For most of my life, I have struggled with negativity. After my husband died, negativity became my closest friend. That all changed one dreary morning when God handed me a gift on the rays of the rising sun. The soft golden colors brought comfort to my aching soul. From that moment nature has been my strength. Though I face my problems with a positive outlook, I often find myself slipping back into negativity when it comes to thoughts about myself, or my past.
I never thought that I was a prisoner of my past or that I was being held captive by negativity, until I took Beth Moore’s Breaking Free* bible study. According to Beth, “A Christian is held captive by anything that hinders the abundant and effective Spirit-filled life God planned for her.” Wow, what a powerful statement, one that shone a light on my bondage to my past hurts. Last night while watching Beth Moore’s video she started talking about this wonderful store called Lordstrom. Where everything you need is there for the taking and it is free, you just need to ask for it. On the way home I started thinking how wonderful it would be if there really was a place called Lordstrom. A place where I could walk in and ask the Lord for whatever I might need and He just handed it to me. If there was a place like that, why haven’t I ever gone there?
Maybe because I have been spending way too much time at the devilmart, next door. Other than the bright neon sign flashing welcome, there is nothing nice about the devilmart . When I open the door, the smell of yesterday’s sins, decaying memories, and rotting negativity hit me in the face. I reach for the railing and descend the dark staircase. Not a place I care to spend time in, nevertheless, I do. I know my way around so well I don’t need much light to find my way. There stored on the sagging shelves are every sin, every negative thought, everything bad that has ever happened either to me or by me. I go to the “stupid shelf”, and reach for the first time anyone called me that. It was the first day of first grade. The teacher asked who was eating lunch. I raised my hand, she asked for the money, I said, “I don’t have money, I’m going home for lunch”. She informed me that I was only to raise my hand if I was staying at school and buying lunch from them. The little boy next to me leans over and whispers, “You are stupid.” It would not be the last time I was called stupid, this shelf overflows to the floor. There are other shelves filled with hate, disappointment, anger, resentment… Behind the shelf I hear a voice “pick another,” followed by an evil laugh that echo’s throughout the room. The voice fills me with fright. I look for the door; I need to escape. How can I? After all this is who I am. I shiver as hopelessness fills me.
I hear another voice, this one fills me with warmth, this isn’t who you are. Follow Me. I follow the voice out into the sunlight, there before me is a beautiful building, more like a palace than a store. The windows glisten in the sunlight, flowers line the sidewalk made of gold, the door opens, and I enter Lordstrom. There are shelves filled with gems of every kind, a river flows from the bottom of a cross and curves its way throughout the store, the water bubbles to overflowing, wetting the golden floor. There is a garden filled with beautiful flowers, a bench sits by the river, my childhood Bible is opened on the bench. A cardinal flies by and a butterfly lands on my shoulder. What is the meaning of all this?
This is who you are my child. The river is every ounce of love that has ever touched your life, starting with My love. The garden is your place of refuge, the bench where you can rest. The Bible so you can hear My voice. The gems are every good thing you have or will encounter. That room in there is filled with every person who has touched your life in a positive way.
Cautiously I enter the room; it was overflowing with family, friends even people I didn’t know. I look at the faces some I am not surprised to see, others I wonder about, like the little boy from first grade. Why is he here?
You have forgotten he also whispered you are pretty.
As I look at the faces, I start to remember all the wonderful moments I have shared with each of them. I am filled with such awe. The only other time I have felt so much love was the day I accepted Jesus as my savior. I was eight years old, sitting in the second pew from the front with when suddenly my heart was filled with an overwhelming sense of warmth and love so intense I was unable to remain in my seat; powered by the love of the Lord I walked the aisle to salvation. Today standing on the floors of gold I once again am filled with that same love a love I have shoved to the corners of my heart.
I am filled with amazement at the wonders Lordstrom’s holds, a room brimming with blessings, a room full of angels who fight my unseen battles, a room filled with hope. The most wonderous thing is that standing in the center is my Lord and Savior Jesus, waiting to answer my needs; I just need to ask. At the door of one room is a crystal bowl filled with mustard seeds. I picked one up. “What is the meaning of all of these?”
Each one of those are from a time when that is all the faith you had, and I answered your call of faith.
I grabbed a handful, my heart filled with thankfulness. This place is amazing why have I never known of this place.
Because you have chosen to dwell in darkness, to believe the lies of the evil one. Look around this is who you are. Everything you need is right here for the asking. When the evil one threatens you with thoughts from the past, reach out for Me, resist the darkness “Then your light will shine like the sunrise; your restoration will quickly arrive; your godly behavior will go before you, and the Lord’s splendor will be your rear guard.” Isaiah 58:8
I glance at the mustard seed so tiny in my hand I quickly rush from Lordstrom back to the door to the devilmart. With a smile, I place the tiny seed into the lock of the door. Lord, I don’t want to ever enter this place again, part of me believes I can do it, and yet there is still a part that is unsure. I have so long dwelled in darkness that I know this will be hard to fight. But I have the faith of a mustard seed so I know that with you I can defeat the darkness and live in freedom and light. Thank you God for growing this mustard seed into a tree blocking my entrance into darkness. I am ready to embrace the freedom that love brings.
This morning I woke with a heart filled with joy. Happy memories flood my brain. It is amazing how remembering good memories can erase the hurt from the past. For every hurt there are a dozen loving moments, it is those I choose to embrace. No longer is the negativity of the past controlling how I feel. Jesus loves me, God forgives me, and the Holy Spirit is here to guide me into peace, as I forgive those who have hurt me. With forgiveness comes freedom with freedom comes love.
I thank God and Beth Moore for guiding me to Lordstrom and I pray that I too will be able to guide you into your own Lordstrom. A place within your heart where you can sit and talk to Jesus, a place of freedom from past hurts and sins, a place where all your needs are met with abundant love. All you need to do is open your heart and walk in.