Oh How He Loves Me!

Who Am I?

            Once upon a time there lived an unhappy young girl. Her mother was dead and her father had married a widow with two daughters. Her stepmother didn’t like her one little bit. All her kind thoughts and loving touches were for her own daughters. Nothing was too good for them – dresses, shoes, delicious food, soft beds, and every home comfort.

But, for the poor unhappy girl, there was nothing at all. No dresses, only her stepsisters’ hand-me-downs. No lovely dishes, nothing but scraps. No rest and no comfort. She had to work hard all day. Only when evening came was she allowed to sit for a while by the fire, near the cinders. That’s why everybody called her Cinderella.[i]

     As a little girl, my faith was so pure an innocent. My nights and days were filled with laughter, love and hope for the future. I loved the outdoors and it was exciting to put my face to the crisp spring wind and listen to the leaves rustle in the trees. My body felt light, alive and free of cares or worry.

     I loved climbing orange trees and talking to God..  We had a love relationship and I saw everything through the lenses of God’s love.  I also believed everyone was kind, good and loving like my brother Doug. Villains and evil people only lived in fairy tales and “happy endings” were the only “real thing.”  If anyone or anything tried to hurt me, my brother would come to my rescue like he always did.  When the two twin boys from down the street cornered me one day after school, my brother came barreling to my rescue ready to save me!  Oh how I felt so love, so protected and free!

      Because of my parents alcohol abuse I was never taught there was  danger in false beliefs and expectations. I constantly found my belief system and my reality at odds with one another.   Because alcohol addiction is such a trap from Satan, the tendency is to cover truth.  You don’t speak or even think bad thoughts, especially about your parents.  You only learn to respond to performance based love.  This is how you were raised.  The parent is grieved and sad because of their behavior, so they have a tendency to buy your love the next day or so after they have sobered up.

      I learned early how to attract relationships that were unhealthy and unstable and based on performance.  If I performed well, I got rewarded.  If I said no or didn’t perform well, I got beaten.  It seemed no matter how hard I worked or how good I was I found myself on the Cinderella side of life.  I’ve learned the hard way the only way to encounter a happy ending is through the power of the Holy Spirit whose seed was planted in my soul when I was formed and created by God.

     Even though my personal belief system was skewed, the Lord had deposited His seed of faith inside me to lead me and guide me into His truth.  The One True belief system.   He established me with great faith and the ability to trust in Him.   Through Him I believed anything was and still is possible!  I could just turn to Him, pray, make a wish, a pact with God and believe and it would come true.  Unfortunately as we grow we allow the lies, untruths and sin to cloud and distort our faith in God and the purpose and reason why He sent His Son Jesus to save us.

         I remember climbing up into a navel orange tree in our back yard. God would talk to me. He would answer my questions and let me know how very special He thought I was.

“If only, I  thought, if I didn’t have to grow up and could always stay in this special place with Him!”

     My conversations with God continued throughout the day while I played with my hero and best friend, my older brother Doug.

     My affection and adoration often irritated him. Sometimes I talked too loud or too much. Other times I might beat him at arm wrestling or racing around the house on our bikes. Sometimes he just wanted to be alone with the boys in the neighborhood or his best friend Mac.   In spite of these times of rejection, I always knew that I could depend on my brother Doug. He was full of laughter and life. He was my hero and the one I looked up to for help and advice. He would show me how to spit orange seeds better, or make a slingshot shoot farther.  We would spend the springtime practicing our shots in preparation for the big potato wars that occurred daily during the summer in the woods in our neighborhood.

One time I remember asking him,

“Am I going to die?” He asked me, Why do you think you are going to die?” I proudly told him I had just eaten a huge mud pie I had downed with a hose full of water. His reply, Probably, I’ll tell mom what you did after you are dead. This way you won’t have to get a spankin’.” My brother’s wisdom was so empowering!

      Doug still has the best laugh in the world and during these younger years it was these deposits of laughter, love and security that would make my days and nights bearable in the years to come.

