“He reveals deep and hidden things, he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.” Dan 2:22
Father, I pray for those coming to the retreat this weekend and next weekend to allow you to reveal the deep and hidden things so that pain can turn into purpose and hurts can be surfaced for healing. We know it is not your desire for us to remain numb to the pain lying dormant in the depths of our heart. Bring those things that lie in darkness up to the surface where your light can shine and bring forth life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
In a car ride three years ago, the Lord began to surface a need for healing that had been buried deep within my heart. Karen Ellison (founder of Deeper Still), Carla Martin, Kay Smith (team members) and I were traveling to Illinois to serve on the team for the first Deeper Still of Central Illinois retreat. It was exciting to be on a road trip back to my home state. The retreat was taking place between where I grew up and where I had gone to college. It was also only about 30 miles from where my abortion took place. I was overwhelmed with the Lord’s goodness in allowing me to be a part of this retreat in Illinois.
We also had a plan to stop at the abortion clinic in Champaign, IL where I had the abortion to pray over the land. It was a good plan, but God had an even better plan.
Part of my story involves a rape on my college campus. I don’t believe I have ever written about this part of my story, but felt the Lord wanted me to share part of this today. On the way to help serve at the first retreat in Illinois in 2014, Karen asked me how the Lord had healed me of that rape experience. I was like a deer in headlights. I had only recently begun to acknowledge the rape and had never really sought healing for it. I didn’t know what to say. Karen suggested we find the fraternity house where it happened and pray there.
While on the college campus, we found fraternity row. All the houses looked so similar and it had been 21 years since it happened. Not remembering which house it was, we stopped on a corner with four fraternity houses surrounding us to pray. I bowed my head but no words would come. Then from somewhere deep within, sobs surfaced and turned into wails as I stood bent over with violent pain flowing from the depths of my soul. This pain had been bound up, packed away, not given any air to breathe. Now, it was opening, this wound covered in scar tissue, never allowed to heal. It was rising to the surface. I thought the pain might be too much. This pain was more than I thought I could bear. My friends surrounded me praying, like a canopy, protecting me and shielding me as the Healer did His surgery.
The next few times I shared this part of my story, pain and tears continued to come as the Healer continued to heal this area of my heart. However, after sharing this part of my story a few times, it became easier and easier. Now I don’t feel the intense pain I once felt and I’m able to talk about it.
This is how the Lord heals us. First He reveals an area of our hearts that needs healing. Then, he gently removes the scar tissue so the wound is exposed to the air for healing. He breathes life to the areas once dead and numb. This may cause temporary pain. But the pain is only temporary while He does the surgery. So many people avoid the surgery in fear of the pain being surfaced. I am thankful I didn’t avoid facing the pain of my past that day in Illinois. If I would have said, “I don’t need to go there and pray, really, I’m ok”, I would have missed the healing the Lord had for me and that pain would still be lying dormant in my heart festering. And I surely wouldn’t be writing this today—I would still be paralyzed and numb, unable to share this part of my story.
Rape is a real hurt. It is a thief that steals more than can be physically counted. But the Lord wants to restore what was stolen and mend the areas that are broken. I no longer consider myself a victim, but rather victorious. If this is part of your story as well, my heart hurts for you. I pray that you too will allow the Lord access into those wounded areas so He can do the surgery required for healing. Reach out to friends you trust who can stand around you during the healing process, praying for you. If needed, see a counselor. This is only my story of healing, but the Lord heals different people in different ways. I don’t know the process He will use, but I do know He is the good Healer and the Great Physician and He wants to heal you.
“Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He has said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times. So Peter went out and wept bitterly.” Luke 22:60b-62
Father, thank you that you are faithful even when we falter. Thank you for your “wake up” calls as you look to us with compassion in your eyes and we realize how far we have fallen. Thank you that even our deepest failures and regrets don’t disqualify us from ministry, but rather usher in an awareness of our humanity and dependence on you. We are desperate for you. We need you. Let your rooster crow in the heavenlies and wake your people to your calling. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
In the Chinese culture, this year is the “Year of the Rooster.” For those of you who have been following us, you know we have a love for China. When I heard it was the “Year of the Rooster”, I decided to ask the Lord about the Rooster and if it signified anything. Here is what I felt I heard in my spirit:
A rooster signals a wake-up call. It is symbolic of a new day, a new morning, a sunrise (Sonrise) and with it light expanding across the horizons. This year is a year of waking up, a new day, new beginnings, new hope.
