My Heart is Overwhelmed

Your love has set The broken captives free
Your love released The chains once binding me
I’m found in grace In love’s embrace
My heart is overwhelmed

These lyrics are from the new song called, My Heart is Overwhelmed. It is by Hillsong Live, and is quite possibly the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard. This song is the simple cry out to God, and thanks to him for saving us. But at the same time it’s the acknowledgement of that fact that in myself I will never be able to fully describe the joy, and freedom that I can feel everyday because of what Jesus did for me on the cross. I can forever run through the endless fields, and shout my praises to God because of what He did for me, in the moments when I didn’t even know Him yet, he still fought for me, and showed me a love unhindered by the hate in this world. It’s the most beautiful, and glorious story ever heard.

Freedom is a huge factor in my story, and is something that I am so passionate about that sometimes when I talk about it I lose my breath! The chains in my life lead to heavy walks with depression, eating disorders, abuse, and a huge lack of self worth. Throughout all of this I felt extremely broken, and lost. I didn’t know God, I didn’t know truth, and i definitely didn’t know freedom. I was so lost in my chains, and in many ays I was buckling them myself. I had this feeling that because of all the wrong that I had ever done I deserved the pain I felt. I deserved the loss, and abandonment that I knew was my life.

Upon entering high school I decided to check out a church. I had gone as a child but was extremely hurt by that church, and never wanted to go back. However the church I attended as a 14 year old was totally different. These people loved on me, and treated me as though I was one of their own. It was such a new experience and one that I had never felt before. For the first time ever I felt loved (by people outside of my grandparents).

Now after about a year and a half of this love I kind of got sick of it. I was able to put on the mask, and walk as if I was all good, and nothing was wrong. But really inside I was so lost. I didn’t know truth, and I surely didn’t understand grace. In this I decided to take my life into my own hands, and just let go. In this act came a ton of partying, and drinking, and basically just reckless abandonment. It was so unhealthy that I often wonder how I’m still alive today.

I got into a relationship with a guy, and gave my heart away so quickly. I allowed him to control my day, and make or break it. When we broke up I physically felt empty inside, and didn’t know how to act. In this began the real down fall. I started going to these really dark places, and would go and just do things that I just should not have been doing. I lost all self worth, and in so many ways I lost who I was. I didn’t know anything anymore.

After about a year of this I gave up. I fell on my face and cried out for help. It took me over a year to fully realize the error, and to realize that I didn’t want to go back to that place ever again. In December of my Freshman year at Radford University I attended a conference called Radiate. It is the annual Winter conference for the Mid Atlantic region of CRU. The theme that year was “Be Free”. It was a time of learning what our chains were, and how to break them. It was a time of awesome redemption that I had never felt before. When I returned from that conference my life had radically changed. I finally felt free, and  I finally felt solid in my beliefs! I had never understood that before.

It has been almost a year since that amazing conference and my life has been insane since then. I went on summer project, made incredible new friends, and I got baptized. I have done nothing but strengthened in my faith. I read the bible so much more now because I want to. I have this knowledge, and love for God’s truth, freedom, and redemption that it’s just insane. I can’t ever get over it. He redeems my soul for His name sake, and for that my heart is truly overwhelmed.

Break Every Chain

I posted a few weeks ago about the song, “I Wont Give Up” by Jason Mraz, and how it was slowly but surely changing my life. I saw the Lord using this song to help me see that love is a choice, and that it’s a choice that I have to make everyday. Well to be honest I’ve come to realize that I really fail at this everyday. It’s not something that is new to me, I don’t allow others into my life, and that ultimately I’m really bad at loving others. It’s something that I want to change and that I want to overcome. I have said this before, but I’ll say it again. I’ve been truly hurt in past relationships that I feel lost a lot of them time. I feel as though no man will ever love me the way I need, and that even if he does I wont know how to handle it.It is actually something that I’m truly afraid of, which in turn exposes my fear of thought that God is not enough. But He is! It’s so sad to me that i look at this and just think that he’ll never provide, but yet He is so sovereign. God has that perfect man out there before, and he showed me this first in sending Jesus here to die on the cross for me.

One thing that y’all know that I relate to is music, and recently I have found a song that really shows me that He is loving, giving, and sovereign and in all honesty He knows what is best for me, and what I truly need in life. Before I tell you the song I must first tell you about some awesomeness that I’ve been reading lately. This book was recommended to me by my bible study leader, this book is Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers. I cannot begin to tell you how much this book has opened my eyes and I’m only halfway through! This book is essentially a modern telling of Hosea. It is the story of a man named Michael Hosea, and a Prostitute named Angel. These two cross paths and Michael falls in love with her. This love comes at a great price, a price of Michael’s heart, and for Angels as well. it is a constant battle for him to break down her walls to be able to love her like the Lord loves us. It is such a beautiful story, so expect another post about it once I finish it. But one thing that I am taking away from this book is that I am very much like Angel! I wont let people in, and when they want to come in and genuinely love me. And honestly my only explanation for why is because I just truly don’t know how.

