I would like to tell you a story. A story from a page in my book, a page in my life, that changed how I saw Papa God forever. From seeing God as distant, ashamed of me, and controlling, to a kind, fun, gentle, loving father who was so proud of His daughter.
Oh how I think of those nights where I thought He had turned away from me for my constant falling short. Now I see He was there the whole time with open arms, wanting to pour out His love, in my darkest of nights. It was never about what I could do for Him. It was about what Jesus had DONE to get me right with God already. His love, forgiveness, and grace has nothing to do with me. It’s all to do with Jesus. This is the good news for you. This is the gospel. God loves you. He can transform your life. It’s totally free. No strings attached. You guys can do life together. You can live in His presence and watch God move.. And when you encounter this mercy face to face.. You will never be the same again.
Due to being expelled from a number of school’s as a teenager, I built this mindset that if I broke the rules when it came to God, he would kick me out the club. If I made a mistake, I’d go to hell and lose my salvation. I know.. It’s crazy.. I actually believed this to be true. Which of course had me tripping into a nasty cage of religion and legalism and then.. I messed up big time and lost my identity alongside my mess up, because I was putting my worth into what I could do for God, and how I could perform to get his approval, rather than who I was in Christ because of the work Jesus paid on the cross.
I felt so lost and sprinted to binge drinking and clubbing to escape my shame. I will go into that story another time..
During this blip I knew I needed to get away to sort my head out and work out my faith with God. Away from everything I knew at home. I felt so broken and I was desperate for that freedom that scripture promises. HA, oh how I look back and see how I was beautifully and perfectly in process. Walking through the fire, being tested, and God chipping away the things that didn’t bear fruit in my life by bringing things to the surface to pour in His truth and love. If I only knew the adventures that lay ahead..
During this time I was really praying about studying at Bethel in California which was totally out of my comfort zone, and I needed God to confirm it if it was where He wanted me to go. I was so scared about the thought of living on the other side of the world. And on one cold english night at 10:30pm whilst I’m reading my bible on a night shift at work the atmosphere in the room suddenly change and I could feel God’s presence so thick. I prayed, “what do you want to say God?” And I heard Holy Spirit say ‘Keep Reading x’ I turned the next page and as I read the next verse I couldn’t believe my eyes. Hosea 12:4 ‘There at Bethel he met God face to face, and God spoke to Him’ I put my bible down wide eyed, and started to cry. I prayed ‘Oh God! I will go!’ I mean, He couldn’t have confirmed things any louder than that!
So I went. On my first day of school, to my surprise one of the pastors on the stage introduces the year to be a year where we encounter God face to face, where we learn to walk daily with Christ, where we cultivate an intimacy with God where we are known by God and we know Him. God lead me into a season where I would see His face in times of worship, the kindness of His love, the smile over my life. He was never disappointed in me. God healed my heart that year. I encountered His grace. Jesus has totally changed my life. And it’s just the beginning. And now I want to encourage you. Now I want to give away this encounter to you. We are all sons and daughters of God and what He does for me, He can do for you to. So I pray that you would encounter the Father’s love right now. That you would know He never leaves you. And you walk together by spirit everyday. I pray He fills you with peace, hope and abundant life right now.
He wants a relationship with us. He doesn’t want our religion.