What was my block to having an intimate relationship with God? I kind of knew one part. I had a tremendous of misplaced hate, animosity, and feelings of betrayal swimming around in me. It has prevented me from making friends, having any type of opposite sex relationships. I knew it was so strong, I did not even try and develop friendships of any kind. But it also got me not to be able to keep my head above water either. Meaning, it was so overwhelming, it was drowning me. I should have been able to advance my career, make enough money to support my kids and family, but I could not, I was overwhelmed by these feelings.
When I came to the Refuge, I knew I (not anyone else) had to change, I had to move forward or I was going to drown in my own pity, regardless if my situation was my own fault or not, it was how I was reacting to it which was the key factor drowning me.
When I got to the refuge, prayer was very much emphasized. I have not been much of a pray to God person. And the primary reason is because it felt as though there was never anyone on the other end. So, I focused on prayer. I had read and heard that I needed to forgive those I had anything against, but it never really hit me until I read the following verse again for probably the 100th time.
Mark 11:25 (ESV)
25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
Also, I realized after Mark 11:25 coming alive in my heart, I thought about the Lord’s prayer I have been reciting for years, it states right there in full color, if I forgive then my father will forgive me. I thought about this, if I was not to live beyond today, then I had not forgiven those I have anything against and my father then would not forgive me.
Matthew 6:9–15 (ESV)
9 Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,
15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
I have been able to forgive in my heart those that I have anything against, I still have the next step, where I will present this to them and ask for their forgiveness. You see, I did not realize God was with me the entire time and he is building my character and he had this in his hands the entire time and I was running around being upset, mad, angry holding onto animosity like it was the breath I breath. However; when I went to prayer, I could feel that there was still something between me and God.
I read the story about the rich man – again and for some reason it hit me differently. So, I went to my study notes and got a glimpse of what the deeper meaning of the story is. Of course you may already know, but I was not until now. Of course, the story is stating that if you value anything more than God, than you cannot be his disciple, in the case of the rich man, it was his stuff, his money. For someone else it might be something as simple as loving playing golf more than God.
Matthew 19:16–29 (ESV)
The Rich Young Man
16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”
18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness,
19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.
24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.
I’ve read these verses below so many times and never understood them thoroughly; however, when I read the combination of the verses of Matthew 10:34-39 and Luke 14:26-33, it hit me or this verse is what triggered me to evaluate myself closer: Luke 14:33 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. It is the “renouncing of all” which got me. I then thought back to when Jesus first called the disciples. They dropped what they were doing and went with him. There were a few which asked him to go take care of some business at home and he said they could not go. We never hear if any of the disciples had family they left behind.
Matthew 10:34–39 (ESV)
Not Peace, but a Sword
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.
37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Luke 14:26–33 (ESV)
26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,
30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?
32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.
33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
So, what do I love more than God. I thought and thought and thought and thought and then had the aha moment. I love my kids more than anything in the world, I’d drop ANYTHING to help them and my love for them was exactly what was causing me so much of my grief which was causing me so much of my grief.
God and I had a chat. He asked me: “Do you trust me?”, I replied: “Of course!”, he said: “Then give them to me, they will be under my umbrella, I will protect them, I will raise them so you don’t have to worry about them.” With tears in my eyes, I handed God my children, similar to what Hanna did for her son Samuel.
You see, God chose me a long time ago and I knew it, but ran from him and he has been honing me in for what he has planned for me. You see, I cannot be mad or angry or have grief of anyone when they have been more obedient of God than I have to help me get prepared for what God has instore for me. I love them, I appreciate them and most of all, I forgive them for all I thought they had done to harm me and in the same, I hope they will forgive me, I know God does. Amen!
If you read this, please leave a comment on how it flowed. I am posting after first draft and will update it quickly.