Choosing Love Today

Choosing Love Today

By: Susan McKenzie

I used to believe that if you were kind and thoughtful, serve faithfully in church, be frugal with finances so you can give lots of money away to worthy causes, work hard, travel a lot, have fun, and always try to be nice to everyone, that you would have the perfect life. You would marry Mr. Right and have a big family that would follow in your footsteps. Together, you could change the world! That was my "big dream."

I still believe in that dream. But I didn't know the price tag would be so high that I would have to lose it all before I could have it all.

BEFORE I thought it was about ME and what I could DO to control my life. AFTER the wreck, I know it's not about me at all. It's about HE who lives in me and how He wants to use my life.

I am not the captain of my ship or the master of my destiny, for I have a Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. What is it to me if the stormy seas capsize my ship and I sink below the tossing waves, lost beneath the raging tide? If I choose LOVE it means I've already chosen DEATH to my own ego. For the greatest act of love is to lay down your life for someone else.

Is suffering good? Or does it mean we lack faith to overcome? That we've done something so bad that we are being punished? Or could it be a bridge from the old striving life of religion into a new joyful life of freedom in the Spirit?

Sharing portions of one's journal is one way of creating a new family legacy, and here's a peek into my diary…

My husband recounts to me in graphic detail all the ways he desires to murder my physical body, and although he hasn't touched my body he's already killing my heart.

His voice is calm and cool. He even smiles a bit. And then, as usual, he concludes his litany of scenarios involving mutilation and death by saying, "I'm sorry. You haven't done anything wrong. There's just something inside of me that wants to hurt you. But don't worry, I've got it under control!"

My heart is broken, crushed. Heavy pain. God is near. I have peace, yet I know what little life was in my marriage is dead now. It's sad – far beyond any pain I have previously known.

I've poured out my heart in hope that somehow just the right answer would miraculously change these circumstances. Twenty years of hoping, praying, sometimes in utter desperation. Desperate… I found fulfillment in church-related pursuits, but deep inside my soul longs for what God intended to be the source of earth's greatest joy and delight: a good marriage.

Oh God, please step in and take action for this wife and three children. Show me Your way…

"Love in the midst of overwhelming odds."

Father, there has been incredible pain for so many years.

"Life is full of pain and suffering – I've come to bring real Life through the fruit of forgiveness and repentance."

Father, I want to know Love. Some day I will look back on this year as the time when God transformed me. Right now it feels like never-ending pressure! Lord, I need a glimpse of what it looks like at the end of this long, dark path.

You are being reborn!

Papa God showed me how this process was actually a re-birth for me. Jesus once said that we had to be "born again" – a spiritual rebirth. From this perspective, I began to learn that being born again was not a simple religious matter of saying a "sinner's prayer" but a heart matter, a laying down of one's whole life to our Creator.

Lots of people have prayed the sinner's prayer and "asked Jesus into their heart" but their lives are just the same as before they prayed the prayer, or worse. There is no formula to getting "born again." You can't take "Christian 101," really… seriously. As soon as we begin creating programs, designing mass-curricula, and institutionalizing our faith we lose a little bit of our souls each day. We easily get caught up in the doing the works and forget that it's about being God's child.

Just as natural birth is a process from conception to the day a new babe emerges into the Light and is placed in her Daddy and Mother's arms, so is spiritual re-birth. We move from ego-centered, good-intentions and hard work religion to an intimate family relationship of unconditional love and acceptance! Once we are in our Daddy's arms, we have everything we need to grow and mature in His loving care!

When we are born into this world, it's through tremendous pressure and pain. It's like going through a dark tunnel where we are pressed on every side. Spiritually, it's the same process of pressure and pain. It may begin with a "sinner's prayer" or simply a heart-felt whisper but that is only the beginning!

Continued from my journal….

"Dear child, just come to Me and lay your head down and rest. Just be My child. You've been squirming and I can't comfort you until you learn to rest."

"You are Mine and I am yours. Dance with Me, you know how. I want to be Your lover and friend."

I may have lost everything: family, church, ministry, friends. I know that I did my best – I gave my all. I've confessed my sins and made them public. I know my Redeemer lives and that He feels my pain. I know He has a plan to prosper my family and me.

I sense His presence – He himself is holding me and loving me. God knows my heart. It is well with my soul!

