At the end of 2014, I asked God to give me a word to focus on for 2015. The word that came was "choose". Little did I know just how powerfully God would transform me through all the choices He equipped and strengthened me for and guided me into.
In 2015, I would:
● choose to rejoice when my heart was heavy with deep grief, sticking this Scripture to my fridge and repeatedly listening to and singing a song based on it:
Habakkuk 3: 17 - 19
Though the cherry trees don’t blossom
and the strawberries don’t ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless
and the cattle barns empty,
I’m singing joyful praise to God.
I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.
Counting on God’s Rule to prevail,
I take heart and gain strength.
I run like a deer.
I feel like I’m king of the mountain!
● choose to give voice to the emotions raging within me through writing a Biblical Lament, inclining my heart to the wisdom of God, as He would use a pen and His Spirit to help me start to name and take ownership of what was raging within me. This is a practice that I have continued to be blessed by, as God has spoken such truth, hope, faith and compassion in my struggles.
● choose to cry out to God as suicidal thoughts plagued me. The Lament I wrote opened crippling flashbacks of my mother's last hours and the New Testament I was in the middle of reading through with my church's Community Bible Experience opening more and more of my heart. As I turned fully toward God in my anger and grief, rather than away in my deep fear, God’s Truth became my lifeline - a life that would tether me through the ravages of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As I opened my Bible that one dark night, daring God to speak, He stunned me by taking me to John 6: 35 - 40 (MSG), slicing through each one of the fears buried in my heart. This grew a hunger inside of me for the Living Word, a hunger that God has only continued to grow.
● choose to face my fears in trust, by seeking and undergoing therapy and counseling for PTSD and grief, as I would watch God open my heart more and more to be filled, stunning my unbelieving counselor with the incredible healing she witnessed within me,
● choose to share my journey into God's Great Love by opening a public blog to do the Write 31 Days challenge, despite my fears and insecurities holding me back, watching God channel His blessings into and through me,
● choose to share my blog more publicly by posting about it on my Facebook page and sharing photos of myself on my blog, and experiencing this as a freeing, rather than crippling step, in faith,
● choose to speak the truth, even when my insides screamed to hide in shame, and in so doing experiencing the love and acceptance of my Saviour cover me and draw me into a deeper relationship,
● choose to start seeing fearful and painful experiences as invitations into Love, rather than punishment, as God opened my eyes to the gift of His Abiding Presence.
And in each and every choice I made in 2015, I was led into a deeper and deeper trust. I began to believe that God (Isaiah 30: 18, Amplified Version):
[...] waits [expectantly] and longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
[a]For the Lord is a God of justice;
Blessed (happy, fortunate) are all those who long for Him [since He will never fail them].
[a] Isaiah 30:18 The ancient rabbis posed the question of why God waits to bring in the kingdom if both He and Israel desire it. Their answer was that God’s attribute of justice delays it, i.e. that Israel is not yet deserving of it. Nevertheless, they maintained, it is meritorious to look forward to it, and those who do will be blessed (rewarded).
In the following year, this growing trust would lead me to pray a specific Scripture over my family, which God answered in the most unexpected way. His answer was to embolden me and enable me, financially and provisionally (for our girls), to fly to Geneva and attend a writer’s intensive led by a woman of whom I had never heard.
I chose to be obedient to God's repeated nudgings and take steps that plunged me deeply into my fears, but even deeper into the grace of God. I am still experiencing the fruits of this choice, the opening of BelovedProdigal.com being one of many prophetic Words God spoke over me in Switzerland.
My circumstances continue to be riddled with challenges and trials, but through my Holy Spirit-led choice in 2015 to start turning fully toward my God, I am discovering this beautiful truth. I can keep choosing my God, no matter how hard it makes my life because I know and have experienced that my God is (Isaiah 43:19-21 The Message):
the God who builds a road right through the ocean,
who carves a path through pounding waves,
The God who summons horses and chariots and armies—
they lie down and then can’t get up;
they’re snuffed out like so many candles:
“Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands.
Wild animals will say ‘Thank you!’
—the coyotes and the buzzards—
Because I provided water in the desert,
rivers through the sun-baked earth,
Drinking water for the people I chose,
the people I made especially for myself,
a people custom-made to praise me.
~ Meet Anna Smit ~
Anna lives in the Netherlands with her Dutch husband and their two girls (5 and 8). In September 2017, she opened www.belovedprodigal.com, which she now supports in prayer and in practical ways from behind the scenes, as needed.
The next 6 months Anna is taking a break from blogging, having closed down her own personal blog, to savor the quiet with her family and to spend more time in prayer. She is also preparing something new God has placed on her heart to open in 2019.