It’s been quite some time since I’ve written a blog. I’ve been undergoing more treatment for Lyme disease these past 6 months, I’m more active since I am not completely bedridden, and I have been working on a book. I have found that writing a book is so much more detailed than blogs because of all the research involved. So I haven’t been writing as many articles.
Because I am no longer completely bedridden, a few days ago I got to witness the birth of my BEAUTIFUL niece. It was incredible!!! Since then I’ve been pondering how Jesus said we must be “born again.” That term is used so commonly that I don’t always think about the literal meaning.
During my sister’s labor, her husband, and I awaited the birth of their baby. I knew my niece was coming any second, but when she did come I was AMAZED at how perfect she was. No assembly required!!! She came out with two hands, two feet, little fingers, fingernails, and hair. Her vocal cords were formed when she whimpered. Her reflexes were working when she flailed her little hands.
“Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.’”
Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus who was a spiritual teacher. His statement of being born again perplexed Nicodemus since he took it very literal. He even asked Jesus, “How can someone be born when they are old? Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” But Jesus was talking about being born spiritually a second time. “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the spirit gives birth to spirit” said Jesus.
When I was younger I thought that when you gave your life to Jesus you were “born again.” That is true. What I’ve learned as an adult is that giving your life to Jesus is a daily decision. Along with that daily decision Jesus renews our spirit daily. The way I naturally see the world changes drastically when I give my heart to the Lord. He changes my perspective to see things in a new way.
My spirit was “born again” when I first gave my life to Jesus. He softened my heart, and I became more aware of God’s kingdom, which is a spiritual kingdom. Since we live in the world we are CONSTANTLY bombarded with the way the world thinks not the truth of God’s ways.
I’ve spoken many times about how trials often lead us to cry out to God. Often when things fall apart we fall on our knees. This time with the Lord can humble us and make us a new person. We can be “born again” if you will, through the trials. My health for 6+ years has been a constant trial. But it’s also been a constant blessing because I can see the beauty that God brings out of it. So much of that beauty is that I spent more time with Him, and in that secret place I was renewed. I was being reborn.
So I’m having to go to God, spend time with Him, spend time in His word, spend time getting to know Him, and with that comes fruit. As I spend time with Him I naturally have more of His love for everyone. When I spend time with Him I’m able to give grace, and love to those who have hurt me. When I spend time with Him, I see HOW much He loves me (how much He loves each of us) and I’m able to forgive myself and others more easily.
If you’ve read any of my earlier blogs you know that I was in a car accident that caused a severe brain injury. With the pain and exhaustion of the Lyme disease, my body was also dealing with the symptoms of the brain injury. Due to that injury I could not handle light, or sound. If I was around it I got violently sicker for days. I could not be around people for more than 15 minutes. I could not handle leaving my bedroom. Any stimulation to the brain, like new sights, sounds, or people caused severe nerve pain throughout my body. Because of this I lived for hours and hours every day alone in the dark.
I wasn’t really alone… Yes, there were times I felt alone, but I knew that God said He will never, “leave us or forsake us” (Hebrews 13:5). I clung onto that. I knew that God was with me whether I felt Him or not. Knowing He was with me gave me peace. Since I couldn’t do much I talked to God a lot in those dark hours.
Often memories from the past would come to my mind. I knew God was bringing back painful memories so I could walk through them with Him and be healed. He also would convict me of different things in my life I wasn’t even aware I was doing. Conviction is never God looking down on us. It’s Him showing us where we are not walking in His ways so that we can change and live a better life.
There was about a year and a half that the pain in my body was so intense. My bones felt like they were being crushed. My body felt like it was starting to decompose from within. I was losing my ability to use my hands and legs. I knew I was dying and so did the doctors. The amazing thing is that when I felt the life leaving my physical body, my spirit was more alive than ever. I was more keenly aware of God’s kingdom, of Heaven, of the spiritual realm around me on earth. I was aware that if I was about to enter Heaven it was a gift from God. Life on earth is a gift. But the next life into Heaven is also a gift.
As I think about my newborn niece who is only a few days old, I see the beauty and perfection in the way her body has been formed in her mother’s womb. Our bodies often come into this earth perfect. But later in life if we were to get an infection, and had to have our leg amputated, only by a miracle would that leg grow back. Well Jesus said our spirit had to be “born again.” We come into earth with our spirit, but with time it gets infected. Our thinking is selfish. We start to believe lies as truth. Then when we find the Lord He gives us a new spirit that is “born again.”
Often my spirit can become infected again with wrong thinking, but as I invite Jesus into my life daily He daily renews and reforms my spirit. It’s a process. We are never perfect. But Jesus IS perfect. So if we cling onto the one who is perfect, and let Him constantly grow and change us, that’s a good place to be.
My trial of health took me to a dark place literally. It’s like I was in the womb again. When a baby is in the womb they are alone, in the dark, and secluded from others. Yet, they are growing every day. The process of birth is probably tiring on the baby as they come out of their mother’s body and into the world. But they come into the world with the organs, and body they need to thrive in it. In that dark room alone with God, in the sickness, in the pain, God was growing me. And now that my health is getting much better I’m coming back into the world with the arms and legs (spiritually) that I need to thrive in it.
Your trial may be health, it may be relational, it may be financial, or something else. But be encouraged that as you cling onto the Lord through this dark time He is renewing your spirit daily (whether you know it or not). If you aren’t going through a hardship in life keep clinging onto the Lord day by day!
Find moments of being in that secret place with Him. That may be on the drive to work, or when you’re having your morning coffee. But as you listen to His Spirit and allow Him to change you and mold you you’re being reborn every day. It may be painful. Killing our flesh is painful. But when I think of my newborn niece and how beautiful she is, I think that’s what our spirits look like as they are being reborn.
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.”