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Romans - A Personal Journey


Darlene

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Heavenly Father,

 

Today's prayer is going to be like a book. I have so much on my heart that I need to say, and I want and need to do it in a prayer because You are doing a very holy work in me, and I want and need it to be covered in prayer, so here goes...

 

This morning I feel the power of Your presence in my heart so very strong. The words "holy, holy, holy" ring over and over in my mind. At 3am last night You finally broke and shed light, in an area I've been blind to all my life that has held me in bondage and left me crippled, and I didn't even realize it.

 

I feel the intensity of holy and righteous anger in my heart right now that causes me to have to breathe deeply. All the intensity and passion that You created me with is rising inside of me, and I find myself standing in Christ with His authority, telling the enemy, "No more! You are a liar and deceiver and you have no right to me. I belong to Jesus and it is in Him that I have victory".

 

Oh Father, I forget that while fasting, that spiritual battle becomes more clear. I don't know why that battle seems to rage and intensify so much when I fast, but it sure does. Last year when I did a similar fast, the first day was beautiful. I was committed to that fast, to go without foods for 3 days, as an illustration of my spiritual need for You to feed me. You took me into the book of Jonah, and while I wanted to deny the fact that I related to so much in that book, I couldn't help but feel, "oh geez Lord, this is not too flattering at all...couldn't You have picked something more graceful, more pretty, instead of showing me how my will mirrored Jonah's? I was fasting though, and while it certainly pricked me, I was willing to accept that particular truth that You were dealing with in me. "I love You Lord, I love You, and I will trust You...holy, holy, holy" was my prayer, until the 2nd day when I got sucker punched by the enemy to the point where it took my breath away and I thought for sure I wouldn't make it. I still remember today, that awful feeling of how I was free falling and there was nothing I could do but fall. It still takes my breath away to remember how You sent in several of Your children, mentors and friends of mine, who hung onto me, defying the gates of hell, until the sheer panic in my heart began to subside and I found myself quite shaken to the core, but in Your loving arms.

 

There was a whole lot more that happened during that fast and I remember it as if it were happening right now. You did a holy work in my heart that time, and it is one that I've never forgotten. Not only have I not forgotten it, I cherish it, through the sheer terror and pain, because You taught me so incredibly much, that fortified me and changed my life forever.

 

So this fast, I find myself feeling a little naieve again, because I wasn't remembering that incredible spiritual battle that ensues at these times. Once again, I entered into this fast wanting a deeper, more intimate relationship with You, which is very important too. What I didn't know was the gates of hell would unleash once again (I know fasting is powerful, but I don't understand exactly why), and I found myself being thrown about as if I were a ragdoll in the enemy's hands.

 

I cried, and cried and cried out to You, and while You were always there, and while You always gave me Your peace, there was something more, something that was missing till 3am last night.

 

This time, You took me into the book of Esther. I was happy that You did because Esther is a more flattering book than Jonah lol, but oh Father, I just didn't know as I began this journey with You, where You would take me.

 

Over the last several years, You have been faithful to grow me in many areas. I'll always have so far to go, till I'm one day with You in eternity, but I have been greatful and amazed at the work You have wrought so far. I didn't realize though, that there was something buried very deep inside of me, that I didn't understand had such a control in my life, because the instances when it could present itself, were rare.

 

Over the last couple of months, You have caused this particular area to start to slowly rise up to the surface. In my own, simple, blind understanding, all I knew to do was to shove it back down into obscurity because I knew that it was not something I wanted in my life. I didn't know how to remove it and I couldn't even see it with Your clarity, till now. How do we rid ourselves of things like this if we don't see the Truth of what it really is? So, this pressing You have been doing in me, I have not liked. I have attempted to take it all in stride, but truth be known, I was starting to get a little weary with it. I guess I kept confining these areas to my limited understanding, which was very short sighted, and the best I could do was take a deep breath and bear it, which I now know, is the wrong answer.

 

I'm very much like a little girl with You Father. Just writing that last sentence brings tears to my eyes because it's so true. I come into Your presence feeling vulnerable, and I can approach You that way because You sooth those vulnerabilities with the power of Your love for me. You make it easy for me to be that way because over time, I have learned to trust You completely with this more fragile and vulnerable part of me.

 

So many times, I've written over and over in prayers, "I trust You". I do, but one of the things You embarked on when I started this fast, was to take me to a level of trust I have never known. It's deeper, it's more complete, it's more holy and it's all because of You.

