The Eighth Thorn

As I mentioned in a previous post, God showed me that there were “thorns” in my heart that were symbolic of things that were done or said to me that I had neglected to deal with adequately at a previous time. These things had grown in to symbolic thorns that caused me continual pain and fed my system a constant stream of poison and infection. This is the story of the Eighth (and final) Thorn.

This was a big one. I knew it in my mind and saw it in my spirit. I thought I was ready to remove It before I really was, too. I wanted to remove It about 4 days earlier, but as I prayed through the preparation, I heard God say, “Not yet.” I didn’t understand at the time, but by the end of that day, I realized part of it.

We spent the day helping some family members — spending time with them and loving them. Our efforts would have been stifled if I had removed the Thorn earlier in the day, because I would have been snuffly from crying, but also very inwardly-focused and unable to listen with my heart and show my love. And so God’s timing became more evident and I appreciated His limitations.

A few nights later as my husband and I were lying in bed and talking, I saw two hands getting ready to pull the Thorn out. I had seen this before and assumed that one of the hands was mine and the other was God’s, but He revealed to me that the second hand wasn’t His. It was my husband’s.

This told me that the last Thorn wasn’t something I could do on my own, but that it was meant for both of us to do together. When I awoke the next morning, I knew it had to come out and NOW was the time. I kept hoping that my husband would come back to the bedroom on his own, but after a bit, I knew I had to go and get him.

He came to the room with a look of trepidation and I explained that the Thorn had to come out and that I couldn’t do it alone. He quickly ran downstairs and asked his brother to intercede for us as we started the process.

The Thorn’s name was Self Image, and It was the final Thorn skewering my heart. It was incredibly large and appeared to be a bit like a tree trunk in Its circumference. It was in the uppermost left atrium, close to the aorta, and very clearly poisoning my system and bloodstream with Its ugliness.

I realized that part of the reason this wasn’t a one-person job was because the Thorn had been put there by others. It had coloured my perception for so many years that I needed a more objective voice to speak Truth to me. And so we began.

My husband encouraged me to release my parents, who through their thoughtless words had stuck ideas in my head that I would never be good enough or that no one would ever love me… based on my body size. My beloved’s words to me said, “You are healthy, you know this. You have curves. So what? This is how God made you! Don’t throw the beauty of God’s creation in His face and reject it because of past words and wrong ideals.” And so I released my parents.

He went on and said, “Release your classmates from unkind words they might have uttered. Don’t confuse body image with self image. The former plays in to the latter, but don’t let it be the definition. They are different and you are more than the sum of your body parts.” And so I released them.

He went on, “Now release me from this. I did not settle when I married you. Don’t ever think that I did.” And yet, for all of these years, I truly did think that he “settled” for me. When I told him that he said, “I didn’t. So release me!” We talked for a while about how he feels like I “settled” when I married him, but I did no such thing. He is more than I had ever hoped for in a husband, in spite of his flaws. And as it turns out, I am more than he had ever hoped for in a wife, in spite of my flaws. And so I released him.

I had to release my sisters, as well. They were always comparing, always trying to tear me down because of their own perceived shortcomings. I released them and then my husband prayed for me. As he prayed and reminded me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I saw the Thorn being pulled out.

I had been afraid that it would make an enormous hole in my heart with Its departure, but the hole was smaller than what I expected. The hole was there for a while and didn’t close up immediately like the others, but that gave God a chance to pour His opinion of me in to my heart. He has called me, equipped me, and chosen me to be a Shield-maiden. A warrior. An intercessor. He has gifted me in ways that I still don’t fully understand, but I know I will learn in the coming weeks and months.

As we talked, I realized that the Thorn wasn’t as deep as I had thought it was. It was mostly on the surface, and that’s where the critical part of me focused: on the surface. Despite my own über-critical assessments of who I was, everything I hated or judged myself on was surface-level deep. And so the Thorn mirrored that and in Its size and position, weighed my heart down quite a bit and prevented me from taking deep breaths and fully feeling its beating.

As we thanked my BIL for his prayers and told him what happened, several realizations hit me simultaneously:

  • When I was on the verge of dealing with the first Thorn, my BIL had relayed a prophecy to me and God encouraged me to look only to Him (not to the right or left) during this time. I committed to doing just that. And I succeeded. It was the fulfillment of the vision and prophecy.
  • My heart was truly FREE for the first time in my adult memory. I could take deep breaths and feel its beating in a new and vibrant way.
  • I felt rain. It was a gentle, steady rain of God and it watered the newly-tilled soil of my heart. The heart that was free from Thorns and the heart that will now bear a new crop of whatever seeds God plants there. Not what others plant there; what God plants there. This was yet another aspect of the initial vision that led me on this journey…one of freshly-tilled soil and a new harvest coming for God’s glory and His use.

And so I started a song in iTunes that was rolling around in my head: “Send Your Rain.” He was doing just that. And it was washing me clean and the symbol of the new work that He was beginning in me.

His and his,
~Cori

The lyrics to “Send Your Rain”:

Send Your rain, Oh Lord
Send Your rain, Oh Lord
Send Your rain to Your people

Send Your rain, Oh Lord
Send Your rain, Oh Lord
Send Your rain
Bring Your kingdom

Soften our hearts
Pour out Your Spirit
Fill us anew
Let Your rain come

May Your kingdom come
And Your will be done
On the earth as it is in heaven

May Your kingdom come
And Your will be done
On the earth
Bring Your kingdom

Soften our hearts
Pour out Your Spirit
Fill us anew
Let Your rain come

Words and music by Kelly Carpenter, c. 1996.

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