Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Difference

What is the difference God makes?

It is everything.

It is the kind of difference that takes a young woman from walking by a mirror with no reflection to seeing someone beautiful staring back at her. It is the difference that assures her she is loved, even when she doesn't know such love and that feeling scares her, just a little. It is the difference that takes her from living a mediocre life, day after day, struggling through the tough times to a life desperate and thirsty for God, to be used by Him for His greatest glory. It is the difference that makes her first thoughts turn to prayer, even in the most dire of moments. It is the difference that makes her confident enough to be vulnerable, secure enough to dare.

It is the difference between six months ago and today. It is everything.

My life is so weird right now, so different than I ever could have imagined it. God is doing a great work in me, one that I can only hope to share some day when this world is ready to listen. Much of it is in the book I've been working on, but not all. The book was my way to write toward freedom. I could feel the stirring of God in my heart, and I knew He had that greatest gift for me, but to simply accept it and move forward, I felt like I was running. So for one final time, I sat with pen and paper and wrote through my story, acknowledging the heartache, the brokenness, the sin...and finding God in so many places I never figured He would be. As I concluded, I found...I am free. It is great.

Maybe that's why I struggled so severely this week. Death knocked at my door - literally. As I sat Monday morning in a dental chair, the first shot of anesthetic sent a small tremble through my body. The dentist pushed and gave no less than five additional shots, each worsening the reaction. I've been used to having allergic reactions to this because of the medical issue I face, but this was that and much more. After four hours of violent convulsions and weirdness in the brain, I knew it was more than I was used to. As it turns out, now 36 hours later, there were two issues: there was the typical allergic reaction, which has not helped at all. And there was the neuro-toxic component I am coming to learn about. This drug poisoned my brain. It continues to do so.

Nobody can tell me how long this second part will go on. The allergy is already fading, and I am getting back to a semi-normal routine. But at times, my body takes back over and convulses and contorts, affecting nearly everything I do.

Yet, I cannot lose sight of how much my Father loves me. Even in the grips of death, in mild fear for the past nearly two days, I am not scared. I am assured, confident, peaceful. God has a great work for me; He reminds me of that every time I walk by the mirror and see a beautiful young woman where a little whore once stood. It is my testimony, and I now have the privilege of living on the other side of it. What a difference it makes - in how i feel about myself, about God, about everyone. I've wasted so much time and so many relationships being broken and in bondage. Now, I am free and even death does not scare me.

Continue praying as I try to be patient with God. Patient while He works the toxin out of my brain, and patient while He completes His incredible work in me and makes me the woman He's been providing glimpses of for several months now. That woman...she is incredible. She is strong, even in weakness, and she is pure and giving and loving and trusted. I'm almost there. Getting closer every day.

So it's weird to me to live in this new life, where this world has nothing to scare me with, where the peace never leaves my heart, and where I never lose the love of God in my heart - His for me and mine for Him.

What is the difference God makes?

It is everything.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a beautiful bride prepared for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, the home of God is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them….” ~ Revelation 21: 1-3

We so often dream of Heaven as a place other than this. We cannot fathom the mere transformation of our broken world; instead, we long to escape it in eternal union with God. Sometimes, I wonder if Heaven is nothing more than a place of our own imagination, though, and this passage reminds me I might be right.

The Bible does not say that God lives in Heaven; it says He lives in the heavens. Remember when we say He created the heavens and earth? It’s not some supernatural place. It is a part of this universe, part of the niche that God carved out of the vast expanse.

In this passage, God tells us, through assumedly John, exactly what will happen when He returns. He’s not coming back to sweep us all up in a giant group hug and ascend us into Heaven. Not even into the heavens, as we know Jesus went. No, here He reveals that He is coming back, but He is coming back HERE. To this place. He will transform it, restore it to its created glory, and then dwell HERE with us.

What about Heaven? What about the streets of gold, the mansions, that place we long for that escapes us from this one? We want that bliss! At least, I do.

I don’t believe we will be disappointed. Look closer at the passage. “The sea also was gone.” Remember that as God created the world, He started by separating things – light and darkness, sky and not-sky, land and sea. Before He separated the waters, the sea was part of His entire universe. It transcended the line between heavens and earth. For our benefit alone, He confined it by creating land masses.

When He returns and the sea is gone, only one of two things can happen. Either we spent our whole lives searching for Living Water only to find “Heaven” a dry place. Or the sea simply absorbs and becomes part of the larger universe once more, things revert to their state of wholeness. I like the second option better.

We will have Heaven, but not as we picture it. It won’t be some other place. It will be part of our place. God is coming back down. When He comes, He will erase the lines that separate our world from His, our earth from His heavens. We will be freed into the cosmos to live in communion with Him, and He will once again live among us in tangible form.

Won’t that be great? Remember the last time an expanse of fluid constituted your entire universe, meeting your every need? The womb. Yeah, I kind of imagine “Heaven” to be like that.

This passage brings me more peace, as well, as I read that God is coming back for me. He’s not sitting in Heaven calling out my name, hoping I will come. No, He’s coming back right to where I’m at. He’s coming to meet me, to move in and set up shop in the center of my life.

This may not show me the Heaven I thought I was waiting for; but it certainly reminds me of the God I always knew – the One who meets me where I’m at.