Join me as I take a walk down a road I have traveled before….
During the month of December when the kids were on Christmas break, my husband and I gifted each other a couple nights away to one of my favourite cities, Chicago, Illinois. As we walked the streets of Chicago, we spent some time on State Street. The shops were inviting and people were friendly. Yet there was something reminiscent that took me back in time.
What was that something you ask?
A fragrance in the air…the smell.
It turned out that I was the only one who could smell it. My husband’s “smeller” was working just fine so I deduced that this must have been a message from the Holy Spirit for me.
The odorous, rancid, putrid and revolting smells on the streets, that only I could smell, burned to the center of my soul. Combined with the name of the street, the Holy Spirit was reminding me of the condition or the “State” of my heart back then.
Back in 2013, I went to Chicago alone to secure 3 Indian visas for myself and two teammates. The three of us would be heading to India and Nepal for a speaking / mission trip in April of that year. I volunteered to go as an opportunity for a mini getaway for me. I needed some down time.
Little did I know that God was going to honour my “alone time” with lots of transformational heart-work from Him and a lot of surrender from me.
For those who don’t know me personally, I am a city girl. I love the sights, sounds, comfort, adventure and the diversity of people and culture that the city holds. Granted, I probably couldn’t live in the big city long term, but to visit as often as possible? I’m game.
SN: last summer, on a family trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (completely opposite to the big city experience), I came up with a clear statement for my love of the big city – “The concrete jungle sings to my soul”.
After exiting the train station on State Street, dragging my suitcase behind me (and yes, I was actually carrying hand weights in my suitcase…Don’t ask), I walked for several blocks in one direction confidently thinking I knew where I was going. I walked with determination for a very long time until I found myself in a residential area at the outskirts of downtown. I was clearly too confident to ask for directions. I then turned around and headed back in the opposite direction, went past the train station where I had been before and continued walking down State Street on my mission to find the visa office. Still without any success.
Not only was I burning a lot of calories but God was doing a deeper work in my soul. He was calling me to a deep surrender. First confession and then surrender.
As I walked alone on State Street in 2013, I was not only being schooled in asking for directions, but God began to show me some of the extra baggage I was carrying with me – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. From the hand weights I had packed in my rolling suitcase to pride, control, arrogance, independence, strong will, anger and toxic strength…just to name a few.
Eventually, I found the visa office – right across the street from the train station where I had originally started!
Yes, the big windy city does have it’s unique smells, but that day, for me, being back on State Street made me remember the stink of my sin from years past. I have been forgiven much.
I am so glad I am not her anymore!! Don’t get me wrong, I still sin (not intentionally) but the sins that had deep roots back then, have been permanently uprooted.
Forgiveness is so much sweeter, enjoyable and lighter to carry.
It is now the middle of January and I am on a 24 hour self imposed silent retreat (yes a little challenging for an extreme extrovert as myself)
As I ponder the state of my heart today, I continue to discover my deep love for God, the healing He has granted me, the restoration He is blessing me with, and forgiveness to some of my deep and forgotten parts. The healing Balm of Gilead (Jeremiah 8:22) covers and fills me.
This morning God pointed me to John 1:11-13, “He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him. Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in his name, He gave them the right to become children of God – children not born of natural descent, nor of human decision, or a husband’s will, but born of God”. I am born of God. Do you wonder or question if you are?
Neil Anderson goes on to unpack it with this, “believers are not in the process of becoming children of God; they are children of God who are in the process of becoming like Christ. Who we are determines what we do and God want us to know that we are His children”. (emphasis mine)
This word picture came to me today from my Father.
God’s Word is like a bathroom fan. When used, it helps us see a clearer picture of ourselves. Especially when the mirror is covered with steam. It removes odors left behind from sin and other useless things in our lives. It becomes a “white noise” that drowns out other sounds.
The fan won’t turn itself on.
I heard from Him while I was wiping off the steamed up mirror with a paper towel at this retreat center I am staying at. This bathroom doesn’t have a fan.
Do you desire to know the state of your heart and maybe even how you are not who you were “back in the day”?
Romans 12:2 says it quite succinctly, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Do you want to know His will, His direction, what roads or streets you will travel in your life? Then I challenge you to sit with that verse and see where God might take you – emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. He cares about all of it!!!!
What is the state of your heart?
How have you been reminded that your Surrender “stinks” in your life?
How is God transforming your mind, your life, your world through you?
Thank you for walking with me,