*This is a deeply personal post, so if you’re not into that sort of thing, and you want to just see the set lists for Sunday, that’s ok! You might just want to skip this.
Everyone has them. They take on various forms in our lives. For some, it’s pornography, racism, obsessions, unforgiveness, hatred, etc. I’ve struggled to break free from the chains of self-hatred, low self-esteem, and an eating disorder that started in high school. Some of you would say, “Wait, aren’t you a ‘worship pastor’?” Well, the title itself doesn’t change what’s deep rooted in my heart. It does cause me to examine it more closely and evaluate how my chains effect those to whom I am privileged to minister.
There are seasons in my life where the chains seem to loosen their grip, and then there are times when they strangle the life out of me. There have been many sleepless nights spent crying out to God, begging for Him to heal my heart–to break the death grip that my chains have had on me. In those moments, in the quiet, stillness of the night, He whispers His peace. He reminds me of my adoption status into His family. He reminds me that I’m His kid, and that He’s captivated by me. In those moments, there is healing.
The struggle to walk in my healing, however, can be difficult. God doesn’t always heal us the way we want. It’s not always instantaneous. Many times, He requires that we walk through the fire, and we pray ferociously for Him to “keep our eyes above the waves.”
With the birth of my first child, Adie, I experience pretty bad baby blues for the first several weeks. Thankfully, I pushed through that and grew stronger. With the birth of my second child, Brennan, my world got knocked upside down. In my arms, I carried the most precious human being on the face of the planet. She was the child for whom I’d waited over a year, the child I begged God for. But the war waging in my mind wouldn’t let me enjoy her or any of my family. My poor husband was a rock during that time. I actually tear up thinking about how long it took for me to get help–all the time wasted when I could have been walking in freedom. Through the advice of one of my dearest friends, I called my doctor and told him what was going on. He helped me tremendously, and I’m so thankful.
You see, for so long there has been a stigma about mental illness in the Church. As a matter of fact, I fear the reaction of some people after reading this post. Am I being too transparent? I remember hearing for years that I just needed to trust God more–have more faith. I can’t tell you how many times I prayed, pleaded with God, begged God for healing believing, knowing that He could do it with just a simple thought, only to be told to wait. Was God unfaithful? The answer to that is a resounding NO! To be honest, there were times when I’d sing about His faithfulness at church because I needed the reminder. I needed to declare it to myself. That is the purpose of some of the repetitive nature of worship songs, I think. I can look back over that mountain now, and say that it was worth it all, because Jesus walked with me the whole time I was struggling. My faith grew stronger and stronger. The Bible says in Psalms that He bottles up our tears. I must have cried gallons. He felt every ounce of pain, and He held my hand.
Thankfully, I am now able to enjoy being a mommy to these beauties! They are amazing kids! That doesn’t mean that the struggle is over. On the contrary, I still fight everyday. But I can say with clarity and honesty that He has healed me in a most beautiful way.
Recently, during on of those amazing moments with God, I realized that I needed to further my healing and break free from all the other crap that plagued me. I made a decision that I hope will radically change my way of thinking, one that will help my girls as well.
I threw away the scale. Yes, I’m talking about that stupid bathroom scale that tells me each day whether or not I’m worthy of love…the one that has ruled my life for as long as I can remember. I am determined to not have a scale in my house anymore. If my doctor wants to weigh me for checkups, that’s fine. But my girls will no longer have to watch while their mommy steps onto that dreaded square box which determines whether or not she will love herself that day. They will not grow up with over-sensitivity to their own weights. They will grow up knowing that their physical beauty will not define who they are as individuals. They will grow up loving those quirky, radical, crazy little things about themselves that I love so much.
So the journey beings.
I’m on a path to health and healing. I’m running/walking almost everyday. I’m eating right. I’m enjoying my family. I’m loving my husband and my girls. And I can see that complete freedom is on the horizon.
One of my all-time favorite quotes is from Brennan Manning (my 2nd daughter’s namesake, by the way). He says:
I firmly believe that the splendor of a human heart that trusts it is unconditionally loved gives God more pleasure and causes Him more delight than the most magnificent cathedral ever erected or the most thunderous organ ever played.
Here’s few things the Bible has to say about freedom:
I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave. (Psalm 86:12-13)
If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)
He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous. (Psalm 146:7-8)
Let Your faithful love come to me, Lord, Your salvation, as You promised. Then I can answer the one who taunts me, for I trust in Your word. Never take the word of truth from my mouth, for I hope in Your judgments. I will always keep Your law, forever and ever. I will walk freely in an open place because I seek Your precepts. (Psalm 119: 41-45
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17)
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
Take those precious words and meditate on them. One of the things that I’ve learned through this journey is that if Jesus can love me knowing all of my stuff, I need to take a second look at how I feel about myself. If it really delights the Lord when I care about myself, then I will do the best I can at taking care of this temple that He’s letting me borrow.
I’m letting go of the chains.
If you need freedom from depression, anxiety, unforgiveness, or bitterness, or if you need to break free from the physical bondage of substance abuse, porn addiction, etc, please feel free to leave your comment. I’d love to pray for you.
I’ll leave you all with this song, which has been on repeat for the last few weeks. Enjoy!