“You’re making me like You, clothing me in white. Bringing beauty from ashes, for You will have Your bride. Free of all her guilt and rid of all her shame & known by her true name and it’s why I sing.” // E V E R B E .
Though my sins are scarlet, You have washed me white as snow. Not like an off-white, old shirt. White white. Snow white. Brand new. Made alive. Blinding, eyes-hurting white. Holy. Pure. Blameless. Thank You, Jesus, for redeeming me. Blue sky. White snow. Bare trees. Fullness. Fullness in Your presence, Lord. I pray that You would unburden me. Pull them off. Strip me clean of my burdens. I am naked before You. You see me as I am. That’s terrifying & beautiful at the same time.
Over the past few days, whenever I have thought, “Oh wow, that’s terrifying,” on subjects like my job & marriage (way way way down the road, so far down the road it’s basically not even in my vision) & all of the little risk-takings in between, all I have heard is a little whisper saying, “Do not be afraid. It is I.” Without fail. Every time. Do not be afraid, it is I. A quiet, but resounding, whisper. Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid.
I went on a Spiritual Disciplines Retreat this past weekend. I know you’re probably thinking, “Spiritual Disciplines? That sounds gross & restricting.” Trust me when I say it was beautiful. It was an entire weekend devoted to learning about rhythms in our relationship with Jesus & that was beautiful to be able to understand we can come into His presence at any time & all it takes is being intentional with Him. Intentional with this precious time where we tear away distractions & let the Lord have His way in our lives. It was freeing.
We had this 2 & a half hour period for solitude & silence. Those are 2 of my most favorite things, right under coffee, quality time, and letters. I sat in the freezing cold on the back porch of Cottage #6 in silence. No worship music in my ears. No warm bodies around me. Silence, except for the sound of snow melting off the roof, which was oddly soothing. I looked out at this expanse of bare trees and white white white snow. Pure white. And I was immediately overwhelmed. I journaled about 10 pages in this time & sometimes it was me rambling, but mostly it was conversation with the Lord. Back & forth Truth. And the Lord spoke. Endlessly. I look back at these words & I know they are not my own. Why are you afraid to come into My presence?…Do not be afraid, it is I…I will take you as you are, but I will not leave you that way…I LOVE YOU. YOU ARE MINE…Come home. Come home. Come home. I love you. I accept you. I want you.
And I can honestly say those are the MOST intimate moments I have had with Jesus to date. And I loved every single minute of it. That is what my heart longs for: to know Jesus more intimately & deeper every single day of my life & until He calls me Home.
For the past few weeks, it’s like there has been something shutting off this bridge that I need to take to reach freedom. Like there’s just one more thing I have to do to attain this foreign thing called “freedom” & I cannot for the life of me figure out what that is. And I still never put a name to that missing puzzle piece, if it was ever actually there, but things slowly shifted into place. I wish I could say it was like a firework going off or a jumping-out-of-an-airplane experience, but He came quietly. Through the empty woods & wilderness & into my heart. Slow at first, but steady & resounding. My heart synced up to His & my rhythms were celebration & permanent love.
One of the main ways that I hear God is through conversation & story. I like to hear about the other ways that other people hear from the Lord, because I have started to realize that all of our communication styles with Him are unique. While I might talk to Him in sign language, someone else might speak in French. I think that’s the best way I can describe it. I write to Him & He writes back, while my friend finds Him in analogies or in images. A dear friend that I met my senior year of high school once described to me the way she hears from Jesus & my mind was blown because I didn’t realize how many different ways you could hear from Him. I put Him in a box & thought, “Okay, I can find Him in Scripture, maybe prayers, and, on my crazy days, an actual voice,” and that was it. I boxed Him up & set Him on my bookshelf & He could only come out when I asked Him too, but that’s not how this works.
She described to me the way she would pray: sometimes she would close her eyes & just ask that the Lord would put an image in her mind. She is a crazy-talented artist & a very visual person, so these are the most vivid instances in which she has understood the Lord or seen His work in these images. Upon seeing this image, she would know that this is never something she could have envisioned & she just sort of knew it was something from God & these images always held significance for her (her description was much more eloquent & I know I’m falling short of that, but bear with me). I remember her telling me about sunflowers. And since she shared this form of communication with me, I was like, “Oh! Maybe this would work for me! Maybe not, but why not try it out?” I tried it a couple times & never really saw anything that I could distinctly say was from God, so I just thought maybe that wasn’t my way of communication.
Well, I’m sitting on this porch on Saturday afternoon & thought I would give it another shot. Why not, right? 2 & a half hours of silence? I’ve got time for it. So I closed my eyes & just asked Him. Lord, show me something. And immediately it was just there. Streaming water. Smooth stones & pebbles under rushing water. And I’m struggling to walk across this water, but it’s a cartoon version of myself walking on these real rocks & real water, so this has never been something that would ever cross my mind. And then, Jesus, in a white robe, comes to me from behind, takes me hand, and leads me across this stream as the water starts to rush harder and harder against my ankles. Once to the other side, He picks me up & embraces me. And I know that I was never alone. And I knew that all of this was not something I could’ve come up with in my mind. And you might be sitting there thinking, “This girl is telling me she had a vision with a cartoon her & a cartoon Jesus? She must be out of her mind!” Call me crazy. I felt it. I saw it. I couldn’t believe it either, but I also knew it wasn’t me.
I opened my eyes & felt a freedom. I tasted it. I got it. And for those few moments, everything clicked into place.
I sat & recalled huge moments where The Lord showed up in my life & told these stories with an awesome new friend last night. And now I just sit here in awe & I’m reminded of the Lord’s faithfulness. Boy, is He faithful. He shows up & shows up & shows up when I want to sit on the bench. He pulls me out of the dugout & stops the waiting game, shoves me up to home plate & says, “Hit this out of the park. I’ll be your strength.” And He grand slams again. He is so faithful.
I want to sing & dance & shout from the top of the Ford complex about how faithful & incredible Jesus is. About this freedom that sets my soul ablaze. He is good. And I mean good in the deepest-rooted, celebration-striking meaning of that word. Good. Good. Good.
My freedom from the Father brings me joy. Soul ablaze. Heart on a mountaintop. Dancing like a fool. Singing with my tone-deaf voice. Writing with this Truth He gives me. I am free. You are free. Let that strike some ice or darkness in your heart. Let Him pull you onto the mountaintop. Come stand with me. Come stand in His glory. Come stand on the mountaintop.
Let me feel the freedom You have already given me. I AM ALREADY FREE. I am already free. I am already free. Let me accept it. I am already free. I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God. You drowned my fears in perfect love. Defeated. Game over. Lay your weapons down. I am free & I am a child of God. Celebrate that.
I’m crying & I think it’s because I finally believe it. I am free. F R E E I N D E E D.