     During the times Doug was busy or didn’t want to play with me I would climb either the navel orange tree, if it had orange trees or the big oak that was in our front yard.  The big oak was great because it had a limb that hung over the roof of the house and I could climb onto the roof, lay in the sun and watch the cars go by.  No one ever knew where I was.  It was my hiding place.  God would deposit thoughts, ideas and affirmations in my spirit and I grew strong in Him.  Sometimes when we weren’t talking I would sit and think about what my life would be like in the future.  For a while I wanted to be a nun, even though I never had been to church and didn’t know  anything other than a nun helped hurting people.  I knew that they couldn’t get married and the nun in the movie was so beautiful I couldn’t figure out how in the world she could give up having a handsome husband (she was that pretty) and children.  This beautiful nun also took a vow of silence, which I didn’t understand totally, but I knew she wasn’t able to talk to anyone, except to pray to God for a whole year. I knew this would probably be impossible for me to do since I loved to talk.  My daddy would often say, “Marlene, your tongue is loose on both ends.”

Cinderella used to spend long hours all alone talking to the cat. The cat said, . Meow. , which really meant, . Cheer up! You have something neither of your stepsisters has and that is beauty.. It was quite true. Cinderella, even dressed in old rags, was a lovely girl. While her stepsisters, no matter how splendid and elegant their clothes, were still clumsy, lumpy and ugly and always would be.[ii]

     My mother wasn’t as nice talking to me and I always felt like I irritated her.  I felt like I was too tomboyish for her liking and somehow I wasn’t the pretty little princess she had imagined for a daughter.  Looking back now, I can see a deposit of distaste was put into me as a little girl.  During my toddler, adolescent, teen and young adult years, I can see how this deposit or seed manifested in my life and how I allowed it to continue to grow and would eventually become entangled in a bitter root toward my mother. Thank the Lord that there is no root so bitter that can not be sweetened by the presence of God. “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”[iii]

I remembering running through the yard imagining that I was an Indian princess or had supernatural powers and could fly as my brother and I would climb up on the garage roof with our capes and jump off to the ground below.  We were invisible to the world around us and our laughter would fill palace made of sky and trees. Only the girls in these stories got their wishes. Little did I know how precious these memories would become and that they would be the experiences that the Lord would use to set me free.

     How did this faith filled child wind up in the ashes?  What happened to destroy the little girl’s faith and belief in God?

     When I was a young girl I always wanted to become a detective, actress or a nun. It’s funny because looking back over my life, I’ve experienced parts of all of these careers. e older I got, the more I realized that a part of me wasn’t there.  Part of my soul had retreated or had been taken captive. Who, what, when and how did I lose part of my identity?  Like Cinderella something that I

was entitled to had been stolen.  My mother was dead, my family scattered, my marriages failed and my children grown and on their own, and I was alone and vey lonely.

When did this evil beast arrive? It’s hard to remember but I believe the fir doubt and unbelief only because the days and nights were led by a faith I believed that everyone

worked hard, grew up, got married and lived happily ever

Waiting on The Face of Glory

Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.  Isaiah 64:4.

Kasper ten Boom and his daughter Corrie stood waiting in line for the train to Amsterdam.  Kasper ten Boom was a watchmaker and would regularly travel to Amsterdam to set his watch.  On this particular trip his daughter asked him a peculiar question.  “Father, how will I know I would have enough courage to die for Jesus?”

Corrie’s father reply was simple,  “Corrie, when do we buy the ticket to get on the train for Amsterdam?”

“Just before we get on the train,” said Corrie.

“With God it’s the same way, He’ll give us the grace we need just before we need it, even if we are to die for Him,” said Corrie’s father.

Little did Corrie realize that one day she and her older sister Betsie would be waiting in line to board the Ravensbrook death camp.  Many times her father’s face would be the constant reminder to trust in Jesus, to supply the grace she would sorely need.

Her family hid Jews during the holocaust and Corrie would be the only survivor in her family. Corrie learned to wait on the Lord.  She became a servant and a witness to those both the other prisoners and her captives.

