Testimony Thursday

It seems that I had always been on a hunt for friends. People who would simply accept me for me. No prejudgement. No judgement after getting to know me. Simply embrace me as I am. And as GOD would have it, what felt like a scavenger hunt would last several years.

That is, until I met the One Who said, “Take heart, Daughter.”

Having been rejected by those that should have nurtured me and loved on me, I grew up with a sense of rejection from as far back as I can remember. This transcended into childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Where again, I would encounter people, who would seemingly magnify this rejection. I translated the rejection into performance and perfection. That maybe somehow, if I produced and performed with utter perfection … meet their expectations and fulfill their definitions of acceptable … that I would be welcomed, invited and included … to be family. With someone. With anyone.

But as you can imagine, this grows old over time. The fatigue and exhaustion from trying to ‘measure up’ to an elusive benchmark — just so that I could gain approval — it takes a toll on the soul, not to mention the heart. And soon, I grew weary of trying to impress. I even lost sight of what my own voice sounded like; I had tried so hard to conform to what was ‘socially acceptable’ for the time and space I was living in and the audience that I was standing before.

No stranger to ‘church’ and traditional rituals, I knew just enough about GOD to know He was obviously a very busy Person. I had been raised with some foundational truths about Him, but just never heard that He wanted to have a personal relationship with puny minuscule me. After all, only ministers and priests were ‘holy enough’ to be able to have it ‘in’ with GOD. We common ones were on the periphery, the outskirts. You would have to ‘rank’ in the church to come remotely close to approaching GOD.

I often wondered if GOD even took interest in me. I knew He was handling ‘bigger issues‘ like peace in the middle east, feeding the homeless, healing the ones on their last breath; far more important that my insignificant life. In fact, my prayers were much like that: “GOD, when You are done taking care of everyone else, and if You have a moment to spare, would You please give me a moment to say a few things to You?” How sad is that?

The Son of Man has come to seek out and to give life to those who are lost.” Luke 19:10 The Passion Translation

Then one day He came for me like a mighty downpour. His wave of love seemed to melt my empty heart and sweep me towards Him as I surrendered to His Call. As I prayed, it was different this time. With tears streaming down my cheeks, I felt an overwhelming peaceful calm, somehow an assurance that He really did hear my prayer. In fact, I felt that He had set aside everything to get to me.

I had heard preachers days before as they would boldly speak words of promise that GOD does look upon us as valuable. In fact, words I had never heard before that said GOD would be willing “to leave the ninety-nine” to come looking for the one lost and wandering. I felt those words were intended just for me.

I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak. Ezekiel 34:16a New Living Translation

What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? Matthew 18:12 English Standard Version

It was so much for my teenage brain to comprehend at the time. Decades later, it’s often still a staggering thought. That the GOD of the Universe would value me so highly that He would come after me with such a passionate love. But it’s all true.

After years of not feeling worthy of anyone’s affection, GOD bent down to Whisper that He loves me and calls me His Own. His Daughter.

Growing into adulthood, those old hurts linger — the enemy of our soul sets out to destroy what GOD has claimed. And so the tug o’ war of the mind can taunt and haunt. Sometimes comments or reactions from others will trigger those all too familiar feelings of inadequacy and that enemy insecurity will peek out to poke at my mind. Yes, there are those occasional challenges of sorts. But I’ve learned to fight like a Daughter of the King:

We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 2 Corinthians 10:4 New Living Translation

When GOD calls our name, He restores us to the way we were meant to be: whole. He beckons the very depths of our soul with a Voice that only the deepest parts of our spirit can hear. And it is there that He meets us.

LINDA R JOHNSON

Where we hide from shame, guilt and pain, whether it’s offenses put upon us by others or offenses we have inflicted upon those in our sphere, He wraps His strong arms around us and pulls us close.

21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. Matthew 9:21-22 English Standard Version

When you hurt, there’s a tendency to hurt others — as a warped form of self-defense. We lash out with words that only yield regret. We feel that if we punish those who have created wounds or opened up old ones, that somehow we would have ‘one up’ on them and the world would fear us. Secretly, we hope that no one would call us out. But GOD does better than that. He cleans us up, bruised knees and egos, broken hearts and body parts.

