In 2007, God spoke to my heart a statement that truly was a huge jumping off point for my journey WITH Him:
you are not connected to God through the Church - you are connected to the Church through God
This seed in my heart continues to take on more significance every year. At that time He first planted it in me - I was praying for a replacement spiritual mentor. My grandma had just died and I was lost. The week she died, I found myself laid out, cheek on the sidewalk, soaked in my tears of pain - just aching. I ached for not being able to see grandma again on earth, I ached for my mom, I ached for the mentorship I lost, I ached mostly because I knew I couldn't fake it anymore. I felt in a way that I was coming before the throne just me for the first time. I kept crying out for God to help me know Him. That I wanted to TRULY know Him - like grandma did. I had always approached the throne through grandma or with grandma (without her even knowing that really) and it was time to run to Him myself.
I was brokenhearted - and He came close - as He promises. He responded to that genuine outcry to Him and planted this truth in my heart. I knew then that I could stop searching so hard for mentors. I really felt Him loving on me saying - I know that you feel that you don't fit in anywhere - you fit with me. I promise you that the church's (lack of) approval of you or notice of you is no indicator of me and what I feel about you.
I felt so empowered. I felt so loved! I really felt He was asking me to STOP putting people in between me & Him. Jesus was the ONLY intercessor I needed.
He reconciled me to Himself. I am His and nothing can separate me from His love. Late 2008 early 2009 - God then started giving me this wonderful passion for His Church. His Body. His Bride. I was reconciled with Him --- and now looking back I realize that the next step was allowing Him to reconcile me with His Body - the rest of the believers. I believe that genuine, loving, reconciled, authentic relationships with others are only possible through close relationship with Jesus.
It's a process - it's a journey and so He continues to reveal more and more - but right now as I wrote about previously, He has called us to step outside the pen - the usual Sunday scene and way of 'doing' Church. That's a whole other story but basically - the Shepherd called us out - and the sheep know the Shepherd's voice and answer to His call. I trust Him. I don't get it all - I can't see the whole path in front of me --- but I do see the lamp upon my path right here in front of me and hear what He's asking. I trust His Spirit in me. I don't need the safety of the pen when I have the safety of the Spirit. again... that's another story.... BUT
Recently He introduced us to some other sheep and one of them put this seed in my heart into such great perspective. When I told him all this that God had done - He said oh wow,
I am the vine, you are the branches. Matthew 15:5 The branches are not connected to each other. The branches are connected to the vine..... SO because of that - we are connected to each other. Yes! We ARE the branches! There's the scriptural backing up of what God spoke to me years ago.
Wow - 3 years later this seed in my heart continues to grow - thank you God! :)
I can't stop thinking of this imagery.
Right now I'm reflecting on the visual of branches and the fact that the branches are closest to each other when they are closest to the vine!! When they are further from the vine - they are further from each other! Much more to come....
Thank you Jesus for all your reconciling work!!