Confessions of a Ménage à Trois

As I was laying in my bed fighting the fact that I was awake, my stepfather came to mind. I begin to think about all the broken promises He made to my family. He used to tell us we were going to Disneyland, Hawaii, and etc. He promised us extravagant gifts, and he never delivered on them. As you get older you start to realize that he’s a liar, and you will never see the things he promises. Completely unbeknownst to me, my stepfather was creating my image of men. His empty words created a mistrust in me towards men. My stepfather’s actions coupled with my biological father’s decision to be missing in action was a perfect concoction for trust issues in future relationships. By age five, all I had come to know about men is  they will lie to you or abandon you. That was my perception based on my experience with them.
I remember my first heartbreak came in the fifth grade. I was dating this guy named Gary. I went away for a special school trip. When I returned it was rumored that he and Tara, a fully developed and sexually advanced fifth grader, were doing some things in the bushes. Those activities led to them being in a relationship and me being dumped without my knowledge. When I confronted Gary, he lied and denied everything. Once we were all at recess their actions told another story. I remember running to the bathroom and weeping alone. I had never felt such humiliation and betrayal from any other male than my fathers. This experience watered those seeds of distrust and abandonment. Distrust mutated into mistrust, and I became suspicious of every man that entered my life.
After Gary, I seemed to attract guys who were either bankrupt of love or felt they had too much loving to give. Many of my short-lived relationships consisted of me trying to convince a guy they were worthy of my love, or convincing myself that cheating was okay because I wasn’t having sex with them. From jr.high to high school, mistrust and abandonment were blossoming into glorious Weeping Willows without my permission.
In college, I changed up my dating strategy. Throughout college my dating relationships were long distance. In retrospect, I believe I did this to avoid another Gary and Tara situation on campus. I found these relationships to be easier on my heart. I didn’t have to overlook stuff, question them, and etc. I was completely committed to them, and those relationships brought about some of my fondest memories of being in a relationship. However, those relationships came to a sad ending due to fear. By the time a man was seriously interested in loving me, my insecurities wouldn’t allow me to receive it. So I ran like Usain Bolt!
My last relationship was the most devastating of them all. It was the one I gave 100% percent of me. It was the one I shared every truth I knew about myself. It was the one I made a conscious effort to ignore the Weeping Willows in my heart. It was the one that I went shopping for a wedding dress. We looked at rings, venues, and honeymoon destinations. It was the one I gave my virginity to because I just knew forever would be how long we would spend together. However, life happens and you end up back alone.

Fast forward to today, I am 32 and single. Well actually I’m not. Mistrust and Abandonment have been my most intimate companions for some time now. They have been constant friends reminding me that men cannot be trusted; one will never truly love you; and when you choose to love them they will abandon you. Their lies have become my truth, and they have painted my perception of men and my relationship with them.

Today, I felt a strong unction to simply forgive my stepfather for every lie and unkept promise. I will no longer allow those things to rent space in my heart and mind. I also release my biological father from the expectations I had for him as a father. His purpose was served by getting me here; and I’ll be forever grateful to him for getting that part right. I release every toxic and dysfunctional relationship that has tainted my perception of real love. I forgive myself for allowing my insecurities to sabotage past relationships, and today I pray that the Weeping Willows, abandonment and mistrust, be cursed at their roots never to live again. I renounce my allegiance to their ideologies, and I choose to believe “Good men who value the integrity of their word do exist.” Last but not least, to those who I hurt by allowing my perception of men to get in the way of what you were trying to show me please forgive me. I truly did not mean you any harm; and I hate that what I did in the name of protecting me harmed you.
Thanks for reading!-Charity Israel

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: https://goo.gl/images/1Mh2PT

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Note to Self: I am His!!!

