As I stood on the dove-gray dappled shore of the Sea of Galilee, my mind slowed to absorb the scene.
The soft sunlight danced off the rippling waves’ strength. Comprised of chunky volcanic rock, the shoreline was not the fine white powdery ‘beach’ I had envisioned. The rocks were coarse. Their beautiful peppery-hue enhanced the Sea’s sparkling reflection with contrasting brilliance. The rolling hills provided a golden backdrop to pockets of green grasses swaying in the light wind. A transcendent haziness filtered the clouds to create a surreal glow across the water.
Breathing deeply with intention, I hoped to etch this moment into my mind and heart. “Lord, this is so special. Help me to make time stand still so I can remember,” I asked. There was such peace.
Our speaker began to teach from John 21 as we settled along the shore, vying for spots under the shade of a large tree. Eloquently, she began to read from the gospel and provide insights into the history, cultural background and specifics to the story.
The reality of this scene penetrated my heart with striking force. My mind filled with swirling thoughts of “Jesus was here in this place. He called the disciples in from this lake and cooked breakfast for them—HERE! In this location! Peter had betrayed the Lord three times yet Jesus LOVED Him and still had a good plan for His future. How comforting Jesus’ embrace and warm meal must have been to Peter’s heavy heart……..”
Immediately, I became aware of the Lord’s Spirit in a fresh way. There was no escaping His manifest presence.
The speaker was no longer speaking to me. God Himself was whispering the speaker’s words directly into my heart. And just as Jesus had spoken intently into Peter’s life to recommission him, the Lord Himself was speaking into mine.
“Patti, do you love me more than these? Feed my lambs.”
“Patti, do you love me? Take care of my sheep.”
“Patti, do you LOVE me? Feed my sheep.”
With each inquiry, His summoning penetrated deeper and deeper into my spirit. His questioning had plunged into the depths of my heart, far below the pulled together ‘mask’ I so easily donned. We were in the cellar of my heart which housed an assortment of wounds, confusion, self-doubt and fear.
“You know I love you, Lord. You know all things. You know my story……..”
Yes, Father, You know how I was deeply wounded by church leadership, betrayed and cast aside.
You were at my side as I read the emailed message, “Your gifts are not needed in the church.”
You heard them say to me, “You are too old. You are not good enough.”
Face-to-face with insecurity and fear, my heart cried, “Abba, Father, what am I supposed to do with all of this? These are your appointed men. You’ve led me to seminary only to reach what feels like a devastating dead-end……the future seems so dark and cold.”
Between my thoughts and teardrops, I heard the speaker’s sweet voice break in once again.
”Jesus was gently restoring Peter and providing new vision for his future. Jesus was transforming Peter from a fisherman into a shepherd of God’s people. “
And now on the shore of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus comforted and recommissioned Peter, Jesus Himself was transforming and recommissioning me. It all became clear.
Jesus restores. He gives fresh vision when we’ve lost our way.
“Because of my GRACE, dearly loved and chosen one, you can overcome—feed my lambs.”
“Because I have forgiven you, FORGIVE them—-take care of my sheep.”
“Because I have REDEEMED you for a purpose according to my will—feed my sheep.”
“Do not be afraid for I am with you. I am for you! What can man do to you?”
“I love you. It’s my plan and I have the final word. Always.”
As I lingered along the shore, the lies began to blow away like dead tree limbs in a storm. Satan’s plan to keep me stuck was shattered.
- God drew me out of the past into the present and provided vision for the future. He alone has a good plan and will achieve it despite what anyone says. Trust Him, friends.
- God urged me to lift my eyes off the perceived situational barriers and focus intently on Him. He is my Lighthouse, my security and strength, above the stormy waves of life. Lean into Him, sisters.
- God required me to release my claim for a debt to be paid. My response needed to be forgiveness—for my own sake! I must forgive as I have been forgiven. Justice is God’s domain and will come about in His timing. He liberates and sets us free! Surrender to Him, daughters of God.
- God directs us to continually replace the LIES from the world, the flesh and our enemies with the TRUTH OF HIS WORD. We must lead with ours minds and not our feelings. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we will overcome the negative thoughts and deceptions to walk in the fullness of His TRUTH. He enables and empowers the Children of God!
My adventure had begun. The journey to true identity in Christ, freedom and purpose was underway. Paved along a road of refinement, God has been gently restoring, healing and providing continued fresh vision for the future.
(Read more about FREEDOM at #LiveFreeThursday with Suzie Eller!)
Sweet friend, I don’t know what you are wrestling with today. Life this side of eternity is filled with pain, hardships and suffering. We hear lies from many sources telling us who we are and aren’t. Oftentimes, we feel lost, alone and overlooked. We suffer from the decisions of others and the consequences of our own choices.
I’m here to tell you: GOD IS BIGGER than your past. He is with and for you in the present. He holds your future in His hands.
Nothing is wasted in God’s economy. Not one tear nor one heartache goes unaccounted for. He is true to His Word. His promises do not fail.
He will redeem your pain for His glory and your good as you surrender to Him. There is power in the name of Jesus Christ! Call on Him today!
God sees. He knows. He cares. He LOVES you. He desires to heal your hurt and set you free.
Let your adventure begin TODAY. Please leave a comment below so I can partner in prayer with you! And if you know someone who would be encouraged by the truth of God’s Word today, please feel free to share this post!
Scriptures to encourage your heart today:
REFLECTION QUESTION: Are there lies I am currently believing that hold me back from walking in freedom? Ask the Holy Spirit to bring anything to mind that hinders you. He has promised to lead us into all truth!!