Thanksgiving

In looking over the past week that has led up to Thanksgiving, I am so thankful for the changes Daddy has made in my heart, that I am overwhelmed with His timing.  Just two weeks ago I could not commit to my church because I feared my future there.  I didn’t want to put all of my eggs in that basket because I was busy critiquing how it ran.  Throughout my entire list making and weighing out the pros and cons with the Lord, I still knew that my need for recognition was driving my motives.  If I was validated by people there, then I would trust in sitting under their authority, otherwise I was going to keep one foot in and one foot out.  The problem with my plan was that it went against my own “all or nothing” mentality.  Stringing myself along without a definite decision seemed illogical for my personality.  Therefore, I continued to wrestle with the knowledge of Daddy sending me there and my own insecurities of not being important there.

To my surprise, I went to church on Sunday and chose a seat in the back row.  I sat next to my friend John and shared my angst and frustration with the unknowns in my life.  He has always exemplified Jesus to me because even when he doesn’t understand the circumstances, he trusts in the Lord’s ability to make things right.  John speaks forth the words and visions that Daddy shows him often times to be perceived as “misguided”, yet he is obedient to wait on the Lord.  Somehow watching John’s response to the situations that I find challenging, makes me long for the peace that he has.  John doesn’t need validation from others to know that he is in God’s will because he knows the voice of the Father.  This revelation hit me like a ton of bricks and I began to weep.  I had waves of emotion come over me as I realized I was putting people in a position over God to speak worth into my spirit.  Since I was not receiving any feedback from the very people I sought it from, I tucked my tail between my legs and ran and hid in a corner, wondering about my significance.  I was reacting out of an orphan spirit, grabbing onto identity from other people’s perspective.  Therefore, not receiving recognition from certain people, kept me feeling like an outsider to this body of believers.  However, I exchanged that thinking for a spirit of adoption and opened my heart to hear what Daddy had to say.

I felt warm all over and knew the hand of God was resting on me.  I pictured myself in my current state, and became sick of myself.  I let down the guards of my heart and felt the Holy Spirit rush in like a floodgate.  It was such immense pressure and gentleness at the same time that all I could do was respond in surrender.  It was as if I was alone with Daddy in the room.  I couldn’t even tell who was praying for me even though many laid their hands on me.  I just wept and gave Him all of my “need for recognition” as well as my hurt from perceived “rejection”.  Words cannot describe the great exchange between Daddy and me during that time of transformation.  I felt Him meet my need of approval and take away my pain.  I gave Him my hopes for the church and entrusted Him with all the details.  I released my agenda as well as those that are currently operating.  I hear Daddy remind me of my prayer to honor Him in His house of worship.  I was thankful for the longing to truly honor my Pastors and to become a blessing to His church.  I was committed.  It was miraculous.  He gives goodness and takes away the bad.  In my case the bad was a compilation of mindsets from childhood and my reactions to the present because of them.  Since my deliverance I am much more in-tune with thoughts and familiar offenses that hinder me.

Daddy gave me a vision of a pearl in an oyster, then a pearl on a pillowcase.  I was wearing a crown and bowing down before Jesus.  Jesus was my prince and bowed down facing me.  I saw a diamond exuding many colors from my heart, a reflection from all its facets.  I began to ask for a new level of understanding and longed for holiness.  A word was given to me from a friend and it was confirming, “You’re on the threshold of walking into the revelation of what God and you have already seen about yourself”.  Two other people spoke, “Your covered, all of your shame is covered”, and “stop beating yourself up because He isn’t”  Then my friend Nikki shared, “Daddy says, I know growing pains are uncomfortable but just trust ME, I’m going to take care of you.  You’ve gone every which way but I have you.  You’re learning of My grace toward you.”  The sermon was on Matt 25 and the talents, and I had literally read it that morning and asked Daddy to be faithful with the little that I had so I could be entrusted with more.  What areas of progress I had in my walk so far,being spiritually, emotionally or financially, I knew I was on the cusp for more.  Repeatedly I had heard all week that I should ask for the things I need and that they would be answered.  All of this was confirmation that my heart for setting the captives free and to be free myself comes with the expectancy I have in Him.  I became excited for the answer to so many of my hearts desires.  I knew it was just a matter of time before they came to pass.  The feeling I had for my whole life of being invalidated, was gone by the time church was over.  I left that building different from when I walked in.

