healing me as I see Christ’s love and compassion toward them. They remind me that God sees us.

 

God is comforting me in my grief also, breaking open my unique – but intimately known to Him – childhood trauma to heal me more and more. He is, piece by piece, giving me an undivided heart that I may fear Him above all else. And He is showing me how He perfects His power in every one of our weaknesses. Praise Him!

 

When I was a Prodigal my Dad gave me a letter and a Message Version Bible I never opened till I came home to Jesus. The verses he quoted are the very verses my heart so needed to receive, but my parents also. Just as my intercession for my pastor and his family would uncover my heart’s hunger for the very Promises I was praying over them, so our God would embrace my parents in the very Promises they were praying over me all those years. This is the Scripture my Dad gave me all those years before, when I moved to Europe for good, to join my now husband:

 

Luke 9: 22 – 27 (MSG):
22 – He went on, “It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the religious leaders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and on the third day be raised up alive.”
23-27 Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? If any of you is embarrassed with me and the way I’m leading you, know that the Son of Man will be far more embarrassed with you when he arrives in all his splendor in company with the Father and the holy angels. This isn’t, you realize, pie in the sky by and by. Some who have taken their stand right here are going to see it happen, see with their own eyes the kingdom of God.”

 

Now, I see that my parents didn’t just sow the Word of God into my heart in love, pray the Promises of God over me and keep loving and serving me in my Prodigal years. My Mum’s, my Dad’s, my brother’s and other people’s weakness and confession of sin before me, has and still is breathing my salvation through the power of Christ at work in them.

 

The Holy Spirit’s testimony through them continues to break open the seeds they sowed and to breathe life into me. I am beginning to unfold and bloom in His love.

 

Now, when I try to pull myself up on my own bootstrings, Jesus reminds me of His sacrifice at the Cross that has set me free. His sacrifice that is giving me a life of abundance in the wide open spaces of His love and grace.

 

His sacrifice that declares me His, healed and whole. Each trigger of trauma leads me to His arms.
It’s then I bow the knee, confess my sins, turn away from my sin and toward Him to arise in the joy of my salvation!

 

This process of writing is working a new trust of God in my own heart. He uses everything and seeds are always being sown and breaking open. Each new edit stripped more pride from me to expose Jesus’ soft heart hiding below my hardness caused by pain and distrust. Even all this is working a greater compassion in my heart for those I have felt hurt by.

 

I realized something. That even those places our sin is exposed and we haven’t yet recognized it as sin ourselves, God is working to bring compassion to others as they see our pain talking. Likewise, He is working to bring His truth and grace deeper into us, as we look back and see their heart of love toward us, as they have extended us grace and kept loving us.

 

That’s exactly what I saw with Mum too. Some of what she spoke was her truth and not God’s, just like me at my church, when I let the enemy lead me to retract God’s Word, believing those in authority over me knew better than He did and does.

 

But as our sinful hearts are exposed, God leads us and His Body to see and acknowledge the fears and the pain at the root of our sin, as He works to lift the heavy weight off of us.

 

Psalm 36:5-7 ESV

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
    your judgments are like the great deep;
    man and beast you save, O Lord.

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
    The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

 

This unfolded recently, as piece by piece, He led me to see just how beautiful my witness was at my old church. He even had me reread the messages I had sent three years ago: messages I have all this time deep down been ashamed of, and fearful of rereading. It’s then I wept in absolute awe and repentance.

 

I saw how bold I was in God’s love, truth, compassion and grace. I saw Jesus shining through me so brightly. That vivacious life in me has always been Jesus. That exuberant love that seeks to defend God’s own at all cost: that has always been Jesus. Even as His Body and my own body have repelled me and not believed Jesus is in me or has sent me.

 

Yes, what God speaks through me may be painful to swallow. God’s grace for us rebellious children is hard to believe. His love for us weak and vulnerable is hard to fathom. His desire to propel us Prodigals into visible ministry is troubling for us, who base our faith on our own purity, goodness and service to God.

 

But praise God, He redeems us in our legalism. He turns our eyes to His power being perfected in our weakness. He empowers us to surrender our pain and love and forgive those we would much rather point the finger at and push into the dark, including ourselves.

 

I would know. After decades of numbing or coddling my pain, I am walking through the pain held tightly in Jesus’ arms. I am coming to see that every single tear has been redeemed in the power of the blood. Where my pain was the greatest, His perfecting power was most present: redeeming and restoring and healing, even in my blindness.

 

I fled His power being perfected in my parents’, my brother’s and my own weakness, as a child and yet He pursued me back into His love and grace.

 

I numbed the pain I thought my God never saw, as I walked away as a Prodigal, and yet He used my unfaithfulness to declare His faithfulness over me, walking me into His beautiful purpose for my life.

 

As a returning Prodigal I bowed to Christ’s power in my weakness to testify to the Church of His redeeming love, only to become ashamed of His power at work in me. But God used this to heal my body and unveil His compassion for my body and His Body, as we have denied Him.

 

Now, I am embracing God’s redemptive purposes at work in our weakness because I see His kindness to me in my own. Now, I know that those who have hurt me the most have also taken me deepest into God’s love, grace and healing.

 

As I numbed my pain, God proved Himself faithful, fulfilling His purposes for my life in and through my running. He began calling my body and His Body home through His work in me.

 

As I coddled my pain and became the victim, as I pointed fingers or sat in shame, God proved Himself faithful to me by revealing His kindness to me in my sin. He sent out His Word to pierce and embrace me, opening my eyes to the gifts He has brought me through all the breaking and pain.

 

Just like my little brother, where I have lacked the most, I now see that God has poured out the most into me. I just needed eyes to see.

 

My parents’ weakness and my own gifted me faith: a faith no longer in my own ability to believe, but in Christ’s faithfulness at work in me in my own unfaithfulness.

 

My own beautiful Dutch family, whose very holiness flows from the gift of faith Jesus has unveiled in me through my parents’ and my own weakness, is a testament to Christ’s abiding love for His Body and for my failing traumatized body. The love and grace my Dutch family have shown me in such overwhelming abundance has not just revealed Jesus to me in them but also to me in myself.

 

His mighty calling upon our lives is birthed in our weakness.

 

Yes, as people begin to heal, just as my Mum did and others continue to around me, God touches us through them to begin a mighty work of healing in us too. Amazingly, our messy healing, heals others in their mess too.

 

In a recent vision God showed me a field of blooming flowers, filled with color and vibrancy. It reminded me of the fields we biked and ran through when I was little in Germany. This vision was filled with such hope and life: it felt like God’s giving back of what was stolen from me as a little girl.

 

And this is exactly what He’s been doing in so many ways. Read for example of the 15 houses I grew up in (including 6 months in a campervan as a four-year-old in Germany 😊). I share how God is rewriting my identity of displacement and dislocation into healing, belonging and wholeness.

 

God has also been speaking to me so much through storms lately, also. Yesterday, I even ran a 10km race on the beach and dunes through a storm with a dear friend of mine. Oh my, it was an amazing experience. Watching the sand lifted off and carried by the wind and literally being propelled forward and soaked to the bone through the strong gusts: thankfully temps were unseasonably warm!

 

What God has been doing is redeeming the storms in my life. He’s been showing me that each and every storm has unveiled more of Him in me and through me, as it has pressed me deeper and deeper into His love and grace. Each storm that I have been so afraid of, believing it would kill me, has drawn me into my Father’s lap.
Right there, He has uncovered my fears, my pride, my guilt, my shame, my distrust, my bitterness, my pain and redeemed it all.

 

He has reminded me of who HE is in the storm and who HE is in me: greater than he who is in the world, greater than any weapon forged against us: His beloved children, Church and Bride.

 

Now, I am filled with faith. I truly and wholly and deeply believe God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). I believe our mighty Jesus is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them (Hebrews 7:25) as my very life, body and breath give testimony to.

 

Taken at a lake in Germany, by our eldest daughter, when we were visiting my Dad and his new wife.

 

So, I shall not grow weary as I continue to receive Him in those the world abhors, even as my very own body and His very own Body repels me for it.

 

I will rejoice that my mighty God counts me, a sinner who turned away and denied her beloved Savior again and again, worthy of following in His footsteps. Worthy of calling her body and His Body unto Himself, through His very own excruciating sacrifice, death and resurrection.

 

Mark 2:16-17 ESV

16 And the scribes of[a] the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat[b] with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

 

Oh may our beloved Savior reveal Himself to you through your own story today also. May you see His calling, purpose, restoration and redemption through every weaving of your story. May He unveil His glory through you today, as He calls you by name.

