I think this is the most important post I have ever written and I hope it truly blesses you. My prayer is God uses it to stir us up!!
Do you ever battle with anger, stress, guilt, lack of self-worth & self esteem issues, not feeling appreciated, no one understanding you, loneliness (even if you are married and/or have a large family), fear, and so on?
I have the answer for it all.
But let me tell you a story really quick.
I have been a Christian all my life, but I didn't start having an actual RELATIONSHIP until I was out of high school. When I was 18 I moved into my very own apartment, BY MYSELF. Living on my own I had all the time in the world (minus working a full time job) and I had such a close relationship with God. I never experienced intimacy like that before. It was as if He was as close as my very breath. I would eat at the table and "chat" with Him while eating...I even lit a candle. There was a book that I loved back then that changed my life and it is called "Falling in Love with Jesus" by Dee Brestin and Kathy Troccoli.
Dee wrote from the experience of being married and Kathy wrote from the singles aspect of it. They taught women that Jesus is our Husband and we are His bridegrooms. And I looked at Him as such. Even going grocery shopping, I felt His presence and walked through the store as if His arms were around me the whole time. I had peace like I never had before. I didn't worry about anything, I had no fears (except for bugs...Dear God why did You make BUGS?!!!), I truly had the revelation that God loved me.
Fast forward 9 years. I'm married, I have 2 kids, I'm a homemaker, I have people to take care of...I no longer have all that time in the world, and so on. My "position" with God changed. I started having less and less time with Him...to the point that intimacy was gone. I still depended on God, I still had faith in Him, I didn't stop my walk with Him, but that level of intimacy that hits on an EMOTIONAL level was gone.
I've battled with resentment BIG time, along with a huge dose of impatience, selfishness with my time, I always felt like a bad mom, wife, homemaker, etc...anything that was brought to my attention that I forgot to do or did wrong would wreak emotional havoc on me. I was a wreck! That was when I took my blog break, however I've battled with this for a few years now.
About 3 weeks into my break I had this HUGE desire to have that intimacy back again. I went looking for that book I mentioned above. Along with finding that book I found another book called "Heart Hunger: Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs."
You see...the book "Falling in Love with Jesus" always brought me back to my small apartment when I was single. Although I still read it (it's one of the few books I've read from start to finish, and I've read it so much it's falling apart), I can't get the same satisfaction I once did from it. This other book, I don't remember when I bought it, I don't remember why I bought it or even where I bought it. I've never read it before. It's just been in my collection for a few years now. But looking at it was like seeing a flashing neon sign.
I decided to start reading it again, and sure enough it was exactly what I needed.
Ladies, the root cause of all our issues, especially our emotional issues, all stem from our intimacy with God. If you TRULY know in your heart and soul that God loves you, I mean REALLY loves you, you wouldn't have any of these problems.
Earlier that same day BEFORE finding that book, I brought up a stack of teaching tapes all on selfishness, resentment and all those other things. I was DETERMINED to get past this! But God showed me that that wasn't what I needed.
Jesus told us that the GREATEST commandment is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Do you know what it truly means to do that?
If you truly loved God with all your being, then all the things that you are trying to change about yourself, will just happen.
When you truly and I mean TRULY love God and have a close, DEEP AND PERSONAL intimate relationship with Him, you naturally are more peaceful and loving. You don't need anyone else's approval, acceptance, you don't care what people think of you....you are just so close to God that nothing else matters and of course in that God is changing you.
When I would clean the house, or reorganize something, I would EXPECT my husband to not only notice but to pat me on the back and say "good job." However, many times he wouldn't even notice. BUT he would notice something I haven't done. I used to clean just to shut my husband up (he's a clean freak). A few days prior to my finding the Heart Hunger book, I was so emotionally drained. I felt worthless, like no one cared, I was lonely and that all I do is wrong. The crazy part is, I was surrounded by people who love me. My problem was I didn't have that intimacy with God that we so desperately need.
Ladies, if you don't have that level of intimacy with God PLEASE stop all other studies. Stop trying to learn about patience, and fear, and homemaking, and finances and having a powerful prayer life and whatever else you're studying. Nothing in life is more important than your RELATIONSHIP with Jesus. Nothing is more precious than your walk being so close that it hits you on such an emotional level that it makes you almost hard to breathe. Don't settle for anything less!!!! There is no reason to go on with all your studies and the books your reading and so on, if you don't know with all your being that Jesus loves you so much!! Okay now I'm crying lol.
"If your relationship with Christ, at this point, consists only of a quick greeting and request each day, it needs more"
-Cindi McMenamin - Heart Hunger
When I would have my morning time with God I went through the motions sort of. I mean I still talked to Him, I felt a little of His presence, but that was about it.
Ladies, imagine not having a spiritual "to-do list" so to speak. Imagine not having to have your morning time with God because every waking moment IS your time with God. Imagine craving Him throughout the day where even a whole hour in the morning is no way near enough. Imagine desiring Him so much to the point it's HARD to do anything else.
"We can read His Word and pray 'til we're blue in the face, but until we make the decision to get serious with God, we're still just dating and testing the waters. It's the dating stage where many Christians stop." - Cindi McMenamin - Heart Hunger
We hear this message that Jesus loves us all the time that we almost tune it out. But ladies listen. Jesus loves YOU. If YOU were the only single person on the face of this earth, He still would of died for you. He longs for you to love Him just as much in return.
"God wants to be the ultimate relationship in our life, the One from whom we derive our greatest satisfaction, the One whose love we crave, the One who steals our heart away....He still considers Himself our husband. That's right - we have a "holy Husband." Throughout the Bible, God uses the illustration of a bridegroom seeking his bride to describe His desired relationship with His chosen ones. That kind of pursuing, that kind of love, makes Him more than just a Supreme Being whom we thank before meals and sing and pray to on Sunday. That makes Him a God who is intimately acquainted with us. He is ready for the commitment. Are you?" - Cindi McMenamin - Heart Hunger
Ladies, PLEASE, I am BEGGING you, don't settle for anything less.
"An abundant life for a woman is a fulfilled life, a life of joy, meaning, purpose, satisfaction, love. When we make Jesus our First Love, above everyone else, we experience an intimacy and joy we never knew before. And we begin trusting Him with our emotional life." - Cindi McMenamin - Heart Hunger
I highly recommend you look into this book. You can find it HERE on Better World Books for $4-$6 with free shipping. I also suggest looking into the other book I mentioned...you can find that HERE on BWB as well...just make sure to get the book and not the workbook...although the workbook is great (I have that as well). That book is actually a trilogy (click HERE for the 2nd book and HERE for the 3rd book)
The level of peace I have now is unexplainable....I can't put it to words.
Just like you might have certain CDs that are for you and hubby, I have one for my time with God. It's not a worship CD...it's not even in the Christian section. Technically it's labeled under "New Age" but it's just instrumental music. I play that, and have a notebook where I have begun to write love letters to God. No requests, no complaining...just stuff on our relationship. It is the most precious part of my day.
Here is a Youtube Video with one of the songs (email subscribers click HERE)
A little update...since I wrote this I have gone back and forth with it. You have to be CONSISTENT with that time with God to STAY at that level of intimacy...something I am still learning.