Fact: There are days when I question, “am I saved enough?” This isn’t because I’m not secure in my salvation, but moreso due to me looking at how others respond to God or what they consider the things of God. I’m​ not into “churching” aka being in church for the sake of being in church(powerless services, conferences, and etc.). I don’t observe Jewish holidays, and I don’t care to be so “deep” in the things of the Spirit that I fail to love in my pursuit of this knowledge. As I start to focus on what others are doing, I begin to think simply loving Him and loving others is not enough. Then these two verses come to mind, and I get back on track:

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12, 13

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”- John 13: 34,35

He provides me with the will to do what pleases Him, and ultimately that is to love Him and others more. Sometimes the reminder is needed that I am His and his love flowing through me proves it. Thanks for reading!-Charity Israel

No Wedding, No Love: Life After Heartbreak

no loveWednesday night, I cried myself to sleep. Out of nowhere, it hit me that my dreams of marriage had been shattered once again. I started replaying the moments of excitement looking at rings, searching for a venue, and trying on dresses. I started to think about how I finally had someone who loved me and wanted me as his wife. This marriage was meant to be the validation I needed to prove that I am desirable. The abrupt departure of my father at age five had left me wondering will I ever be wanted and loved. I had come to see marriage as a form of redeeming that piece of me. However on December 31, 2016 we had the breakup of all breakups, and my dream was shattered. All my hopes for us were robbed and ” hope deferred makes the heart sick…” became my reality.(Proverbs 13:12)

I believe one of the greatest pains of our human experience is a broken heart. Its pain is piercing and relentless. With all the strength you possess you try quickly to move past it, but broken things often heal slowly. You are simply forced to endure its pain. Some try to sedate it with sex, liquor, and drugs, but it refuses to leave. Some try to work it away, but the moment you take a break, it’s there. Some try to reason it away, but heartache supersedes knowledge; and you will never truly understand why your heart hurts so bad.

One of my greatest fears was to be where I am now, and that’s on the back side of a failed engagement. I read stories and met women who had gone through it; but I never wanted to be acquainted with its grief.  Now three months removed from it today, I can testify there is life after it. The first 30 days consisted of bitter tears. I wept because I felt like I had wasted my time. I mourned because I loved him. I sobbed because I made the decision to call the relationship off.  I lamented the death of the relationship because I had never been completely committed to a relationship the way I was with him (mind, body, and soul).  I cried because I no longer saw myself part of his dreams.

I would be lying if I said this experience did not rip the fabric of the way I view love. It was almost successful in making me give up on it. I was almost convinced not to love wholeheartedly ever again, but shutting myself off to loving someone keeps me from fulfilling my purpose. We were created to love. Choosing not to do so makes one defective because you are not fulfilling the Great Manufacturer’s purpose for creating you.

During the first 30 days, all I could remember was the broken promises. I had forgotten about all the joy and life our love had given me. Although the flaws of our humanity brought on the demise of our relationship, the love we shared was pure, healing, and refreshing. I learned so much about me, and I appreciate every lesson his love came to teach me. I assumed it was for forever, but I am grateful I was able to experience it in this lifetime.

I am not sure what the future holds for me, and I am quite alright with its uncertainty. I no longer see marriage as the validation I needed to prove I am worthy of love. I rest in the fact that I was created to love, and at the appointed time that love will be received and reciprocated by the man it was created to serve. I am no longer bitter about the outcome, and I am hopeful that I will love again.-Charity Israel

Photo Credit: http://hammerandgem.com/wedding-rings-101-dos-donts-wedding-ring-ownership/

Nuggets from Noah: The Perks of Living in an Ark

This reflection was written July 8, 2016 in one of my journals. Today I was reminded of it. I was encouraged all over again. I pray it encourages you:

Today I felt led to read the story of Noah (Genesis 7:9-17). While reading, I tried to rush through it assuming I knew everything there was about Noah. The Holy Spirit, said “slow down and read all of it.”  As I started to take my time to read, I recognized the time it took for Noah’s world to return to its regularly scheduled programming (i.e. no animals, no living in an ark, and etc.). It took well over a year for things to return to “normal.” It took 40 days to flood the earth and over a year to restore the land.

