Over the past few days, I have received messages from a number of people telling me how the post ‘I Am Free‘ resonates with them. Above every other thing, I am more excited about this because it confirms to me that God is interested in our freedom, much more than any other thing. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. What are those works but those that hold us bound in the shackles of sin with the chains that bind us to death . . . ? “But I have come that you may have life and have it in abundance”, says our Lord Jesus.
As I pondered on my testimony this morning, God began to show me that it didn’t just happen. He had me on a journey, one that I had not noticed at the time, but that He had led me to document within the last few weeks and posts I have shared. Only now do I see how they all connect. And I believe He wants me to share that connection because it is one thing to read a testimony that resonates with you, but it is a completely different experience to arrive at that testimony for yourself.
This was how the journey began . . .
When I wrote the post, ‘Can you be real’, what I didn’t share was that I had been going through a very dark phase. I was questioning a lot of things. My faith. My love for God. My devotion to God. It all began when I got invited by a committee to present an African dance at their community’s annual festival. I was excited about this because I have desired for long to run a class that taught African dances and this would be an opportunity to kickstart it. Then the dilemma began. I heard in my heart that if I went there, I would have to present myself and my team as people who believed in God and our dance would be a tool to share our faith. I froze at first because I know how anything that has to do with God is frowned upon these days. Then the torment began.
“You claim to love God and yet you are scared to show Him off.”
“You are ashamed of your God”
“You must not love this God”
“Jesus will be ashamed of you too”
“You can’t bring yourself to be seen as a Christian, so are you really one?”
Yes, I had come to that point where I needed to stand up for my faith and my legs quivered, and the devil used the opportunity to reach into my mind as he began to offload all his arrows and the memories of past ones. It was a battle I really couldn’t fight. It was a battle I was ashamed to fight. Shame leads to more shame, and the shame began to pile, even for things that were not in any way connected to this; the shame of past rejection, the shame of past abuse, the shame of failed relationships, and all the other shames. It even got worse when a friend who was to dance with me told me she would only dance to a song that reflected her faith. Wow!
“Look at you. You can’t be like her and stand up for your faith”
But God was reaching out to me, even when I didn’t see His hands.
We did the dance. I believe it was a success. But I still had open wounds that only God could heal. The Monday after, I went to visit the friend in whose house I heard the song I shared in the post. God sowed a seed in my heart: HE WAS CALLING ME OUT OF MY HIDING PLACE WHERE I HAD COVERED MYSELF WITH LEAVES IN SHAME LIKE ADAM AND EVE.
And I came out to meet Him, just as I was. I confessed it all. EVERYTHING.
To be free, we must first come to God naked, just as we are, holding nothing back!
After I had come to my Father, there was something else He needed me to address, and this, I had to do myself. The devil is the master of trickery and the father of lies. When he finds a little space, he digs a big hole to get in, and many times, he comes in through our thoughts by planting his voice hoping that we run with his suggestions. If we do not recognise his voice, we might begin to think that we are the ones so full of evil. Yes, we battle with our earthly desires, but his voice can so transform to make us think it is ours. I remember the post ‘Resist him‘, I never did share the testimony of that post, but he had come to attack me with his words, planting seeds in my heart to the point that I experienced an anxiety attack for the first time in my life. Then, God told me to resist him, and I did. This time, God wanted me to SHUT HIM UP! Just like Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan.”
You are forgiven. You are free. You are redeemed. You are the righteousness of God in Jesus. You are healed. You are whole. You are loved. YOU ARE FREE. Any voice that comes to tell you anything outside this truth, SHUT IT UP!!!
Once I had silenced that liar, I could hear the voice of my Father . . .
To be free, one must ALWAYS listen to the right voice!
TWO WEDNESDAYS AFTER . . .
I sat at church, it was evening service. After an amazing time of worship, the teaching began. It was about Tamar, Amnon, Absolom and King David, one of the very sad stories in the Bible. Tamar had been raped by her half-brother, Amnon, and their father, King David, did nothing about it. So Tamar’s brother, Absolom, avenged his sister’s rape by killing Amnon, his half-brother, two years after the crime he had committed. (See full story in 2 Samuel 13)
Someone made a contribution during the lesson that seemed to suggest that Tamar’s life was on hold for 2 years before justice was given to her, but then I remembered that in those times when something like that happened to a woman, her life was practically over. Confirming my thoughts, the pastor handling the teaching echoed the same and went on to share a dream that he had as he prepared for the lesson. He said that there were some of us in the room who had experienced certain things in our pasts, and these things have come to define our lives and have threatened to keep us stranded from that point. We see ourselves in the light of these incidences and can’t seem to shake them off. Because we have hidden these things in some secret box in our hearts, the enemy is able to access them and use them to haunt us every once in a while. But the power in the blood of Jesus is able to give us a fresh start and wash all of them away if only we will let him. Then I realised he was talking to me. I didn’t feel any shame, instead, I felt relief. God was speaking to me as His daughter, telling me that I didn’t have to hold on to my past, it was time to turn them into a testimony. I prayed with so much passion, leaving it all at the foot of the cross and walked away.
To be free, we must LET IT GO!!!
The next morning, even before getting out of bed, I wrote I AM FREE!
You are free, so keep declaring it.
. . . but the journey isn’t over, He calls us to COME UP HIGHER!!!
So what will you do?