 

 

Be encouraged that through every twist and turn, He was and is making our paths straight in Him. Not one part of our story is without purpose:

 

 

For, He is writing Restoration’s Story through us: One Body, One Bride, One Church in Christ alone.

 

Psalm 32 (NIV)
Of David. A maskil.
1 Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
2 Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.
6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you
while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters
will not reach them.
7 You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the Lord’s unfailing love
surrounds the one who trusts in him.
11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!
Footnotes:
Psalm 32:1 Title: Probably a literary or musical term
Psalm 32:4 The Hebrew has Selah(a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verses 5 and 7.

 

Featured

What You Meant For Harm

God always meant for good, oh enemy. No podcast today, but a poem instead:

 

Meeting my adopted brother’s birth family in their mudhouse in Romania for the first time, before we adopted him. Ten years later I would meet them again and put them in touch with my little brother who has since visited them twice. Sadly, his birth father has passed away.

 

You intended to harm me
Power of blindness
As you lashed a child of God
In punishment, upon a heart so broken 
Crying out for Love
And me, his sister kept at bay
Fearful, helpless there she stood
Rejected, forsaken, she believed of God.

You intended to harm me
Power of blindness
As you spoke the words
As God’s and not your own
Words birthed in lies
Yeast wrapped around
For my wounded heart to feed.

You intended to harm us
Power of blindness
As the walls of fear you built
As the hardening you there grew
To hide the ache beneath
Your fear keeping us just beyond
Love’s tender whispers
Ever speaking.

You intended to harm me
Power of blindness
In sleepless nights
Daughter ever ill
Slave-driving an ever illusive perfection
Beloved mother dying a world apart
Helpless

My soul now aching, breaking.

You intended to harm us
Power of blindness
Our family ripped apart
But for this daughter’s hands to love
And wash and hold, a world apart
As cancer stole and tore
From a mother in whose womb I grew.

You intended to harm us
Power of blindness
But God had always planned
Each and every wound for good
His love and grace
In power He displays
For no weapon forged against us prospers
For His children in His hands remain
Waiting for appointed time
They will yet wake to Life.

As my heart lay broken
My mother dying
Confession from her lips now pouring
It’s then God’s tenderness
In waves released
Not my many sins to punish
But God’s true Father heart to pour.

 

For the joy set before
Was not our countless sins
“Forgive them, Father
For they know not what they do.”
He wept in prayer, for He saw beneath
Not just our sin
But our suffering too, He bore.

And so
Not punishment
But Mercy speaks
Beyond all human fathoming
Christ’s crashing waves
Each hidden crevice meets
Of broken open hearts
His love He sends to balm and bind
To restore each broken child
His own.

Blindfolds ripped
Each lie at cross now bows
His Love there speaks
Word in Spirit
Not of fear, but Truth
As hearts begin to see
No longer idols set before
But Christ alone
The Way and Truth and Life
Beckoning all His children come
Just as we are.

His face
His tears
His wounded hands
And open arms we see
“Return and rest” He calls.

Not turning us away
For all the many sins
But curtain ripped
Our curse on cross He there became
Whipped and scorned and bleeding
From His own beloved Father torn
His bleeding heart in us He lays
In Spirit breath our souls to claim.

Each hardened heart He
Tethers
Breaks
And pours.

And now His children 
Walk towards those arms
That hold us as we cry
That speak the truth
And give us courage bold
Our hearts to bare
Our Truth to speak.

Rejected, scorned and turned away
By children aching
You break our tired, hardening hearts
In Yours to bleed again
To live and breathe as One.

With grace for every sin
Confession flows
From our selfish hearts
Love calls us grow
To lay us down
To know the length
And depth and breadth of Christ.

Not to punishment or hate
But to Love and Mercy
Our Christ and King us calls
His hands and feet
Beyond the camp to tread
His heart to bleed and bare.


Christ’s Church
As One in Him now grows
Prayer of our Savior
Our Amen we gift.

 

 

From deep grief and terror to joy and peace and more and more healing in the LORD. This is what Jesus brings.

 

Featured

Christ: The Imperishable Word of God at Work in Us

 

 

Deuteronomy 8:3 Amplified Bible (AMP)

He humbled you and allowed you to be hungry and fed you with manna, [a substance] which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, so that He might make you understand [by personal experience] that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.

 

Welcome to Speak Faithfulness!

