The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with his love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.
The love of God, that has been a hard one for me. I understood His love in theory and could even teach on it but I did not know it. I had given my life to God as a young child and never doubted His existence. What I had a problem with was understanding/feeling His love for me.
Let me start with a little history. I was born into a home of two young kids, an 18 and 20 year old to be exact. Two people who were at the time running from their own childhoods or lack there of. I was born 3 weeks before their first wedding anniversary into a shoe string thin financial situation. As a very young child I was doted on, I know this from pictures taken not from memory. Hard work and opportunity came knocking many times and the financial improved but with it came more responsibility for my parents. Several moves later we end up in the house I live in now. This house was built mostly by their hands and however much I love the sentimental of that… let’s just say nothing was ever easy for them. My parents have always gotten things through blood, sweat, and tears. I learn a valuable work ethic from them and to be in control of my destiny but not how to receive gifts freely given. About the time the house was being built we started attending church for the first time as a family. Oh - before I forget, when I was five years old my sister was born – the blond haired golden child who screamed the first year of her life (colic to the extreme, I have vivid memories of not understanding what was wrong and why it could not be fixed, bless all of our hearts). Back to the house building, church going stage I was about 9 or 10. As you can imagine this was a very busy time for my family and a hard time for me going to a new school and trying unsuccessfully to make new friends. This is also the time frame when my ADHD became a HUGE problem. This was a huge problem because no one in my world had ever heard of it, it would be college before I would be diagnosed. My parents trying to do what was best for me would get a tutor. While working one on one with the tutor I would do better at my school work at that point the thought would be that I was caught up and there was no longer a need for the tutor, so away she would go. I would then go back to only learning in the classroom and with my attention level my grades would start to slip. This whole process would happen several times, each time making the “snow ball” bigger. I would not want to disappoint my parents so I would hide papers and lie about grades. I would of course get caught. After getting caught I would be so broken…..truly not knowing why I could not “fix me”. I would cry out to God but there was no magic fix. At some point in the building up of all of this I also started to become rebellious. In my head I thought everyone thinks you are a loser so why not be one. Everyone thinks you do not try, so don’t. Don’t try, don’t care, build walls around your heart, don’t feel anything. This was the state of my heart for many years. As girl who's love languages are quality time and words of affirmation….I was quickly becoming a dry vessel. My parents were trying hard to build a company and better life for us and this did not allow them the freedom to spend the amount of quality time my heart longed for. I can also say that my “snow ball” of a life was not allowing room for many words of affirmation to be spoken over me. My heart was very hard and I can remember being angry at God.
Fast forward to my senior year in high school. We had switched churches, I had made some connections with a few very tender hearted, godly adults and some healing had begun to take place. Then I reconnected with a childhood friend/crush. His family and mine had done church together, hung out together, even vacationed together. I could not remember much of my life that he was not a part of. We started dating and I truly loved him. We went to church together and did everything “right”. Guess what? He dumped me, yep almost a year in he dumped me. I was broken and angry. Angry at God and done. I still believed in God and His power, I just thought it was for other people. I wasn’t good enough. I remember making the decision to handle things myself because in my mind I was clearly not important to God.
Fast Forward through years of sin and heartbreak that I caused myself while I was handling it. I am now 24 years old, I have finally gotten the nerve to become a hairstylist (a dream that God had given me at 8 years old but had died in all the pain). I am almost finished with my training when I meet my husband. This sweet man who had been through plenty of his own stuff but who’s heart was different from mine. He was gentle and kind, strong and protective all at the same time. I quickly fell in love with him… it was God or hormones, ha. We got married one year to the day of meeting. Five months after our wedding day we saw two pink lines that would change our lives forever. On a hot day in July we welcomed our first daughter into the world. About the time she was one year old we decided to do “the right thing” and we became excellent pew warmers at a church. It was a good church but far from our house. Three years later when we saw those two pink lines again we decided to find a church closer to our home. We did and let me tell you my legalistic nature kicked in and if the doors were open we were there. I truly enjoyed it and grew spiritually but still believed I had to work hard for God. I had to check off all the boxes on the checklist I made up in my head. Thankfully God honored some of my checklist and I did start to grow closer to Him. Two years ago someone very close to us mishandled a situation very badly—over and over. There has still never been a real apology. This person was an important part of our church life. So we got out of Dodge!!!!!! The odd thing to me during this time was I had no real anger (so unlike how I have ever handled anything before). I did not build up walls between God and I. I leaned in and drew closer. We found a new church where much healing could happen. A Church where the word of God was being taught with passion and without fear of being political correct. God began a new work in all of our lives. Then last year I felt God had given me an idea to have and online shop. I did it and it was a failure, at least by the worlds standards. I was so confused, I thought God was in it. But again I drew closer to God instead of getting angry. I think these two events plus many others were God’s way of beginning to soften my heart…..so that when He started pouring out His love on me my heart would be ready to receive it. The last few months have been filled with great blessing. Blessings that we did not earn. Blessings given to us freely without expectation for anything in return. This brings us to
The Pearl Event
I was on the fence about going. I wanted to go but money was tight. One night I got an email telling me my room was taken care of if I would share the room with someone else. I agreed, the person I was to share a room with was another blogger who I adore and would love to know better. I bought my ticket and started to get excited. Then the week of The Pearl Event my roommate had to cancel. I made a call to see if someone else needed to room with me and was sweetly told no and why didn’t I just bring my family with me. So I did! My husband drove us to Nashville which is about 4 hours from our house. I had been nervous about driving that far by myself. I have never been in the car alone for that long – EVER. Yes, I am a WIMP! So now I did not have to drive and I would have my family with me – God was melting me. We got to the hotel and saw Sibi while checking in, of course she gave me a BIG Sibi hug and loved on me.
