A few years back, I had a vision of God rummaging through my heart. He picked up a brick and said, “What’s this? How did this get here?” Then, He set it aside to reach deeper. The last thing I heard Him say while holding something I didn’t recognize was, “I thought this had been thrown out a long time ago. We need to get rid of this.”
I was blown away by the symbolism of God wanting to clean up my heart. At the time, it hadn’t dawned on me that my heart needed to be cleansed, or healed for that matter. Everything that life had thrown at me—the rejection of my father in childhood, sexual assault as a teenager, infidelity in marriage, single parenthood, and a host of other situations—I’d survived. I weathered every storm.
But what God was saying to me in that vision was, yes, you weathered the storms, but your heart was wounded in the process and in some places, became ill. The wounded places in the vision represented the hurt caused by rejection, mistreatment, disappointment, discouragement, ill-spoken words toward me, and the like. And the object that God held in his hand that I didn’t recognize represented the sick places in my heart that grew from being unforgiving.
God found grudges, roots of bitterness, anger, and even hatred deeply tucked away in my heart. Even now, thinking about the condition of my heart back then makes me cringe. How could I love anyone, including myself, from a place that unhealthy?
Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted, it says in Isaiah 61:1, to set the captives free. Salvation through Jesus Christ is only the beginning. Setting the captives free has more to do with your heart being healed than it does any other part of your being.
It is a spiritual injustice for your heart to remain broken. It is a spiritual injustice for you to feel insecure, hopeless, unloved, and unworthy of God’s best for your life. If you are experiencing spiritual injustices in your life, there is a lie at the root—a lie that has crept into your personal belief system and is masquerading as the truth.
For me, feeling unwanted by my father as a child, and later experiencing sexual assault as a teenager, planted seeds of rejection, hate, bitterness, jealousy, shame, and rage that grew into deeply rooted insecurities and a lack of self-love. I didn’t believe that I was enough for a man. Yes, I knew I was attractive, but it had already been proven in my life that looks weren’t enough to keep a man—it didn’t keep my father present. So, for years, I held my life together, excelling in my career, providing for my two sons, and crying out to God when life overwhelmed me, pressing forward no matter what, yet I ached on the inside for someone to love and accept me for who I was. The little girl inside of me, who was taken advantage of and rejected, wanted to feel loved.
Those negative seeds in my heart manifested in my adult relationships with harsh words toward anyone who had something to say that I didn’t like, and I definitely didn’t stick around in romantic relationships with men who didn’t show me love the way I needed to receive it. It was always easy to walk away and move on like nothing ever happened. Life had taught me that.
Shortly after my thirty-ninth birthday, God used a Believer that I’d recently met on a trip to my hometown in Alabama to say these words to me: God said to tell you that you don’t love yourself.
Now, I was surprised, stunned, taken aback, shocked, appalled—everything you can think of when someone drops an unexpected bomb on your life. This person had been apprehensive to tell me, and therefore, he’d waited two months before finally obeying God. Needless to say, those words shook my world. That was foolishness. My appearance was very important to me. I always kept myself together—hair, nails, the way I dressed. I was the consummate professional at work, and I didn’t leave home without at least eyeliner, mascara, lip gloss, and my brows filled in. This word from the Lord had to be wrong.
Nevertheless, I asked God, how could it be? How could I not love myself? And after I asked the question and really opened up to hearing from God on the matter, the answer came as clear as you see the words on this page. God said, “You don’t honor yourself in relationships with men. You allow yourself to be used in ways you don’t agree with because you believe that you have to do what they want to get what you want. But it doesn’t work like that,” He said. “I am Lord of your life and I love you. The void you’re trying to fill is My place in your heart. Let me love you, Vanessa. Honor yourself, Vanessa. As you honor yourself, I will honor you with a man who will honor you too.”
My goodness. What a powerful word from the Lord! Yet, even after hearing God speak those life-changing words to me in my brokenness, I struggled with the truth of it. I had believed a lie for so long—that I wasn’t enough without doing something special—till it was a major task to accept my own truth. What I really wanted was love and acceptance, to be honored, but because of the lie, I had settled for sex and indifference.
My latest book Lies and Love is about cleaning up the chaos in your heart. By the word of God’s power, in 30 days, it will help you to utterly destroy every lie and injustice operating in your life. Your heart will be made free to trust, to hope, to forgive, to love, and to be loved. You will discover the radical love of God working in your life as He meets you where you are.
The Lies and Love 30-Day Heart Cleanse is where we declare war and victory over your life and destiny. Whether you find yourself in the place where God found me, broken and dishonoring myself, or you need to be encouraged in your faith, the 30-day cleanse will reset and refresh your heart.
Lastly, before you close this letter, if the word that God spoke directly to me about honoring myself speaks to where you are in your life right now, replace my name with yours in that paragraph. Speak that word over your life daily until your heart, mind, soul and body come into agreement with it. God will help you with this and inspire you with ways to change your life for the better.
Peace in all things,
Lies and Love the 30-Day Heart Cleanse can be purchased in print and eBook, and is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, iBooks, Smashwords and more.