Webster defines “free” in the following ways:
1. Not determined by anything beyond its own nature or being.
2. Relieved from or lacking something and especially something unpleasant or burdensome.
3. Not bound, confined or detained by force.
It’s not ironic that today is celebrated as Independence day for our nation, and that this is the day that I have chosen to launch The Chick Nest! Because today I celebrate LIVING FREE. See that girl in the picture? Do you see that smile? Do you see that Glow? No, its not me…. Its Jesus. That happiness captured in that smile is brought to you by freedom.
It has taken me 31 years to even begin to understand and realize what it really even means to be free. Sure we live in a free country, and everyday we wake up with the right to make our own decisions, but I’m talking about spiritual freedom. The kind of freedom that when your head hits the pillow at night you can accept yourself for who you are and that you are enough because Gods love is enough. That’s where spiritual freedom begins; with HIS great Love.
In 2015 I was walking in the Garden, (spiritually speaking). I had a relationship with God. I walked with him, I talked with him and in return he filled my life with HIS spirit. I always thought I was a good person. I felt like I had a gift. I had a way with people and a passion about my life that made me feel unshakable, and full of purpose. And along came the enemy…
When the serpent tempted Eve in the Garden (Genesis 3), he never told her to look at what God had given her. He never told her how beautiful the garden was or how special she must be that he had created it just for her, so that God could walk and talk with her everyday. The Enemy never told her to look at all of the incredible trees that she got to eat from, or how much God must’ve loved her to create all of it just for her! His goal was to get her to want something that she didn’t already have. He wanted her to feel like she wasn’t enough and what God had given her was not adequate either. He wanted to point out the one thing that would separate her from her freedom. He wanted to take her out of “her Garden”. He wanted her to always feel like she was never enough, that she was alone, she was unworthy, and ultimately that she had failed and let God down. The enemy wanted Eve to feel like all hope was lost.
Friends. The enemy still works with the same tactics. The enemy will be sure to remind you of all the things you don’t have and he will paint you the prettiest picture of what your life could seemingly be like. The enemy will continuously whisper how much “better off” you will be. And he just loves to sprinkle it all with a good dash of comparison.
I was tempted right out of my Garden. I lost my freedom; I lost my passion and all of those “good” things I claimed to be, (which was never me, it was all HIM to begin with). My Family, my friends, my business, my influence, and my gift; I lost it all.
In November of last year (2017), I was at the lowest point of my life. I was living in an apartment, while my home, marriage and children were in mere ruins. Damage, chaos, and guilt were drowning me. All the while, I had gotten a “real” job and put on a happy face but many nights I remember trying to just fall asleep while hoping that I wouldn’t wake up the next morning. I tell you I can hardly write this for crying… He didn’t leave me there and HE wouldn’t just let me die.
Thankfully, I had a few good, TRUE Christian friends that were willing to get down in the ditch with me. People who didn’t care that I was dirty, what I had done or the mess that I had made. People that offered Love, without condition. Compassion filled souls… modern day good Samaritans. (They know who they are.)
And here’s the Good part!!!! I had spiritually died. But he resurrected me. Have you read the story of Lazarus in the bible? Lazarus was Mary and Martha’s brother and not much is said about him, other than the fact that the Lord Loved him. Just like Lazarus, today I sit at the table of the Lord. Because He loved me.
All of the damage, the guilt and the sorrow, he graciously allowed me to lay at his feet. He has repaired my home, my marriage, my children and my fragile heart from all the ruin. It has not been easy. It has taken time and I know there are things that he is still mending for me and just being thankful will never justify all the good HE has done for me. (I plan on another blog post just to talk about Lazarus because its a huge part of my story.)
NOW I wear the scars, but I’m OK with that because they tell of HIS goodness. Scars mean you battled; you fought and you SURVIVED! I want to be the one unafraid, bold and willing to get down in the ditch to tell you its not hopeless, its not too late.
I think of Judus often. My heart breaks to think of the guilt that consumed him, to the point that he ended his own life. (Judas was the disciple that betrayed Jesus.) I believe with all my heart that Jesus wanted Judus to just reach for him, to turn to him, pour his heart out, ask HIM for forgiveness, and lay that guilt in the hands of the ONE who LOVED him. I cant help but want to be the one that followed on Judus’ heels down to the gallows telling him its not too late…
So this brings me to my MISSION. If my story can shine a little ray of Gods love, I’m gonna let it shine! You are LOVED without condition. Gods love is so vast its hard for us to even comprehend it. But when we begin to realize that he loves us exactly for who we are, and it isn’t about the clothes on our backs but the hearts in our chests, it changes how we think. It changes how we love ourselves and how we can love others around us. Never feeling like we are enough is straight from the ENEMY, just like he did Eve in the Garden. We must be tactical and aware when he starts to whisper his lies.
To think that God made all of this world and he thought I need Brooke, just rocks my soul and hits my heartstrings. He made you too, because he knew the world needed what you have to offer.
I am more than my flaws, my mistakes, and my failures. I’m more than leather bracelets, cute t-shirts and hats; I am HIS. Lets spread a little love together. Lets get tactical, a little grit and a whole lotta grace! Lets get in the ditch and look at the hearts of people. Religion brings prison, Jesus brings Love and FREEDOM.
WHEN HE SETS YOU FREE, YOU ARE FREE INDEED.
XOXO Your Blue Ridge Chick,