Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March 18th

Over a year ago, on July 30, 2014

Well, I joined the online group and then I posted a reply to something. It felt risky and I was anxious. But I posted it.

Then I was nearly in tears! It was sadness or anxiety. I don’t know how to describe it. I think because for the first time, I have given away in a group setting something that until now has been nurtured in my heart and shared only on the quiet backwater of my blog.

I was standing at the refrigerator and felt the presence of God sweep over my spirit and I had to physically move in response, bending into this movement of His Spirit, looking upward and lifting my hands palm up.

And Jesus said- Share it all. His voice was clear and strong in my spirit.

I actually spoke out loud to Him! I said, “I can’t share it all!”

Jesus replied, Share the heart. Not the specifics, which are not translatable to others, because they were given into my heart in a personal language that would only be confusing to someone else, but to share the meaning. He wants me to share all the lessons He’s taught me, to give it all away.

An hour later, I came downstairs from putting the baby down for her nap, and the song, “I Surrender All,” was playing, and I really did cry.

I was trying to make my cereal and crying and gasping for air, because of the weight of the presence of Jesus all around me. The words of the song were sweeping straight through me, as though the words were being written powerfully right into my spirit, impressing themselves on me. Eventually I couldn't stand and had to kneel down on the floor at the counter, holding onto it with one hand and crying.

I kept wondering, did someone see what I had shared already and were they praying for me? I couldn't remember the last time I had felt such a huge stream of the Holy Spirit, clear and heavy and strong, sweeping through me with Jesus’ love and His claim on me.

As I was kneeling there crying, I felt His presence deepen, widen and intensify in a way that is rare.

In one sense, His presence was filling the entire space, but in another sense, it was as though Jesus was standing on the lawn and even though I wasn’t physically seeing Him, it was as though I were seeing Him through the windows just in front of me, and Jesus was bending His gaze toward me with such strong love and complete attention, compelling all my attention toward Him in return.

A profound and reverent fear swept over my spirit. I absolutely knew that as yet, in the light of Eternity, I had only tasted what it is to be in the presence of Jesus Christ but that one day I would stand before Him face to face, in full sight. In response to this knowledge, all I could do was yield entirely to Him.

Now begins an anxious time while I wait for feedback, but that is nothing new to me, and Jesus keeps saying to me, over and over again, I am with you. So I will just take this one day at a time, holding tight to Him.

Last night, I threw myself into Jesus’ arms and clung there, propelled by everything that has been going on. I became aware that I could see around me with more clarity than usual, and looked around me in wonder, taking in the room, the pillars, the stone floor, the green fields, all the same.

I looked at Jesus. His face was full of love, the undefended love that fills Him, that He demonstrated so perfectly on the cross. He looked intently at me. This is yours, He said. I made it for you.

That echoed so much and so strongly in me in wonder that I had to sit up and write it in the journal that I keep beside the bed.

July 31, 2014

Feeling the intense pressure of being more visible than ever before as I continue to share things. It's like being in a pressure cooker. Every single thing is intensified and I know all my flaws must be showing up.

Before, this was not such a terrible thing because I could remember that my life was a story still unfolding, that Jesus was shaping, but now! It's so hard to remember that. I feel like a mistake would be catastrophic, but inevitable.

I'm persistently and obnoxiously aware of my apparently unending hunger for confirmation and approval. It's exhausting, how deeply it pulls at me, compels me. I want desperately to be approved. This desire for approval is constantly grating and pulling against my need to follow Jesus clearly and simply. In the vocabulary of this group, this is called a soul giant, and it is gigantic.

I'm frequently and increasingly tempted to make myself sound stronger and more certain than I am, or to make it look like something I earned, instead of Jesus' breathtaking grace, or to smooth over my visions to make them sound more believable- to take things out. I wrestle against this every time I work on something.

"I will fall," I said to Jesus, in blunt confession.

But I will help you back up, Jesus assured me.

And oh the love I felt for Him! There are no words.

Now, of course, anxiety grows, but I am learning and re-learning and learning again that it is a hoax. It is a lie. God will bring His good out of it. I must trust Jesus and have hope- to believe Him capable of bringing good out of my imperfect work and so He will, for His own sake. I love Him.

August 2, 2014

Knew that Jesus was asking me to share the other vision, but I had no more strength and was completely unable to do it. It was like hitting a brick wall.

"I have to disobey You," I said to Jesus, in a kind of dead calm- the calm of desperation. He said nothing, though I felt His loving mercy and grace.

In the evening, I looked over at the computer sitting under the glow of the light. I remembered that when I had asked Jesus when I would find the time even to write, He had told me that I would work on the post in the evening.

I thought to myself, "Even if I disobey Jesus in posting it, I can at least obey Him in this one thing. I can at least sit down and work on it. I have strength enough for that."

I did, and as soon as I started, I knew what Jesus wanted to say through it and His voice and His direction was running through the work, and even when I went upstairs to bed, His voice was pouring through me. I had to sit up and write it in my journal.

By then, I knew absolutely that I had to share it, but I still didn't have the strength. It was something awful, the two competing pressures, and I cried out to Jesus.

You must be willing to be crucified, He said.

That clarified things wonderfully for me, and in the understanding, came an unearthly, lovely peace. What Jesus meant was that in obeying Him, I must be willing to risk the worst. I must come to terms with it, accept it as a possibility, and follow Him anyway.