I was that woman with the “issue” in the ninth chapter of the Book of Matthew. My issues were with my circumstances, people, experiences and life decisions. All of which I had dealt with very poorly. That’s what we do when we don’t know Jesus. Because I had been treated with contempt by so many, I had issues. Trust issues. Searching out self-help books, articles, speakers, systems … when I was looking for answers in all those wrong places, GOD saw me. And just as the woman that was healed, feeling unworthy, I approached from what I felt to be the lowest place I could — the very hem of His Garment. Somehow, I believed just enough to want to reach and touch what seemed as close as I could get to the One Who held the answers to my “issues.”

And upon contact with the Living Word of GOD, Jesus saw me and healed all my broken places.

20 And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, 21 for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” 22 Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And instantly the woman was made well. Matthew 9:20-22 English Standard Version

Better, far better than ever before, I continue to grow in the knowledge of His Love for me. Do I experience bad days? Yes. Are there still the memories of bad experiences? Absolutely — but they don’t have control over me like they used to. Is life still a challenge? Of course! In fact, as I learn more and grow in my relationship with Jesus, my challenges have changed according to what I now know. And because of what and Who I know, I can confidently live like His Daughter. Because now I have placed my trust in the only Trustworthy One.

This side of Paradise, as long as we will continue pursuing the love of GOD and fighting the good fight of faith, pressing towards the mark of our high calling, there will always be issues in our way. This will still be an imperfect world inhabited by imperfect people. And people will disappoint you and leave you. In fact, there are some people you will need to choose to walk away from. You will still fail and fall. The difference is in living forward knowing that you won’t ever be alone in those moments.

Maturing in the Lord is just as important as maturing as an adult. In that maturity, I have learned that my so-called issues are cared for by GOD. He tells me that He doesn’t want me to carry such burdens. My issues are His issues.

 I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this gracious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ! Philippians 1:6 The Passion Translation

Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 The Passion Translation

Let me encourage you, Sister, to surrender to the GOD that created you with love in His eyes for you. I’m not going to tell you to casually ‘let it go,’ because I realize that you may be carrying a truckload of which I have no concept. I respect you in your present place of difficulty and pray that you will not remain there for longer than GOD has purposed. And it may very well take a long time to experience your healing. But I will tell you that surrendering, laying it down and allowing Jesus to bring you calm and peace so that you can move forward without the tension and angst that you’re wrestling with … and to get onto the road of recovery and restoration … will require you to release your grip on whatever plagues you at this moment. Trust Him with all of it.

To get to where you want to be, you will have to do what you have never done.

Jesus meets you right where you are. In the moment you say, “Here I am, Lord,” you are beginning to walk the path of faith towards Him.This may take you into a world of faith that will seem foreign and awkward to you, Friend. But with every fiber within me, I urge you to go there. Find a local Bible believing church in your area and get connected to people that will pray with and for you, mentor, encourage and study alongside you.

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever— John 14:16 Amplified Bible

As you soak in the love of GOD through diligent study of The Word (Bible), the Holy Spirit will lead you and guide you. That is why He is called the Helper. GOD living within you to forever strengthen and intercede for you. GOD’s got you sealed and covered.

When I’m not reading or writing, I’m volunteering at Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies. My passion for the Word of GOD and His Daughters is insatiable. And I thank you for having spent time with me here on my website as I seek to share my heart as well as the hearts of others that embrace you right where you are, Friend, with the HOPE of Jesus Christ.

You are so loved to Heaven and Back ~~

Merry Christmas from my heart to yours❤️.

LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary

6 Comments

  1. I have been waiting to read your testimony, Linda. Beautifully written words telling of God’s grace and love. It is exciting to see where He has brought you and all He is doing through you, a willing servant who recognizes from Whom her blessings come. Thank you for sharing.
    Love you, dear friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jackie: Doing life with you has been sweet❣️ It has poured over some of the bitterness that was once there because the love of Christ shines so brilliantly through you. I thank GOD upon every remembrance of you.

      Like

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