The last year has been a time of immense changes. My husband and I returned from a year living abroad, hoping to find jobs somewhere on the East Coast where I could use my newly acquired degree. After searching and applying and interviewing for months, I got a temp job instead. I was frustrated and full of despair – I constantly expressed fears to my family that I would end up getting “stuck in Texas.” The temp job became a permanent job and my husband and I moved into our own apartment in town. I resigned myself to the fact that we would probably be “stuck” for about a year, but then we could get out as fast as possible.
But God has changed my heart. My husband and I joined an amazing Life Group and found a community that encourages us “to live a life worthy of the calling [we] have received” (Ephesians 4:1). We began to pursue the Lord as a couple, praying and reading His Word together. God has lovingly convicted me and encouraged me in different seasons, but throughout it all, I can see that Tyler, Texas was His plan for us. God placed us in the exact right place at the exact right time to bring the most glory to Him. And now I have the opportunity to be a part of the message of hope that Soma has the privilege of delivering.
Throughout this year, Pastor Tony has reminded us of the words he received from the Lord for Soma for 2016: “Further and Deeper.” These words have served as an encouragement and rallying cry for me in the last few months. Last weekend, I attended a conference in Dallas that was focused on being rooted in the Gospel. I was excited to learn more about how to engage with the Bible, but didn’t really know what God wanted to do with me there. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I prayed that God would take me further and deeper in new ways.
In the first session, when the speaker gave a word about making Jesus the very center and core of one’s life, the Lord convicted me; further and deeper is not only about spending more time with and learning more about God and the Bible. Going further and deeper is about letting God have access to the deepest parts of you. The Holy Spirit brought to my mind a sin from my past for which I refused to accept God’s forgiveness. He asked me, “How can I be the center of your life when you are holding onto that secret sin so tightly?” I felt compelled to confess it out loud and let God into that part of my life. A tremendous weight was lifted off me and I felt real freedom from a heaviness that had plagued me for several years. The next day, the Holy Spirit dug deep again and reminded me of someone whom I had refused to forgive. I always felt justified in hating the person because they had done incomprehensible harm to someone I love. God broke the spirit of hatred in me and showed me that I cannot go deeper if I refuse to forgive. I am now working through this hurt with the Lord and hope that by His grace I will be able to forgive fully. As it says in Ephesians 4:31-32, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.”
God has responded to my prayer that He would draw me into a closer relationship with Him. He has begun to excavate the sensitive space inside my heart and is healing it with His love. My prayer for you is that wherever you are, you would go deeper and that your heart would be open to the amazing work of our God who wants to see His people set free.