Come Alive, Dry Bones

In early February of 2020, the Lord woke me up in the middle of the night and the words "Threshing Floor" were on my lips. I could almost feel the ground shaking as shot up my bed and tried to fall back asleep. After some time praying into the word, I knew the Lord was speaking that His believers and all of creation was getting ready to come to a threshing floor of sorts where He would begin to divide what is righteous and unrighteous; what is beneficial and not beneficial, clean and unclean inside of us.

The threshing floor. I couldn't shake it. I felt as though God was also calling His Church to get ready! About six months prior to receiving the word about the threshing floor, The Parable of the Ten Virgins was constantly highlighted to me in scripture. The Lord told me to pray for the Church and Wesley within it to be among the five wise virgins. I prayed that the intimacy of God would run deep, oil would be on our heads, and our lampstands would be lit, ready for His outpouring in the coming days.
 
Then COVID-19 hit.

The world slowed, stilled, and took a deep breath. At the same time, in several places, the world began to panic. The fear began to spread like wildfire. It began to shake the Earth. Everything that was clinging to us as comfort, a place of idolization, past hurts or pains, and faulty mindsets came to the surface and were revealed. I believe this is still happening currently and the Lord is in the process of taking those foxes out of our garden. As the inadequacies in our soul and misplaced thoughts about God and others in our minds are being revealed, I believe that He is extending a hand to pick us up from the dirt and speak life into our bones.
 
He is calling us into our true authority, our true peace, and our true purity.

He was and still is doing all of these things while inviting us to simply rest with Him, love Him, and love the people around us- no matter how little or great our strength is.
 
To be honest, when it was announced that Wesley wasn't returning to work for two weeks, I thought THANK YOU LORD, because at that point, I couldn't go much further in my own strength.
 
I was exhausted.

But then time went on and I wasn't directly ministering for months, and I became restless and apathetic to the season the Lord had me in. I tired to fill my time with self improvement. I made a list of books for me to read about revival, intercession, the prophetic, and theology. I planned to begin writing my testimony in detail, to go through all of my old journals from years past, and to brainstorm for writings I want to do in the future. I planned to overextend myself in health and fitness, retreating back to the old lifestyle of being a college athlete.
 
I laugh at myself now, because I didn't do any of those things in their entirety because God wouldn't let me (except the health and fitness portion). There wasn't grace. And when there was grace, I would over do it and run myself into the ground.

Instead, over the silence and stillness of COVID-19, God took me into the hidden place. He told me to stay at home with my family, so I did. I spent time laughing with my sister for hours, watching Disney movies way too late into the night, and throwing the softball around  in the heat of the day. I read books that had nothing to do with the prophetic, intercession, theology, revival, etc. I slept… a lot. I dreamed with God. I went on adventures with Him. I took care of my body and took the time to feed it well.
 
I tired to fast… It didn't work. I worshiped just for me and no one else. I only wrote when He asked me to.

I also cried, a lot. I had really hard conversations with my family about circumstances that I have wanted to address for years. I had deep and intense sessions with my counselor that revealed quite a bit about the way my emotions and pathways in my brain naturally fall. I let God walk into those places for the first time and begin to heal some damage that took place generationally and from trauma that took place early on in my life. Past sins and idols began to creep in again and I found myself becoming extremely self conscious of my eternal value and image. I found myself longing for a man to notice me, and would replay past broken relationships over and over again in my mind.

At some points, I became so trapped in the past that I would long to go back and rewrite my story. I also idolized the past; my moments as a college athlete or simpler times in high school where joy and fun seemed to be more present in my life. Regret came. Depression came. Anxiety came. Hardship in close relationships came. Broken friendships and ministering relationships played over and over again in my mind. What did I do wrong? What is the innate flaw within me that causes this kind of rejection? How did I get to this place of sadness? Why do I feel like I am being crushed all the time? Why does God seem to call me to the deep waters constantly? Does He really love me, and is He really good to me-- or have I been following a voice in the wind this whole time? Has my life ben destined to fail or to be under a yoke of slavery? Will I ever see my dreams and His dreams for me come to pass or will I be waiting forever?

These were the legitimate thoughts in my mind over COVID-19. At some points, I thought why continue to try. I thought about running from Wesley, from my family, from my friends, and from my destiny. My dreams began to slowly sink and I took on a toke of slavery. In some moments, I actually did run away from the people God placed in my life for love. I ran from His calling over my life, too. I didn't want it anymore. I thought it was too hard.
 
Over the later half of COVID-19, I shut myself off to the world, but God brought me back into His world.

In this place, God invited me to lay down my life again. He brought me to a place where, together, we uprooted and healed ways I saw myself that weren't in alignment with the way He sees me. He spoke into the regrets of my past and empowered me to live on in hope and joy for my future. He showed me that I have authority over the thoughts in my mind and that I don't have to live a victim to the weight of the world.
 
He showed me honor, authority, and that I desperately need Him to sustain me.

He showed me that I am not meant to live life independent from the rest of the world and that I can be vulnerable with the people that He has placed in my life to care for me. He also said that I have permission to receive His love and not do anything for Him at all in that specific season.

So, I actually stopped praying for other people. I stopped praying for Wesley. I stopped trying to equip myself for the next year. I came back to Athens after being at home for a season and God birthed several things inside of me. And I didn't do it perfectly. In some ways, I still don't know that those things are, but I know that they are moving inside of me and will be released soon.
 
To sum up my experience over the 5 month long spring break, the most important thing the Lord told me over the pandemic: "Let go of everything, put it all on the table, and let me love you and breathe into you because I care for my daughter. I love her."
 
Sometimes you may not realize that you are in spiritual rehab, but when you are, know that God is doing something greater than the somber thoughts that come and go during the healing process.

Whether you are feeling the heat of the fire, or you are floating in the wind; God cares for you and is making you strong, steady, and beautiful. He delights in you as a son or a daughter before your service to Him. Give yourself grace in this season to be both a learner and a leader. You can be on the operating table and also help the doctors out with the crowded emergency rooms. Follow Him where He is leading; there is no formula because none of His ways makes sense to the world, but they makes sense to Him and that's all that matters.
 
Author  |  Emily Helton

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