 

This started about a month or so ago. Your pressing caused me to become increasingly uncomfortable. At first I tried to just take it, and then I began to squirm. I then defaulted to all I had known which was to try to take control back in my hands, which You immediately checked in my spirit, and thus the conflict was born.

 

When I was in Miami for the holidays, emotions began to rush over me and I began to become more and more confused. Who am I? I would ask You. What do You want from me, I'd say. I don't know where I belong...I feel like i'm half city girl/half country girl and I don't fit completely in either place. Memories from years gone by also assaulted my heart, and for some reason, I had a sense that You were beginning to plow my heart.

 

For the record, I wasn't too happy about that. I seek peace and calm in my life these days. I've learned how to be happy with simple things. I look back over my life and I feel so honored and priviledged to have had all I've had, and to have done all I've done. I've experienced both sides of the spectrum...from evening gowns and bright lights, to sitting in my garden digging in the dirt. I have had much in life, and I have gone without, and while I've appreciated the things I have had, I've had Your peace living without. I've come to cherish the security and safety, peace and calm that I live with today in these mountains. So, when You begin to tip me off kilter a little bit, I take it kind of hard.

 

You began to move through circumstances, situations and people, and I felt as if I was standing on hot coals, trying not to fall and succumb to the fire. The more You turned up the heat, the more my heart began to cry out to You, and as happens sometimes, You were silent.

 

All the while, Your Spirit was moving in my heart, drawing me to this fast...woo'ing me to desire a deeper relationship with You. I'm at a point in my life, having experienced many things, but none of them can touch the inner most part of my soul like You do.

 

I start the fast and those circumstances You have been working through for a while, heated up and I once again found myself yesterday in a very, very rough place. I was resentful that I was trying to humble myself and be obedient to this fast, yet my heart was feeling turmoil, hurt and a variety of other things. You led me into Esther and as I began to study, I could see so many lessons I needed to learn. Things that I have been dealing with the past few months were pointedly addressed in this study. I'm grateful Father, for You opening my eyes, and laying to rest some things I didn't know or understand. I've experienced the power of Your presence as I've walked this journey, so I want You to know that I know You've been there every step of the way.

 

I have my breaking point though (I know You already know that because it was You and You alone that led me to that point), and late last night after dealing with, on one hand, grateful for the answers You were providing...and on the other hand, struggling and hurting and desperately trying to keep my head above water with these things You were pressing to the surface.

 

Finally, at midnight last night, I sat down in my great room, and I said "that's it! Enough! I am closing up shop and taking my toys and going home. I am willing to develop a personal relationship with just You and me within the confines of my land, but I am NOT, and I really mean NOT, going to deal with these other things anymore. I cannot handle it, I cannot deal with it, these are areas that are a part of me that I don't like and while I don't know how to fix them, I'm not living with them on the surface anymore."

 

I meant it Father God, and I know You know that.

 

You began to whisper to my heart to call my dear, cherished Christian friend. I said no. You whispered her name again, I looked at the clock and saw it was midnight, hesitated for just a moment and called.

 

She answered, I decided to take the polite route and inquire as to how she was feeling. She answered and then quicker than I wanted, asked me how I was doing.

 

Well, being the upfront, honest girl I am, I began to tell her. I told her everything I was thinking and feeling with amazing precision. I left no detail out, I made sure she understood that I meant what I said. Nothing anyone could say to me would change my mind because once I get to that point where "I'm done", I'm done.

 

She listened quietly, like she always does, and when I finally ran out of words to say, and I was convinced that she knew I meant business, I allowed her to speak. lol

 

She informed me Father, that You had laid me very heavy on her heart that afternoon while she was doing her study in Esther too. Over and over again, You whispered my name to her, to call me. For several reasons she didn't or was unable to, and I was glad that she hadn't.

 

She asked me if I wanted to hear what the Lord had laid on her heart for me, and my immediate response in my head and heart was "NO!". I told her yes, that would be fine (I do know how to be polite Father, even under pressure lol).

 

She began to read from her study and as she did, the 'scales' literally, fell from my eyes. I felt the power of Your holy and spiritual 'surgical knife', begin to remove this issue, this bondage, this weakness, this failing, whatever You want to call it, from my heart. The pain that I have felt in this area all my life was removed and replaced with Your Truth.

 

Oh Father God, I'm still stunned. Since that moment in time, I have fascilated from feeling free like I never have in my life, to feeling furious at the enemy for having a hold on me in this area. I feel Your holy righteousness welled up in my heart and instead of telling You, "I'm done!", I've told the enemy, "He's done". You truly have set this captive free in this area and my heart is soaring with praise and worship to You, my holy, Heavenly Father.