Once I understood it that way, I was perfectly willing- as long as I could be in step with Jesus, everything else could die. Early in the morning, I finished editing it and posted it. The peace lasted a long time.

August 6, 2014

Again and again, I am pulled through the agonizing process of knowing what Jesus wants me to share, walking into the headwind of anxiety, fear, self-consciousness and constant, badgering doubt as I work on it, culminating in the terrible moment of posting it.

And then comes the incredible relief of positive feedback, which in itself is also painful, because it sweeps me way up higher than I want to go, forcing me to face the deeply embarrassing fact of my ego, with inflates like a ridiculous hot air balloon, when I am well aware that the credit belongs to Jesus.

"This is rough!" I cried out to Jesus, at one point in the day, as I was placing the milk on the counter. "What are You doing to me?"

I’m tempering you, Jesus replied, and I paused, considering this, and saw how the metal is taken from the heat of the furnace  and put into the bath of cold water, before being heated again.

"Carry on then," I replied. "Do as You will with me."

I looked this process up on line, and it's something that is done to steel to make it less likely to fracture under pressure. It's a process that requires control and awareness of the particular metal being used.

I was standing at the sink washing dishes and praying through my current terrible anxiety over the last thing I had shared.

“I guess the Father could use it even it if wasn't perfect- He could bring good out of it," I said to Jesus.

Thank Him for it now, Jesus said, immediately.

“Thank You, Father, for the good You will bring out of this," I prayed, but it stretched my faith right to the edge.

Then another thought occurred to me. “It could be that You would make me more humble, pruning more of my ego, were I to make a mistake.”

Will you submit to that pruning, if that’s what I was asking of you?

“I accept being humbled,” I replied, and as I said those words, this heavy wave of the Holy Spirit went over me. I had to bend forward, bracing against the sink with both hands, and take in a long, slow breath.

Last month, on February 24, 2015

Was with Jesus last night, was talking again about visions and wanting more of Him. He was helping me sort down through to what I really wanted.

This comes up for me sometimes still, ever since learning in the group that my way of knowing and seeing Jesus does not fit into a definable vision, was probably the lowest level of spiritual vision and was therefore strong meat, too strong to fit in with and continue on with them.

When this happened, Jesus told me that in meekness and humility I should surrender the assumption of having visions and not attempt to cling to that or to try to prove it, but that I should continue in trust and faith to cling to Him alone.

When I first joined the group, I remembered Jesus assuring me that it was a safe place for me to grow, and afterward, I felt such anger toward Him. I had believed Him and trusted Him and opened my heart, and in return, I had been badly hurt. It felt at the time as though I had been cut to the bone.

But now I know that Jesus had been right all along, of course. It was a safe place to grow. I had just expected the growth to look more like success and less like the deep pruning of my desire to be admired, defended and to be at the center. This feeling in me was lovingly and faithfully cut down in such a way that, although I still feel that pull, it is far less than before.

Since then, Jesus has assured me many times that His will for me is to come to Him by faith. My faith is creating something of great beauty to Him, something that He will treasure always, because faith never passes away.

That is why, when I feel a deep longing to be with Jesus more than what He's given me, I offer this up and sort through this with Him, to prevent feelings of envy, which does happen otherwise, I am very sorry to say, and so that I remain in step with Him.

“I want more presence,” was the best way I could put it to Jesus. “And since I cannot have this through clarity or defined visions, than I must have it through faith. And that is perfect, because that is Your will for me- that my faith should grow all my life as I depend on You and reach out for You. I want more of Your presence through faith, so I am asking for that.”

But I kept thinking about how the highest level of vision is a visitation, and wanting that very much, and wrestling with this feeling of wanting to see Him completely, which for me now, is sometimes symbolized seeing Him with blue eyes.

I leaned against Him, making my heart quiet, so I could sort through all my feelings, in order to bring up to Him the deepest and most transparent response, the true one.

“Listen,” I whispered, understanding it. “I am not proud- I know I am not seeing You as You truly are. That is not the gift You have given me. But You have given me the beautiful gift of being in Your personal and loving presence, and the way You have shown Yourself to me is a part of that. As I cannot see You as You truly are, then I will cherish the thing You gave me from the first. Even when I stand before You in eternity, I will cherish the first things- the precious things of Yourself that You have given me now. I will treasure this always.”

Jenny, I love you. You are My heart, Jesus whispered.

“That was the right answer!” I cried, clinging to Him in relief. Then I suddenly had to pour out my heart to Jesus, it had to come tumbling out. “I want to please You!” I cried. “I want always to please You and to give You the correct answer! I want to be in right standing with You! I want to be in right standing always before You and to have Your approval!”

Jenny, I love you so much, My own, My heart, Jesus was saying and I could feel and hear the rushing of His heart, moved deeply by love and I did feel as if I really were like a part of Him- that Jesus loved me almost as He loved His own self, like the apple of His eye or the heart in His chest, that is deeply hidden, carried and kept.

But also, I knew I was my own self, with my own self will and this, as usual, frightened me, because I know that at anytime I could choose to walk in another direction than His and how terribly that would tear His heart, now that I know how deeply Jesus is moved by us- how He longs for us, delights in us, invests Himself so completely in us- as He did on the cross. This is what makes me cling to Jesus and rely on Him at all times.


All to Jesus I surrender;
all to him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust him,
in his presence daily live.

I surrender all,
I surrender all,
all to thee,
my blessed Savior,

I surrender all.