Before I begin, just in case you missed it, Anita Harrison has recorded a message she had planned to give at Come Closer in June on identity. I’d encourage you to have a listen here, as she shares the things God laid on her heart.
Our identity in Christ Jesus is a constant and unfolding revelation upon revelation throughout our lives of His generous love, favour, grace and mercy. The way in which God clothes and covers each of us, and the utter wonder that we are hidden in Him, are incredible promises. Whether you chose to follow Jesus yesterday or 50 years ago, these Truths remain. When God sees you, He sees His precious son Jesus; your Saviour, who chose to give His life so that you would know The Father.
Come Closer are generations of everyday women who seek and love God. I’m aware that we need to serve this generation well in sharing how God walks with us through every situation and transition we face, including (but not only) those relating to womanhood. Sharing our stories of God’s faithfulness in the realities of life is vital, and we hope Come Closer, including these blogs, can be a place we do that well.
God in his goodness, meets us where we are, not where we pretend we are.
Towards the end of this blog, I’m including something you can print and do at home, but first, I’d like to share a little about my own journey as I’ve been thinking about being clothed, covered and hidden.
In February, some of you will know I had a hysterectomy. This was to remove a number of issues, including Adenomyosis and also to excise Endometriosis. I was diagnosed with Deep infiltrating Endometriosis and Adenomyosis a number of years ago and I can tell you it has proven to be a battle. Amongst other horrid symptoms, both cause internal pain and altered periods.
The enemy will use whatever he can to attack our personhood. On the weeks leading up to the hysterectomy the arrows from the enemy were unmistakable as he attacked my identity and self worth. Thoughts circled overhead and at times sent me down rabbit holes of the unknown, which lead to dark places. Would I really still feel like me after the operation? Would I manage this next transition? Could I do what God had called me to afterwards? Expectations of myself (self-effort) and self doubt lingered, as well as those questions such as why was I having to walk this path. Had I done something wrong? Was my faith not strong enough? Although I knew the Truth (with a capital T), I had to take hold of it and declare it. Continually. Again. And again.
Scriptures calls the enemy ‘the father of all lies’. If you are battling in your mind today, don’t believe the lies that echo. We also have a flesh life, where those inner compulsions seek to raise themselves. Allow me to encourage you to recall and remember today that your identity is found and secure In Him alone. You are His.
Be steadfast and emboldened because Christ is in you. Place your confidence fully in Him.
When I read the events of the ‘woman with the issue of blood’ in the Bible, I’m so grateful her story is included. It’s actually written three times: Matt 9:20–22, Mark 5:25–34, Luke 8:43–48. (See Hayley’s blog for a great account of this Bible event). We don’t know her name, but God did. I wonder how her condition affected her identity. I can empathise with her pain and shame as she pressed through the crowd in desperation, and reached out to Jesus. I wonder how God drew her to be there that day, for it was no accident that Jesus was passing. I wonder if she had others to confide in? If you are a woman struggling with a diagnosis or situation which leaves you vulnerable, we at Come Closer, would love to stand with you and pray. At January’s Come Closer, prior to the operation, the women prayed for me. God revealed things to me in that moment I will not forget.
The morning of the operation, I remember waking early with the need to write. I sat in bed and wrote to my heavenly Father, and said a goodbye to my womb. I expressed my sense of loss as well as my thanks to God for His hand in making me and covering me along this journey. I thanked God that He had brought me this far; for His protection and strength in giving me resolve and courage. I declared that His grace would take me through as I relied on, trusted in and hoped in Him. That He would get the glory.
I declared my identity, and wrote who I am in Him. I asked that He bring His word back to my mind so I remembered Truth. As I wrote, I had a sense of peace that came over me. A peace that solidified what I needed to say to the surgeon. I left everything at the feet of my God. As I went through that day, an undercurrent of perfect peace, greater than my understanding, held me.
The operation was more complex than anticipated, so I have been learning to acknowledge my body’s need to rest and my spirit and souls need for replenishment. I know that God has walked with me along this long journey, and continues today. Even when I’ve felt myself distant to His presence, He has drawn me back to Him. From a scripture, a word in season, a time of quietness before Him, a song; he has never left me. He holds me, causes me to grow, moulds me, and is the author and finisher of my faith. He patiently transforms me on life’s journey. It is His word that anchors my heart. His constant Truth that said I am His. Always. Full stop.
I am Clothed, Covered and Hidden In Jesus. Each of these areas are profound. The continual treasure of His word unfolding in our lives as revelation on revelation is revealed by His grace. You are clothed in salvation and His righteousness. Covered with His love, His presence, His power, His anointing, His hand. Hidden in Christ Jesus, who says to you “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10: 27-28). Jesus, who sent the Holy Spirit to take up residency within you, knows you today, and nothing can separate you. I love this quote by Priscilla Shirer:
Isn’t that the Truth? Psalm 139 tells that the thoughts God has towards you today outnumber the grains of sand. Pause. Selah. Just think on that for a moment.
DECLARATION – So, I have been thinking on a reflection Deborah Gregg and I did a few years ago at a Bible Journaling day, and thought I’d share this with you here. It’s simple to do, either on your own, or gather with a friend or two and do together (at a safe social distance).
- A printed copy of the ‘I am who you say I am’ & scriptures. Download using the link here: I am who you say i am & scripture references copyright 2020 download
- Access to the song ‘I am who you say I am’ by Hillsong, you can access here via You Tube.
- Print the document and cut through the middle, so you have two A5 sides. One with the ‘I am who you say I am’ speech bubble drawings. The other with scriptures.
- Click the ‘I am who you say I am’ song link (You Tube), and listen (you can replay as you go). Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal Truth to you today afresh about who God says you are and what He has done for you.
Come to God honesty. Take time to read some of the scriptures, and anchor yourself to its constant and never changing Truth. Allow the vastness of His generous and deep love for you to reveal a new revelation of His nearness and strength, so that as you look up sweet one, you see Him.
- Write in the boxes who God says you are. The names that God calls you. Make it personal, between you and God. Let it imprint on your heart today, and rejoice in what God has done for you as you declare His Truth.
I have known the wise counsel of women who have gone before me, and I am so grateful for them. One of these women was Margaret, who went home to be with Jesus earlier this year. In January, she took hold of my hand and reminded me that I have much to do yet for God! Please know today, you have much to do for your God. Surrender to Him. He is with you. God is at work, and is the ultimate perfect planner, nothing goes unnoticed, and He knows and has plans for you today. His love extends wide, long, deep and high through every circumstance known, or to yet unfold.
We need to have living faith for what is ahead, just as Abraham and others did. Living faith, in our Living God, as we stand on His Living word. May His living word quicken you, and stir your faith today. You are clothed, covered and Hidden in Him.
Whatever God is calling you to step out in over this coming season ahead, in a world that is rapidly changing, He is at work and will complete the work that He has begun in you.
(We’d love to see your declarations, so share them with us if you want to).