 

I'm going to share publically Father, what she shared with me. Surely, I'm not the only one that has had bondage in this area. Surely, I'm not the only one that has been blind to the wiles of the enemy and been kept prisoner in an area You desire we be free. Surely, I'm not the only one that has struggled with trying to deal, the best I could, but still getting broadsided.

 

For a couple of months, You have been laying on my heart "for such a time as this". At first I thought it was the chorus to a song lol until my Christian friend informed me it was from Your Word lol. That's why, when she led me to the book of Esther, where that verse is contained, I knew that it had meaning for me.

 

So yesterday, I was studying in the 4th and 5th chapter where Mordecai informs Esther that Haman has gotten the king to agree to let him destroy Your people, the Jews. Esther initially tells him that there is nothing she can do because if she approaches the king unsummoned, she risks losing her own life because one could not approach the king without him asking first.

 

Mordecai responded, "Do not imagine that you in the king's palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?"

 

That scripture really hit me Father because of You laying that on my heart for a while. While most times I don't know exactly what You're up to, I do know You're up to something lol.

 

So, this was where I was studying yesterday, to learn that Esther told Mordecai to fast for 3 days, as would she and her maidens. This Father, is the scripture that has turned my life upside down:

 

"...I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish."

 

At 3am, You revealed how that scripture pertained to me.

 

I tell You all the time I trust You, and I do....I know You know that too. But You, being God, know more, and while I trust You, I didn't trust You enough. There are areas in my life, that can cause me to feel afraid or vulnerable in a way that I shouldn't be vulnerable. There are walls I erect to make sure that a few areas aren't accessed...perhaps a type of self-preservation. To my mind, that is normal...for the most part I'm open far beyond most peoples comfortability lol, but there are still a few areas that I've reserved the right to maintain watch over.

 

I realize now, that You want control of this area. And THAT is where our wrestling began. You had bubbled to the surface these areas I try to protect. There really aren't alot of areas Father because You've made me quite brave. But, oh my, these areas that I need to protect, I really struggle on. I refuse to let them come out in the open, so when You caused that to happen, I was not a happy camper. I struggled and tried, I turned to You and cried out for help. You didn't make it go away because Your ways are not my ways...Your thoughts are not my thoughts...Yours are much higher and You were right. You knew exactly how to 'fix' this.

 

My friend began to read from her bible study homework things that the author had shared. She talked about things like how we are inclined to go running to You, pleading, begging at times, crying out from the bottom of our hearts, asking You to not let certain things that we are afraid of, happen. We want to trust that You will protect us, and You do, yet sometimes things happen in our lives that are painful, and I know if I've said this once, I've said it many times, "Why Lord?". So there I am, struggling with these things that You have brought to the surface, and when I could not find a way out, is when I folded up shop last night and said I was done. That is conditional faith Father, and oh my gosh, please forgive me. My heart hurts because I never saw it like that before. When You didn't do what I felt You needed, in a manner I felt I needed, I took back the reigns and said "enough".

 

At the same time, the enemy has been having a blast tormenting me. He knows my history...he's been keeping an eye on me and studying me over the years. He too, knows my vulnerable areas and he constantly, with a single minded focus and intent, threatening me unceasingly in these vulnerable areas. My natural reaction is to try to protect myself, along with asking for Your intervention, but there are just certain areas Father, and certain times, when the enemy continues to score.

 

"Trust Me", You say...not "trust Me if"...

 

That is why the words "If I perish, I perish" really hit me. I found myself having to make a decision if I was going to allow You to take me to a deeper level, and regardless of what happens, totally and completely trust You. Even when these few areas of my life are exposed and paraded in public, will I run and hide, taking control to furiously and pitifully try to patch things together, or will I trust You even then to let Your will be done?

 

The author talked about how satan has no authority to destroy us but how he threatens to do so based on our history and behavior. He deduces what we ourselves, are most convinced would destroy us. Our distrust of You tattles on us. Our fears are pointing to our vulnerabilities.

 

She described how our natural human defense is to grovel before You and plead with You to not let those things happen. Unfortunately, our condiitional trust not only makes us an open target for enemy torment, but it also positions us as negotiators and beggars before You instead of secure children trusting our lives to You, our faithful Father.

 

So, when our fears become reality we feel devestated. We think You are unfaithful and satan essentially gets what he wants us to believe...that life is over. Unless our belief system changes for all practical earthly purposes, it is over. All that a man thinks, he is (Prov. 23:7).

