Lean In…

 

ocean

Once upon a time…

A leaning is taking place right now…a leaning on Jesus. Today I am drinking a hot cup of peppermint tea and today I am drinking in the Word, and all of this leaning in and drinking up – they comfort me and strengthen me. They let me exhale in a world that makes it way too easy to hold one’s breath.

Yesterday I did battle. This war we are in as Christians is not for the faint-hearted, my friends. It’s blood and guts, front line, land mines abounding, itchy camouflage and heavy weapons. It’s sleeping in the trenches during a rainstorm while your comrades snore and fart all around you. And it’s suffocating in the scorching hot sun while the enemy opens fire. It’s war – all out war. And to live in denial is to die.

moon

The single most damaging weapon that the enemy has used in my life over the years has been ignorance. Anybody else? It totally makes sense, right? After all, the Bible says that the truth makes us free (John 8:32), so if we don’t know or acknowledge the truth and we are living in ignorance, what does that make us?…the opposite of free: bound, y’allBOUND.

To live in truth is to live in liberty. To live in ignorance is to live in bondage. Remember that old saying, “Ignorance is bliss”? Don’t believe it for a second. No, it puts us at a huge disadvantage and the longer we stay there, the deeper the foothold the enemy has into our lives, our minds, our bodies, and our world.

Back in 2008 I went through something pretty awful. One day my world was fine – the next day I was in a place I had never been before…spiritually, mentally, and physically. All hell broke loose on my whole person and my peace left suddenly and unexpectedly. Much happened – too much to share here – but the enlightenment that God gave to me over the next year was so incredible. One day in the midst of it all, I was so weak in every way possible. It was like Satan himself was sitting on top of me and I couldn’t move. I remember literally forcing myself to crawl from the bed to the chair, in order that I might read out loud from the book of Revelations. As I was reading those scripture verses out loud, the Holy Spirit spoke so clearly to me, and this is what He said: “You have been lied to. You have been deceived. The enemy has you thinking that I am hiding behind every bush, waiting to jump out and pounce on you. IT’S NOT TRUE.”

Listen up. Something happened in my spirit at that moment…something clicked. With every fiber in my being, I knew truth had just been revealed to me, and that truth set me free right then and there. No joke. I could literally feel strength and life flow back into my physical body, peace into my mind, and deliverance into my spirit. I arose from that chair a changed woman, and I have carried this with me every single day since. The truth sets us free – positively and experientially.

 

flower

Since then, there have been many times that I have been in battle with the enemy for the truth – yesterday was one of those times. I sensed in my spirit that all was not well, and at first I felt troubled and anxious, weak and weary. But then God reminded me of that day back in 2008. And so I asked Him right then and there, “Am I being lied to…deceived by the enemy?” God answered with a resounding, “Yes!” And here’s where it gets interesting…

I have been struggling with the issue of absolute surrender. You see, a few months back I became very burdened to pray. As I started crying out to God day after day with an urgency and a fervency that I had never had before, I entered into a new chapter in my prayer life. All of those years that I had struggled with prayer – it all just sort of melted away. My prayers now had wings, power, faith…and God answered them, as He is still doing today.

This liberty in prayer has brought me into a deeper communion with God and His word, and in doing so I have begun to sense very strongly that God is calling me to surrender all. When I say all, I mean all…kids, husaband, health, EVERYTHING. And I, the genius that I am, have been fighting it tooth and nail.

When I think of surrender, I imagine horrific adversities by the hand of God to break me and educate me in His ways, and I somehow convince myself that if I refuse, I’ll maintain my control and He will just forget about it.

Is there a crazy woman emoji I can insert here?

Yes, as ridiculous as it sounds, it is true. I have control issues. Hi, my name is Jodi Combs and I’m a control-a-holic. But I digress…

Moving on.

quilt

So, yesterday I felt the enemy attempting to get into my thoughts, and as I entertained those thoughts,  a heaviness and a dread of God, rather than the love of God (shameful, I know) weighed me down. But God in His mercy once again spoke these words to me: “You’re being lied to. You are deceived into thinking I am just ready to pounce on you. IT. IS. NOT. TRUE.” And I believed Him. And when I did, I once again experienced strength, peace, and victory,  because when we stop believing the lies of the enemy, and we embrace the truth of God, we are set free. (And if you’re unsure what is true, hold everything up to the light of scripture).

Fear and dread are common among us, but they are sin, and I am learning that the only place I can take them is to the Cross. Jesus took care of it there a couple thousand years ago as He was “chastised for my peace”.

Each day I am letting go of more and carefully releasing it to God.  And each day I feel myself surrendering to a greater degree, and that’s a God thing, you know?

