The most binding chains are the ones you don’t see. But the real truth about chains -they aren’t really binding at all… there is One who holds the power to break them.
I don’t even really know where to begin…
I am overwhelmed. Full. Blessed. And overflowing. I serve a faithful God. The One who works ALL things together for His glory. All things. Even when the storm rages so strong you feel your deep roots are as fragile as a fresh clipped leaf floating in a vase of water. The winds blow to and fro almost to the breaking point, but He is there. He is there in the details weaving His love like a thread connecting, repairing, strengthening, binding, working ALL things together for our good.
So many times here I have shared my heart eluding to deep valleys where I once found myself dwelling. Sharing my heart for the sake of The Kingdom.
I have written this a thousand times in my head and can never get past the idea that there are no words sufficient and even the most eloquent of them only seem to cheapen the magnitude of the glorious wonder God has worked in our lives.
God IS in the details. And because of this, to tell you our story would be nothing short of acknowledgements and dedications, chapters and sections, beginnings and new beginnings… ending only with a novel that would just be the first part of our story.
See, I said Our Story. There was a time I battled with this idea… God was stretching us, molding us, refining us and giving us a story to tell. And praise God He still is! He has been so mighty battling the enemy for our very souls; each of us alone could tell a tale convincing you of His love, His grace and our deeply rooted faith in His very existence. How Ephesians 6:10-20 became our war cry when it got all too real. But see, I couldn’t tell you my story with out telling you his. And, he couldn’t tell you his story without telling you mine. And I seemed to be the one who likes to share stories…
After a night of refining with like-minded friends, my God made it so clear… I knew God had given me a place to share our faith and I struggled with baring our soul for His glory and respecting what we intimately shared as husband and wife. It was as clear to me as He had been before.. Natalie, He said. It is not your story. It is not his story. It is OUR story. And it is a story of LOVE. I knew then as I looked in my beloveds face and shared what God had given me, he agreed. This was God’s story and He was weaving His love and grace in and out of our lives binding us together for there is nothing greater than a three fold cord and we had chosen to place our God in the very center. Sharing our story, His story, being transparent so Christ can be seen.
Three hundred sixty six days ago I held the hand of the man who holds my heart. I walked him through doors and then I watched him walk away. The strongest man I knew, giving it all to God.
Broken. Simply broken. Earthly eyes would have seen a woman collapsed against a rock wall completely undone, lost and sobbing, but in the spirit world my Heavenly Father had just bent down and tightly grasped hold lifting me up to His side as I, had fallen at His feet. That night there in the dark, it was just my Lord and I. I am here to tell you His loving arms sustained me and I have never been them same. I would rather be broken in His arms than anywhere else. The God we serve is a FAITHFUL GOD. HE IS A LOVING GOD. He is a God that restores the hopeless and gives new life to dry bones. In the dark of the night I laid everything down. Everything I had every claimed, preached, lived, walked or believed… I now stood firmly on. Convinced. Sold-out. Surrendered.
Through a series of events leading up to this very moment and the ones following were nothing less than true God alignments… Miracles… Warfare… and Love. In the hour I no longer could go on, He placed a host of Aaron’s around me. Holding me up when I no longer had the strength. You would be amazed at the tales. My God continued to open doors and strategically place people in my path that would be instrumental in my ability to just hang on as well as strengthen my faith. Through all of the heartache and confusion, my focus NEVER lingered from His holy face. In all my seeking, I was certain my precious husband desperately desired to reflect the face of Christ in his own life as well. Some times it takes walking through fire to burn the impurities away so Christ can be reflected.
I tell you there was a time we were choking from the strongholds the enemy had on each of us.
The chains although unseen were binding. We were tired of fighting a battle we could not see…
“… I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him- the dark rain clouds of the sky. Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded.[d] He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, Lord, at the blast of breath from your nostrils. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord; I am not guilty of turning from my God. All his laws are before me; I have not turned away from his decrees. I have been blameless before him and have kept myself from sin. The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight. To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd. You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty. You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop[e]; with my God I can scale a wall. As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.” ~ Psalms 18:3-32
A lifetime ago…
I fell in love with a little blond-headed boy on the playground and I ask the Lord to make Him mine. We made a covenant for better or for worse, for sickness or in health… We never gave up on one another and God never gave up on us. He has been so faithful.
I could tell you a lifetime of stories… But the one I want you to read today is a story about two people who deeply love one another. Who are learning to love one another as Christ loves His church; who understand that to love each other is to truly love Christ FIRST. Deciding to serve their God no matter what storms may blow their way. Certain that The God they serve is ALWAYS working things together for their good.
The enemy still lurks and continues to fling his flaming arrows, but we are standing firm putting on the Armor of God each morning. Ephesians 6:10-20.
It took the darkest of nights to see the True Light. Our God is in the details. And just when you can’t take anymore, He is there. And you are overflowing.
Our God moves mountains, He restores the broken and offers new beginnings with each morning. If you find yourself broken, bound and suffocating from the chains, KNOW there is someone who holds the key.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ~ Romans 12:2 (NIV)
surrendered, restored and deeply loved,
September 5, 2013