So I have been having a rough couple of weeks spiritually. Once the church closed I felt as though I was wandering around aimlessly. For so long EVERYTHING in my life revolved around church and for even longer than that I had felt church planting was my and my husband's calling. Although I knew it was so right for it to end (and it didn't even end badly it was just clear God was moving in another direction) I felt very empty inside. I started to see that my first love had diminished. It has been very difficult trying to get back to my first love. Truthfully I have been discouraged believing that I had made too many mistakes and that I needed to clean up some things in order to get back to the Lord.
Those feelings were confirmed when I read this verse:
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? "I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”- Jeremiah 17:9-10
Instantly I began thinking self-destructive thoughts. Like "See Marleen God knows your heart and it must be pretty bad, you need to get your heart in the right place!"
In this midst of these thoughts the Lord brought back a memory to me. I was in my early 20's and a good friend had invited me to accompany her as she spoke at a women's retreat. She asked me to come as a prayer partener and a support to her. I was so excited and honored to be invited. Well the morning of our trip I could not find my ID anywhere. I was devastated. I thought for sure that the Lord had blocked the way because I was too wicked and didn't deserve to go. I believed that I would have brought down the trip because I wasn't spiritual enough. I called my friend who was waiting for me at the airport and tearfully told her I couldn't go. Thankfully she yelled into the phone, "Get over here and we will try to work it out!!!!" (This was pre 9-11) I asked my husband to put my birth certificate in my purse and got in a car service and got to the airport. I found out I could get onboard with just a birth certificate, but when I went to get it out of my purse it wasn't there! I called my husband frantically and he said he had accidentally taken it back out. Now certainly I wasn't going to go, but my friend was very patient and we decided to take a later flight. My husband rushed my birth certificate to the airport and finally we got to California. It ended up being an amazing trip in which God used my testimony to minister into the life of many women and we saw great transformations in that weekend.
Now that story is a benchmark in my heart. It reminds me not to condemn my self to quickly because God is rich in mercy.
As I prayed over that verse today asking God to reveal the wickedness in my heart He gave me another one...
1 John 1:9 (New International Version)
9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
I am so thankful that I never have to get it all together in order for God to love me and use me. I am SO thankful that Jesus paved the way for me to be accepted fully by my heavenly Father. Today my prayer is "God forgive the wickedness in my heart!" He is the one who will purify me as I just confess. What a lie from our enemy when he tells us to get it together before we go to God!