Next as we were leaving our room Edie saw me and gave me a hug – Let’s pause here….I can be very insecure and assume that NO one knows who I am or cares, God was out to prove me and my wrong thinking - WRONG.
I met so many sweet people at the meet and greet on Friday night, I was in awe. Later that night I had the privilege of helping to set up the ballroom with Sibi and Jane. We moved chairs, hung pearls (even some rebel pearls).
See the rebel pearls
We set out boxes of tissues and prayed for each of the ladies while we placed programs in the chairs. It was a special time, made even more special by two beautiful friends who came in to sneak a peek of the ballroom. We had the honor to gather around and pray for one of the friends who is going through a struggle. Watching the sweet friendship between these two and the love they had for each other pushed my heart to the edge. I loved these two immediately- a love that God gave me for them. I went to bed that night with my heart full and ready to burst. The next morning I arrived to find I was to sit on the front row with the speakers and their families. It was in that moment my heart burst and true healing began. I had done nothing to be chosen to sit there, but God had chosen to show me his love and favor in that moment. I sat in awe of each of the speaker’s stories. The enemy tried that day to fill my head with the same lies he had in the past. He wanted me to believe I didn’t need healing or restoration because my story was not as tragic as those speaking. He told me to suck it up and just get thankful, but this day…. this day was different. I did not believe him. I cried out to my God, my Abba Father, and he came and rejoiced over me with singing.
You see the day of the event was my 39th birthday. Edie, being the love she is, called me and my barefoot self up to sing happy birthday to me.
You do not know what love feels like until you have spent a day worshiping God with 250 women. Then suddenly, God turns the table and rejoices over you. On that day, I truly understood the love of my Heavenly Father and that no amount of work I ever did would make me worthy. I only had to be willing and open to receive what was already there.
I stood there that day looking at a mirror on the front wall able to see so many women who had come from all over for the same reason I had, to meet God. I met God in the most real and tangible way. I knew from that moment on my life would be different.
Thank You for being willing to read my story, I hope God has used it in someway to encourage you. Please know that you too can have your our moment and if you are struggling with anything I would love to pray for you. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email @ TheHeartfeltHome@gmail.com
Thank you to all who sang Happy Birthday to me, you made my day so special.
Thank you Sarah for confirming to me that God is more than knowledge of His word, He is relationship.
Thank You Jane for showing me how God wants to redeem and heal each and every hurt from the past. Even the past of a Rebel Pearl.
Thank you Paige for showing me the importance of leaning in. Thanks also for seeing God in me and telling me it was beautiful.
Thank you Edie for living life at the edge and exposing it for all of it’s beauty. Thank you for loving on me to the extreme, the fuss you made will never be forgotten. You were His hands, feet and words in that moment.
Thank You Sibi first for being my dear sweet friend, you love me well. God has used you in so many moments of my life. Thank you for showing me God’s glorious impossibles in your life and my own. I am honored to do life with you.
Thank you Brittany for such sweet music, you will forever be the sound track to my day of change.
Thank you to my precious new friend Michelle (she is the writer of my new favorite blog). You listened and heard my heart, you held my words tenderly and I will be forever thankful.
Thank you Donna for sharing a small piece of your life story. I am still touched by your “mother heart”.
Thank you Jenny Beth for the long awaited hug and for your online friendship. You are as special in person as I knew you would be.
Thank you Kat for encouraging me in so many ways over the years (she is one of my longest readers) and more importantly for encouraging me the week of the event. Trusting God together even for the small things is huge in friendship. I can not wait to have lunch again!
PS. Thank you to the sweet pearl who liked my necklaces, I will never hear jewelry again without thinking of that special moment with you.