The Heart’s Deepest Desire

by | May 11, 2011 | Spirit-Led Living

bible heartToo often women settle for less—not realizing that our heavenly Father longs to give us true spiritual riches.

My
heart sneaks up on me when I least expect it. Just this morning, after
dropping off one of my sons at school, I was sitting at a red light,
impatient for it to change, when suddenly I was overcome with sadness. A
longing filled my heart, an ache, a desire for more.

My immediate response to this surfacing desire was to chastise myself. What is wrong with me? I thought. I have a good life. My family is healthy. My husband loves me.

I
accused my heart of being difficult, needy, unreasonable. I tried to
batter it into silence, to reason it into contentment. It didn’t work.
Frankly, it never does.

But
then, the Holy Spirit nudged me. I felt the invitation of God to be
merciful to myself and to come to Him with my aching desire for more.
Then God reminded me of a story.

The
sun was already blazing, the gnats biting. It promised to be an
uncomfortable day. The wind was blowing gently from the south, a hot,
soft whisper. It was still early, but the marketplace was alive with
activity when another whisper was heard.

This
voice blew through the crowd but spoke not of another relentless day,
but of hope, of a promise fulfilled. The busy stalls became energized.

“Have you heard the news? That man Jesus has come across the lake! Jairus is with him! Let’s go!”

Jairus,
a leader in the synagogue, had gone down to the shore to greet Jesus.
Well, not exactly to greet him, but to fall at his feet and beg for his
intervention.

“Would you, Jesus, please come to my house and lay your hands on my little daughter? For she is dying.”

The story is found in Mark 5 and holds a treasure for us today.

Jesus
agreed to go, but He wasn’t alone. A crowd went with Him. As He walked
to Jairus’ house, a throng of people surrounded Him, pushed against him,
pressed in to Him. Suddenly, Jesus stopped and asked the crowd a
question, “Who touched me?”

A
woman came forward. She fell at His feet and told Him her story. She
had been bleeding for 12 years and was getting worse. Doctors couldn’t
help her, but she knew that if she could just reach out and touch Jesus,
she would be healed.

What
was Jesus’ response? Was He irritated with her? Was He offended by her
boldness? Quite the opposite. Jesus was pleased. He told her that her
faith had healed her.

Her
faith in what? Her faith that Jesus had the power to heal her. Her faith
that Jesus had the desire to heal her. Her faith that she could come to
Him with all she was and all she was not and He would not withhold what
she desired.

With everything in her, she pressed into Him…and she was healed. The “more” that she longed for, she received.

Jesus
is the same today as He was when He healed the woman with the issue of
blood. He still offers to restore us as women—to heal us, to meet us in
our place of deepest need. He still has the power and the desire to
restore our femininity, which means to restore our hearts.

We
have to start there because the heart is the center of it all. Proverbs
4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring
of life” (NIV).

THE FEMININE HEART
By
God’s design you were created with a feminine heart. It is His
intention that you carry His image to the world using your feminine
heart. And it’s that that He wants to restore.

So
what is the feminine heart? Well, think about what makes you come alive
as a woman. What do you love to do? What songs do you like? What books?
What movies?

To get to the
human heart, we need to talk about desires. God placed unique desires in
the hearts of Adam and Eve, and He has placed them in you. They are not
a result of the fall; they are part of your glory.

Although
every woman is a unique creation of God, we share an essence at our
cores. We share desires. Every woman’s heart holds three core desires:
the desire to be romanced; the desire to play an irreplaceable role in a
heroic adventure; and the desire to have a beauty all our own to
unveil.

Because of the
desires God placed in woman, every little girl is asking one question:
“Do you delight in me? Am I lovely? Am I worth fighting for?” How that
question was answered for you in your youth has helped to shape you into
the woman you have become. It is the core question in every little
girl’s heart—and every woman’s as well.

For
me, the answer was a solid “No.” I was the youngest of four children
born too close together. I still remember the first time—though it was
not the last—that my mother told the story of how devastated she was
when she learned she was pregnant with me.

And
my father? A traveling salesman, my dad would be gone for two weeks and
then home for a weekend, gone for two weeks, home for a weekend. He
often had a few drinks before entering our home. He was unavailable to
me both physically and emotionally. I felt that I was a nothing but a
disappointment to him and to the world.

Believing
that I was nothing but a disappointment played out in my life in
ruinous ways. I looked for affirmation and acceptance wherever I could
find it. I turned to boys and then to men to feel wanted and beautiful.

Even
after I became a Christian, the wounds remained unhealed, and I thought
it just a matter of time before my friends and my husband discovered
the truth about me and left. I believed I would ultimately end up
abandoned and alone.

You
see, our wounds and our sin work together in a very ugly way. The story
of your life is the story of the long assault against your heart, the
story of how you have been wounded, what you have believed about
yourself as a result and how you have then chosen to live.

