TurtleAre you in the midst of a spiritual battle?

Are you in the middle of a difficult circumstance or difficult season? Is God asking you to move out of your comfort zone towards the unknown? Maybe because that is exactly where your calling lays? Or maybe walking forward by faith towards where you can no longer rely on yourself or anyone else or any of your old habits or routines is how God wishes to deliver you, heal you, and ultimately use you.

My heart was heavy this morning with a few things as I set out for my daily morning walk. I started praying as I usually did and prayed about all that God was revealing to my heart this past week and during our morning time together. I also started interceding for a couple that my husband and I had been mentoring. I was standing in the gap for them before God and pleading with God to move on their behalf. I was also doing battle in the spiritual realm for them. I asked God to speak to my heart concerning them and how best we could advise them. As He started speaking to my heart, I knew He was also speaking to me directly about the very circumstance that occurred this past weekend. A circumstance that revealed the truth of a wound within me, a wound that represents the greatest area of vulnerability within me. God and I knew about this wound and the fear that it represented. Every once in a while, throughout the years, this wound and fear would be messed with and I would feel the horrible huge pain associated with it. For years I worked extremely hard to protect this area within myself and made sure to keep up the boundaries or walls to prevent harm or loss. I sensed God was once again shining His light on this deeply entrenched root. This morning I also knew God was saying to me that it was time for me to move forward in the direction of the vision, purpose, and calling He had for me. This meant moving totally out of my comfort zone and into the unknown IN SPITE of this GREAT HUGE AREA OF VULNERBILITY AND FEAR within me. I had to believe and trust in Him that He would deliver me and handle this area totally. I had to surrender it, all of it and could no longer work to handle this on my own. Where I was heading was totally bigger than me and what I worked so hard to prevent or stay away from, would now surround me.

I HAD TO GO STRAIGHT INTO WHAT SCARED ME THE MOST.

During my Bible reading this morning, God reminded me of how when it was time for the Israelites to go into the Promised Land, basically when it was time to TAKE POSSESSION OF THE PROMISED LAND, the land God had in mind for them, they had to MOVE FORWARD IN SPITE OF THEIR FEARS and trust God to DELIVER THEM and GUIDE THEM in every step.

The more I prayed for this couple and for their marriage, the more God started responding to me. He simultaneously showed me truth not only concerning this couple and their unique circumstances, but this same truth applied to me in my unique circumstance this very day, this very moment, and this very season.

I heard something in the grass by the side of the road and looked over. It was an animal of some sort. I discovered a turtle moving slowly through the grass. Slowly, because that is the ONLY SPEED the turtle can move in. Right then and there, God impressed upon my heart the following.

SLOW AND STEADY. This is the pace we all are to move in when faced with fear or any type of struggle. This is the pace we are to walk by faith in, especially when we can not see ahead or understand what is happening. This is the pace we walk in as we respond in obedience to whatever God is asking us to do or to go wherever God is asking us to go. The turtle’s hard SHELL protects him as needed, when needed. Just like this shell, God is our covering and HE WILL PROTECT US as needed and when needed. In the meanwhile, WE WALK SLOW AND STEADY FORWARD. There is a time to stay in the shell or run for cover. There is a time to STAND as well. There is also a time to RUN or FLEE. The only time we are to FLEE is to RUN AWAY FROM SIN OR TEMPTATION. Period. We are ALWAYS meant to RUN towards FEAR in the name of Jesus knowing God will deliver you. You do this only as He leads you. You pray first. You ask for help and guidance and how best to face an obstacle. This could be something you fear. This could be marital crisis. Maybe your mate is telling you He doesn’t love you anymore. Maybe the idea of leaving the hard painful situation is strong. Maybe the idea of divorce seems like the only solution. Maybe you have to leave everything you are familiar with to answer the call of God. For this couple, I knew God was saying STAND. Stand under God’s cover while you obey Him and do all He asks of you. This means following the Word of God and loving those who hurt us the most. This means having a soft humble loving heart. The shield is up during the heat of the battle, BUT THE BATTLE IS GOD’S.  God asks us to WALK FORWARD and ACT as He directs. So, SLOW AND STEADY forward in the direction God is leading you. Trusting God the whole way, STANDING under the cover as God moves around you.

