Uproot for fruit.

This time last year I began NaNoWriMo, a month of daily writing towards a novel. I reached 7000 words and gave up. I love starting things…

This year I’m trying something different. NaBloPoMo.

NaBloPoMo November 2013

A blog a day to encourage and develop creativity and writing practice – and no doubt post pictures when my words fail. So, for those of you who have signed up for my blog posts. Thank you. Especially for your grace as my posts sweep daily through your inbox. I do hope you will benefit somewhat from my writing experiment.

Day One.

Last weekend was our Women’s Encounter God retreat. I have written about Encounter God in previous posts, click here for a more in-depth description. We are passionate about Jesus healing and freeing the whole person.

As Phil and I walked on Black Mountain on Monday I saw this.

IMG_3354If the root remains. So do the pains.

Last year I wrote a blog about roots, here’s a snippet:

‘A few years ago I went to a friend for counselling and prayer. A line of thought she shared with me has stayed close. It is this. As one woven by our Creator, we are all designed with specific roots of character which define us. What can happen is that the darkness, choices…. life’s events can take this God given root and twist it.

Here are some examples of twisted roots.

*You protect those around you with your silence over challenging behavior. Could this be your God given root of integrity is gnarled.

*You are bolshy, even arrogant. Has your root of boldness been twisted?

*You fear confrontation, you allow compromise. Has your root of being a peacemaker wandered?

*You are a bully. But God’s plan for you was inner strength.

These God given roots of characteristic need to be straightened, healed and freed.

Back to this week…

Then there are other roots, sin, pain, abuse, un-forgiveness of others and self – these need to be uprooted to bring transformation. If they are not uprooted, unhealthy growth occurs – those same patterns, behaviour and habits.

But how Michelle? How do I uproot? My own experience has been to revisit the pain. In going back to that place where the pain was formed. The 10 year old girl whose trust was betrayed. Revisiting that wound allowed me to fully forgive. I found that when the pain was revisited, I was able to not only forgive but also picture Jesus standing besides me while the wrong was taking place, and more importantly think about how He felt about what happened. That is when the healing came. This isn’t to revisit the same physical place but rather the memories a place in my mind where the pain took place.

And then following the uprooting, that wide, raw, gaping place. Jesus pours in His love…and we begin to change, forming new behaviour and habits.

‘Should we not see that our root is right, before expecting flowers and fruit?’ Scraps, Amy Carmichael

Uprooting, though painful, brings transformation.

Encounter God is not a ‘one weekend fixes all’ event, how could it?

Encounter God gives us the tools to live in a daily place of confession, repentance and deliverance. With one another – in community.

If we confess our sins to God, we are forgiven but James 5:16 says ‘confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.’

As ever, the stories that came from this retreat were beautiful, many healings – especially when people forgave themselves.

IMG_3346A Golden Fleece in Black Mountain.

 Verses to encourage you:

 ‘You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world’ Matthew 5:8

‘But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, 
the woman who sticks with God. They’re like trees replanted in Eden,
 putting down roots near the rivers. Never a worry through the hottest of summers,
 never dropping a leaf,
 serene and calm through droughts,
bearing fresh fruit every season.’ Jeremiah 17:8

My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving. Colossians 2:7 

And a final challenge…

‘If we are to be anything, we must bury ourselves deeply, and let Jesus take complete control.’ Andy Donaldson, Church Planter, Theologian.

See you tomorrow!

Michelle xoxo

Scars.

3385349803_c0ce561a86_z

I’m 5 months old lying on the sculpted carpet tiles of the living room floor. All smiley and bald. Mom is in the kitchen. Dad has slipped out the room for a minute. I shimmy along, yes, this non crawling bundle of fun was an expert at shimmying. I move backwards towards the electric fire.

I’m certain the next minutes were screams – intense – loud.

Emotions pointing – blaming – hating, as my little trapped leg was released from the fire.

Three months of daily visits to the hospital. Of scraping baby skin and redressing the wound.

Healing takes time.

The scars on my leg have always been a part of me. That’s what happens with scars isn’t it, they become part of us, our story.

Reminding us of terror, illness, accident, self harm, abuse…

We often overlook the scars, they are so a part of who we are. Then occasionally, we see them anew or someone asks and we recall, or recoil.

I’m reminded this week of my scar, as the mole on my scar has decided to change its appearance. Tomorrow I have it removed, a chunk taken away from my scarred skin.

A scar indicates the healing of a wound. That the tissue of the scar is stronger than the tissue around it. Scars are a sign that we can heal. Our scars are a witness.

But Michelle. I’m not even scarred. I’m still wounded.

Life wounds.

Anne Voskamp wrote a great blog on Christians and depression today. ‘Don’t only turn up the praise songs but turn to Lamentations and Job and be a place of lament and tenderly unveil the God who does just that — who wears the scars of the singe. A God who bares His scars and reaches through the fire to grab us, “Come — Escape into Me.”

I attended an Encounter God retreat a few weeks ago, read about it here. This past weekend we held our first Willow Park ‘Encounter God’ weekend. 60 people came along to the woods and slept in cabins and ate great food.

And ‘God did what He does best.’

IMG_4231

Lives were restored, healed, marriages made new, as those attending allowed themselves into the healing process.

For many, it was not without a fight, attending the next session was a battle.

Here are a few lines of stories and testimonies from the weekend:

‘When I knelt at the cross, Jesus showed me how to be compassionate’

‘I have been hurt by church people, this weekend has shown me I can trust again’

‘I knew I was forgiven but I still needed to give God the shame’

‘I couldn’t forgive my abuser but through an act of obedience I did. I know that He died for him as much as for me’

‘Bitterness has devoured me – I’m going to stop fearing and start trusting’

‘I’m dealing with this stuff, trusting that my kids don’t have to’

‘I saw where I was robbed of my voice’

And from my purple haired sister.

You’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and doggone it, people like you!

This is about an Encounter with our living Lord, who said to Thomas. ‘Look at my hands’.

He remains human. He remains Divine.

 ‘I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.’ Isaiah 49:16

This refers to a custom among the Jews who actually tattooed their hands or arms with paintings of Jerusalem or the Temple, thus they would always have a remembrance ever before them. This view is accepted by most scholars and these palm painting representations were called “ensigns of Jerusalem” and were performed in this sort of manner

 

Some left the retreat with scars, wounds healed.

Others scraped a wound that had festered for years.

Some released words to suffocating secrets.

Many invited Jesus right into that wounding situation, hearing ‘I was there, allow me to redeem it for you.’

For some it was just the beginning.

He’s a gentle God. Trust.

So back to my leg. I just found out that my Dad wasn’t the superhero he had told me he was in this story. Guilt has a way of misplacing emotions doesn’t it?

The hero in my story is the One with the scarred hands who has loved, embraced, healed and protected me over the years.

And you?

You know me by now. I’m not talking about a quick fix fantasy or a wishing and waving of wands.

But healing threads weaving through layers of our wounds. The words of Christ mending and binding.

I pray for you today, that you can see Jesus in your tough skin scars, and invite him into your tormented wounds.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

With love,

Michelle xoxo