This chapter is an awesome blue print! There is something here for each of us, something that YOU need to do in this. You may not need to do each step, but I know that as women, we hold on to things, we don’t let ourselves have time to feel, we are always doing something for someone else.
When I read the section titled, ‘Hemmed In,’ it was kind of an ahha moment. It makes some sense. Isn’t if awesome how God is the perfect punisher. Even when he punishes us, it is to save us and it is meant to affect our futures and help us throughout our lives.
When I first started the section titled, “Invite Him In,” I almost skimmed over it. I thought it was about ‘salvation’ which I’ve already done. But then I realized it, far from it. It was about something that many of us really haven’t done. But is something that NEEDS to be done. Many of us NEED to REALLY ask Jesus to come in – come in to those places that we want to keep closed off and think that we can fix or hide ourselves. We need to let Jesus clean out those places.
Ask him to destroy your enemies … I usually think of ‘enemies’ as either a living things – people, animals, nations or a spiritual beings loyal to satan. I never though of thoughts and feelings as enemies. I know our thoughts can help or hurt us, and that we should act on our feelings, but never really considered them an enemy that I could as God to destroy. I am gong to have to reconsider that.
Here are the notes from the chapter:
The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who morn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion —
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. (Isaiah 61:1-3)
This is the passage that Jesus pointed to when he began his ministry here on earth. Of all the Scriptures he could have chosen, this is the one he picked on the day he first publicly announced his mission. It must be important to him. It must be central. What does it mean? Let me (John Eldredge) try and state it in words more familiar to us.
God has sent me on a mission.
I have some great news for YOU.
God has sent me to restore and release something
And that something is YOU.
I am here to give YOU back your heart and set YOU free.
I am furious at the Enemy who did this to you,
and I will fight against him.
Let me comfort you.
For, dear one, I will bestow beauty upon YOU
where you have known only devastation.
Joy, in the places of your deep sorrow.
And I will robe your heart in thankful praise
in exchange for YOUR resignation and despair.
Read it again, and ask him, Jesus – is this true for me? Would you do this for me? He can, and he will … if you’ll let him.
You are the glorious Image Bearer of the Lord Jesus Christ – the crown of his creation. You have been assaulted. You have fallen to your own resources. Your Enemy has seized upon your wounds and your sins to pin your heart down.Now the Son of God has come to ransom you, and to heal your broken, wounded, bleeding heart and to set you free from bondage.
Why did God curse Eve with loneliness and heartache, an emptiness that nothing would be able to fill? … He did it to save her. For as we all know personally, something in Eve’s heart shifted at the Fall. Something sent its roots down deep into her soul – and ours – that mistrust of God’s heart, that resolution to find life on our own terms. So God has to thwart her. In love he has to block her attempts until, wounded and aching, she turns to him and him alone for her rescue.
Jesus has to thwart us too – thwart our self-redemptive plans, our controlling and our hiding, thwart the ways we are seeking to fill the ache within us. Otherwise, we would never fully turn to him for our rescue. Oh, we might turn to him for our “salvation,” for a ticket to heaven when we die. We might turn to him seen in the form of Christian service, regular church attendance, a moral life. But inside, our hearts remain broken and captive and far from the One who can help us.
And so you will see the gentle, firm hand of God in a woman’s life hemming her in. He’ll make what once was a great job miserable, if it was in her career that she found shelter.He’ll bring hardship into her marriage, even to the breaking point, if it was in marriage she sought her salvation. Whatever it is we have sought life apart from him, he disrupts our plans, our “way of life” which is not life at all.
Turning from the Ways You’ve Sought to Save Yourself
We construct a life of safety (I will not be vulnerable there) and find some place to get a taste of being enjoyed or at least of being “needed.” Our journey toward healing begins when we repent of those ways, lay them down, let them go. They’ve been a royal disaster anyway.
To enter the journey toward the healing of your feminine heart, all it requires is a “yes. Okay.” A simply turning in the heart. Like the Prodigal we wake one day to see that the life we’ve constructed is not life at all. We let desire speak to us again, we let our hearts have a voice, and what the voice usually says is, This isn’t working. My life is a disaster. Jesus – I’m sorry. Forgive me. Please come for me.
Invite Him In
There is a famous passage of Scripture that many people have heard in the context of an invitation to know Chris as Savior. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in” (Rev 3:30). He does into force himself upon us. He knocks, and waits for us to ask him in. There is an initial step, the first step of this, which we call salvation. We hear Christ knocking and we open our hearts to him as Savior. It is the first turning. But the principle of this “knocking and waiting for permission to come in” remains true well into our Christian life.
In order to experience his healing, we must also give him permission to come in to the places we have so long shut to anyone. Will you let me heal you? He knocks through our loneliness. He knocks through our sorrows. He knocks through events that feel too close to what happened to us when we were young — a betrayal, a rejection, a word spoken, a relationship lost. He knocks through many things, waiting for us to give him permission to enter in. Give him permission. Give him access to your broken heart. Ask him to come to these places.
Yes, Jesus, yes. I do invite you in. Come to my heart in these shattered places. [You know what they are – ask him there. Is it the abuse? The loss of your father? the jealousy of your mother? As him in.] Come to me, my Savior I open this door of my heart, I give you permission to heal my wounds. come to me here. come for me here.