This weekly podcast gives voice to the belonginghealing and wholeness of all God’s children. It exists to speak aloud the faithfulness of God by resting in Scripture and sharing the testimony of Christ revealed through us, His children, both now and in the past. We are opening our mouth for those unable to speak (Proverbs 31:8).

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 1:20, NIV).

 

Your host today is Anna Smit. She is continuing the series, Upon This Rock, focusing on the life, calling and redemption of Peter. Each week we focus on a portion of Scripture that reveals the faithfulness of God toward not just Peter, but each one of us. We look at how Peter’s life reflects the belonging, healing and wholeness we can all find in our Savior, who calls us to speak aloud His faithfulness over ourselves and others. Anna is publishing next week’s post a few days early, feeling prompted by the LORD to do so.

 

Today, Anna is resting in the Words Jesus spoke to Peter before the crucifixion and Peter’s denials (Luke 22:31-32):

 

Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

 

Before you listen, Anna has a confession to make. Two weeks ago, in Christ: The Loving Discipline of God at Work in Us, Anna shared of a recent friendship breakup. She shared of her friend’s inability to receive the truth she spoke, as well as her own inability to receive the truth her friend spoke and of God’s breaking to make them whole in Him. What she didn’t share is that she did not speak the original Words God gave her weeks earlier because she was afraid that she would lose her friend. She refused to defend her friend from the enemy’s schemes, agreeing with the lies of the enemy above God’s holy Word.

 

But God would bring it all to a head and bring about the breaking for her good and her friend’s, even in her disobedience. He would not allow her to deny the finished work of the Cross and bathe in self-righteousness and shame. He turned her to His Promises of eternal healing and wholeness in the breaking of His Body.

 

Praise be to God that He is the God who keeps no record of our wrongs. While Anna kept a record of her friend’s wrongs and her own, falling into pride and shame, God moved within her to lead her to repentance. Anna’s friend and Anna are covered by God’s grace. Now, when Anna looks at her friend and herself, she sees Jesus in them both. May God forgive her for keeping a record of her friend’s and her own wrongdoing, rather than embracing the grace and forgiveness God has so freely extended to us all.

 

As you listen to today’s offering, may Peter’s testimony through suffering and Anna’s mother’s testimony through the ravages of glioblastoma multiforme (brain cancer), multiply grace and peace to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as He continues to shine through them, even in their death:

 

 

Did you listen to last week’s episode? I share not only Peter’s and my own testimony of God’s grace in our weakness, but also the powerful testimony and words of three other beautiful souls, two beloved friends of mine and the son of a dear friend of mine, a son who went to be with our Lord and Savior at the end of last year. Be sure to check it out and be blessed to see the power of Jesus at work in your own weakness also – Christ: The Perfecting Power of God at Work in Us.

 

Did you know we now have an Insta page for Speak Faithfulness? Come be blessed by additional words of encouragement and excerpts taken from recent podcasts: @SpeakOfHisFaithfulness

 

May Jesus who shines so brightly through these songs wrap you in His arms and lead you to REJOICE in His Word that lives and breathes and moves in you:

 

 

Featured

Christ: The Perfecting Power of God at Work in Us

 

 

Welcome to Speak Faithfulness!

This weekly podcast gives voice to the belonginghealing and wholeness of all God’s children. It exists to speak aloud the faithfulness of God by resting in Scripture and sharing the testimony of Christ revealed through us, His children, both now and in the past. We are opening our mouth for those unable to speak (Proverbs 31:8).

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 1:20, NIV).

 

Your host today is Anna Smit. She is continuing the series, Upon This Rock, focusing on the life, calling and redemption of Peter. Each week we focus on a portion of Scripture that reveals the faithfulness of God toward not just Peter, but each one of us. We look at how Peter’s life reflects the belonging, healing and wholeness we can all find in our Savior, who calls us to speak aloud His faithfulness over ourselves and others.

 

Today, Anna is resting in John 18 verses 26 and 27. In the English Standard Version we read:

 

“One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked: “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.”

 

May this podcast bless you, as it encourages you to consider how God has perfected His power in your weakness in your own past and is continuing to do so today:

 

 

Anna also has a praise report: an answer to the prayers and laments in this podcast. God took His healing deeper. He gently showed her, as she listened to herself sharing, how she had let her pride and insecurity blind her to the beauty of Jesus inside of her. He showed her how that had led her to interact in fear and shame with others, rather than in pure love. But then, as shame came calling, He reminded her of His Promises to her, through her dear friend Gayl (the mother of Stephen, whose words Anna shares in today’s podcast):

 

Psalm 116:5-7 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

5 The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is compassionate.
6 The Lord guards the inexperienced;
I was helpless, and he saved me.
7 Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.