As I read this story, I started to see my life. I too have been in an ark, a place of protection during the flood of life.  It is as if all that was good, honest, and true were permitted to remain while every lie, deception, past mistake, and negative mindset were left out of my ark. The world as I knew it was being destroyed around me; and I was forced to be by myself as things from my past were being drowned by the torrential rains of God’s love, truth, forgiveness, and grace. It was cold and dark, but I was never alone. Being in similar situations, I assumed it would not take as long to get out the ark. However almost 7 ½ months later, I am still in the ark. Things are slowly returning to normal, and the sun is starting to shine again. It is not quite time to come out, but I have more hope that the doors will be opening soon.

I must retract my statement about Noah’s life returning to normal. Nothing was normal about Noah’s life after leaving the ark. In the beginning of the story, he had just a piece of land to call his own. Now, he had the world as his possession. He already had authority as the patriarch of his family; but he obtained dominion over the earth upon leaving the ark. His family had been entrusted with replenishing the earth for the glory of God. He went into the ark as a servant, and he left it as a Ruler. He went into the ark following commands, but he left it free to do what his heart desired.  Noah was a completely different man a year or so later after being in the ark. He had become wiser; skilled at taming animals; and a great strategist dealing with the issues that arouse on the ark. Noah’s patience was perfected while waiting to be released from the ark. He became a master at caring for creation. He developed a deeper understanding of God while enduring the flood. Building the ark proved God to be a provider. Living in the ark proved God to be a protector and sustainer of His creation.

 Today you may be in what appears to be the greatest storm of your life. Having gone through a few storms, you assumed God would have responded by now. However, you do not know what is being prepared beyond your limited view of the situation. God is developing a place where you can thrive, have dominion, and enjoy His creation. Take a lesson from Noah and wait on God. Allow God to handle what is outside of your power, and you tend to what you can fix. Allow this time to perfect your love and skills. Let the truth of God’s love for you assure you that this time will not last forever.

Noah received new instructions upon leaving the ark, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth.” (Genesis 9:2) Initially, he was restricted by what could go into the ark. Once Noah was released, he was given permission to produce as much as he could for as long as he could. Authority is given to those who submit themselves to God’s will during the time of a storm. I pray you will be found submitting yourself to God’s will while in your storm. There is something God is working inside of you and outside of the ark. Yield to the process and watch God keep his promise of protection and provision. You’ll be released from the ark at the perfect time. Thanks for reading!-Charity Israel

 

 

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day: The Difference a Year Makes…

This time last year I was spending this holiday with the man I thought would be my husband. There was no exchange of gifts just quality time. We made dinner. Actually, I watched him make dinner and prepared myself for it. LOL After dinner, we watched a movie; cleaned the kitchen; turned on some music; and the kitchen became our dance floor for the evening. It was the best Valentine’s Day ever. We had a great time just being with each other.

Today is quite different from last year. I am single again. Instead of preparing myself to enjoy a dinner with the one I love, I am writing this blog and answering emails. It is amazing how the seasons of life change. You can go from ‘Dangerously in Love” to ‘Severely Single’ or vice versa in a wink of an eye. I am not writing this to put a damper on the day of Love. However, I do want to encourage those who may be in my position with a few things that have helped me process through one of the greatest pains I have known, Love Lost:

  1. All love does not last forever, and that is okay. I know you wanted it to last forever, but forever was not the plan. That person came as a precursor to the love you are going to experience. Try not to spend your time regretting the energy you invested.
  2. They loved you at their highest capacity; and once they  maxed out everyone had to move on. It is a horrible reality that hurts deeply; but it is a necessary truth that must be accepted by both parties.
  3. Their love taught you how to perfect your own. You were able to see your reflection and challenged to fix those things that were wrong with your understanding of Love.
  4.  Their love forced you to realize your “roses really smell like boo boo.” You had to face some harsh realities about who you were and the parts of your past  that were sabotaging your relationship.
  5. Their love brought you a joy that you did not know before them. You are now more equipped to recognize what Love looks, feels, and acts like because of them.
  6. Their love reminded you of  your awesomeness. They encouraged the good in you; and they taught you that the things you deemed unworthy of love would be accepted by someone willing to love you.