Victory begins at the Cross of Jesus for me, friends. And as I lay it all down there and reject the lies and hug the truth – as I am crucified with Christ on that Cross, and reckon all of my junk nailed to that tree –  I will live free and resurrected with new and fresh power from on High.

Will you join me there?  Will you lean in to His love and let Him fill you up with Himself?

 

The Potential Butterfly

butterfly

Once upon a time…

On a cloudy Friday afternoon way up in the mountains, a heart cannot contain what’s in it, so she writes. That “she” is me.  And today I realize that I am a potential butterfly.

Welcome to my weird little place in the world.

Today I am sitting in the uncomfortable place where things could just drop off, like a red sports car over a steep cliff…and burst into flames. It’s these what-ifs – they ruin me.

Have you ever been to that place where God tugs and tugs at your heart to give Him more of you? Actually, scratch that. Have you ever been to that place where God tugs and tugs at your heart to give Him ALL of you? For this Jesus girl, that’s a scary place to be. Maybe not for some. Maybe all of the other Jesus girls out there are fearless, and when absolute surrender stands at the door of their heart, they embrace it with full abandon and they fly away on wings of faith and accomplish life-changing feats in the name of Jesus.

And then there’s me.

Me…the one who imagines that if I TOTALLY and FULLY surrender then I’ll surely end up riddled with body cancer eating away every single organ in my body. Or my kids will all die on the same day from some unforeseen accident. Oh, and there’s my husband…a sink hole opens up right on the very spot that he is stacking lumber, and SCHOOOOOPPPE! (That’s the sucking noise of the earth swallowing up the man of my dreams). Yeah, I’m a hot mess today.

hand

Here’s the thing…God allows hard things, y’all. Truth has just been spoken right there. And those hard things freak me out. Yes, logically I know that God gives us the grace to get through everything. And I know He works all things together for good. But I still don’t want my husband to die in that sink hole, you know? Let me reiterate the fact that, yes, I am a hot mess today, lol.

About three months ago I crossed a threshold in my faith, my prayer life, and my burdens for others. I have since sensed God drawing me to a much closer, deeper communion with Him, and that’s beautiful, right? But I also sense that He is desiring to fill me up in ways I never have been before, and in order to do that He wants total surrender from me. (Excuse me while I go have a panic attack).

Up until this point and time, I have surrendered all that I could muster up in my own strength, and a little extra in His strength. But there’s still this yuck and muck that I have kept back from God…my fears, control, my own kids and husband for heaven’s sake. And you know what? As I sit here typing out my junk for all of you to see, I’m living it out for God to see, and how it must grieve Him!

This has been eating me up for the last couple days and sometimes I just have to cry. Cry to Jesus. And I’m just so glad that He hears me. Aren’t you so glad that He hears you too?

bible and journal

So, today as I was reading my Bible, I was drawn to the book, Song of Solomon. OH. MY. WORD. God spoke, I listened, and I’m pretty sure the earth shook during the whole process. Are you ready to be blown away by the simple but powerful truth of God’s word, my friend? Okay, here we go:

“I am my Beloved’s, and His desire is toward me.” (Songs 7:10)

“His left hand is under my head, and His right hand doth embrace me.” (Songs 2:6)

“My Beloved put in His hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for Him. I rose up to open the door to my Beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.” (Songs 5:4-5)

“My Beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” (Songs 2:10)

“Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.” (Songs 8:7)

“…but I found Him whom may soul loveth: I held Him, and would not let Him go…” (Songs 3:4)

Seriously! How’s that for turning a girl’s heart to mush? I love how when I feel so low, so unlovable, so failure-stricken…God speaks love. L-O-V-E. He just rides into my messy world on His white horse and approaches my unsurrendered soul with an invitation to rest in His undying love for me. And I cry tears of gratefulness because I know I’m not even close to being worthy of such a thing. And because I want to be that one, when coming out of any wilderness experience, that others will look and say, “Who is this coming up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved?” (Songs 8:5)

Am I there? Have I totally arrived to the place that I can say I have fully let go and let God? No, I am not, but I’m getting there. And I’m not about to rush this. This has to be real – my letting go, my absolute surrender of all I hold dear for all He holds dear. In Ecclesiastes it says, “Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.”

lake

So, I will grow from caterpillar to butterfly, by His grace, in His time, and it will not be an emotional decision, a hasty move, or a high pressure situation to which the enemy of my soul badgers me. Nope. It will be the Love that draws me, the Blood that sustains me, and the Grace that leads me to be able to move to that next level.

Maybe you’ve experienced something like this?  I would love to hear about it.  Let’s pray for each other, okay?