For me, regarding the greatest vulnerability within me, the raw area? I was no longer to try and protect it. It was time for God’s light to shine upon it. I was to move forward SLOW AND STEADY trusting my Father God. I had to surrender this fear and surrender my trying to protect myself on my own. This was not my place. It was God’s place. Stepping out in faith, towards the vision God had placed within my heart, would bring me directly INTO this very area…and I would have absolutely NO CONTROL on limiting exposure, not ever again. The plan He had and the vision would not come to pass unless I moved into the UNKNOWN. I had two choices, or maybe three.  I could continue on as I have always done as I attempted to head into the expanded territory God had for me, the area where I was to go beyond myself and allow Him to use my hands and feet and heart for His purposes. This probably would not work out so well. Like I said, I would be surrounded by situations and circumstances that WENT RIGHT TO MY VULNERABLE AREA every single time. How long would I last then? It would consume me and the pain would be unbearable. It would undo me. Straight and simple. My energy would be used and depleted before I even began.

Or, I could STAY right where I was. Unfortunately, this is not where God wishes for me to be. There is a time and a place for everything. Seasons come and go. We are not meant to stay where we are forever. God has a specific plan for each of our lives. There is a time for healing, growing, and learning. Then there is a time to move by faith to the unknown as God leads for Him to use you even more. Yes, He does use us right where we are. He loves us right where we are too, but that doesn’t mean He does not wish to develop us into our better selves and into a woman or man who is more like Him every single day. Staying is not an option. Unless, I wish to go on without my Father’s anointing or power. When God’s glory cloud moved in the wilderness, the people followed. It was simple. As God moved, they moved. Where God moved too, they followed. God’s presence is IN GOD’S PRESENCE. He is where He moves your heart to be.

The other option, really then, the only option if I desire, if you desire ALL OF GOD and the BEST for your life, is to MOVE FORWARD INTO THE UNKNOWN leaving behind everything held within your comfort zone. Yes, you will walk right smack into the very things that scare you the most. God never leaves that giant vulnerability alone. Your greatest fear is exactly what God wishes to shine His light on and wishes for you to face and trust God with. Staying in the midst of fear or hurt is difficult, but nothing God can’t handle.

Yes, risk will apply. I had to face the fact that I may lose or experience what I feared the most. Would I walk where God leads anyways? Would I surrender all I fear to God and trust Him even with those things? I may lose what I love the most. Would I venture forth anyways? Do I trust God enough? Will I walk by faith? Will I truly Let go and let God?

Listen to your heart and to what God is saying to you. In marriage, it is always God’s will for love and forgiveness to flow. He will always desire unity and harmony and for the husband and wife to love each other. This does mean submitting unto God and this includes submitting onto each other in love and respect. Men are called to LOVE their wife, regardless of how the wife responds or reacts. Women are called to RESPECT their husband, again, regardless of how the husband responds or reacts. As a wife, I am asked to respect and submit onto my husband’s authority, knowing that as I do this, I am ultimately respecting and submitting onto my God’s authority over me. My husband, is accountable to God. My marriage is in God’s hands. If my spouse chooses to be unkind, mean, hateful, or hurtful, guess what? He answers to my God. It is best if I get out of the way. SLOW AND STEADY applies to this very thing. Respond how God guides me to and as His Word directs. Humility will go a long way for me. God will protect. God will defend. In His way and in His time. This is not within our control. If we decide to do our own thing, to run away, we are handling the battle without God. Same thing with any fear or anything we are trying to constantly protect ourselves from, avoid, etc.

The shell is not meant to prevent circumstances. It is meant to get us from point A to point B as God directs. Our job is to be all God desires of us and to do all He asks of us. The disciples were told to GO. The Israelites were told to GO. They were to do all God had told them to do. The promises and blessings God had for them and for us rest in our obedience to God. God gave them favor and blessings and help and power and guidance AS THEY WENT, AS THEY BATLED IN HIS NAME, AS THEY RAN TOWARD THE ENEMY WITH SWORD IN HAND. It is through this ACTION in obedience, they received ALL God had promised them.

As God’s sons and daughters, we are meant to STAND. God will fight our battle for us. We move forward SLOW AND STEADY knowing we have a covering. We are NOT the ones who RUN when FEAR or opposition faces us. We run to flee sin or temptation. We RUN towards God and towards what God has for us, what God asks of us. We are to say YES, knowing that our yes will bring us to our greatest area of vulnerability. We will feel it through and through, but we will not die. It is in this very place, where our deliverance resides. This is where we will see victory. This is where we will witness God doing the impossible. THIS IS WHERE THE ENEMY FLEES. Remember, SLOW AND STEADY FORWARD with GOD.

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