 

It’s then the shame lifted, as she humbled herself with great joy beneath her Savior’s mighty hand. She understood that all along He had guarded her in her inexperience. And that He is even now redeeming every single sin she has ever committed, bringing healing and wholeness.

 

In last week’s podcast, Anna shares of a recent friendship breakup. She shares of her friend’s inability to receive the truth she spoke, as well as her own inability to receive the truth her friend spoke and of God’s breaking to make them whole in Him. What she didn’t share is she did not speak the original Words God gave her weeks earlier because she was afraid that she would lose her friend. She refused to defend her friend from the enemy’s schemes, agreeing with the lies of the enemy above God’s holy Word.

 

But God would bring it all to a head and bring about the breaking for her good and her friend’s, even in her disobedience. He would not allow her to deny the finished work of the Cross and bathe in self-righteousness and shame. He turned her to His Promises of eternal healing and wholeness in the breaking of His Body.

 

Praise be to God that He is the God who keeps no record of our wrongs. While Anna kept a record of her friend’s wrongs and her own, falling into pride and shame, God moved within her to lead her to repentance. Anna’s friend and Anna are covered by God’s grace. Now, when Anna looks at her friend and herself, she sees Jesus in them both. May God forgive her for keeping a record of her friend’s and her own wrongdoing, rather than embracing the grace and forgiveness God has so freely extended to them both.

 

He truly guards us when we are so blinded by our sin. He gently leads us, in His kindness, step by step opening our eyes more and more. And amazingly, He uses our every weakness to draw His Bride unto Himself, as He teaches each one of us to abide in Him through each others’ weaknesses, reaping the fruit of endurance in us all.

 

Incidentally the quote Anna chose for today’s graphic comes from one of the many more mature women of faith that Anna shares about today, who have become God’s family to her in the absence of a physical place to call her church home. Anna met Mary at her writers’ intensive in Switzerland in October 2016, a month before her baptism and the fiery trials began. It was like a warm bath in love and encouragement for Anna. Thereafter, Mary became a voice of truth, love and hope from afar to Anna, extending her so much grace over the past three years.

 

This podcast series on Peter actually has its roots in Switzerland. Mary asked the writers of the intensive to pen 10 chapter titles and summaries and Anna dove into the story of Peter, seeing its parallels with her own story of redemption and healing. But what she didn’t realize at the time was that God wanted to write this story  – His story – deeper on her heart, before He would ask her to release it, to bless others also.

 

If you live in America and long to share your God-breathed story, I would strongly encourage you to check out Mary’s upcoming writer intensive this April 20 – 24 at Lake Pointe Church in Rockwell, Texas. Come ready to be bathed in the Spirit of love, truth, grace and powerful encouragement through Mary, whose own story shines the light of Jesus so strongly. And if you go, give Mary a big hug from me. Click on this link for more info:

 

https://marydemuth.lpages.co/intensive/

 

Finally, may these songs affirm God’s perfect power at work in your every weakness today:

 

 

 

And may these songs fill you with thankfulness for the God who loves to work in and through our weakness:

 

 

 

Featured

Christ: The Loving Discipline of God at Work in Us

 

“It’s about who Christ is in me.”

Jennifer Kennedy Dean, Alter’d: Experience the Power of Resurrection, Kindle location 1130

 

Welcome to Speak Faithfulness!

This weekly podcast gives voice to the belonginghealing and wholeness of all God’s children. It exists to speak aloud the faithfulness of God by resting in Scripture and sharing the testimony of Christ revealed through us, His children, both now and in the past. We are opening our mouth for those unable to speak (Proverbs 31:8).

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 1:20, NIV).

 

Your host today is Anna Smit. She is continuing the series, Upon This Rock, focusing on the life, calling and redemption of Peter.

Today, Anna is resting in three words Peter spoke, when asked if he too wasn’t one of the disciples (see John 18: 16-18):

 

“I am not”

 

She considers how God redeems our “I am not’s” with His mighty “I AM”, as He grounds us in, and propells us forward through, the compassion of Christ at work in us. She reviews Peter’s and her own life to see how God strengthens us through His loving discipline and weaning to lay down our life to find it in Him (see Matthew 10:39). And she invites you to join her in prayer.