Today I hope you will not be found soaking in the misery of love lost but excited about the love that is to come. You gave love a chance, and that is something I pray you learn not to regret. You will love again. Being single is not the end of the world. Resist bitterness and be open to the opportunities that Love will bring your way. Happy Valentine’s Day to you. I’m praying for your heart today.

Confessions of an Ex-Racist Christian

This morning I woke up and felt led to open one of my journals. As I read it, I laughed at a few of my foolish request, and I smiled at my growth as a human trying to learn how to live this life. Since it is  Throw back Thursday, I will share an entry of Introspection from September 9, 2015:

I believe one of the hardest thing for a person to admit,especially a Christian, is he or she is a racist. No one who claims to love God wants to admit they have a problem with His creation; but it is  part of the Church’s reality. It took me roughly 25 years, six years ago, to admit racism lived in my heart. It was something I tried to ignore, but, living in the South and becoming more aware of the injustices of my tribe, I found myself HATING white people. I  found it difficult to admit my racism because I had friends I genuinely cared about although I could care less about their kind. To my credit, I did not hate my friends just all of the “other” white people smh… I figured, if I refrained from watching slave movies that it would go away. I thought, if I tried harder to befriend them that it would go away. I assumed, if I tried to replace negative thoughts about them with good ones my problem would be fixed. Oh how I assumed incorrectly! The more I attempted to fix a heart issue with my logic, I despised them more. Finally, I had a moment of truth with God because the hate in my heart was conflicting with the cry of my heart to love him and his people.  I poured my heart out to Him concerning the matter. I confessed that I was in fact a racist, and I held deep hate in my heart towards Caucasians. I confessed that my knowledge of how their ancestors treated my tribe and how some treat us today makes it difficult to forgive and love them. I even admitted that I felt I had both the right and plenty of reasons to stay angry with them. I repented for claiming to love God and hate his creation. I knew I could not be an effective dispenser of God’s love to the world with this kind of hate in my heart towards people. I asked God to change my heart and teach me how to gather knowledge without hate being attached to it. When I decided to be honest about the condition of my heart, God did an amazing work in it. I no longer carry that Hate I did towards my lighter brothers and sisters. I stopped  accusing them all of being one way based on the actions of a few. I truly make a conscious effort to judge a person by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. Life has truly been much sweeter with hate out of my heart. Thank you God for helping me!-Charity

For those who will read this, particularly those who claim to be Christians, please consider your ways.  Take the time to tell God how you truly feel about certain groups of people. 1 John 4:20 says, “If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” My encouragement to each of us is to be honest about who we are in God’s presence so that we can love as God commands us. We as believers cannot expect the condition of the world to change when we refuse to change and deal with the hate in our hearts. I am praying for each us that we would truly allow the love of God to permeate our hearts and be the change this world needs. Thanks for reading!-Charity Israel

Freedom Friday: 20 Years of Torture & Unnecessary Shame

img_20160930_144721You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex. Your workmanship is marvelous.”-Psalm 139:13,14 NLT

I will admit that this has been one of the hardest scriptures for me to believe in the bible. It has been very difficult for me to say, “Thank you for my body.” This is due to all of its deformities. I have a severely clubbed right foot that makes my right leg and foot significantly smaller than the left side. I was born with a dislocated hip, congenital scoliosis, and missing chest bone. I will admit that after my hair and face, in my most jaded opinion, my body goes downhill.