Before I left the parking lot I sought John’s opinion on a letter I had written to my Father.  I could trust his critique because he is sensitive to the gentleness of the Holy Spirit.  While I thought my word choice was appropriate, I did not want to offend my Father like I had others in the recent past.  Thank God I relinquished my hold on this letter to my trusted friend.  John informed me to burn it because it was indeed too harsh.  I knew he was right and in that instant I felt at peace.  Then John showed me a picture on his phone that he had taken.  It showed a red diamond in the sky illuminated by the light of the clouds in the sky, exuding rays of glory from many sides!  Wow, another confirmation!

I began my drive home with a sense of awe.  Look at the many ways Daddy has supplied me with good friends through this church.  I have grown into loving relationships with a handful of people there.  On my journey home, I filled up with thanksgiving for God’s positioning and finding love at the church, and I knew my importance was in Him.  I also knew that my letter was another step toward my acceptance of my circumstances that I also fought so hard against before this day.

The following days were busy leading up to the Holiday but I grew excited to cook a turkey for the church.  To my surprise my Father said he bought me one on sale.  The coolest thing was that he didn’t even know that I needed a turkey.  This allowed me to purchase artisan breads for my stuffing and splurge on ingredients for my favorite peanut butter truffles.  What transpired in the hours leading up to Thanksgiving Day was truly amazing.  I brought over the ingredients for dressing the turkey and my Father and I wound up working together side by side.  He was helpful and I was grateful.  I left with plans to return the next morning and pull everything out of the oven because he was getting up early to get it started for me.  I spent a few hours with him and he brought up recurring issues that I wanted to address in a loving manner.  These were topics that I had specifically covered in my letter that was torched, but with God’s help I spoke of them in gentleness.  To my surprise, he received it well and, it even gave my Father the freedom to admit his concerns.  It was a brand new thing in our relationship thus far.  I felt settled in my heart and left for the Thanksgiving Day in a state of acceptance.

My drive to church was enjoyable until I got a text from my friend who I live with.  It was a correction of my doing something that was perceived wrong in her eyes, and a request to stop the behavior.  She ended the text with a “happy thanksgiving”, and I closed the phone with agitation.  I typed out three different responses and erased each one because I didn’t want to respond with malice.  In those three attempts to voice my opinion and defend myself, I realized that just typing them out made me feel better.  It reminded me of my letter to my Father and how putting it in written form released me from the emotion I held inside.  I didn’t have to respond on impulse because spelling it out was enough to re-group and keep from saying something mean.  I chose to not respond until I could pray about it.

In the minutes following my prayer, I called my friend who has known me since the day I got saved.  Although she is a lot younger than me, she has extreme wisdom and still extends her heart to God despite questions she has about Him.  She and I can relate well to each other because of our common childhood experiences.  Over the summer I left a message on her voicemail and prophesied her release over her mother and declared that great forgiveness would transform their relationship.  She had returned my call days later confirming that the lord was speaking that very message to her.  Now, she had the rest of the story for me.  She did indeed lay hands on her mother and release her from the past.  She described an intimate and emotional freedom that came over both her and her mother.  She further described the significant impact it had on her mother’s behavior and how everything was restored, so much so, that neither of them remember what they were angry about.

I was speechless.  My friend thanked me for being obedient to the word God gave me which brought the prophecy to pass.  I just hung on the phone and let the million thoughts I had, pulse through my veins and mind.  Not only was she validating my ability to hear from Daddy, she was honoring our friendship, and in her growth was causing me to be stretched beyond my capacity of understanding.  I saw my value to Daddy and the need to value others in the same instance.  It wasn’t coming from the pulpit or a prophet, but from a close friend.  Even better.  I was broken.  I asked her about feeling forgiveness and the difference in choosing forgiveness, which had she moved out on?  She replied, “Both”, and I knew I had to take my relationship with my Father to a deeper level.  I listened to my friend’s council as she urged me to seek a “feeling” of forgiveness from the Lord as well as step into it.  It even related to my roommate and I was even more thankful for not sending a text in response to impulse.

I got off the phone and pondered the areas of my heart that were still carrying unforgiveness toward my Father.  Somehow, I mustered up the strength to re-unite with him and release him, yet the work was incomplete because I never forgave him.  I still await his apology for all the wrongs he committed against me and was therefore, withholding my forgiveness from him.  I immediately thought, “I have to get his out of me and forgive him immediately so I can experience that peace my friend had.  Do I do it now?  Quick, let’s get this over with.”  As if I had to do it then or I would change my mind?  I knew there was a place I reserved in my heart that wanted freedom from my resentments, but was only for my own benefit.  I still have “Stuff” in my heart and I need it out.  The problem was, I didn’t know how to give it over.

