How God Whispered Healing in my Soul-cry Moment
By Jennie Denney
Hear Him Louder Essay Series: Jennie's Story
The last few years have been a tough journey, requiring me to deconstruct false narratives I’ve believed about God and myself. I’ve been diving into my shame, and removing my various masks. But as I look back, I now see fruit bubbling up from the pain I’ve faced.
The hardest narrative for me is believing I am enough.
Without even knowing, some of the disciplines I put in place years ago have helped me work through my deconstruction. For two years I was in a sort of “forced” place of solitude as our family traveled around Europe as nomads. Moving around every week made it difficult to make any friends, and for the most part, I had a lot of time to myself. I began journaling and eventually found myself writing out my prayers, which ended up looking a lot like poems. I spent a lot of time reading the Psalms and I read books like The Cure and The Soul of Shame. I began to read a lot about the Enneagram, the false-self, and shame.
Looking back, I see that every painful deconstruction moment made room for reconstruction. My husband and I had a lot of really deep and painful discussions that led to healing within our hearts and souls. Every wound needed to be re-opened so that it could be lovingly bandaged with a healing salve that allowed forgiveness and deep soul-healing.
One particular day during this time, while I was practicing the spiritual discipline of centering prayer, I began to feel a brightness coming from my upper right side.
I angled my face toward the brightness and understood that it was the same angle my babies looked at me as I held them and rocked them when they were infants. I was brought back to those moments when I would be staring down into their eyes, for hours. I remembered how each one of them would lay there, content to peer into my eyes as long as I was willing to hold their gaze. There was a pureness and an incredible surrender to love in their gaze as they stared up at me.
I felt that same pureness now, in this brightness.
As I sat there on the floor of my darkened closet, feeling the warmth of the Father’s bright gaze on me, I surrendered to the unmistakable love I felt in that small room. I returned his gaze and very distinctly heard the words, “You bring Me pure joy.”
Tears gently rolled down my cheeks as I sat there soaking in those few precious words. I believed them as truth. I brought Him pure joy by simply sitting with Him, there on the floor of that darkened closet?
It was in that moment I finally believed God loved me and that He is for me.
I am so grateful to know I make my heavenly Father smile just as much when I am tired and grumpy, or I’ve failed miserably at something, as when I have accomplished some great task. He smiles because He sees me and loves me. Just like my babies’ all those years ago, God’s gaze has never turned away from me.
Friend, I pray this encourages you in your walk, too, to know we bring Him joy. The Source of our own joy feels joy in us. We are enough.
May you experience His loving gaze upon you today.
May we each rest in knowing that we bring our heavenly Father pure joy.
The Hear Him Louder Essay Series is a guest writer series where God's daughters share their stories of hearing God’s whispers in their every day. It’s meant to serve as an encouragement for the times when God feels far and seems quiet. When we read each other’s stories of how He meets us, it reminds and reassures us that He is near. May this series be an invitation for us to listen for His voice together.
Don't miss any posts in this series! Subscribe to receive notifications for each new essay, posted every other Thursday. When you subscribe, you'll receive a link to a FREE five-day devotional (45 beautiful pages!) called, “Closer: Five Days to Hearing God Louder.” Each day features teaching on one posture and a guided journaling section to help us practice taking steps toward hearing God louder in our every day.
Learn more about each of these five postures:
1 | Seek: If I Seek God, Will I Really Find Him?
2 | Know: Will God Speak, Even to Me?
3 | Expect: Can I Expect to Hear God?
4 | Listen: How Do I Listen for God?
5 | Connect: Is God Really Right Here?
New to this series? Check out the rest of the series!
Interested in contributing to the Hear Him Louder Essay Series? The call for submissions opens in January and June. To submit an essay outside of those windows, contact me.
Jennie lives in Southern California with her husband and four children. She loves to travel, write poetry, and be by the water.
She received a certificate of the Bible through Torchbearers Bible School, attended Hope International University for her undergrad, received a certificate in Spiritual Formation through the Apprentice Experience at Friends University, and has her Masters degree in Pastoral Studies from Azusa Pacific Seminary.
She has written Soul Cries: A Book of Poems, Soul Cries: A Journal, and her newest book is Shaping the Soul: An Artist Collective. She would love to connect with you on Instagram at @jennie.denney and at her website, https://www.jenniedenney.com, where she shares an encouraging weekly blog post with stories, practices, and lessons she is learning, to try and figure out a way to live that makes sense in a world that doesn’t.