Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Sunflower for Jesus

It's no secret that life's been a struggle. I've been battling depression off and on for months. This isn't new for me considering I have bipolar illness, but normally it comes and goes and I have long periods of steady and doing well. Seems like the last 6 months the darkness of depression has been pressing in on me more than not. 

If I'm really honest.. and I am trying to be, I would have to say a lot of it is spiritual. I've had this battle going on in my spirit. Questions. Doubts. Disappointments. I've questioned if God is everything He says He is. I've doubted if He cares for me the way He says He does. I've doubted my worth to Him and to others. I've wondered if it's worth the time and effort to keep on coming back to Him. Seems I'm good at running away, and then running back. 
I've felt disappointment, I've felt sorrow, I've felt pain. I often feel like I'm on the outskirts of everything. I feel left out, forgotten, not chosen. It's enough to bring me into the throws of depression over and over again. 
Deep in my heart I know  He loves me, He is for me, He is with me, He has chosen me, He sees me... but my head whispers.. "Is this even true? Is it even worth it? Does it even matter? Do I even matter? Does He even care?

A friend messaged me on facebook tonight to tell me she is praying for me. She said: "I see a big picture of a sunflower and I don't know if that means anything, but you are loved by God. He sees light and beauty in you."   When I read it I was busy so I thanked her and forgot about it until tonight when I was  printing labels for orders.  I remembered her facebook message. I've never ever thought about or even cared about sunflowers so I thought I would look up the meaning and see if that meant anything to me. 
This is what I found: 
"Sunflowers symbolize adoration, loyalty, and longevity. Much of the meaning of sunflowers stems from it's namesake, the sun itself. "
"Sunflower has recently been adopted as a symbol of adoration, strength, a love of the sun and sunlight and... it is said to always turn its face to the sun" 
"The sunflower looks forward for the brightness of tomorrow".
"The sunflower moves itself in the most direct position in front of the sun so it can get the maximum sun rays. It moves it's face to the lifegiving rays of the sun".
"It's always facing the sun". 
"The sunflower will actually follow the sun from morning to night". 
"The sunflower is a symbol of God's love". 
"These flowers are unique in that they have the ability to provide energy in the form of nourishment and vibrancy- attributes which mirror the sun and the energy provided by its heat and light." 
Another interesting thing I read about sunflowers is that scientifically they turn towards the sun as part of their growth process.  The scientist said no one really knows why the flowers themselves turn towards the sun but the best guess is that they need more heat to grow more seeds. 
I read and I wept. I felt the Holy Spirit well up in my spirit. 
And this is what He spoke to me:
"Come to Me. Turn your face towards me.  Fix your eyes on Me. Turn away from focusing on yourself and the darkness you feel and see. Look to me, I am Light. I am life.  Seek to see me, know me. Receive from me my warmth, my love, my light. Allow me to overshadow the darkness you feel. Come to me to give you all that you need. Come to me for your needs. Turn away from yourself, focus on me. Allow me to shine MY rays of hope on your darkness and depression. You are to be a sunflower who turns towards me continuely to receive from me. Just like sunflowers adore the sun, adore Me. Have faith in Me. Love me. Live for ME."   
I am to be a sunflower that looks to my Father, who FIXES my eyes on Him, who morning till night does not turn my back on Him but seeks to see, to know, to receive from Him. 
I need to steady my sight on Him so I can receive the maximum dose of His sun rays, His life-giving rays. 
I am to be an adorer, to be longsuffering, loyal to My God just as He adores me and He is long-suffering and loyal to me.  I am to mirror the Sun/Son. I am to turn my eyes away from my own pain and struggles, upward to Him. As He fills me with His light I am to shoot out rays of hope, HIS hope to the hopeless around me. I am to mimic the image of Christ. 

I have been lacking the light of Jesus, the hope of Christ, I have become hopeless because I have been lightless. I have turned my face from God in so many ways. I have often decided it wasn't worth it, in essence that He wasn't worth it. I've lost my light. I've felt the darkness pressing in on me. I've hidden my face from Christ. 
How then can I expect His light to shine on me? How can I expect brighter days if I'm hiding from the giver of Life and light. How can I have hope when I am only looking for the hopeless.  How can I be filled with Light if I'm only exposing myself to the darkness. 
I must turn my eyes upon Jesus, I must look up, look away from myself and into the direction of my life giver. 
I must surrender to the SON before I will see myself through Him and Him through me. 
I will continue to wilt and wither away under the weight and pressure of depression if I do not turn my eyes on Jesus and Jesus alone.
I must position myself in a posture of constantly facing Him, in pursuit of Him, His perspective, His presense, His light. 

The Message Matthew 17:2 says that "Sunlight poured from His face". Just as the sunflower looks towards the sun, We ought to look towards Jesus.  He will expose our darkness and pour out His light. 

Those lies we whisper about ourselves, about God, they pierce the heart deep. I think it's ok to wrestle. I think it can bring spiritual growth.  But in the questioning we must fix our hearts, our minds, our eyes on the Lord and allow Him to shed His light and His truth on us. We must purpose in our hearts to lay ourselves down, to pick up His lenses and look at ourselves, our situations, our lives through the lenses of His perspective. He has promised to pour Himself out on us. If we allow Him He will shine bright and pierce our darkest places until they become light. He brings beauty for ashes. This I know. 

"Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I". Isaiah 58:8-9

God will be our rear guard. That means He will go behind us and guard us. No more running as we turn around to see satan's grip digging into our heels. No we are to look foward to Him, fix our eyes on His love for us. He will sustain us. 

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." Ps. 30:5

Jesus you know how fleshly I can be.  You know how pitiful and wilted and weary I get when I turn away from You and have my eyes on me. Please help me to look to You for my everything. Please pierce my darkness with Your light. Shine into my darkness; help me to see you there. Help me to be an image bearer of Your light, even in my own darkness. Teach me to adore you. Give me strength to be faithful to you. Thank You Jesus that you choose to be my light/Life giver and thank You for rescuing me time and time again. Your love is life to me. Help me be a sunflower for you Jesus. Teach me to constantly turn my face to You. 

"So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without His unfolding grace. These hard time are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever." 2 Cor. 4:16-18

When the darkness presses in on you, turn your face to the Son. 

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