She was waiting on the face of glory. Waiting is an action word.

The Hebrew word for waiting is Chakah (khaw-kaw). It is described as to await, tarry, ( as in ambush) or simply to long for the time of release.  Another form of waiting is as in wait staff as in those who serve others. When we serve others, we are waiting.  We are waiting for a release at each point in the event to the appointed time when we are to do our job.  Sometimes waiting doesn’t come when we want it, but when others have completed their tasks.

The last time the word glory is used in the Bible is just prior to the birth of Jesus.  Malachi 2:2 gives a warning about only giving glory to God’s name.  Emmanuel or “God with us” refers to Jesus who is God’s son and His name sake.  He is the glory that was sent to the earth. God is with us here on earth.

Glory is about honor, abundance and perfection.  Jesus is all of those things.  His desire is to know those He created.  Each individual will have an “appointed time” when they will have an opportunity to meet Jesus “face to face.”  The following is a story found in the Bible about a woman who came “face to face” with Emmanuel.

In Luke we read the story of Simeon and Anna who were waiting for Jesus and serving in the temple day and night.  Simeon had been promised that he would not die until he saw the Messiah.

Anna served as a prophetess and intercessor right beside Simeon.

For one moment imagine Mary and Joseph bringing Jesus into the temple.  They wanted to dedicate him in the proper Jewish manner, at the proper time according to Jewish law.

Little did Mary and Joseph know that two servants Simeon and Anna had been waiting their entire life for the day when God had promised them both that they would see the promised Messiah. Perhaps they thought he would be an older and wiser man.  The Messiah would have to be very old in order to be older than Simeon and Anna.  Perhaps they imagined Jesus to be a great king and deliverer for Israel.   I would have loved to see their faces when they looked down to dedicate Jesus and realized they were looking into the face of God, the creator of the universe. Simeon was overtaken with joy because God had promised him that he wouldn’t die until he saw the Messiah. Once Simeon gazed upon the baby Jesus, he that told God that he was ready to die.  He had seen the face of glory.  His waiting was done.

And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.  She was of great age, and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity; and she [was] a widow of about fourscore and four years (84 years), which departed not from the temple, but served or waited on God with fastings and prayers night and day.  And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.  She had seen the face of glory[iv].

There are several interesting facts here:

Ÿ  Anna’s name means grace.  She waited for the face of grace and glory to arrive.

Ÿ  Prophetess – God used her to “see” things others were unable to see.

Ÿ  She was faithful to the call.

Ÿ  Phanuel – her father – his name means “face of God”   God ordained Anna to see the face of God – and His glory through His son Jesus Christ

Ÿ  Tribe of Asher – means happy – Anna’s joyfulness in serving in the temple revealed her true heart. She was happy to serve simply and without a lot of material gain.

Ÿ  She was married for seven years.  Perfect number and had been a widow for 84 years. If she was only 12 when she married – this meant she was 103 years old.

Ÿ  Scripture says she departed not from the temple.  This displays her faithfulness to “wait” on the Lord.

ŸIn Acts the Bible tells us “It said unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come.  Jesus was the reason they were serving night and day.  They were looking for his coming.  As believers today we need to be serving in the local church.  We need to be instant in and out of season.  When the face of glory showed up on Anna’s doorstep, she recognized the season.  She instantly knew it was the “face of God” and the world’s redeemer.  She presented herself and made herself available to the world.  She prepared & presented herself for service.

She spoke to all those who were waiting for the redemption of Israel.

This was Anna’s greatest moment.  The very moment she had been waiting for.

Can’t you imagine that she might be a little tired?  Afterall fasting and praying 24/7 for 84 years is no little task.

Can’t you see her holding up baby Jesus before the crowd?  I can see her presenting the “face of God” before all the others.  She had waited patiently for this moment.

In Mark we read where Joseph of Armada (an honorable counselor) was also waiting for the kingdom of God.