 

I know there is nothing wrong with praying against what we're concerned or fearful about. I know that it's good to be truthful and honest with the genuine desires of our heart before You...You already know anyway. But it's trusting You, period, with no "if's" that I discovered were lying in wait. Although it's not often, when I get pressed to the end of myself, I've realized that there is a "if" hidden, because I give up and take control back myself (not that You let me get far with that one though).

 

So Father, as this all began to dawn on me at 3am, I suddenly had a visual in my mind of Christ stretched out on that Cross. His arms were spread wide and nailed to each side. His feet were nailed together at the bottom and He hung there defenseless, totally exposed because He was obedient to the work You called Him to do...for us.

 

And I began to realize that in Your Word, our position is in Christ...it is because of Him, and through Him, that we have all that we have. I began to see that what I had been doing was, stretching my arms out wide like His at times when the threats were not too scary. But when things got rough like they have been lately, I had been taking my arms and folding them tight against my chest, refusing to trust You as He did on that Cross.

 

If I perish, I perish. That was the answer to the question You pressed me too last night. I decided, that no matter how scary, I would humble myself, and at all times, forsaking my will for Yours, and stretch my arms out wide, as I place myself in my Savior, and mirror the position he took for me.

 

If the worst comes at me, I will stetch my arms still wide Father. But I will not allow the enemy to control me in this manner anymore. I will not allow him to lie and deceive me into thinking I have to protect myself. When that little girl inside of me is in pain, still will I spread my arms and trust You. When I want to give up, I'll still stretch my arms and trust You. Your Word says we have the mind of Christ and since that's true, if He loved us more than His own life, surely I can love You more than mine. I'm burned out Father...trusting sure ain't always easy, but living in fear is worse.

 

So Father God, this morning when I woke up, I was fuming that the enemy had kept me so blind about this. I was filled with Your righeous anger at the lies and deception he had had control in those areas of my life. Like I said before, it's MY will, and *I* choose to bend it, to give it to You. As I was pondering those thoughts, I looked out my kitchen window and all of a sudden a bright red cardinal flew to the grass. I marveled at him showing up in the dead of winter...the temperatures are only in the teens around here right now. I was moved by his beauty, became concerned that he find food, and grateful that You had directed him to cross my path. Red is one of my favorite colors, You know.

 

And then Father, as I geared up to go take care of my animals, I was grateful for the surge of energy You blessed me with. Day 2 of my fast is wearing me down a little physically, which is fine, but I couldn't help but notice Your tender provision there. When I walked into the side of the barn to milk my goat, there was a 'renegade' hen who had escaped from the coop. She was annoyed that I was invading her space and as she turned to leave in a huff, beneath her were 5 eggs. I was shocked that there was 5 eggs...there hadn't been any there yesterday and I know that 5 hens are not running loose, only 1 or 2. When I went to the main chicken coop later, I found a vast number of eggs there too...21 to be exact. I don't even have 21 laying hens and I began to laugh and marvel that in the simplicity of my todays...how You taught me and brought me through a very serious lesson, and as I bent my will to Yours, because I do love You so incredibly much, You gave me a red bird and 26 eggs from 18 hens.

 

lolol This is true 'joy of the Lord'.

 

Father God, I feel so free. I feel for the first time in my life, totally and completely set free. My heart has been dancing before You all day with glee and gratitude. I know that more work will come in the days ahead but this stone You placed into my foundation with You is unmoveable and I'll never be the same. For the first time I feel free within the paramaters described in Romans, setting down this flesh so that Your Spirit might reign free in me.

 

I love You and trust You...no if's, and's or but's. I may whine, I may cry, I may pitch a fit or two...I know it will hurt, I know I'll get afraid, but I will never, ever, forget to always stretch my arms wide, hidden in my Savior, who already secured all that I need.

 

This is my commitment to You. Protect me Father, You are all that I have.

 

In Jesus Name I pray,

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As you prayed I prayed.

I have this song in my head that we sing at church. It seems that it will never fade from my mind, it is so clear and I pray that we get to sing it for ever...

 

How great is our GOD,

sing with me

How great is our GOD,

sing with me,

how great,

how great ,

is our GOD.

 

Thank you JESUS!

Mel

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lol! I KNOW that song too and the music immediately came to mind. That is such a beautiful song in it's simplicity...'How great is our God'...not in question form, but statement.

 

Thanks for sharing that...I now can't get that song outta my mind lol.

 

Glory and honor to You Father God because You are worthy.

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