Deliver Me

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A few weeks ago, I posted about my car’s breakdown and having to choose joy in the midst of stress. Here’s the sequel to that episode and what God was teaching me in it.

Idris broke down on Sunday, February 14, (happy Valentine’s Day to me) and was in the shop until Saturday, February 20. It took the mechanic a while to figure out what was wrong with it, so for almost a week, I had no answers — and no car.

The Tuesday of that week in my Desert Spirituality class (we’re studying the Egyptian Coptic monks of the 4th and 5th centuries) my teacher posed a challenge: Meditate on one verse for a week. The verse assigned was Psalm 70:1.

“Make haste, O God, to deliver me!

O Lord, make haste to help me!”

 

I admit, although I undertook the challenge enthusiastically, at first I couldn’t really connect with it. David was asking the Lord for deliverance from men who were trying to kill him. Being unable to relate to that situation and feeling pretty secure in most areas of my life, I wrestled with the question, “What do I need deliverance from?”

On Friday, while walking from my piano lesson back to the prayer room, I got a call from my mechanic. Long story short, my catalytic converter was blocked and needed to be replaced ($600) but this was only a symptom of a larger untracable problem and the blockage would only build back up over time (six months to two years) and possibly damage more things along the way, sooooo… his advice was that I start looking for a new car.

GREAT news to hear on a Friday morning!

I sat down in the prayer room, opened my journal to where I had started to write about Psalm 70:1, and thought wryly, “Welp, I know what I need deliverance from now.”

But in the next moment, I knew it wasn’t my car situation itself that I needed deliverance from. It was my attitude about my car situation.

I needed deliverance from fear. Worry. Distrust. The enemies I was fighting were all internal.

Crazy how I get the most revelation and encounter when I’m suddenly in some sort of desperate situation… when I suddenly realise how much I need Him.

At noon, right at the beginning of her set in the prayer room, Erica Jensen started singing a song by Audrey Assad that has recently become very dear to the entire IHOPKC community since Audrey sang it at Onething. (You can watch the set HERE, and you can even see me in the front row. It’s kind of weird to watch the exact moment God was impacting my heart!)

From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions
Deliver me O God

From the need to be understood
From the need to be accepted
From the fear of being lonely
Deliver me O God
Deliver me O God

And I shall not want, I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness I shall not want

“I Shall Not Want” by Audrey Assad

It was exactly what I needed to hear.

That night, Misty Edwards sang the exact same song at Encounter God service. It was a powerful moment. Even Misty was choking up and had trouble finishing the verse. (You can watch that set HERE. The song starts around 33 minutes.)

Lord, deliver me from fear of not having what I need. Deliver me from trying to figure things out on my own. You are my shepherd, and I shall not want. I lack nothing with You. I rest in Your presence and provision.

Enjoy Audrey Assad singing I Shall Not Want at Onething 2015:

Epilogue: I paid for the repair and got Idris back on Saturday, February 20. I’ve been driving her gently ever since (except that one time I drove to Dallas last weekend…) and she’s been behaving very nicely for me.

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Caught Up In Mercy

I’ve been caught up in mercy
I’ve been caught up in grace
All my cares have fallen off now
And this joy I can’t explain…
-Zac Dinsmore, IHOPKC, “Caught Up In Mercy”

This song was one of the primary tools God used to encounter and change me during my time in OTI. (The new studio version is available on itunes HERE.) A conversation with a friend brought it all to the surface again the other day, so I decided that now’s a good time to share this part of my story.

I’ve often had difficulty understanding the abundance of God’s grace toward me because since I got saved when I was three, I’ve often felt like I don’t have much of a testimony. There wasn’t much of a dramatic before-and-after; I was three, for heaven’s sake! I had a hard time with verses such as Luke 7:47, which says, “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Of course, I know that because of Jesus, I’m not going to hell, and that in itself is huge, but… I still felt like I was missing something, like all of the ex-drug-addicts could somehow love Jesus better than I could.

One night, as Zac was singing this in the prayer room, I was thinking back again through my life and who I used to be. God really has brought me so far. I normally start telling my testimony at age three, then jump to high school when my spiritual rennaissance began, but that night God started reminding me of all the childhood sins I’d like to forget… things that are seemingly small in retrospect, but I remember exactly how I felt during those times and I know that it came from genuine darkness within me. I remember trying to bury the guilt, but I couldn’t undo the damage. I was a hard-hearted selfish little 12-year-old who was bitter at nothing in particular, and I hated that about myself.

The great mercy is that even then, God wouldn’t let go of my heart. I still somehow loved him and kind of wanted him. I knew I was missing something about the whole God thing, and I wanted to be a mature Christian someday, but really didn’t want to be “weird.” And so I kept God at a safe distance. Even though I was a church kid, my heart mostly lived in darkness.

And God broke in and rescued me from that. I would sit in my room and pray for “breakthrough” even though I didn’t know what I meant. I wanted to just wake up with all my darkness gone, because I hated it but didn’t know how to grow without the growing pains. He was faithful, though, and gradually he brought me out of that and into genuine light and love.

Through all this time, I was “saved.” I was a “good church girl.” I wasn’t acting out or doing crazy things, but I was still living in a shadow of what my life was meant to be.

He could have left me there. I was on my way to heaven, the big job was done, God would have been completely within his rights to leave me floundering and move on to the next lost soul, knowing that he would get all of me in eternity eventually anyway.

But he didn’t.

He wasn’t content to just leave me technically saved but still in the dark in so many ways.

He wanted all of my love NOW, immature and broken though it is. He actually WANTED me, the in-the-process me of today. He knew it would be a messy, bumpy road, but he so desperately wanted to be with me that he refused to wait. He fought to bring me to this place I am today. He died to bring me to this place of love and intimacy NOW, not just in the age to come. It wasn’t just about eternity. It was about me being free and knowing him TODAY.

He wasn’t content to leave me. He fought for me because he wanted me.

I cried for twenty minutes when all of that hit me.

What if he didn’t? What would my life have been like if he had left me there at age 12, or if I hadn’t gotten saved at all? Although it’s impossible to predict that alternate timeline with any kind of accuracy, I know the tendencies and impulses I struggle to quash on a daily basis. If left unchecked, they would no doubt destroy me.

I know me too well. And he loves me too well to leave me to that.

In his mercy, he not only rescued me from what was but from what might have been.

He saved me in every way a person could be saved.

That’s the grace I’ve been caught up in.

Click the pic to get it on itunes!

Click the pic to get Zac’s new single on itunes!