Renounce the Agreements You’ve Made
… the vows we made as children act like a deep-seated agreement with the message of our wounds. … The vows we made acted like a kind of covenant with the messages that came with our deep wounds. Those childhood vows are very dangerous things. We must renounce them. Before we are entirely convinced that they aren’t true, we must reject the message of our wounds. It’s a way of unlocking teh door to Jesus. Agreements lock the door from the inside. Renouncing the agreements unlocks the door to him.
Jesus, forgive me for embracing these lies. This is not what you have said of me. You said I am your daughter, your beloved, your cherished one. I renounce the agreements I made with [name the specific messages you’ve been living with. “I’m stupid. I’m ugly.” You know what they are.] I renounce the agreements I’ve been making with their messages all these year. Bring the truth here, oh Spirit of truth. I reject these lies.
We Find Our Tears
Part of the reason women are so tired is because we are spending so much energy trying to “keep it together.” So much energy devoted to suppressing the pain and keeping a good appearance. I’m gonna harden my heart,” sang Rindy Ross. “I’m gonna swallow my tears.”
Let the tears come. Get alone, get to your car or your bedroom or the shower and let the tears come. Let the tears come. It is the only kind thing to do for your woundedness. Allow yourself to feel again. And feel you will – many things. Anger. That’s okay. Anger’s not a sin. (Eph 4:26). Remorse. Of course you feel remorse and regret for so many lost years. Fear. Yes, that makes sense. Jesus can handle the fear as well. In fact there is no emotion you can bring up that Jesus can’t handle. Let it all out.
Grief is a form of validation; it says the wound mattered. It mattered. You mattered. That’s not the way life was supposed to go. There are unwept tears down in there – the tears of a little girl who is lost and frightened. The tears of a teenager girl who’s been rejected and has no place to turn. The tears of a woman whose life has been hard and lonely and nothing close to her dreams. Let the tears come.
Okay – now for a hard step (as if the others have been easy.) A real step of courage and will. We must forgive those who hurt us. the reason is simple. Bitterness and unforgiveness set their hooks deep in our hearts; they are chains that hold us captive to the wounds and the messages of those wounds. until you forgive, you remain that prisoner. Paul warns us that unforgiveness and bitterness can wreck our lives and the lives of others (Eph 4:31; Heb 12:15). e have to let it all go.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Col 3:13)
Forgiveness is a CHOICE. It is NOT a FEELING – don’t try and feel forgiving. It is an act of the will. Don’t wait to forgive until you feel like forgiving,” wrote Neil Anderson. “You will never get there. Feelings take time to heal after the choice to forgive is made.”
This is not saying, “It didn’t really matter”; it is not saying, “I probably deserved part of it anyway.” Forgiveness says, “It was wrong. Very wrong. It mattered, hurt me deeply. And I release you, I give you to God.
It might help to remember that those who hurt you were also deeply wounded themselves. They were broken hearts, broken when they were young, and they fell captive to the Enemy. They were in fact pawns in his hands. This doesn’t absolve them of the choices they made, the things they did. It just helps us to let them go – to realize that they were shattered souls themselves, used by our true Enemy in his war against femininity.
Ask Jesus to Heal You
We turn from our self-redemptive strategies. We open the door of our hurting heart to Jesus. We renounce the agreements we made with the messages of our wounds, renounced any vows we made. We forgive those who harmed us. And then, with an open heart, we simply ask Jesus to heal us.
Jesus, come to me and heal my heart. Come to the shattered place within me. Come for the little girl that was wounded. come and hold me in your arms, and heal me. Do for me what you promised to do – heal my broken heart and set me free.
Ask Him To Destroy Your Enemies
There are things you’ve struggled with all your life – self doubt, anger, depression, shame, addiction, fear. You probably thought that those were your fault, too.
But they are not. They came from the enemy who wanted to take your heart captive, make you a prisoner of darkness. … But Jesus has forgiven us for all of that, and now he wants to set us free.
Ask him to destroy your enemies. He promised to, after all Ask Jesus to release your heart from captivity to these things.
Jesus, come and rescue me. Set me free from [you now what you need freedom from – name it.] Release me from darkness. Bring your vengeances on my enemies. I reject them and ask you to take them to judgment. Set my heart free.
Let Him Father You
I (Stasi) have heard many times that what we at first believe about God, the Father, directly comes from what we know of and have experienced from our earthly dads.
There is a core pare of our hearts that was made from Daddy. Made for his strong and tender love. That part is still there, and longing. Open it to Jesus and to your Father God. Ask him to come and love you there. Meet you there. We’ve all tried so hard to find the fulfillment of this love in other people, and it never, ever works. Let us give this treasure back to the One who can love us best.
Father I need your love. Come to the core of my heart. Come and bring your love for me. Help to know you for who you really are – not as I see my earthly father. Reveal yourself to me. Reveal your love for me. Tell me what I mean to you. Come, and father me.
Ask Him to Answer Your Question
Take your hearts deepest question to God. You still have a Question, dear one. We all do. We all still need to know, Do you see me? Am I captivating? Do I have a beauty all my own?
What if the message delivered with your wounds simply isn’t true about you? Let that sink in. It wasn’t true. What does it free you to do? Weep? Rejoice? Let go? Come out? Take your heart back?
Take your Questions to Jesus. Ask him to show you your beauty. And then? Let him Romance you.