The Lord is calling forth His people–those who have been asleep to awake.
When Peter denied the Lord three times, it was a rooster who “woke” him up to the truth.
Perhaps we don’t deny the Lord verbally, but in our actions or thinking–compromising what is true.
We go from being on fire for the Lord willing to cut someone’s ear off to being wishy-washy in our convictions and justifying actions. Then…a rooster crows. The Holy Spirit is creative in getting our attention.
This isn’t the post I thought I’d write today about the rooster. I have many fun stories about roosters. After the Lord gave me the word about the rooster being a wake-up call, He began showing off by showing me roosters nearly everywhere I went—for real.
This post could have been about how the Lord gives confirmation after confirmations when He is inclined to be sure you know you’ve heard from Him—this is true.
Or about the waking up of a generation or culture to the reality of His truth and the hope of a new day. I do believe the Lord is saying that as well. Wake up. It is a new day. There is new hope!
But this post is about our humanity and the Lord’s eagerness to forgive. Our failures don’t disqualify us. If you had an abortion, it doesn’t disqualify you. If you compromised today and denied your Lord by a wrong choice that seems to pale in comparison to abortion—there is forgiveness, hope and a new day.
If your love has grown cold or life has beaten your faith to a pulp causing the sin of unbelief to fester and choke out your joy and passion, today may be a day to hear the rooster.
Hear the rooster say it’s a new day, the sun (Son) is rising on the horizon. Sorrow may have lasted for a night and that night season seemed long, but it is a new morning with the Light of the world shining bright crowing in a new hope. This year is a year of waking up, a new day, new beginnings, new hope.
The Lord is calling forth His people–those who have been asleep to awake. It is time to awake to the truth. It is time to hear the rooster.
“But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.” Luke 24:12
Oh sweet Heavenly Father, how we thank you for the empty tomb! How we thank you for the resurrection life of Jesus Christ and the new life we have because He lives! Thank you for the Cross and the new life we have because of the death and resurrection of our Savior King Jesus. We marvel at what You have done for us. We pray that participants of Deeper Still would arise and run to Jesus as Peter did. I pray then they would stoop down and see the resurrection power and marvel at what has happened. Amen.
In reviewing the resurrection of Jesus, my attention was drawn to the grave clothes. In Luke 24, it says the grave clothes were lying there by themselves. In the gospel of John, it gives a little more detail and says that the grave clothes were lying there, but the handkerchief that had been around His head was folded off to the side by itself.
I began thinking about these grave clothes lying there and thought of Lazarus. In John Chapter 11, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, but when he was raised from the dead, his grave clothes were still tightly wrapped on him. He needed help to be unwrapped, loosed, and set free.
“And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.” John 11:44
In contrasting these two resurrections, the grave clothes kept coming to my mind. I don’t think it is an accident in scripture that they are different. Jesus could have removed the grave clothes from Lazarus miraculously. After all, he did raise him from the dead. I think He could certainly untie a bandage. So, why didn’t He? Perhaps it was for this very contrast. Perhaps not, but it is an interesting point to consider.
Death can come in many forms. Every day people who are very much alive choose decisions that lead to a death in their lives. Abortion does lead to an actual death of a person. There is no denying that death is real in abortion. However, there is a spiritual and emotional death in the person who has the abortion as well.
Our Jesus is the giver of life. His death was to pay the penalty for all our sins. He died to give us new life. And He died not only to forgive us of our sins, but also so we could be free of our grave clothes.
Lazarus experienced a death in his life. Jesus gave him life. However, the grave clothes were still on him. Jesus called others to gather around him to help him get free.
Jesus’ grave clothes just fell off of Him! The grave clothes couldn’t stay on Him. The grave clothes couldn’t hold Him. That is the resurrection power of Jesus! It not only brings life, it also removes all signs of death! It removes all the bondages of death and brings freedom.
I believe these two examples mirror what the Deeper Still team does. Deeper Still comes alongside those who are still wearing their grave clothes and helps them get loosed and free!
More importantly, Deeper Still provides an environment for an encounter with the living God. And when those grave clothes are hit with the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, Lord Almighty, the grave clothes just start falling off!! That is what is so exciting to see!
The grave clothes fall to the ground. We see the grave clothes lying there. And like Peter, we marvel at what has happened–the resurrection power of Jesus. Oh Lord, we marvel at Your love and glory.