To add to the disfigurement, I am also left with scars on my foot, leg, and back as doctors made attempts to correct the way I was “knitted together in my mother’s womb.” It has been very difficult for me to believe that a God who carefully created creation seemed to have missed a few steps while creating me. Of my mother’s four children, I seemed to carry the physical deformities for everyone. No one else was born with a physical deformity. For years I never questioned it, but I would be lying if I said at one point or another that I did not find myself envious of their “normal” bodies and disgusted by mine.

At 12 years old, I pronounced a life sentence of shame and hiding upon myself. I stopped wearing clothes that would reveal what I hated most about me. I stopped wearing sandals because I no longer felt like explaining my condition to people. I did not want pity or sympathy. I just wanted to be normal. So I became a hider, and into my closet I went hoping to never have to face these legs of mine again. If I hid them, they would eventually go away. Now that I am 31 years old, I can say that was the dumbest idea ever in the history of Charity’s dumb ideas. I literally signed my life away when I decided to start hiding my legs. I stopped swimming. I did not try out for any dance or cheer team because it meant I would have to show my legs. I almost quit softball one year because I thought they were going to make me wear shorts. I removed myself from any activity that required your legs or feet to be seen.

As God would have it, the one activity I could continue was dancing. Our liturgical attire was always long and covered! The only thing that gave me assurance that God meant to put me in this body is that even with my deformities, I am still able to dance. Some of my moves are limited, but I am able to dance unto His glory. He gave me a voice, and I use it for his glory. He has given me the gift of counsel, wisdom, and writing. I use them all  for his Glory. The interesting thing is nothing about my physical deformities have stopped the gifts of God from operating through me. The only thing that has hindered those things at any time have been my mind. I have allowed the “what ifs” to keep me from doing. What if my legs become a meme? What if the men who follow me find out and unsubscribe? What if people start treating me with pity because they discover the truth? I never considered what if I share my story and help others overcome their own insecurities? What if my process of freedom convinces others to find freedom? What if God placed me on this earth as an example that the package is only limited by the mind not by its deformities or flaws? For 20 year I have allowed something that I had absolutely no control over ruin and rule my life. I was completely convinced that because I was born this way I was undeserving of love, friendship, and fulfilling my dreams. That was all a lie.

For years I was afraid of  photo tag notifications. I just knew that someone from elementary school would post a picture that would expose the secret I was hiding, and I would lose everyone once they found out the truth. None of my friends from junior high up until now have been privy of this information, minus those who knew before I started hiding and those who were at Oral Roberts University my Freshmen year. I was just too afraid of rejection, and the enemy had my mind convinced that if people knew the truth about me they would not want me around. However, now that I understand my purpose I must take that risk. God cannot get all the glory that is due Him if I remain in hiding.

The photo being used for this blog was taken on my birthday, July 25th, as I declared the 31st year of my life to be my year of freedom. I asked my sister to capture it because I wanted to see what freedom looked like. It has been twenty years since I have seen myself photographed in a dress and sandals. I had every intention of posting this pic that day but fear convinced me to wait. Well i’m tired of fear and shame ruling my life, and I did not consult them this time. I am tired of preaching freedom and living enslaved to thoughts of fear, rejection, and shame. I am tired of worrying myself with how people will respond to something beyond my control. I am tired of being hot during the summer LOL, and today is the day I free me for good. Even with what is deformed, disfigured, and ugly about me, I am still His workmanship. I am finally choosing freedom over fear, and that my friends is a marvelous thing!-Charity Israel

Throwback Thursday: Fearless, Free, and Five Years Old

I have roughly 56 minutes before the clock strikes 12 and Throwback Thursday will be over; but I could not let the day end without writing this blog. Have you ever ran across one of your childhood pictures and instantly remember everything you were experiencing that moment the picture was captured? In this particular picture I had just finished dancing with a few of my cousins, and I was thrilled that people were impressed by my moves. This picture was taken shortly after what I considered to be the best performance of my life at that time! LOL

I chuckled and happiness instantly hit my heart as I reflected on that joyous occasion of hanging with family. Then the joy became bitter-sweet as I longed for that boldness I had back then. I miss that Charity, and I have spent 20 years trying to be her again. That Charity was fearless, and she believed that anything was possible. That Charity did not allow her physical condition to determine what she could do. That Charity was unfamiliar with shame, and she loved the skin she was in completely. That Charity was not acquainted with how bad life could wound your soul. Her innocence was her superpower! She did not doubt herself, and she was not afraid to try anything. She believed that she was in fact “fearfully and wonderfully made by God!” She was amazing, and I’d be lying if I said that I have not been on a search for that Charity for years now.

