Over and over in the Scripture, we are implored to remember everything God has done and said. We are to remember the times he carried us through the hardest days of our lives. Remember the times he rescued us, the times he gave us strength, the times he showed himself to us and to the world. Remember all the ways he showed us how intimately he walked with us and pursued our hearts with a relentless pursuit. We must remember. If we forget, we might lose heart.
The past few months can be summed up in just a few simple words: a relentless pursuit of my heart by the one who came to heal the broken hearted, to set the captive heart free. Over and over he has called to me in the midst of whatever I found myself in...compromise, defeat, accusation, despair, wounded and viewing life through a warped perspective. He called me by my new name and reminded me of who I was. He called me out of the mire and led me to the life he died to give me. Jesus pursued my heart for one reason alone...He loved me. He saw me for the who he made me to be. He longed for his glory in me to be unveiled through a heart that was fully alive.John Eldredge said in his book "Waking the Dead,"You have been far more than forgiven. God has removed your heart of stone. You have been delivered from what held you back from what you were meant to be. You have been rescued from your the part of you that sabotages even your best intentions. Your heart has been set free." He goes on to say that after we see ourselves in this light, " we will need to live from it. To admit we have a new heart and a glory from God, to begin to let it be unveiled and embrace it as true- that means the next thing God will do is ask us to live from it. Come out of the boat. Take the throne. Be what he meant us to be. And that feels risky. But it is also exciting. It is coming fully alive."
Today my precious friend and I went together to do something that would help us forever remember what God is doing in our hearts. We have both walked through some pretty deep, heavy stuff these past few weeks. The enemy tried hard to take us out and we came through on the other side, beautiful and stronger than ever before. It was time to make a symbolic statement of who we are and who we are becoming as the our hearts are beginning to reveal the glory God gave to each of us uniquely.
Today, I had this permanently etched where I will be reminded every moment of the day who I am. See my heart has been guarded and closed off for a very long time. People saw glimpses of who I was created to be. Yet, the very depth of who I was had been carefully hidden away behind high walls of stone and defenses as sharp and painful as barbed wire. What can't be exposed and left vulnerable, can't be hurt. Wounds inflicted upon my heart, when left unguarded, had taken their toll. The enemy had seemingly been successful at his attempt to take out my heart. He didn't take away my salvation. He just convinced me that my heart was beyond repair and in effect took me out of the fight.
The Bible says to guard your heart because from it comes all of life. My heart was guarded; yet the very things guarding it were bringing death. I knew Jesus. I loved Jesus. Yet, somehow my heart was still very much in danger and my Savior was on his way with his rescue. Sometimes his pursuit was quiet whispers to my heart, romancing me and healing me. Sometimes he would take me by the hand to a place that held memories of times my heart had been assaulted and deeply wounded and he would rewrite my story by giving me his perspective. Sometimes he would appear as a friend who stood guard over my heart- fighting for my heart with truth. The truth that said I had a good heart. That I was beautiful. I was strong. I was secure. I was loved completely. I was going to be ok. Sometimes he just showed me how to be brave as he took me to my deepest fears and said I am here. I am giving you victory. He wouldn't relent until my heart was fully his. He became the seal upon my heart, the seal upon my arm for his love is stronger than death.
Little by little the barbed wire disappeared. The walls fell down. My heart was set free. Jesus became the guard of my heart, declaring it good. It became open to the world around me as now I was free to fulfill the role that only I could play. I could be known by my new name. My purpose became evident: now that you have been set free, return and show others they too can be free. Walk bedside them on their journey towards seeing who they really are and fight for them. Fight for their hearts, their dreams, and their freedom. Be the warrior you were created to be.
" Do you know why there has been such an assault? The Enemy fears you. You are dangerous-big time. If you every really got your heart back, lived from it with courage, you would be a big problem to him. You would do a lot of damage- on the side of good. Remember how valiant and effective God has been in the history of the world? You are a stem of the victorious stalk." (John Eldredge, Wild at Heart. ) In the past week, this declaration of a heart that is free has been assaulted. The fight has been brutal. Yet, my heart has emerged. I have learned to fight even for my own heart. It is essential to life. It is essential if others are to be rescued. I have my heart back and that changes everything.