Too heavy to carry!
Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert, and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards,and will make the Valley of Achor (trouble) a door of hope
I just got back from a 4 day/ 3 night backpacking trip with a group of women. It usually takes me days and weeks to really process all of it. It is a ministry trip - so the point of it is to meet like minded women, share life, meet with God and enjoy authenticity. That my friend is a hard thing to find these days but I feel a revival coming. I can remember going to revivals when I was young and the energy that was displayed in the preaching and the sense the urgency that you were left with... I sense that urgency now in so many areas of my life. An urgency for others to know the hope of Jesus, the urgency for them to find freedom with a repentful heart, An urgency to walk with Jesus daily, talking with Him and allowing Him to alter our lives and the way we live it.
An urgency to understand that there is so much more to our walk with Jesus than just attending church every week. I'm excited to see that the church....the way God designed it to be....is not being contained in a church building, but instead the body of Christ - the church- can be found anywhere 2 or more are gathered together.
Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
This is my 2nd ministry trip.....the first trip I went into the woods carrying so much more than a 55lb pack. I was carrying shame, guilt, expectations of others, definitions of who I was supposed to be, pictures of what I was supposed to look like, what I thought my life should really look like...but I came out of those woods understanding that as women we all carry these things in some way. We just hide them. We stuff all the ugly things into the crevices of our packs and put all the good stuff on the top. I hate that we live our lives in the shadows of who God wants us to be so many times, because we either want others to think we are something that we are not or we are striving to be something that will ultimately take the place of God in our life.
I John 2:15- 17
Don't love the worlds ways. Don't love the worlds goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world- wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important- has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting , wanting , wanting is on the way out- but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.
I allowed God to allure me into the wilderness this trip ( I say allowed because some times we say yes with words but no with our heart) because this trip I knew would be different for me. This trip I was entering into the wilderness with a lighter pack (metaphorically of course) ....and ready to see these other women experience the freedom , the stillness, the fullness of meeting with God in these surroundings. This trip my pack was heavier since the stay was longer but this time I wasn't carrying the weight of my existence - no that I left at the foot of the cross. I exist for a purpose. My story, the failures, the bad decisions, the expectations - all left at the foot of the cross.
Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.
If we don't experience true freedom in Christ we will never fully understand the price that was paid because we are trying to earn that favor. What I saw on this trip was women, real women that under normal settings would maybe never talk except through introductions at the same gathering but under these settings within one day were sitting around the camp fire laying burdens down that they were trying to carry all alone. It was intimate, it was authentic , it was encouraging, it was like Jesus was sitting right beside us.
Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me , all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gently and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
That's what this life is about. Its not about seeking to full fill what others want you to be. Its not about trying to be something that your not and constantly hiding behind the perfection that you have build up around you. Its about finding freedom, unpacking that load your carrying, not wrapping yourself up in your appearance and being authentic. Find those authentic relationships that God desires for you to have. The kind that will listen and lead you to the truth no matter how hard that truth might be. We need community - real community, authentic community. We need to shed a few layers and allow God to shine through the dirt. He alone is the one who makes ashes into beauty. My sisters in Christ, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!! Allow Him to refine you, allow Him to push you out of your comfort, allow Him to take that burden and then you stand up , head up, eyes to the heavens , arms high and heart abandoned in awe of the one who GAVE IT ALL FOR YOU and rest knowing with Him It is Well!!
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this; to lay down ones life for ones friends.
Colossians 2:13-14 And you , who were dead in your trespasses and the circumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
I Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.