After I turned 12 something died inside of me, and I felt like hiding in shame would be better than living as I was.I have spent almost 20 years of my life trying to find that freedom, boldness, and courage that I once possessed. It took me awhile, but I can say i’m finally starting to experience it again. I do not want to hide any more, and part of my purpose requires that I stop. The hypocrisy of preaching freedom and living captive to things I cannot change about me has finally caught up with me. How dare I preach freedom and not live it. No more running in shame, and tomorrow I will finally share what has held me as its slave for over twenty years. I have spent the last year of my life confronting the deep wounds of my life, and now that healing has occurred shame is no longer needed for me to function in life. Tomorrow a piece of me will be shared that I have tried to keep hidden from the world. Freedom Friday will be just that for me, and it’s about time I told my story. Until then thanks for riding down Memory Lane with me.

Getting to Know God Series: El Shaddai

El Shaddai- The All-Sufficient One, God Almighty

Throughout the Bible we find times where God chooses to reveal who He is to mankind. I find this to be a display of God’s love towards us in hopes that we would come to trust Him more. God desires that we know Him, and he takes delights in blessing those who respond to his love properly. It is in Genesis 17:1,2 that this concept is played out as God reveals himself, as El Shaddai, to Abram, “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. 2I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.”

Before we go any further, it should be noted that scholars go back and forth on whether El Shaddai means “the All-Sufficient One” or “God Almighty.” I appreciate how A.W. Pink, in Gleanings in Genesis concludes the meaning of El Shaddai, “The revelation which God here made of Himself was well suited to the occasion. This was the first time that He revealed Himself as “the Almighty.” None but One who possessed all power could meet Abram’s need at this time. Ninety and nine years of age, his body dead; Sarah barren and long past the age of child-bearing – how could they have hope to have a son? But with God all things are possible. And why? Because He is El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One.” El Shaddai is God Almighty which makes Him the All-Sufficient One.

Recognizing that God is the Almighty was a necessary component to Abram fulfilling the next request of God to him. God tells Abram, “Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life.” How was Abram the liar going to pull off the task of living a blameless life before a Holy God? How was he going to faithfully serve God in light of his many shortcomings. The answer is found in completely depending on the All-Sufficient One. Abram’s ability to live out God’s command to him was solely based on his willingness to trust in the One who provides all we need pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). I really love the words found in MacLauren’s Exposition on this verse. The author says:

Note the revelation of God’s character, and of our consequent duty, which preceded the repetition of the covenant. ‘I am the Almighty God.’ The aspect of the divine nature, made prominent in each revelation of Himself, stands in close connection with the circumstances or mental state of the recipient. So when God appeared to Abram after the slaughter of the kings, He revealed Himself as ‘thy Shield’ with reference to the danger of renewed attack from the formidable powers which He had bearded and beaten. In the present case the stress is laid on God’s omnipotence, which points to doubts whispering in Abram’s heart, by reason of God’s delay in fulfilling His word, and of his own advancing years and failing strength. Paul brings out the meaning of the revelation when he glorifies the faith which it kindled anew in Abram, ‘being fully assured that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform’ {Romans 4:21}. Whenever our ‘faith has fallen asleep’ and we are ready to let go our hold of God’s ideal and settle down on the low levels of the actual, or to be somewhat ashamed of our aspirations after what seems so slow of realization, or to elevate prudent calculations of probability above the daring enthusiasms of Christian hope, the ancient word, that breathed itself into Abram’s hushed heart, should speak new vigor into ours. ‘I am the Almighty God-take My power into all thy calculations, and reckon certainties with it for the chief factor. The one impossibility is that any word of Mine should fail. The one imprudence is to doubt My word.’