But
the story of your life is also the story of the long and sustained
pursuit of One who loves you most and best in order to woo and win your
heart for Himself.

God wooed me into salvation. He woos me still. And having the eyes of my heart opened to that reality has changed everything.

BELOVED OF GOD
About 15 years ago, life “as usual” was no longer working for me.
Sorrow and pain from unaddressed wounds in my past had risen to the
surface, and I needed help.

I
sought out a good counselor who walked with me into the deeper realms
of my heart and brought understanding, clarity, hope. I began to learn
about the normalcy of spiritual warfare and started taking a stand
against the enemy and rebuking his work in my life. And then I became
very hungry for more of God.

I
have heard the word “beloved” many times. But I never understood that I
am the beloved of God. I am the one His gaze is fixed upon. I am the
who has captured His heart.

But I am not the only one. You are His beloved, too. Ask Him to reveal your true identity to you. He wants to!

Listen.
It was for you that the Ancient of Days snuck into the enemy camp
disguised as a babe. It was because of His great love for you that Jesus
submitted to death on a cross. You are the hope that was set before Him
that kept Him on that cross, and you are the one He still pursues.

Every
song you love, every memory you cherish, every sunset and scent, every
moment that filled your heart with longing or your eyes with holy tears
were sent to you by God. Love notes, written just for you, to romance
your heart to His own.

Oh, you are romanced. And ever will be. Ask Him to open your eyes that you might see.

Somewhere
in her heart, every woman longs to be like Eve, before the fall, to be a
woman who is fully alive and captivating. But a lot happened in the
world between the creation of Eve and the healing of the woman with the
issue of blood. And a lot has happened in your life between the dreams
you had as a little girl and your life today.

Although
we would love to be like Eve, most of us are more like the woman in
Mark 5 who is wounded and desperately needs Jesus. Some of us have been
bleeding much longer than 12 years.

I
want to tell you that there is still hope—hope that you can become the
woman God had in mind when He created you, the woman who is romanced,
irreplaceable and beautiful.

Jesus
still offers to restore us as women. His invitation is ever nigh to
come close, reach out, invite Him in. We invite Jesus into our hearts at
the moment of salvation, but that is only the beginning. There remain
chambers in our hearts where we are wounded and still feel so very
young. Jesus waits for us to invite Him into those places and to ask Him
to heal us.

HEALING FOR THE BROKENHEARTED
The offer Jesus makes is much larger than the offer of forgiveness. Oh, we desperately need that, again and again!

But
He also offers to heal our broken hearts. He has come to set the
captives free. Look again at the Scripture He chose to describe Himself
and His mission when He began His earthly ministry: “The Spirit of the
Sovereign Lord is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good
news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to
proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the
prisoners” (Is. 61:1).

Jesus
came for the brokenhearted captives. That’s me. That’s you. And healing
is possible in ever-increasing amounts throughout our lives.

The
more that you long for is available, but in order to live the life you
long to live, in order to have the intimacy with Jesus you long to have
and in order to play the irreplaceable role that is yours to play, you
will need your heart. You will need deeper healing and a deeper intimacy
with your Lord.

One of the
most healing things you can ever do as a woman is to ask God to answer
the core question of your heart. You still need an answer. Ask Him, “Am I
lovely? Do You delight in me?”

God
is our True Father. We have been bought with a price, we belong to Him.
Only God has the authority and the right to truly tell you who you are
as a woman. Ask Him. He’d love to speak to your heart.

Sisters,
we are not defined by our dress size. Neither our identity nor our
worth is based on our pounds, our pain, our ministry, our relationships
or our finances. We are defined by the love of God.

The
enemy of our souls whispers incessantly to us that it is all too hard,
that we are not enough, that we never will be. He is a liar. Look to
your God.

In His eyes, you
have never been anything but a captivating woman who has captured His
heart. Your identity is based on the fact that you are the beloved of
the living God.

Still
sitting at that red light, I invited Jesus into my sadness. I expressed
my desire to Him for more—more intimacy with Him, more healing of my
heart and more connection in my friendships.

Once
again, I asked Jesus to come for my broken heart, to come for me. And
although the sadness did not immediately lift, I knew I was no longer
alone in it. My God had come for me, in that place, and hope began to
rise.

What do you want to
press into Jesus for? Ask Him to come to you. Ask Him to heal the places
in your heart where you are hurting. Ask Him to reveal to you the
places that need His healing touch.

He
loves to come, dear one. Not because He’s God and that’s His job, but
because He loves you with an everlasting love that we have only begun to
understand.

He’d like to
show you how much He loves you, again. Go ahead. Ask Him to show you.
Ask Him to heal you. Ask Him to restore your desires. Ask Him to restore
your soul.

His name is Faithful and True. Those who look to Him with hope will not be disappointed.

He promised.

Read a companion devotional.

Stasi Eldredge has written Your Captivating Heart and You Are Captivating. She is also co-authored Love and War and Captivating with her husband, John.

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