Anna’s heart was to know and serve God.  She waited on Him hands and feet.  She gave praise honor and glory to God.  She saw the face of Glory in the temple that day!

Many times we have to wait for things.  Scripture tells us in Romans that I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why does he yet hope for it?  But if we hope for that which we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

 Ÿ  You might have a promise you are waiting for.

Ÿ  You might have a son or daughter who is on drugs or is unsaved.

Ÿ  You might have struggles in your marriage or finances.

Ÿ  Perhaps you have a loved one who is aging or ill.

ŸŸ  Whatever the case we are called to wait….or to serve with gladness, day and night.

Are you waiting for Jesus with hope in your heart?  Or are you grumbling and complaining with no hope in sight?

Fanny Crosby lost her sight as a baby.  Born in the mid 1800’s she wrote over 9,000 hymns, worked as a teacher for the blind, wrote poetry for presidents, generals and other dignitaries.

She dedicated her life waiting on the poor and needy.

When asked by a preacher one time if she was disappointed because Jesus never healed her – she replied, Oh, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I want Jesus’ face to be the first face I ever see!”

 

Fanny Crosby waited on the face of glory.

 

Just two weeks ago a precious woman of the Lord say the face of glory.  Anna Hathaway beheld his face and fell into His precious arms.  Jesus wiped away her years of waiting and replaced them with a song of joy and victory.  Anna whose very name means grace had been a “lady in waiting” for years and years.  She is dancing and looking into the face of Jesus.

 

In Closing I would like to tell you a story about Anna who went to work for the King of Siam.  The story is set in the nineteenth century.  Anna, an English woman became the tutor to the King’s offspring.  There were many.

Anna who helped King Mangkut prepare a state dinner to show Britain that Siam was ready to enter into the affairs of the world.

The King had waited a long time for this and Anna was instrumental in serving and helping him achieve his goal.  She waited on the King.

The table is laid in the finest English style – silverware, tablecloths, candlelight, and, at the end of the meal, ballroom dancing.

When the feast was over it comes time for the first dance.

The king stands and extends his hand to Anna.  Honor and glory are extended.  He invites her to dance with him.  He fixes his gaze upon her and is distracted by nothing and no one else.

He waits for her response. He waits for her response.

You can feel the expectation in the air.  Anna having helped the King prepare for this once in a lifetime event.

She is clearly surprised, taken back, but has the grace to respond and stand.  As they walk past the long table, the king’s eyes never stray from hers, a smile playing on his lips.  Others are upset that he hasn’t chosen her.  Some watch with contempt, others with pleasure.  It is of no consequence to the king or to Anna.  The king escorts Anna to the dance floor.

Anna was prepared when she came to the ball.

She was beautiful in a striking gown that shimmered like starlight.

Ÿ  She spent hours getting ready to “face the king”

Ÿ  Her hair, her dress, her heart.

“As they reach the dance floor, Anna expresses her fear of dancing with the king before the eyes of others.  “We wouldn’t want to end up in a heap,” she says.  His answer to her questioning heart.  I am king.  I will lead.”[v] Captivating

Jesus is extending His hand and His face to you.  He is inviting you to dance with him.  He says, “May I have this dance with you…every day of your life?”

Some days may be longer than others. Maybe you’ve been blinded by what others say or think.  Maybe you’ve been serving and waiting for a very long time.  You are tired and weary.  God’s promises need to be fulfilled in your life.

But Jesus eyes are fixed on you.

Je is captivated by your waiting.  He is smiling.

Jesus cares nothing about the opinion of others.  He is standing beside you inviting you to dance with him.  He will lead if you will follow.  He awaits your response.

When you least expect it…the time of waiting will be over and you will see the face of glory.

“My lover spoke and said to me,

“Arise, my darling”

My beautiful one, and come to me.” (Song 2:10)

To tell us your story email me at CinderellaReleased@gmail.com


[iii] Hebrews 12:15 (New International Version)

[iv] Luke 2

[v] Captivating, John & Stasi Eldredge

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