Tuesday, March 23, 2021

A Year of Freedom

Since 2013, I have asked the Lord to give me a word for each year. This year, I compiled those words in one place—and then sat in awe as I reflected on all the ways the Lord had brought that word to pass, some of which I couldn’t have seen until now.
2013 – brave: The year we moved to Plainview, and I learned how to make new friends. Again.

2014 – grace: The year of multiple failed fertility treatments, including two failed IVF rounds.

2015 – hope: The year I lost all hope in God’s plans for our family.

2016 – redeem: The year He began to heal me and rebuild my faith.

2017 – peace: The year of chaos and changes.

2018 – anticipation: The year He told us a baby was coming in 2019.

2019 – promises fulfilled: The year He brought our precious miracle.

2020 – joy: The year in which I experienced great loss and pain, and yet so much joy.

My word for 2021 is freedom.

Free from fear. Free from offense. Free from other people’s opinions.

Freedom in Christ comes after the good and hard work of healing.

This week, the Lord brought me back to an old blog post I wrote to remind me that He’s healing those places in me that were sad and broken and wounded in 2020.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Ps. 147:3

Heals = râphâh – lit. to mend (by stitching); fig. to cure, heal, repair, make whole

Binds = châbash – to wrap firmly

I love the word pictures in this verse. The word for heal here literally means to stitch or to mend, so when it says God heals the brokenhearted, it means He takes our hearts, and He sews the pieces back together; He carefully, meticulously stitches the broken seams, the tattered and torn places of our hearts.

I don’t sew, but having watching my sister sew (she’s amazing at it!), I know it requires precision and accuracy—it cannot be rushed. And to stitch, to make repairs by hand, is an even slower process. So this work that God is doing when He is healing our broken hearts: it’s careful, it’s calculated—and it’s slow.

But the end result is beautiful because within this same word, râphâh, it means to make whole. So He doesn’t just start stitching and mending and then set us aside to work on someone else. No, He carefully holds our hearts in His hand, and with needle and thread, He sews, He stitches, He mends our brokenness—until we are whole, until we are healed.

The other verb here—to bind—is equally as tender. Literally, this means to wrap up, and the Lord gave me this beautiful picture of taping an ankle that’s been broken or sprained. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the chance to practice wrapping someone’s ankle (or even harder—your own!), such as for an athletic event, but let me tell you, it’s not easy! Those who are skilled in taping ankles will tell you it takes a lot of practice. And what I’ve learned is that there is a definite pattern and technique. You can’t just wrap the tape like so—you have to follow an order, a pattern so that the ankle is tight and secure. Wrapping of this kind is an art.

And in the same way, the Lord takes our wounds, and again, He skillfully and knowingly wraps them; He binds them up in the perfect way, to keep the wound covered, secure, and in place. His binding of our wounds is His protection. He doesn’t leave our wounds gaping open. No, He tenderly wraps them as He knows how and allows our wounds to heal under His protective covering. This, too, takes time.

The beauty of râphâh and châbash is that He holds my heart—and because He mends the brokenhearted, because He binds up the wounded, I am safe and free. This is why the psalmists declare over and over that He is our safe place, our hiding place, our shelter, our protection, our covering.

He holds me and secures me and covers me and protects me—so that I can be free to fully live. Free to fully give. Free to fully believe Him, unrestricted, uninhibited. Because to really believe Him for the desires of our heart—whatever that desire may be—is always a risk, and it’s costly. But, really, it’s a safe bet—even if it doesn’t feel like it:

Because He is for me.

Because He is with me.

Because in Him, I am safe and covered.

In Him, I am free.

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