This post is going to fall into the category of personal, but I believe it is meant to bring freedom to so many other people. This is my story alone, but I have no doubt that many of you will identify with it. For some time now, I have been crying out and seeking for more intimacy with my Father in Heaven. And to be honest, I couldn't quite describe what I was lacking, I just discerned my relationship with Him wasn't all I wanted or needed it to be. Something was missing and it was coming from me, not Him.
I thought I was in a real relationship with Him -- I was able to talk to Abba Father about all He was doing in mine and Mark's ministry and praise Him for allowing us to work with Him to help others. And I had no problem praying for others, or asking for blessings in their lives, or for resources they needed to move into the greater purpose of who they were created to be. I was able to partner with Jesus to see them receive a level of intimacy with their Savior that they had never experienced before, and I often found myself in tears of joy and awe as I watched it transform their lives.
I did know a level of intimacy that was way more than before I asked Jesus to be my Savior. Yet, why couldn't I experience the full measure of intimacy that I knew was just out of reach? God began to unravel my confusion in a series of "reveals" that began as I took part in a study on the portions of our spirit (see email link at the end of this post to embark on your own "Spirit Bootcamp"). My spirit recognized and was in harmony with the portions Prophet, Servant, Exhorter, and Teacher. But when we got to Giver, I struggled with understanding how it related to the others and to God. When I learned it is the portion of my spirit that grants access to God, I knew I was going to need to deal with this question of intimacy. After all, if there was something hindering access to Father, how could I expect to experience intimacy? Then I also discovered that it also is involved in releasing the Father's blessings on others while receiving the blessings and resources He has for us. Ouch! That hit a tender spot in my spirit. But why?
I then embarked on some deep conversations with my spirit, requiring it to be vulnerable and honest with how I relate to my Heavenly Father. Of course, that took me to a place where I had to open the spiritual vaults to my relationship with my earthly father, which was more complicated than I wanted to admit. As a little girl, I remember a warm and loving daddy, who was nurturing, supportive, affectionate, had no problem saying he loved me, and championed all my activities in school. He was strict but never abusive. As the oldest and a girl, I realized as I grew older, that my brothers garnered more of his time and enjoyed more freedom. He was protective of his daughters as was usual for that time growing up in the 60's and 70's. But our relationship changed as I went off to college and became my own person, with my own ideas and dreams, which didn't always meet with the support I had known as a little girl. He still easily told me he loved me, but my spirit began to acknowledge the times I expressed my dreams and goals and was met with a dismissal or disapproval ... girls couldn't possibly travel the world like Hemingway and be a writer; how would you pay your bills? You need to get "a real job". All I wanted was acknowledgment that he approved of my passion to write, and believed in me as a writer. Subsequently, it would be 36 years before I gave myself permission to write just for the joy of it. I don't want to list a litany of the wounds that my spirit shared with me because I don't want to dishonor the memory of my father. But this was my spirit sharing memories from its perspective, so that gave them some credibility.
So, as I wept before the Lord that I had been unaware that my spirit had been hurting from the words and actions of my earthly father, I forgave my dad again because I knew he didn't deliberately cause me pain. And I asked my Heavenly Father to forgive me for transferring my image of my earthly father onto Him. After all, I was well aware that this is a common deception that the devil whispers to us humans (both men and women alike), and I intellectually rejected that possibility for myself -- I knew the love of the Father and didn't compare it to my dad's ... or did I? And then I remembered what I had learned about the Giver portion of my spirit ... it is responsible for granting access to Father God and receiving the blessings and resources that He has destined for me! Here I was fervently praying for intimacy and all the resources I knew were mine and asking God to reveal what was blocking them so I could partner with Him in the Spirit to see them released --- and it was looking like I was the one blocking access!
When my dad could not [or would not; for whatever reason] give me his blessings that I longed for, I was subconsciously applying that denial to Father God. My hopes and desires for blessings and resources had been dammed up by my dad's refusal and I couldn't separate that from my Father's heart. I didn't need to do anything to win His approval or change what I was asking for (feeling as if maybe I wasn't somehow worthy); I just needed to open myself to receive what He has had predestined for me from the foundations of the world and that are written in my Book of Life! That dam holding back access and blessings had been erected over years in my childhood and young adulthood, and I had failed to recognize that it didn't exist in my Father's heavenly realm. It was an unnatural, artificial spiritual dam that I had allowed to exist, keeping me from accepting and receiving all that Father God wanted to give me! The
problem was, I had been asking with the wrong heart and eventually
hesitated to even ask, feeling somehow guilty for asking. After all,
didn't the Bible tell me I was supposed to be content in whatever
situation I found myself? It was now time to deal with this once and for all. So, I submitted everything to my Abba Father, and allowed Him to heal me.
I experienced such a profound emotional connection between my spirit and my Heavenly Father, casting off the rejection my spirit had been feeling [and I was unaware of]. I knew the blessings and resources were real and they could now be released in the spiritual realms and manifest in the natural! They are real and they are mine and they are on their way! I hadn't realized that my spirit was keeping me distanced from the love, affection and intimacy with Father God because it was afraid of being disappointed. But now I know that it is His heart to give His children all that is good... Do you know of any parent who would give his hungry child, who asked for food, a plate of rocks instead? Or when asked for a piece of fish, what parent would offer his child a snake instead? If you, imperfect as you are, know how to lovingly take care of your children and give them what’s best, how much more ready is your heavenly Father to give wonderful gifts to those who ask Him?” (Matthew 7:9-11).
I now am able to give myself what I have partnered with Jesus to give to others. I no longer dwell on past experiences or allow the Enemy to start building another spiritual dam to stop the flow of blessings and resources. I am no longer tentative about approaching Father with my joys, my sorrows, my desires or disappointments. I know He desires me to be all He made me to be; never holding back His blessings, or denying me the resources that He has stored up for me in Heaven. As I've told so many who have come to our table for ministry... this journey to wholeness is a process. And I'm not too proud to admit that I'm still in the midst of my own sanctifying process. I am thankful for the letting go, and I rejoice in the receiving. I rush into my Abba's arms, sharing my dreams and goals and needs and He listens! If what I ask for does not align with His will, He makes my spirit aware that He has something better in mind; there's no judgment or condemnation... and nothing hurts.
So, here's the good news ... because I am confident in my intimacy with Him, I have been able to share my healing with other women, who are reporting that they are dealing with this same issue and He is healing us all! As one good friend related, the Lord told her, "You know me as God, but I've been hindered as [your] Father". How many of us -- whether men or women -- have subconsciously colored our vision of Abba with our memories of our fathers [even though we know better]? How many of us have allowed Satan to hand us the bricks that we've then used to build our own dam to hold back intimacy and blessings? Join with me and let's tear those obstructions down! And then let's run into the arms of Father God who delights in us and our dreams and desires! He is removing all obstacles as He prepares to take us into a demanding, arduous [yet fruitful] season of defending the Kingdom. We thank you, Father, for your faithfulness to perfect us in Your image. And we bless You, the One from whom all blessings flow! Amen!
Contact Sharonvanhorn@gmail.com to receive information about the next opportunity to partake in a "Spirit Bootcamp".
1 John 5:14-15 This is the [remarkable degree of] confidence which we [as believers are entitled to] have before Him: that if we ask anything according to His will, [that is, consistent with His plan and purpose] He hears us. And if we know [for a fact, as indeed we do] that He hears and listens to us in whatever we ask, we [also] know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted to us] the requests which we have asked from Him.