Please note, in this podcast, Anna shares of a recent friendship breakup. She shares of her friend’s inability to receive the truth she spoke, as well as her own inability to receive the truth her friend spoke and of God’s breaking to make them whole in Him. What she didn’t share is she did not speak the original Words God gave her weeks earlier because she was afraid that she would lose her friend. She refused to defend her friend from the enemy’s schemes, agreeing with the lies of the enemy above God’s holy Word. But God would bring it all to a head and bring about the breaking for her good and her friend’s, even in her disobedience. He would not allow her to deny the finished work of the Cross and bathe in self-righteousness and shame. He turned her to His Promises of eternal healing and wholeness in the breaking of His Body.

 

Praise be to God that He is the God who keeps no record of our wrongs. While Anna kept a record of her friend’s wrongs and her own, falling into pride and shame, God moved within her to lead her to repentance. Anna’s friend and Anna are covered by God’s grace. Now, when Anna looks at her friend and herself, she sees Jesus in them both. May God forgive Anna for keeping a record of her friend’s and her own wrongdoing, rather than embracing the grace and forgiveness God has so freely extended to them both.

 

 

May you be blessed in the Great I AM today:

 

 

If you are on Instagram, come follow us at: https://www.instagram.com/speakofhisfaithfulness/

 

Featured

Christ: The Cleansing Wisdom of God at Work in Us

 

Welcome to Speak Faithfulness!

This weekly podcast gives voice to the belonginghealing and wholeness of all God’s children. It exists to speak aloud the faithfulness of God by resting in Scripture and sharing the testimony of Christ revealed through us, His children, both now and in the past. We are opening our mouth for those unable to speak (Proverbs 31:8).

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 1:20, NIV).

 

Your host today is Anna Smit. She is continuing her new series, Upon This Rock, focusing on the life, calling and redemption of Peter.  Today’s episode is being published a few days early, as Anna will be taking a break next Monday.

 

Come be encouraged and strengthened in the Living Word, as Anna shares stories of God’s faithfulness, prays and rests in five simple words Peter spoke about Jesus: “I don’t know the man.” These words can be found in Matthew 26:72 in the English Standard Version. Anna also shares how God is washing her in His Word to cleanse her eyes and remove the logs lodged in them, as she writes her way through and records her way through this very podcast series.

May you too be washed in the wisdom of the Word as you listen in today. May you be blessed by our mighty, living and breathing God at work in you:

 

And may this clip bless you to see the beauty in your scars and to show them to the world that they may see Jesus in their own:

 

 

And may the clip below bless you to be brave in love, to be brave in Jesus as you surrender your own human strength and understanding for Christ’s power and wisdom at work in you. Arise and shine, for your light, our light, has come! Jesus is His Name:

 

 

 

Featured

Christ: The Saving Son of God At Work In Us



 

Welcome to Speak Faithfulness!

This weekly podcast gives voice to the belonginghealing and wholeness of all God’s children. It exists to speak aloud the faithfulness of God by resting in Scripture and sharing the testimony of Christ revealed through us, His children, both now and in the past. We are opening our mouth for those unable to speak (Proverbs 31:8).

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 1:20, NIV).

 

Your host today is Anna Smit. She is starting a new series, Upon This Rock, focusing on the life, calling and redemption of Peter.  Come be encouraged and strengthened in the Living Word, as Anna shares stories of God’s faithfulness, prays and rests in four prophetic words – “you will deny me” – from Matthew 26:34 (ESV):

 

Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”

 

 

May each one of us see the face of our loving Savior reflected in our very own eyes today. May we know darkness is as light to the One who is shining brightly upon us:

 

 

Father, we invite You to flood our hearts with peace, with the truth of our eternally anchored belonging in Christ through His worthiness and His saving power at work in us. Father God open the eyes of our hearts to see You in our past, our present and our future. We long to know You more and more and we invite You to know us fully and wholly too, to shine Your light in and through us. LORD open our eyes to Your glory and majesty that we may shine Your light upon each other and all those You set before us on the path You have destined for us.

 

 

Arise with healing in Your wings to seek and save the lost. Make us Your hands and feet in this hungry and thirsty world. Make Your compassion visible in and through us as we worship you:

 

 

 
 
Yes, we believe You, who have begun a good work in us, the Keeper of the eternal covenant of Your Living Word, from generation to generation, will complete it.
 
