Admittedly, her thoughts surprised me.
Over the next few days, as I pondered what she'd shared, I realized that even if I'd allowed or encouraged her to date, she would have still been unprepared, because I couldn't give her what I never had.
I'd done plenty of dating. And it was those experiences that led me to favor the idea of courtship for my own daughters. I'd been unprepared for dating. I assumed that having my kids wait until they were older to begin those opposite-sex encounters would protect them from the stupid mistakes I myself made. By the time I married their father, my heart was bruised and battered. I'd given pieces of my heart to each young man I dated, and I entered marriage with large chunks of it missing.
In fact, after thirty years of marriage, God is still restoring my heart. Some of the major repair work has taken place over the past year.
A little over a year ago, in April of 2013, I attended a women's conference called The Ruach Journey. It was a wonderful experience. Ruach means "the breath of God." I truly did feel the breath of the Holy Spirit in my spirit at that conference. I came back home, ready to change the world.
Here I Am, Lord. Send me! (Isaiah 6:8)
And in my quiet time with the Lord, He gave me my marching orders.
Wait upon Me. (Isaiah 40:31)
Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)
He was calling me to a time of rest, rest in Him.
My sails quickly deflated. But I've learned to trust my God. So I settled in to obey His mandate to rest and wait. I began to feel that He had me ensconced in a cocoon of sorts; a holy chrysalis, if you will. For the sake of information, I learned that the British dictionary defines chrysalis as: anything in the process of developing. Well, that was me. God clearly had me in a development process. And He wasn't particularly concerned with how long that development might take, or in sharing that news with me.
In November of 2013, I attended Ruach 2. Honestly, I'd grown so comfortable waiting with God that I thought maybe I wasn't ready for Ruach 2, but as I filled out the necessary application to attend, He made it quite clear that I was to go. It was yet another step in my development process.
Over the course of the past year, He used many resources to minister to me. To name a few:
- Various resources from The Father's Business, a ministry by Sylvia and Elizabeth Gunter
- The Ruach Journey, and Ruach Journey 2
- A Guide for Listening and Inner Healing Prayer: Meeting God in the Broken Places, by Rusty Rustenbach.
- The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown
- Believing God, by Beth Moore
God used these tools and my time with Him, to help me understand that though I'd walked with Him for over three decades, I was still in a very embryonic place in specific areas of my spiritual development. I'd spent many years being who I thought He wanted me to be, who I thought others expected me to be, but I truly had no idea who I was created to be. It is this sense of self that was missing in me. The question never had been whether or not I (or my daughters) should pursue dating or courtship; the question was (and still is): Did I ... Do I know who I am in the Lord? Do I truly know that I am His beloved? That He has chosen me? That I am accepted in Him? That He is able to redeem and forgive me? That His love is all that I truly need, and that love gives me worth and purpose in this world?
As He has enlightened (Ephesians 1:18) me over the past months, I've begun to realize that there are many women just like me "out there." Precious daughters of the King who have no idea who they are in Him. Coming to understand who they are will bring incredible freedom and joy. That's what I hope to accomplish in sharing my journey on this blog. I don't have all the answers. All I have are my two fish and five loaves (John 6:1-15), but I'll share them willingly and let God do the rest.
I've been feeling quite restless the past few days. The desire to reach out has been growing in my heart. But I've been letting fear rob me of my joy, letting it keep me from stepping out into the deep. I've been asking God for more confirmation, more reassurance that this is His call for me. During my quiet time with the Lord, for the past two days, He has prodded me.
Go. Now. I've freed you from the chrysalis. It's time to soar, little butterfly! Go.
So here I am. Soul bared naked before whoever takes the time to read this blog. (I'll bet you were wondering how in the world I was going to tie that title to this post!) And I pray that God will bless you, that anything He asks me to share here will help you along your own journey to freedom, joy, peace, and understanding in Him. Amen!