The Miracle of a Soft Heart

So happy to finally get back to blogging. A long stretch of influenza and some unrelenting coughing caused me to take a two week break from the webinars. However, it seems that a person can actually cough and type without too much effort, so I thought I would write to you ladies instead. 

2013 has been a memorable year for my family and I. Not because of great milestones I’m afraid, but because of deep valleys and a great miracle along the way. So today seemed like a good day to tell you about it…

For a while now I’ve been observing a heart of stone in one of my loved ones. It breaks my heart over and over again, to see someone once so filled with love and zeal for the Lord now so bitter, angry, and stumbling around in the dark. I have talked, cried, prayed, fought, begged, and pleaded with God for months, and then finally I stopped. It might have looked like surrender on the outside, and I even uttered the intention of surrender to a few friends, but only God knew what really happened… my heart became hard as well. 

It’s amazing how gradually this can happen. Over a period of time we start relying on our own efforts again. We start making plans for our food struggle, our lost loved ones, or our circumstances. We start trusting in those plans, and when they inevitably fail, we become discourage, angry, bitter, and numb… 

You may know exactly what I’m talking about. We can not deny the fruit of a hard heart. According to Luke 6:45 “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” My mouth was clearly speaking what my heart was full of. I’m especially referring to that anger, strife, bitterness,  complaining, fault finding, nagging, controlling, manipulating, and gossiping that goes on behind closed doors. Sometimes the crust around our hearts become so hard that  this even spills over into public places, but for the most part our hard heart shows best when our guard is down, in our own homes.

The most DANGEROUS thing about a hard heart is that the cracked and barren landscape provides the ideal place for the enemy to hammer in some hooks of evil desires that fuels idolatry. If you’ve worked through my program before, you will know that I’m referring to desires such as the insatiable desire for food, a skinny body, fame, money, the approval of people, or any other thing  that we absolute MUST HAVE . (See James 1:13-15)

It took months (why does it always take me so long to get a clue!), but I finally got to the end of my running, and I cautiously stepped into His presence. Yes, at first I waited with hands wringing, heart pounding, and no patience at all. But I stuck it out. I put worship music on, started up a Bible study without much enthusiasm, listened to Andrew Murray’s Absolute Surrender on tape, kept quoting this verse in Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know“, and I waited…

After a few days of this the crust around my heart started cracking slowly, and finally, I found myself weeping like a little baby, because I SAW!! How could I not see this before? I saw how I’ve allowed the sin of others to harden my heart. I saw how I’ve grieved the Holy Spirit, and how I started relying again on my own plans.  I wept tears of sorrow, repentance, and forgiveness.  His Word not only washed me clean, but the Holy Spirit started soaking the soil of my heart, like a steady autumn rain. And then, ever so gently, He started removing every hook of idolatry and evil desire, and plowed the soil so the seed of His Word can grow. 

Oh my dearest friend, there is nothing like a heart that has been softened by the Holy Spirit. IT IS A TRUE MIRACLE! No human can do it, or even imagine it. When the Holy Spirit softens your heart it flows out of your mouth and your pores! You can not contain the love and the joy, and you stand amazed at the peace in the midst of terrible circumstances!

A soft heart desires more soaking, cleaning, and plowing in God’s presence. You don’t need to coax it!

A soft heart never hold hooks of idolatry or evil desires for long. The ground is simply too soft for anything but the Word of God to take root. 

The miracle of a soft heart is available for all God’s children. He wants to wash you clean in the water of His Word, and the Holy Spirit is ready to minister to you, helping you to turn your back on the things that grieve Him. 

Come into HIS PRESENCE today. I’m begging you to not wait any longer. Living with a hard heart is the worst kind of agony. I know you may feel NOTHING. You may come hesitantly, like I did. You may need to quote Jeremiah 33:3 for a while as you keep waiting in faith.  God alone knows how much soaking you need dear sister, so allow Him to take His time to do a perfect miracle in you. YOU JUST NEED TO COME TO HIM AND WAIT IN HIS PRESENCE, JUST AS YOU ARE…

I’m praying during this Holiday Season that each person who reads this and needs the miracle of a soft heart will come to Jesus and be changed in His presence! 

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 
 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

In His Amazing Love
Heleen 

 

Resources for you

Click on the image below to learn more about the 12 Week Online Program: Women Struggling with Food

Read my story. Click on the image below to download my ebook: God will I ever be free?

 

Appetite for Freedom WORKBOOK and DVD. Great resource for small groups or for individual use. 
Click on the image below to find out more

No masks allowed! Gotta “GET REAL”

To finish your journey of breaking free from food addiction, you will need a few key elements. One that made all the difference to me is bringing TRUTH back into my life. You can not afford to wear a mask anymore. You need to GET REAL in the full sense of the word in order to complete this journey.

I was in a very legalistic church for about four years. Not the “in your face” kind of legalism, but rather the kind that almost intoxicate you, drawing you into the relentless pursuit of “sticking to the rules” without you even realizing it. I always felt awkward and out of place. Unlike me, the other moms were so skinny and well put together. The few odd ones that didn’t quite qualify as one of the “beautiful people” somehow didn’t make it into leadership.

At one point the church went through a major split and many yucky things were revealed. I realized for the first time that this nagging feeling of inferiority that I had (because of a few extra pounds on me) didn’t exactly aid me in my pursuit to freedom or holiness. I never told a soul about my struggle with food, because no one ever spoke about their struggles, and no one ever admitted to being “only human”. Everybody was so spiritual, so driven to win the lost, so focused on not wasting time with frivolous things such as building friendships or finding personal healing.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for evangelism, but I also know that God never intended for us to stop being real, give up on friendship and neglect our hearts.
I never felt so alone in a congregation and I never felt so incapable of ever overcoming my food addiction. You see I had to keep it secret, because admitting to it would have been to admit to what everybody already suspected: “I was an immature Christian who should have had my act together years ago”

After the split things changed gradually and I started a small group for women who struggle with food issues. I found that there were actually a bunch of ladies who were just waiting to talk about this “thing” they were carrying around.

How great was my relief when we moved and were swept up in the loving arms of the people in our current church. They invited us to small groups where people wanted to get to know us, care about us, and most of all, they were not afraid to be real! Our church also sets high standards for holy living and growing in relationship with God, but although we have our problems like every other church, I personally never felt that cloud of condemnation.

I want to encourage you: If you suffer from an eating disorder or any other addiction, please find a place where you won’t feel afraid to be real. A place where you are encouraged by other women and where you experience the Holy Spirit’s presence to heal you and change you. Yes, we have to build our own relationship with God, but He also created us to be part of a community and to have genuine friendships. These friendships are best know by their “giving and receiving”. In these friendships you will experience acceptance of both your good and “not so good” parts. You need to be loved for who you are to break free from this disorder. Pretending to be perfect or okay when you are not will keep you in bondage. Pleasing others and not being truthful about your needs and fears will prevent you from finding the healing you so desperately need.

I know change is hard, and I’m not telling you to give up your church either. I just want to nudge you to keep looking for a church or even just a group where you can receive love and support. Start today. If your church doesn’t offer any support groups, start your own. You can use my program for your support group if you want, or look for the following groups in your area that focus on freedom from food struggles and other addictions:
Celebrate Recovery (look for a group in your town)
First Place (look for a group in your town)

You can stop overeating or stop binge eating by taking my hand through the online program I offer, or by taking the hand of a friend. Believe me, it’s almost impossible to do it yourself.