Choosing Love Today,

Susan


PS   Papa God once shared with me: "You are blazing trails for others to follow."

My friend, you are blazing trails, as well… as you share portions of your life story with your family and friends, you are becoming like a Lighthouse helping to guide other storm-tossed victims to safe ground! I welcome your comments below – Let's chat!

Susan McKenzie knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and so much more. In a series of letters spanning more than two decades, God gave Susan "Love from Papa,' through her personal daily journals to help her in exiting organized religion where she had served in duties ranging from pastor, inner healing and deliverance minister, and Midwest regional coordinator for a large international ministry. In the past decade Susan has been applying the truths she learned and is now publishing her journals for the first time.

If you've ever felt you lost your soul in the midst of a "successful" Christian lifestyle, "Love from Papa" is for you! It's a practical guide via stories, poems, dreams and visions all in the context of Susan's real life story and the Bible. You can register to receive the newsletter, "Love from Papa" by entering your name and email below.

Copyright 2012, Susan McKenzie, http://TeamFamilyOnline.com. Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline and bio, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references.  For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan McKenzie.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Penny July 5, 2012 at 4:18 am

Susan…thank you so much for sharing such intimate details of your journey. I am motivated by your writing to let go of unecessary things and to seek God more intimately…Thank you.

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Susan McKenzie July 5, 2012 at 7:18 am

Thank you, Penny, for your kind words and for visiting today!

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Jessica Stone July 4, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Wow, Susan!  What a story and life you have lived!!  This article speaks to me in many different ways.  I, too, have been learning how to release what I've been holding onto for what God has… and the love it takes to get there.  Also, putting my trust solely in Him who is the author and finisher of our faith!!!  I agree wholeheartedly that God uses our tests for a testimony to lead others to Him.  Thanks for sharing just a brief glimpse of your story with us.

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Susan McKenzie July 4, 2012 at 10:53 pm

It’s wonderful to meet you, Jessica. Learning to trust God with everything and everyone in our lives is the hardest lesson of all, but also the most rewarding. It’s so much easier to trust when we are surrounded by like-minded friends who share their stories with us! Thanks so much for stopping by, especially on a holiday!

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Olga Hermans July 4, 2012 at 9:03 pm

You have gone through a tremendous time of hust and pain Susan; I think it is beautiful to hear that you still are so confident that God is your source of everything that you need. I like to be in agreement with you that God will restore back to you what the locust has eaten and that He wil restore to you the joy of your salvation which includes everything. Blessings to you: Olga

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Susan McKenzie July 4, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Life is beautiful, Olga. I can sense that when I read your writings, too. Suffering is something Jesus didn’t hesitate to sign up for, so I don’t have any regrets… but I thank you for believing with me for full restoration. Not just for me, but for the millions of women who have lived in abusive relationships. Thanks for stopping by!

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Carolyn Hughes July 4, 2012 at 8:30 am

What a truly inspirational story of triumph over adversity!  Your strength and courage shine through your writing and I'm sure your publications will help many who are having their own personal struggles.
Thank you for sharing you wonderful testimony!

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Susan McKenzie July 4, 2012 at 8:48 am

Carolyn, thank you – I’m only just meeting today for the first time. Thank you for stopping by and sharing such kind words of encouragement!

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Susan McKenzie July 4, 2012 at 8:18 am

Sometimes I feel very naked, although not ashamed, when I write portions of my life story that are challenging. So I asked a friend, "Am I too naked here?" She replied, "Susan, when I suffer or I am searching for a "way out", I ask, LORD-where in Your Word did Jesus go through this?
Nakedness: on the cross… talk about extreme nakedness before the world, but Jesus' focus was on the Father and finishing what "He" was called to do.
"I praise God that I can share in the suffering of Jesus Christ and complete His work." (combination of Col 1:24-25 & Rom 8:17)

Rom 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs —heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Col 1:24-5 (MSG says it well) 24-25 I want you to know how glad I am that it's me sitting here in this jail and not you. There's a lot of suffering to be entered into in this world—the kind of suffering Christ takes on. I welcome the chance to take my share in the church's part of that suffering. When I became a servant in this church, I experienced this suffering as a sheer gift, God's way of helping me serve you, laying out the whole truth.

Lay out the whole truth, Susan… you WILL finish what 'you' are called to do. And I will be alongside you."

Thank God for true friends who are honest with you, in unconditional love, no matter what!

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