The past five years, God’s been working a major overhaul in my heart. Today I am delighted to share the latest – a beautiful new way God broke my chains and set me free.
If you’ve ever lived in fear of pleasing all the people – all the time, you know that this is impossible and therefore excruciatingly painful. I lived much of my life in knots of anxiety – my head, my heart, my gut – all in knots, as I worked so hard to be what people wanted me to be and of course, in an effort to “do all the right things.”
It all sounded so good at the time. I wanted to serve people, to do right, to make everyone happy. I thought I was on the right track, that the anxiety was simply a part of who I was.
Until God broke me. He painfully, gently, beautifully, and faithfully broke me. He took me to a place so desperate I had no choice but to look up, to kneel down, and to surrender.
Nothing about being broken is easy. It’s simple, but it isn’t easy. It’s simple because God and His promises are faithful and perfect. It’s hard because dying to self, walking away from who you once were, learning new Truths about who God actually is, and bravely turning your back on where the enemy has held you in bondage means he’ll start attacking in other ways in an effort to keep you as his slave.
Not today, Satan.
Praise God, His power is bigger!
In the name of Jesus, and because of the love of Jesus, Satan is powerless over us. We are a new creation. We are in Jesus. We are free!
As I’ve been learning to trust God fully, walking my way through the fire of refinement and eagerly seeking healing for my brokenness, He began revealing more and more pieces of His plans for me.
Last summer He said, “It’s time to speak up. Share what you are learning. Do not settle for mediocrity. Tell my people to break free from what has become comfortable. Staying in comfort is not what I ask of my people. I ask people to die to self so they can fully experience my love and selflessly love their neighbor. Share what you’ve been learning so others can learn to truly live life through the promise of the Holy Spirit.”
As a faithful follower, of course I answered with, “Thanks for the offer, God. I don’t want to do that. Ask someone else.”
And He replied, “I am not healing you for silence.”
Fearfully, I cowered.
God continued to refine and renew me. He led me through Scripture to reveal Truth I’d been blinded to before. He guided me through trial to reveal His faithfulness and provision. He walked me through pain to teach me how to trust Him. He taught me to truly seek the Holy Spirit for constant guidance and peace. Then again He said, “Share what you’re learning.”
But I said, “It’s all too weird for me. I’m not comfortable with this. I don’t know what to say.” (Sound familiar? Hey, Moses. Be my BFF. Let’s come up with a secret Exodus 4:13 handshake.)
God said, “Laura, trust me. Trust and obey. I will give you all the words.”
In the weeks that followed, I continued to seek Him, continued to walk forward, but continued to stay quiet. I watched God move and work and I relished in His goodness and power. But I remained silent. Perhaps I can just lead by quiet example, I thought. And again He said, “It’s time.”
“It’s time for you and every one of my people to move past what is comfortable. I call people to love and live through the power of the Holy Spirit. Stand up, stand firm, stand strong. Learn to truly seek me, to love me, and to love others.”
And then He told me to do something outward, something entirely out of my comfort zone. It’s almost too funny to say, because really, would God ask a person to do this? I had no problem with others doing it. But me? Ha! I’m 44 years old. Really, God? Did I just hear you right? Did you really just tell me to go out and get my nose pierced? In the name of Truth and Freedom?
I laughed until I realized that God really meant it.
For two weeks I wrestled. I cried, I barely slept, and I hardly ate. I sought guidance and counsel from wise people God selected, secretly hoping someone would talk me out of it. True and faithful friends that they were, they stood by my side and encouraged me to obey.
I asked over and over, “God, please make this clear. Did you really tell me to pierce my nose as a message to the church that we are to break free of what is comfortable and seek actual, true freedom in you? This is a beautiful message, and how desperately I want to share, but please, Dear Jesus. This is too weird, too hard for me.”
He reminded me that He told Hosea to marry a prostitute to convict people of their unfaithfulness. He asked Ezekiel to eat a scroll, then lie down on his left side for 390 days and eat defiled foods to send a message to His people. Ok, fine. Put a tiny sparkle in my nose? I can do that. I think. Maybe?
What will people think, Lord? I’m Laura Coppinger, the one who serves in the background, writes behind a computer screen, feeds all the people all the food. I don’t even wear make-up or care about jewelry, for goodness sake.
I was willing to obey God but I became terrified. What would I tell people? Was this really from God? People would disapprove.
While I had thought God asked me to do this as a message for His people (and He did), I learned that He really asked me to do this to cleanse my own broken heart. The pride. The selfishness. Wanting approval from people – this sin I’ve struggled with since I was a tiny girl. I thought God had healed this part of me. But suddenly I became well aware of the ugly monster still within.
God and I had more work to do.
Free me, Lord! I don’t want to be in bondage. Break my chains! Cleanse me of this pride and selfishness, and the anxiety that grips me over the fear of disappointing people.
Oh our God is faithful. He is good and holy and righteous. He is healer. He is victorious! He binds our wounds and sets the captive free!
I obeyed. I did it.
And just like that, I was free! FREE!!!!! Jesus set me free. Chains broke, snapped in two, and dissolved. The yoke of slavery is defeated. We live in freedom!
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
God bless my husband, my sons, and the precious friends God chose to walk these weeks with me. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so outwardly messy, so painfully aware of my weaknesses, so humbly in awe of my need for surrender.
There is glorious freedom in surrender. There is tremendous joy in obedience! And as an added perk, I crazy LOVE my tiny little nose piercing! Who knew? (God.) It is a constant, sparkling reminder to me of the healing God offers and the freedom He provides.
Friends, we serve a God who has called us to holy living. We are chosen by a Father who wants to refine, cleanse, and heal our brokenness. We are saved by the blood of Jesus. And we have been provided with His Spirit to live inside us constantly and fully so that we can be in His Kingdom now and forever.
Learn to listen. Be open and free and willing to be taught and cleansed. Welcome His truth. Deny the schemes of the enemy to hold you back. Ask for fresh eyes and an open heart to reveal truth from Scripture about how the Holy Spirit works and lives among us.
Trust. Obey. Be free!