 
 
 
Thank You that You are the Good Shepherd who leaves the 99 to seek and save even just one of Your sheep, who is caught in the horrific schemes of the enemy. For, You are the compassionate God who sees, searches and knows the hearts of each one of Your beloved children. You declare each one of us Your very own on the basis of Your Son in us. Praise You!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Featured

The Silence Speaks

Welcome to the very first episode of Speak Faithfulness!

This weekly podcast gives voice to the belonginghealing and  wholeness of all God’s children. It exists to speak aloud the faithfulness of God by resting in Scripture and sharing the testimony of Christ revealed through us, His children, both now and in the past.

 

We are opening our mouth for those unable to speak (Proverbs 31:8). For we believe no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 1:20, NIV).

 

Your host today is Anna Smit. Anna is New Zealand born, but has dual kiwi-dutch citizenship. She is joining you in Spirit from her living room in the Netherlands, where she lives with her Dutch husband and two children.

 

 

Come join her, as she rests in the Scripture: Hosea 2: 15 (ESV):

And there I will give her her vineyards
    and make the Valley of Achor[e] a door of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
    as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.

 

May you leave encouraged and strengthened by this spoken testimony and time of prayer:

 

 

May you know, as Jennifer Dean, who went to be with our LORD last year, so beautifully puts it in Alter’d: Experience The Power of Resurrection (Kindle Location 1232):

“His life is always working in you, when you are consciously aware of it and when you are not; when you are awake and when you are asleep. The blood is always working.”

 

The veil has been torn: you and I may enter into the Holy of Holies, unafraid and unashamed, through Christ Jesus, our LORD. Not because we deserve it, but because He made a Way, where there was none.

 

So, let’s press past the fear and the shame, and surrender our pride. Let’s enter the silence and hear our God speaking, right there. Let’s discover a door of hope in our valley of Achor, just as the shepherds did in the dark of the night and Elijah did from the dark of a cave, so long ago.

 

 

Thank You, Jesus, that You never stop speaking. Today, we choose to honor You alone, by speaking of your faithfulness all day long.

 

Have you ever asked Jesus to give you a One Word for your new year to take you deeper into Him? 

 

Anna has done this for the past five years (2015: choose, 2016: behold, 2017: delight, 2018: joy, 2019: hold) and has been so blessed each time. God has used each One Word to root her deeper in His Living Word, reminding her of His purpose for her and His faithfulness to her and her loved ones as each year has progressed. 

 

This year, her One Word is GO, taken from the Scripture (her emphasis):

John 15:16 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

16 You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

 

Here is a more detailed description of its meaning :

HELPS Word-studies

5217 hypágō (from 5259 /hypó, “under” and 71 /ágō, “lead away”) – properly, to lead away under someone’s authority (mission, objective). 5217 /hypágō (literally, “going under”) indicates a change of relation which is only defined by the context.

Source: https://biblehub.com/lexicon/john/15-16.htm

 

She is beginning to taste of this GOing already and seeing how it is woven together with repentance. It’s all about our leaving of the old (striving, sinking into fear and pride, led by self-focused fleshly desires fed by shame) to GO forward into the new God is holding out to us (resting in His love, pouring it out and living in joy and peace from a servant heart led by the Spirit of God). And she is also seeing the fruit of all the pruning God has taken her through in the past – yes, all that breaking and silence that speaks of God’s love for His Bride was full of purpose. All along God was busy training her to abide in Him. See a beautiful picture of what this abiding looks like, written by a blogger I follow: This Might Change Your Year

 

So, this song is so much Anna’s prayer for this year. May it bless you too:

 

 

Happy New Year! May you see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living this coming week and year, as you also GO in the Name of Jesus to bear beautiful fruit that remains. God bless you!

 

In the podcast today, Anna quotes from Michele Cushatt’s book Relentless: The Unshakeable Presence of a God Who Never Leaves. You can find more info about this book at https://michelecushatt.com/relentless/

where Michele shares:

“Whether in struggle, illness, death, or failure, the presence of pain causes us to question the presence of God. We pray and watch the sky, crossing our spiritual fingers for hardcore proof of God’s nearness. And in the silence, we sense something more sinister: perceived abandonment.

But what if we could collect evidence that God hasn’t left us?
What if we could be absolutely certain of God’s presence and affection,
strengthening our faith against any assault?”