Heaven in Your Storyline
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I love the process of spiritual formation. The ongoing discovery of who God is, and who I am in Christ, is what gives my life meaning. Arch enemy of this process – orphan thinking and the subsequent emotional bondage of shame. Who I am is not enough.
Several years ago I gave a two part message on Overcoming the Orphan Heart. The disconnect felt by an orphan is due to a painful lack of belonging. Personally, I have benefited much and truly enjoyed my sometimes arduous journey of what we call inner healing or healing the father wound. I have taught and read, extensively on the subject. But recently, Father had a surprise in store for me. It was a new revelation of heaven in the storyline of my childhood.
God’s desire is that we be rooted and grounded in His love. Eph. 3:17 Ideally, the prototype, or on-ramp, for this experience, is to be born into a loving family with loving parents to oversee your formative years. Alas, we all have gaps don’t we? From mild to severely traumatic, the identity stream of our memories, has the power to define who we believe we are. One aspect of the successful mission carried out by Christ, took care of this issue: to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning. Isa. 61:3 To bring heaven in your storyline. But it all evolves on a graduated scale.
Due to the intensity and depth in which our memories are rooted, the new creature in Christ that now defines me is manifested in a progressive manner. It’s a surgical partnership of sorts with ample time for recovery and regrowth in every season. This takes time. But here’s a key I recently discovered. The enemy of our souls, seeking to keep us trapped in our trauma, will maneuver the negative memories in order to eclipse the positive ones. Those positive memories are proof of heaven in your storyline. They are proof that God the Father was initiating entry in whatever way He could. To bring heaven in your storyline.
My Lost Sister
My older brothers were born nine and ten years prior to me. In essence, I was like an only child, and raised predominantly by my mom. This was due to my dad and brothers being mainly absent from my life. I rank myself mild on the trauma scale compared to the many childhood stories I have heard as a pastoral counselor. Nonetheless, my story was principally headlined by this lie: You are not worth spending time with. It’s not hard to imagine all of the tributaries that flow from this dark river. In the aforementioned video series I share the process of freedom from the tentacles of this lie.
Okay, without further ado, here’s the surprise from Abba. A couple of weeks ago, our entire family enjoyed a vacation getaway in our hometown, where myself, Anne, and our children were born and raised. I had arranged via Facebook, to meet up with a grade school friend, something I’ve never done before. For a little context here we are, pictured in kindergarten, and today. I’m wearing suspenders and Debbi is to my left. (I have no idea who the girl on my right is!!)
We reminisced for two hours, each of us remembering segments that the other had forgotten. We talked about the teachers we had in school, the neighbors, and the relationship that our families had. She made the comment: We were like brother and sister. It was revelatory to me, simultaneously for the five year old me and the adult me. It was like opening a gift, one that my Father God had presented to me years ago. He was aware of the vacuum I felt inside, the empty space unintentionally created by my dad and my brothers, their lack of relationship. God had provided Debbi and her family as a place of belonging.
The Art Gallery
A couple of days after I met with Debbi, our family was on the way to an event and we were driving by my childhood home. We pulled our vehicles into the driveway and I felt impressed to knock on the door and see if the owners wouldn’t mind my looking in the back yard where I used to play. The couple was of a similar age to me and they were very hospitable, invited us into the house! For the next thirty minutes we toured the house, my granddaughters being able to see where Grandpa was raised as a child. This topped it all off for me.
My reunion with a childhood friend and the tour of my childhood home, left a measurable impact upon my heart. These words summed it up for me:
Our past is like an art gallery. Walking down those corridors of our memory is like walking through an art gallery. On the walls are all of yesterday’s pictures: our home, our childhood, our parents, our rearing, the heartaches, the difficulties, the joys and triumphs… Since Jesus Christ our Lord is the same yesterday and today and forever, then we can take the Christ of today and walk with Him into our yesterday and ask Him to remove the pictures that bring bad or defeating memories….We need to let Him leave the murals that bring pleasure and victory and take down from the walls those things that bring despair and defeat. (Charles Swindoll, A Man of Passion & Destiny: David.)
Magnify the Lord
The Bible tells us to magnify or exalt the Lord. I realize that this often runs counter-intuitive to our emotional state. Trauma remembers and will often remind us of our brokenness. Empty spaces have loud voices don’t they? My prayer for you today is that the redemption purchased on the cross would become more real in every layer of your soul. It may not be through a childhood friend, but the Holy Spirit has unending avenues of access that He is seeking to activate.
Let’s ask the Lord to be magnified within us. Magnification does not change the object of your focus, but it changes your perspective on what was there all the time.
Past, present, and future, may you have eyes to see, heaven in your storyline.