“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dewll in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge -that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.”
Growing up the end of this passage was the benediction our pastor would give at the end of each service. I can’t read this without hearing him ramp up … NOW TO HIM! Who is able to do FAR MORE THAN WE COULD EVER ASK OR DREAM OF, according to his power within us, to HIM BE GLORY in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout ALL GENERATIONS, for ever and ever. AMEN!
Like a rhythm – I knew the service was ending when he rose his hands and spoke. It was like a song I waited for, to hear those words fall over me every week.
I grew up in the church but man, do I love Jesus.
Three years ago a friend invited me to a Thursday morning Bible Study (with child care) and I had tried them before but my kids never did well and it was awkward, the small groups and, what seemed to me, forced authenticism. This was different or maybe I was just ready. I was ripe for the pursuit Christ had on me.
It was in the ashes of what has been the biggest fallout from my family, where I tried to remove shrapnel from my heart and was executed instead by hurtful intentions, covering up the truth, and a manipulation I had learned to call “daddy”.
I needed a place to ask some really hard questions. I felt God asking me to trust him and I wanted nothing to do with it on my own. I could hardly get out of bed, how in the world was I going to trust this Father Figure to care for me so deeply? I had heard it all before and all I saw when I looked in the mirror was the reason I was in this position in the first place: I was still here.
At the end of the first year of that study we went around the room and said something we had learned or wanted to offer to the group for the summer. I read the passage from Ephesians.
I had it written on paper that was stained by water from washing dishes. I taped that paper to my mirror, to the wall above my bed. I took that paper in my purse, in my bag, floating around in the chaos of my car. It was wrinkled and blotched but I needed it near me. A little broken piece of hope.
Because I knew it. I just KNEW it. There was this ember of something so deep inside, burning so hot it was unrelenting. There was more than this, there was healing, there was freedom. This wasn’t what I came here for. I knew it. And I ran as fast as I could after it.
Hiding when you’re hurting won’t heal you and growing isolated can just let infection grow.
The best way to tend to your open wounds is to open your arms.
When Love’s got hold of you, there isn’t a lie in the universe that can pull you apart.
Where there was once crippling self-hatred, You gave me Grace.
Where there was once abandonment, You carried me to a safe place.
Where there was once a chasm of pain to wade through, You stretched out your hand and led me.
Where there was once fear, You shown light on my truth and lit the path beneath me.
Where there was once a lonely heart full of suffering, You looked at my emptiness and called me Beautiful.
Where there was longing, You supplied in plenty.
Where there was once doubt, You gifted me with certainty.
Where there was once pride, Lord you revealed yourself to me.
Where there was once a heart of stone, You healed me.
Where there was once deafening bondage, You set me free.
We’re all just lights hiding under a bushel, but I don’t want to any more.