The innate need for acceptance became a driver in my life, a need so strong, I abandoned myself to it – drifting where it took me with little resistance. At the age of fifteen, I began to find remnants of what felt like acceptance, with peers, who like me, were dipping into tasty temptations, willing to disregard the voice of our inner conscience to experience any facsimile of love and acceptance. Although my earlier experience of God was limited to what was taught in a traditional, mostly legalistic church, I could not deny His reality – as I stood beside my father week after week singing “Holy, Holy, Holy!” God’s Person and the fact that “He is” was written within me. Thus, at every rebellious turn, my conscience continued to warn me, mostly unheeded for the next ten years or so. I realize now God protected me from so much – the fact I survived my ungodly life choices, mostly unscathed, is absolute testament to His goodness. Twists and turns, starts and stops, rarely finishing anything I started became the “story” of my life. Failing to please at home, failing to finish most things, dropping out of first year university – all this and more added to the already entrenched lies that had become my belief system about my identity.
Often we speak of those who have not yet believed in Christ as the lost. Over more recent years I have been more and more able to understand and accept how lost I was. It is hard to accept certain truths about ourselves and this truth took time and healing for me to be able to begin to grasp. My life was indeed captured in the images of a dream I once had, which I never forgot. I was outside in a violent storm. The gale force winds picked me and I would fly through the air. I would desperately grab a telephone pole or a tree and hang on for my life. Each time I would call out to Jesus, I would find a safe haven and experience the inner confidence I would be ok – I remember the unshakeable sense of peace. Thunder roared and lightening flashed while objects flew through the air. An oil tanker perched on the side of a narrow shelf on the mountainside, fell from its narrow road, tumbling to the ground below. All the while, I found peace and safety as I called on the Name of Jesus. I returned to this scene many times over the years to find hope and reassurance.
Patterns began to emerge in my behaviour during those years which continued through much of my life. Failure, sabotage and abusive relationships which lasted at most seven years became the story line of my life. All this in spite of being “born again” and active in church and Bible reading and prayer. I memorized all the identity scriptures but little was actually experienced of the “new creation” life God’s Word promised.
17Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new person. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new. 18And God has made all things new, and reconciled us to himself, and given us the ministry of reconciling others to God. 2 Cor. 5:17,18 TPT
You see, my mind comprehended and understood the meaning of the scriptures, but my heart remained stuck in all the old lies and beliefs of my heart. Confusion, frustration and hopelessness enshrouded me – life a beautiful ocean animal caught in the tangled knots of sea debris.
When one morning a few years ago while spending intimate time with Jesus in my secret place, I encountered a scene where I saw and experienced how He saw me at age fifteen, I experienced something that forever changed my understanding of Him. I had come to meet Him at the beach – proudly wearing my much loved suede jacket (which I believed at that time would surely secure my acceptance with others) and my head was adorned with a crown of beautiful daisies. As I walked across the beach toward Him I realized everything was different. I was confident knowing He was waiting to welcome me. I felt and experienced His unquestioning acceptance. What I felt for the first time in my life – within me, in my heart – was pure, clean and innocent. The weight of my guilt and sin and shame which I carried throughout my life was gone. I had never experienced feeling so light – this very noticeable absence of weight. Immediately my heart captured not just the image but the entire experience of feeling and being innocent, washed and cleansed by His sacred Blood. The sense of weightlessness was and still is overwhelming. This became my now reality – even though it took place at an age long ago!
Can you imagine our God…… that good – giving His daughter this precious transformational moment with Him? This is our True Vine – genuine, authentic to His Names – alive and available, inviting us to allow Him to entwine us as we live as His tender shoots, His young branches.
5“I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you—but when you live separated from me you are powerless. John 15:5 TPT
This is the reality I choose intentionally, with great reverence – how about you?