Several years ago, on my last ski trip to Vermont with the family, I had an epiphany with the LORD.
It was with great excitement that we layered ourselves in clothing, strapped on our boots and hung our ski lift passes on our ski coats. The weather was perfect for shredding down the mountain! Three hours into our first day of skiing, my husband’s skis became lodged in an ice mound and the bindings did not release. He broke his fibula and sprained his ankle badly. For the two of us, our big ski adventure came grinding to a halt.
We returned to the condo while the boys continued to ski and spent the next two days relaxed on separate couches. It was there, on that comfy sofa, that I had an encounter with Jesus that has profoundly changed me.
I was meditating on Matthew 14:22-23. Let me highlight some key insights the LORD impressed on me…the journaling pages were with much greater detail…I will leave you to discover what the Father would say to you, personally, from this passage.
*Jesus modeled the need to be away, alone with His Father. Why? Ministry is draining. Loving others and pouring yourself into their lives causes you to become weary physically, emotionally and spiritually. Being alone with the Father allows us to recharge.
*Jesus dismissed the crowd so He could have some alone time with His Father. He modeled that it is ok to set a boundary around His activities. Do I protect my time with Him?
*Jesus went up on the mountain. He had a special place that He regularly went to be alone with His Father. While meditating on this section of scripture, the LORD showed me a vision that changed my life.
I saw in the Spirit a beautiful wooded landscape, with rays of sunshine streaming down between the openings in the canopy of green leaves. I could hear in my Spirit, Jesus’ voice beckoning me to come deeper into the woods. I saw myself walking along a small dirt path deeper and deeper into this peaceful forest. There, seated on a fallen log, was Jesus, motioning for me to come and sit down with Him.
We sat quietly on this log for quite a while, listening to the sounds of the forest and just enjoying being together. The blanket of peace that settled over me was amazing. I didn’t want this moment to end. Then he looked at me and impressed very clearly into my heart the following message.
“Debbie, this is OUR SECRET PLACE. I want you to make coming to this SECRET PLACE a priority in your week. There will be things that I will only share with you here, information that you will need for this next season of ministry in your life….things that I will not share out in the hustle and bustle of your normal life. You will not want to miss what I have to share. Go home and make it a priority to come visit me here, on this log, several times a week. Do not come here to work on teaching lessons. Come with your heart, ears and eyes open. Bring only your journal and My Word. Don’t forget, Debbie. I cannot stress to you how important this is…OUR SECRET PLACE”.
That day the LORD planted a desire for that SECRET PLACE TIME that has never gone away. I have a picture of a beautiful wooded scene in my kitchen, the busiest room in the house…to remember.
May you discover where your Secret Place Time is to be with the Father. Let Him show you…
He Offers More Than A Band-Aid
I have been studying Mark 2:1-12 this week…where Jesus heals the paralyzed man who is lowered through the roof by 4 friends. This passage is rich with insights but there was something that really caught my attention in a fresh way.
Sometimes we come to Jesus looking for Him to heal “the obvious” need that we perceive we have. “I’m paralyzed”. What I really need is to be healed so I can walk. Jesus’ first remarks to this man are, in verse 5, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” This poor guy must have thought he had heard Jesus wrong….my sins? It’s my legs that don’t work!
Jesus perceived this man’s real needs and it involved his heart that needed forgiveness.
How many times have I come to the Lord asking for help with something that has paralyzed me, like worrying about the opinions others have of me. There was a time in my life where my goal was to keep everyone liking me. How exhausting! Some call it being a “people pleaser”, others refer to it as being an “approval addict”. Whatever you call it, this mindset led me to feeling bound up and paralyzed. I constantly lived in fear of rejection. I ran to the Lord for help so I would be able to please people better to keep the peace (like saying ‘please fix my legs!’). I heard Him say instead that my real issue was that I was living to please man and not the Lord. Proverbs 29:25 says that “the fear of man will prove to be a snare but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” He encouraged me instead…to focus on Ephesians 5:10 which states that I should “find out what pleases the LORD.” My focus had been all wrong.
He saw my real need, dealing with the sin of putting others above Him. I asked for His forgiveness for this and began to make it my goal to ask the Lord in different situations, “Lord, what pleases you?” The result was peace…and a new level of freedom in my different relationships.
As I studied this, this Lord gave me a visual that I found cool. Picture being bound head to toe with a thick rope…because sin binds us up just like that so we are unable to move. Jesus comes by and we cry out to Him to come and put a bandaid on our brush burn that we got from trying to free ourselves from the ropes. Instead, Jesus takes a sharp blade and removes the ropes that bound us. He saw our real need.
Hmmm, like the paralyzed man, have you been crying out to the Lord to heal you/set you free from ____________? I encourage you to run to Jesus and ask Him to reveal to you what is really the source of the struggle. Don’t just treat the symptom, let God heal the cause.