It is a constant battle for me to allow others to love me. I find myself constantly battling within myself to allow others to come in and make an impact. I know a big piece of this barrier is with the pain that I felt in my life before to allow others to come in, but I don’t want this to have to be a battle. I long so deeply to be able to experience love in a way so great that only God can give it to me. So in that I can totally empathize with Angel when she is not able to let Michael love her as his bride.

Because of these feelings I am in chains. I’m being pulled in one direction of the thought that I will be alone, and never experience love because all guys are the same and they’re just gonna hurt me. Then there is also the side where God is letting me know, “I have someone, and he is greater than any expectation, or thought, or dream that you’ve ever had of him. Because I made him for you, and you alone. Just wait on me, and I promise you he will be there soon enough.” When I hear that I am reassured. But I don’t always remember that that is what He’s telling me. I like to love the world, and fall into it’s trap all the time. I sometimes wonder if I like my chains, if I enjoy the pain that they give me. In my heart I know I don’t want to enjoy them, but it’s really hard sometimes.

However I know that there is a man who breaks my chains. They were broken long before I even put them on, and felt their weight on my shoulders. That man is coming, and no it’s not my hopeful future husband, but instead my awesome Lord, and savior JESUS! From the moment he was birthed into this Earth, he saved me, he redeemed me, and he’s changing me! I have found the pure, and amazing joy that He gives me everyday! I sometimes neglect what that it, but none the less I know it’s there.

I know it’s not easy to break your chains, it’s not easy to want change, because in wanting change, we have to bring up the things we want to change. Often times that’s the hardest thing to do is look at our past, and admit that was has happened was not ok. It’s one of those things that can truly break a person, because bringing it up makes one have to rehash out everything, and bring up the old feelings that you so despise. It’s a painful process, but a very necessary one.

For me this came as a somewhat shock. I personally feel like I am a very open person, and usually if you’re willing to listen, and you show genuine interest in my life, I’m usually going to be more inclined to talk to you, and let you in. However I have realized that when it comes to men, and my brothers in Christ, I am a lot more timid to  do so. Now of course I recognize that I don’t need to open up to every person, but when I blatantly push all men away who show an interest in me, in any way, I’d say it’s a little problematic. These amazing guys will show interest in even a simple friendship, and I fight it. I fight it so hard to the point that then I completely push them out of my life, and in that I am once again left alone, but at no one else’s fault, but my own. It’s not something I like to admit, but I know it’s true. God forbid they show me more interest to the point of wanting to pursue, then al hell breaks loose, because I’m to scared that I’ll just be left a lone, again!

Now I really connect with music, and about 3 weeks ago I went on the annual fall retreat with CRU, and this year we had the Bridge Band play. They what I like to refer to as THE Cru band. They play at the Mid Atlantic regional conference, and they also play at fall retreats, and other events involved with CRU. In the last set that they played the lead singer, Steve, was about to stop playing so he unplugged his guitar, and then he stopped, grabbed his chord, and plugged it back in. He said he wanted to play one more song, and that he just felt it was an appropriate way to close out fall retreat. In that moment he choose to sing “Break Every Chain”. This song has been recorded by many, and over is quite possibly one of my favorites. This song is so powerful, and yet so simple.

“There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus

To break every chain
Break every chain
Break every chain

All sufficient sacrifice
So freely given
Such a price
Bought our redemption
Heaven’s gates swing wide

There’s an army rising up
There’s an army rising up
There’s an army rising up

To Break every chain
Break every chain
Break every chain”

The lyrics to this song are so simple, and true. There is power in the name of Jesus, to break every chain. In this there is an army rising up, and Jesus is the head of it. In this battle he will win! He will come out victorious and break every chain that has been placed on any person. In this He is fighting for our freedom! Freedom from the chains of this world, free from pain, and suffering! Jesus has one goal, and that goal is for life abundantly, A life of no chains, and where love flows from every angle.

This song showed me that! It showed me that through my past, and my pain that Jesus is fighting for me daily, and that He loves me more than any other. This man has fought for my freedom, and for my life. He has broken my chains, and everyday he is making me new! There is power in him name that will break every chain. I put my heart in His hands, knowing above all else that He will never leave me!

Psalm 139:17-18

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.