 

As it was with Abram, so it is with us. If we ever plan to fulfill the commands and plans of God for our lives, we must rely solely on El Shaddai. We must trust that He is the source of all we will ever need to live holy, pursue His will, and speak His word. My prayer for us today is that we will come to know God as the All-Sufficient, Almighty God that He is. Everything we need is found in Him, and the moment we start to believe that is the moment we will truly pursue what He has called us to do. When you are convinced you have all you need to succeed, failure is not an option. El Shaddai is on your side! I dare you to go and be great!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: https://www.reviveourhearts.com/series/el-shaddai-the-all-sufficient-one/

Getting Know God: El Roi

El Roi: The God Who Sees Me

One of my favorite names to use for God when praying is El Roi. Every time I use it I find it to be an instant reminder that He is aware of my circumstances. It tends to ease the ache of the request; and it sets God back in his proper place as God above all that is bothering me. In Genesis 16, we are introduced to the name El Roi, by a woman named Hagar. For those of us who may not be familiar with Hagar, she was the servant of Sarai (Abram’s wife). Sarai had the bright idea to help God in fulfilling His promise to her husband and suggested that Abram sleep with Hagar. As Sarai desired, Hagar became pregnant. Once pregnant Hagar started to treat Sarai with contempt (v.4). Sarai returns the favor and treats Hagar so harshly that she runs away.  It is in this time of running that she is found by the loving-kindness of God:

7 The angel of the LORD found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur. 8 The angel said to her, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?”“I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai,” she replied. 9 The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.” 10 Then he added, “I will give you more descendants than you can count.”11 And the angel also said, “You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the LORD has heard your cry of distress. 12 This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.”13 Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the LORD, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.”a She also said, “Have I truly seen the One who sees me?” 14 So that well was named Beer-lahai-roi (which means “well of the Living One who sees me”). It can still be found between Kadesh and Bered. 15 So Hagar gave Abram a son, and Abram named him Ishmael. (New Living Translation)

I find the timing of God very interesting in this story. At any moment, He could have revealed himself. However, he waits until she is expecting and in a dry place before He reveals he has been with her the entire time. He waits until she is out of options, without friends, and without any sense of direction before he says, “I see you!” He allows her to feel every ounce of fear, isolation, and abandonment before revealing the I AM is with you. It was not until she was away from all that she had known that she came to know God for herself.

God did not simply reveal himself to her in the wilderness; but he spoke to her purpose. He provided her with instructions on how to rectify her past mistakes (v.9); and he gave her insight to what her future would entail (vv. 10-12). It never cease to amaze me that how one encounter with God can bring wholeness and clarity to the thing(s) that pains us the most. Hagar heeded to the instructions that were given to her, and she was able to return “home” with a better understanding of who her God was and what was in store for her future.

For those of us who may be in a wilderness situation like Hagar, I would encourage us to:

  1.  Sit still for a moment and allow the voice of God to speak to our situation.
  2. Admit where we were wrong and mishandled the situation, relationship, and etc.
  3. Stop rehearsing the offenses and choose to forgive those who hurt you. 
  4. Obey the instructions that God give us.
  5. Walk free from condemnation knowing that the God who sees has come to your rescue.

El Roi is aware of all that is hurting you, and he is waiting for the moment that you stop trying to figure things out. He longs to commune with you so that He can reveal the truth of who His and who you are to you. My prayer is that you come to know God as El Roi, the God who sees me so that you can see yourself as He does. Hagar’s life was never the same, and I am certain your will not be either.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: https://biblein2015.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/el-roi-the-god-who-sees-me.jpg