Hello readers! And may I begin by thanking you for the outpouring of love and congrats after my last post. Y’all know how strongly I believe in our need for community, and I’m honored you would share in mine. Within community, we find our joy multiplied and our sorrows halved, all by God’s good design.
This week, I find myself continuing to process what my husband and I experienced last weekend at The Restoration of the Heart conference we attended in Colorado Springs. Admittedly, I didn’t know what to expect going into this event, but I certainly didn’t expect what we encountered. You would think I’d have learned my lesson about expectations by now!
The weekend was essentially a two-day, crazy intense counseling session, and it was deep! Oftentimes, you can attend a conference and sit back, take it all in, and go back home feeling pretty good about whatever nugget of knowledge you learned.
Not so with this conference.
John Eldridge and Dan Allender have a God-given ability to point a spotlight into the furthest, most hidden recesses of your heart and soul, illuminating the broken places, for the distinct purpose of finding restoration.
The theme of restoration is key in the life of a believer, as it’s what God desires for our lives: restoration of the heart and soul, bringing wholeness to all the places that have been damaged over the course of our lives. God’s heart rejoices in and celebrates new life. It’s why He sent His son on our behalf!
Let’s face it, we are all damaged beings—some in “large” ways, some in “small,” but the ultimate impact is the same: our souls have been broken, and we’ve believed the enemy’s lies about ourselves and our circumstances. Our Heavenly Father longs to restore order, wholeness, and joy to our souls, and He can!
Over the course of the weekend, we camped out in a beautiful portion of scripture from the book of Isaiah:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners … (Isaiah 61:1-2 NIV).
This passage so wonderfully highlights God’s desire for us: healing of our hearts, freedom from all that bind us up, and moving out of darkness into His marvelous light. I don’t know about you, but that’s exactly what I want for my life and the lives of my children!
An abundance of things threaten to come against establishing and maintaining wholeness and restoration, but the one that struck me most was the concept of making agreements. The speakers explained that we make an agreement with our enemy whenever we hear one of his lies and decide to believe it. It isn’t merely hearing the lie—it’s shaking hands with the enemy and saying, in essence, I agree with you.
And once we make that agreement? We’ve entered dangerous territory, for now that lie becomes our truth and the filter through which we view and interpret everything that happens to us. Our perspective is fatally flawed and will remain that way unless and until we take that agreement to the feet of Jesus and break it.
Over the course of the past several years, God has been working in me to identify and break many of the agreements I’ve made along the way, the chief of them being who I am is not enough. This conference was so powerful, and God used it to dig even deeper into that agreement and reveal new truth and life.
It is so hard to reach into our past and face the heartbreaking experiences we’ve had—our natural human response is to avoid pain, and we build walls to protect ourselves from ever experiencing those emotions again … but the truth is, what we build for our protection, the enemy uses against us. Rather than finding relief behind those walls, we end up isolated and so bound up that we’re unable to live the glorious life Jesus intended us to live:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10 NIV).
Dear reader, where has the thief stolen and killed and destroyed in your life? What deals have you struck with the devil as a result of your pain?
That you’re not good enough?
That God isn’t good enough?
That God loves others more than you?
That God isn’t able to restore?
There’s no end to the number of lies the enemy brings to our feet—and so often, those lies are tucked into our fears. This conference has opened my eyes to the reality that we are tempted to make those agreements nearly on a daily basis, and I am moving forward more attuned to the enemy and his schemes.
And that is my prayer for you as well. As hard and as scary as it can be, don’t allow fear to prevent you from diving into your brokenness and inviting Jesus into those places you have walled off, perhaps for your entire life. He is faithful and will reveal those agreements you have made with the enemy along the way … and when he does, break them then and there! Freedom and joy await on the other side of those agreements, more than you can imagine!
Wholeness is yours in Christ. Restoration is your inheritance in Him. Through Jesus, every single one of us has access to new, abundant life in the radiance of His presence. The only question is, will you join Him?
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9 ESV).