“It’s just an invitation…”
These words pressed deeply into my spirit earlier today as I reflected upon the fires, battles and mountains that have risen against me this year. Of course, those attempts were faulty at best, because –in the words of Tasha Cobbs– “no fire can burn me, no battle can turn me, and no mountain can stop me.” God holds my hand and He knows my name; therefore, no weapon formed against me can prosper (Isaiah 54:17).
But what about this invitation?
The attacks, the warfare, the distractions…they are all simply invitations. Divine invites from God. Invitations to worship Him…invitations to enter into the secret place with Him…invitations to draw nearer to Him.
God can package and send these invites in a multitude of ways. He can send them as sweet, handcrafted notes on lovely paper, adorned with calligraphy and delicately scented. Or He can take what the enemy means for your undoing and use it for good. That good begins with an invite. Those are the invites that are more difficult to recognize. Those are the ones to which we do not wish to RSVP. But oftentimes, those are the most important ones. It is a mark of character and strength when we positively respond to the invites that come packaged as a still small voice during times we are ready to give up and die (1 Kings 19:12-13).
You see, God knows how to repurpose those attacks. He uses the very things that are designed to pull us away from Him and He draws us in.
Over the last 4 months, some of my invites have been volatile grenades, covered in dirt and dust and delivered on the battlefield. Others have been bloody and excruciating…compliments of labor and travail in the middle of the birthing room floor.
Our Father wants to know that we will save-the-date, confirm our attendance and show up promptly no matter how fancy, beautiful, offensive or terrifying the delivery. He wants to know that we will accept the invite to worship Him in all things, and at all times give Him thanks and praise (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
After the words “It’s just an invitation…” illuminated in my spirit, I was reminded of a piece I wrote last year about divine invitations. It was written from an entirely different perspective. It focused more on the gentle, intimate invites…the ones that are easy to accept.
God desires our presence. And I love how He is so gracious to remind us that He is always calling for us. Even when the giants are rising up around us. He wants us to know that He holds the stone that will defeat Goliath. But we must get in His presence in order to retrieve it from His hand. We must accept the invitation to worship Him in order to receive our battle plans and strategies.
Below is the initial piece I wrote about these invitations. Please, take a moment and read it. And remember, we must train our hearts and minds to recognize God’s invitations no matter how they are packaged. No matter the situation you are facing, ask yourself, “Is God inviting me to get in His presence?” I’m sure you’ll find the answer will always be YES.
I pray all of these words bless you!
Invitations grant access. They serve as an entry pass exclusive to a particular person or group of people. When I was a child, I had a two room, playhouse in our backyard. Complete with a raised sun deck and sandbox below, it was the perfect venue for my private tea parties. I would invite my best dolls and stuffed animals to join me. They each had a designated place at the table. And in that safe space, we did life together.
Be it a birthday celebration or a retirement party, invitations typically contain detailed information regarding the “who, what, when and where” of the event. Every “T” is crossed and every “I” dotted. Down to appropriate attire guidelines and gift giving recommendations, the sender, usually, has thought of everything, and nothing is left to chance.
Invitations from Our Heavenly Father aren’t always so straightforward. In many instances, these divine invites, send the recipients on sweet journeys to surprisingly delightful destinations.
At the beginning of 2018, I received one such invitation. This heavenly invitation was delivered through a vision…a picture of a woman filled and overflowing with an abundance of life. Flowers and fruits bursting forth from her belly, her arms raised in complete surrender; this woman—like a tree—was strong, fertile and firmly rooted in the center of a spectacular wilderness.
As I scanned each fine detail of the image, I could feel the pulling. I could feel the invitation calling out to me, prompting me to RSVP, enticing me to ask for more information. And the questions rose in my spirit… “Who was this woman? What was she doing? Where was this beautiful oasis? And when can I get there?”
I was moved to draw my interpretation of the image. As I drew each detail with my artist tools splayed out in front of me, I drew closer to God in prayer. During this time, I went on walks through wooded paths along the water’s edge, and I saw myself in the spirit walking through a wilderness garden with The LORD. Until one day, I saw myself in the deepest part of the garden, face-to-face with a curtain of vines that led to the garden’s innermost space…a secret place…a secret garden. This was the place in my vision…the “where” from my invitation. This unknown sanctuary hidden behind a leafy veil had been awaiting my arrival. As I pulled back the lush, verdant drapes, the most beautiful venue was revealed. And I saw her. I saw the “who” of my invite. She was a flowering tree, planted by a stream, nestled alongside a waterfall and rivers of living waters. As I moved in for a closer look, I admired the rocky cliffs and wild vines. I took comfort in the green, lush pastures beneath my feet. This was a place of intimacy. A quiet, peaceful place.
I gazed upon the woman once more and something amazing began to unfold…she was me! And this was my place. I was invited to a private party for two here in this secret garden with The LORD.
This woman is not just me. She can be you, too. God is inviting each one of His daughters to do Life with Him in The Garden.
There’s a heightened level of peace and power that comes in the garden. This peace and power require proper positioning. And with that peace and power come provision and promises filled. When we position ourselves in prayer, supplication and thanksgiving; when we devote ourselves to worship to The Father; when we immerse ourselves in a deepened state of intimacy, we are drawn closer and closer to the innermost garden of His heart. It’s a place to commune with Him, to relax in Him. It’s a secret sanctuary in which to learn, grow and flourish.
Life in The Garden requires a surrendered and willing heart. And in return, God will provide all your needs. He will restore and refresh you…and bless your life abundantly. Rivers of living waters will flow from your belly and you will be like a tree planted by a stream.
It all begins with an invitation…won’t you join Him?
Do you feel God is inviting you to the secret place through prayer and fasting?
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