Now my friend who forgave her mom, and my friend John, both gave me examples of laying down their pride and hurts so that God could take care of them. There was definitely a revelation being brought forth to me in both of their examples.  Now I will admit, I respect both of these people because they tend to think deep and introspectively like I do, which is even more of a reason that Daddy used them.  So here I am at the church house, spending time with my friend John, and sharing about the text from my roommate, conversation with my friend, and the conversation I had with my Dad.  He just laughed in his usual way and explained that I was changing.  With each situation, he broke down the details and pointed out how all of it was shaping me into one who loves.  I know what I should do but I hold onto my ideas until I sense they are no longer working, and then someone who I respect comes along and draws me deeper into awareness of Daddy’s love.  I am constantly being amazed by Daddy’s ability to let me know He is near.

I engaged in a number of conversations with people at the house church and it was so exciting to be around so many people.  I thrive on being around others so it was great to interact with people from all different walks of life.  I noticed in myself that I was not striving.  For the first time in a long time I felt released to be myself.  From there I drove to my surrogate parent’s home to have Thanksgiving dinner with them.  To my surprise another friend I had recently connected with was there.  This man was the one whose pain I had felt in my chest a few weeks prior when I was driving home from this couple’s prayer group.  I prayed for healing all the way home and once I walked across the threshold of my room, the pain in my chest left.  He mentioned his scare of a heart attack during that same time when we spoke the following day.  Ever since then, we have had a great friendship.  I looked at him and my two adopted parents, and I just smiled.  What a great day this had become.  I was surrounded by those I love and could completely be myself.  The four of us joked all evening about my attitude and how it defines me in a good way but causes trouble at the same time.  I thoroughly enjoyed their assessment of how I “tell it like it is”, and how they have taught me to grow spiritually.  It was a safe place for each of us to admit our short-comings, and bring up questions about faith.

I could totally relate to my friend’s reluctance of joining our church, but then I was able to share of my surrender and trusting God with my future.  The common struggles that my friend and I had, had us relating to life’s experiences, as if we were the male/female version of each other.  Through conversing we even found out that we have certain investments in two particular clubs that I minister in.  What may seem unconventional to most Christians is the very place Daddy has interest in.  Despite our attachments to a world we knew before, God had us intricately placed to redeem it.  This revelation of common ground and praying over a territory because the Lord has made it “our business”, completely reveals Daddy’s amazement.  The whole night was a blessing.

Shortly before I was about to leave, the subject switched to the abuse of sex offenders in jails, how they are considered the scum of the earth.  We each related stories that we knew about pertaining to those men who were persecuted.  We each believed that abusers had been abused in their childhood and therefore homosexuality was often a result.  What amazed me the most was our understanding of repeated abuse among inmates, creating a homosexual tendency afterward.  So much of the “stripping away of identity” comes out of someone being abused.  Sex offenders become targets of the very abuse the committed.  What a cycle of shame, hurt and damage.  The topic was sobering and changed the atmosphere, but still kept “Thanksgiving” on the forefront for me.  I said goodnight to everyone and began my drive back home after a full day of fellowship with those who love me into deeper change.  I praised the Lord that my Father was never persecuted as a sex offender because he has already suffered enough.  Being abused in jail could have led him into so much more strife, and that reality would have crushed me today if my past attempts to persecute him had come to pass.  In His Soveirngty, God did not answer my prayers of justice toward my Father because it would have caused more harm down for us both.  I wept on the way home because my Daddy in heaven spared my Father and myself even more shame and pain.  Years ago, when my heart was raw I wanted my Father to pay for what he did to me as a child, yet Daddy had a plan of love and redemption in the making.  Since the Lord knows what is best for us, sometimes prayers look unanswered, until they are answered with deliverance and love for all involved.  In this moment of revealing mercy, I texted my roommate and agreed to honoring her request of changing my behavior.  The timing could not have been better.

It has been 2 months since my re-uniting with my Father and I still was harboring resentment for his denial of abuse.  Could it be that my entire search for recognition from others came out of feeling invalidated by my Father as a child?  What if I truly applied forgiveness to my relationship with my Father?  I cried out in my car for my own mercy because I was so hurt I couldn’t see the power of destruction my vengeance could have caused my Father.  Never in a million years would I have wanted my Father to receive that kind of pay-back in jail on my account.  I thanked God over and over for His mighty love that covered the multitude of sins both my Father and I had committed.  I am expecting this Thanksgiving Day to be one I never forget, for Daddy truly gives good things and takes away the bad.  I not only forgave my Father, I forgave myself.  How thankful I am for Daddy’s love.

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