Wednesday, March 3

frAgrAnt woRship

... asking God to show me how to truly love myself...

Sometimes I have “aha” moments, and I have had a few of them these past few days. The thing is – those moments are all about the same thing! I was trying to figure out why I am struggling with the same lbs over and over again. As I was driving on Friday – I felt the urge to grab a pen, and with was trying to scribble down some thoughts whenever I came to a red light! The remaining thoughts come from those scribbled down ramblings. Its a long post (what else is new) and pretty transparent - but here it is! Feel free to read on!

I am not sure exactly what spurred on those thoughts on Friday. Perhaps it was a weigh in day which had been postponed two times, and now figured I should just go and do it. And, well – I had gotten into a few things i.e. chocolate for instance and had been sidelined in my weight loss journey. So, I was basically going to face the music! (sigh ** again!)

As I drove – there were a few thoughts that came tumbling out of my heart onto the paper on the passenger side. I just hoped I had enough red lights to be able to jot down my thoughts.

Some of my thOts went like this:

  • Do I love myself?

  • What does that look like today?

  • What does that look like now with me at home? (unemployed, struggling with “worth”)

  • Can I separate “me” from the “overweight me” (that I see in the mirror)

  • How do I pour into myself, or (better yet) how do I allow God to pour into me?

  • How do I experience His love to me?

You see – years ago, I had a friend who told me “Joy you just need to love yourself”. To which I replied “I can’t and I won’t because I do not like being in this double x l size of clothing! You see (this is the revelation that came Friday) I was only seeing the person that was staring back at me in the mirror – instead of seeing the person that God had created me to be – the person on the inside with a soul! And well – I was NOT feeling the love!!

Fast forward to yesterday morning. I love doing my QT in the morning. The Lord and I around the dining room table. I often have a candle lit and burning close by. Somehow the burning candle is a visual reminder of His presence with me at the table. (I know that I love visual reminders!)

My prayer in my journal was “Lord, help me to love YOU ~ to seek YOUR face ~ and to allow You to help me love myself!” As part of my QT with the Lord, I also try to do part of my study. (currently in week six of the study: A Woman’s Heart – God’s Dwelling Place by Beth Moore)

Yesterday Beth drew our attention to the altar of incense in the tabernacle. It was a sweet time of study, and I can only say Lord, thank you for that! It opened with the verse from Isaiah 50: 4-5 (NLT) “the Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom so that I know how to comfort the weary. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will. The Sovereign Lord has spoken to me and I have listened. I have not rebelled or turned away.”

Morning by morning he wakens me….
This is why I love having my QT first thing, or next to first thing in the morning. Okay, usually I make the coffee!! Somehow coffee and my quiet time go hand in hand!

At the end of the day’s study – Beth directed us to the story from Luke 7: 36-50 subtitled “Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman”

I googled and found this artwork for this story from Luke. It is titled Feast in the house of Simon the Pharisee, Peter Paul RUBENS; c.1618; oil on canvas; the HERMITAGE MUSEUM, St. Petersburg

Ever since I was little – this story intrigued me. The visual of this story is quite something. A woman who lavished her all on Jesus! Kneeling and kissing his feet. Anointing his feet with a perfume that was no doubt way more than she could afford to spill out in this way. And yet – she did. She lavished it on the LORD. (even writing this has made me weep). O Lord – that I would lavish my love, my thanksgiving, my thankfulness on you like she did. As she anointed his feet with this beautiful fragrance – the fragrance of what she was doing – her love – her offering – was even more fragrant to the Lord. Using her tears to combine with the fragrant perfume, she washed his feet, wiping them with her hair. (O Lord the story touches my being)

When I read the subtitle – describing her as a
SINFUL woman, I just thought – Lord, what made her any more sinful. Sin is Sin. And the Lord said to her – you are forgiven!!
What joy her heart must have felt.

My heart also feels this joy! The word FORGIVEN is sweet isn’t it. Our names are written on the palm of his hand! Oh Lord, just those thoughts make my heart beat faster!

And while this woman knelt and anointed the Lord… most likely completely oblivious to anyone else in the room. What worship. What sweet fragrance!

Beth Moore, in the workbook on this study, said the following about “Fragrant Worship
She said, on page 118-119 of the manual:

  1. Fragrant worship is costly. It comes only when what is deep inside is lavished on Christ.

  2. Often, the fragrance of worship cannot truly be released until the vessel is broken.

  3. Fragrant worship is not hindered by others! Notice the company this precious woman in Luke 7 shared! Read Galatians 1:10

  4. Fragrant worship laces us in right relationship with God. We have an awareness of who He is.

  5. We cannot out-sin God’s ability to forgive! After we have truly repented and reveled in God’s sure forgiveness, our worship becomes the fragrance of purest nectar!! I am convinced that the greatest cause of a believer’s inability to offer fragrant worship is a feeling of worthlessness, whether self or environmentally imposed! Allow God to lavish his love on you. Lavish worship comes from lavish love!

She ended that section with “Ask Him to show you your great worth to Him. He may say it in many ways, but it will always stem from the same basic truth He has revealed to you through this lesson: I love you so much that I died for you, and I love you so much that I live for you.”

Well, the remainder of my QT with the Lord had me journaling, weeping face down asking God to forgive me for not allowing HIS love for me to help me to love myself fully. It had dawned on me on Friday that when I worked in ministry, I came to see how many women did not know how beautiful they were in the eyes of our God! I have said that I felt that this was one of the main purposes to providing a ministry where women could come and refresh! And all of a sudden the Lord was impressing on me – “Joy, I don’t think you have understood and experienced this fully yourself!” (talk about a major “a-ha” moment)

Finishing paid ministry at McIvor church – it was hard. Real hard. Yes, I did feel completely convinced that Jesus said it was time, I was done there. But all of a sudden there I was unemployed. Working through a ton of stuff emotionally. Working through a ton of stuff physically. Working through a ton of stuff mentally. Wondering aloud often “Lord what is my purpose?” even though I really did know or assume I knew what His purpose for me was. More and more I came to feel that this time aside, was time for me to work through healing, work though the “stuff” that came with unemployment, work in our grieving. But more than a few people told me they felt God wanted to teach me about renewal, refreshment and refueling, so that I knew first hand what it was we wanted women coming to the retreat ministry to experience! Ahhh….

To complicate this, is the fact that for me – experiencing this was hindered by my inability to love myself fully… because of the reflection in the mirror. God gently used people in my life AGAIN over the last few days to realize the person in the size XXL is the “shell” that houses the ME that I need to love. Once I love the real me, through God’s strength, grace and mercy… then I think perhaps the “me” that I see in the mirror will come into better focus AND instead I will see more of my Saviour in the mirror!

Never a day goes by that God doesn’t reveal more truth to me! JESUS LOVES ME THIS I KNOW… and HE in his mercy and grace is helping me love ME so that I can be a better reflection of HIM, so that I can help others to experience HIS love for them, and experience how precious we are to HIM! Oh how precious I am in the eyes of the Lord. Oh dear one – how precious YOU are. I hope you get this easier and quicker than I did!!

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