I have been so honored to be part of the team at Beloved Prodigal over this last year, and I have been amazed at the opening of my heart that God has brought through the connections given there. The ways that we have prayed for each other in the midst of our trials have been such a blessing. Just a few weeks ago, I was overwhelmed by a word and by a dream the Lord gave to me, and I felt His nudging to share it here with you.
As my body had been trying to recover from months of side effects caused by failed medications, I heard the Lord whisper the word “cleanse” over me.
“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22 NIV
I sought to follow Him into that place of cleansing, and I allowed Him to slow my body even more than was normal. Eventually, as I spent a day in a physical cleanse, I offered my heart up to Him to cleanse it also, to wash away the debris that had accumulated. As He indeed uncovered a rebelliousness that I had long clung to, I wanted to turn away.
“But Lord, I have needed to take care of so many issues. I have needed to shoulder a heavy load.” The tears ran down my face, even as I knew that HE wanted to carry the loads for me: He only was sufficient, and I had rebelled every time I tried to take responsibility. The fault for my illnesses and my failed medications were not mine to carry. I had shouldered that load long enough.
I had grown accustomed to carrying the “offense” of this disease as if it were my own burden. The nature of an autoimmune disease is such that one’s own body starts attacking itself, destroying its cells for reasons not fully understood. My own body was offended by me. I had carried a similar wound from past trials with the Body of Christ: I was the offensive one, who caused others to be offended. I had forgiven the Body of Christ for those labels, but I had allowed the name of “offensive” to stick. I had shouldered that load long enough.
“Remember these things, Jacob,
for you, Israel, are my servant.
I have made you, you are my servant;
Israel, I will not forget you.
22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
for I have redeemed you.”
23 Sing for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done this;
shout aloud, you earth beneath.
Burst into song, you mountains,
you forests and all your trees,
for the Lord has redeemed Jacob,
he displays his glory in Israel. Isaiah 44:21-23 NIV
I heard His gentle whisper to me:
“Come away with Me. I am not offended by your weaknesses. I am already here in the midst of them.”
Over the past many months, I had heard Him call to me again and again as the pain seemed to strike me down. Only His mercy carried me through the unrelenting waves. Yet, this time in the calling there was more:
“Come see what I have prepared for you here. You are mine. Everything I have is yours!”
I was so sleepy after the day of cleansing. The call to rest in His presence overwhelmed me and I fell asleep. Suddenly I found myself dreaming.
2 I am a rose[b] of Sharon,
a lily of the valleys.
2 Like a lily among thorns
is my darling among the young women.
The sunrise shed a deep coral color upon a beautiful garden such as I had never seen before. Colors of every hue were shining along the path: my hands stroked the blooms as I wondered along. I noticed a sign over the entrance to the path, and it read: “The Beloved Prodigal Garden.”
I am linking with: