Devotional

Stripping: When God Begins Removing To Bring Brokenness

God reveals idols in our hearts that keep us from being able to draw near to Him. This stripping process can be painful, but the outcome is a beautiful result. 



Stripping – it isn’t a word we use often in the course of our daily lives. Unless we’re referring to furniture, the word has a rather negative connotation. Consequently, it isn’t something we generally discuss with our friends at the coffee shop. Talk about questioning looks from the nearest tables!

I’m kind of a word-nerd, so the meanings of strip interest me: to deprive of covering; to deprive or divest; clear out or empty; to take away or remove…

God reveals idols in our hearts that keep us from being able to draw near to Him. This stripping process can be painful, but the outcome is beautiful. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #broken #beautiful #idols #pain

To Deprive of Covering

These definitions describe perfectly how it feels when the Spirit of God begins shining His light into my life to reveal what doesn’t belong, what doesn’t reflect His image. This is usually due to a heart problem within me. Truthfully – I asked for it! But I’m never prepared for the pain of the stripping process.

Remember Adam and Eve after they sinned against God? What is the first thing they realized? They were naked…and ashamed. Their instinct was to hide, and we’re still hiding today. I don’t know what you hide behind, but when I’m feeling exposed, I have a few favorite fig leaves to hide behind.

When my kids were home, I could hide behind being “the-best-mom” and “a-better-mom-than-my-mom.” Ladies, I had the cleanest house, baked the best bread, cooked dinner every night, and homeschooled before it was cool. Then those kids began growing up. Oops, my mom-covering was slipping off my shoulders!

To Deprive or Divest

While my husband Gary and I had taught Bible study classes or Sunday school since we were in our twenties, we began leading a community group when our children were older. Each summer, I taught in or directed a grade in Vacation Bible School. I led Baptist Young Women, a mission organization. In addition, my husband and I sang in the choir and later, on a worship team.

When our youngest was a senior in high school, I felt a calling on my life to return to school to complete a degree in counseling. Did I slow down at church? Of course not! I began a support group for families in crisis! However, after a few years, deep, spiritual problems were discovered at the leadership level in our home church. Ultimately brokenhearted, our family moved to another church…and later, another denomination.

All that meaningful busyness was over for a season. Another fig leaf was batted away from me.

To Empty

Being ever the resourceful woman, I soon filled the hours with graduate school and chaplaincy work. During this time our family experienced each of our children’s marriages and one of them going through a painful divorce. Also, my father and my husband had been struck by cancer; my father had ultimately died from the disease.

I didn’t have enough sense to stop and rest, so my body finally stopped me, almost literally in my tracks. One day, while walking the 2 blocks to my car from my job at the hospital, I seriously wondered if my legs were going to get me to the parking lot. It seems I finally reached empty…for a while, that is.

Shattered

 What do you trust in more than the Lord? God will break your dependence upon anything other than Himself no matter how long it takes or how difficult the process may be. He is committed to bringing you to a place of wholeness and spiritual maturity—conforming you to the likeness of His Son (Romans 8:29)

-Charles Stanley

Those of you who have been reading my posts for a year or so know that this incident was the beginning of the Fibromyalgia and chronic migraine story I live daily. Please don’t read this post as a narrative blaming God for the bad things that happen. However, as a loving Father leads a child away from danger, and as Scripture repeatedly bears out, He will break our dependence on anything other than Himself, (which results in idolatry). That process will always be painful.

Thankfully, our Father doesn’t leave us like a shattered vessel dropped at His feet.

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit, [or a crushed spirit].

Psalm 34:18, NKJV; See also Psalm 147:3

To Take Away or Remove

“When I was in my early 30’s, I seriously thought I would have this spiritual stuff all figured out by now,” I told Gary last week. We both laughed heartily. There is NO FIGURING IT OUT, dear sister; there is no secret formula. No matter our age or maturity level, we are each traveling on a journey headed toward our Home with Jesus.

The context of my earlier statement was spurred by a Brennen Manning reading:

Trust is purified in the crucible of trial. From the depths of a purified heart, trust clings to the belief that whatever happens in our lives is designed to form Christ within us. Unwavering confidence in the love of God inspires trust to thank God for the spiritual darkness that envelops us, for the loss of income, for the arthritis that is so painful…

Many things have been removed from my life which I thought were essential-most of them good things, Godly endeavors, my health. But years ago, when I asked God to make me holy, to form me into His image, He took me seriously and began slowly stripping away areas where I placed my treasure rather than in Him.

God Alone

Jesus said the entire Law rested on loving God with our whole, undivided hearts, and loving our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40).

Therefore, the stripping is necessary, because our hearts so easily run after other lovers, (see Hosea; Psalm 78:10-11; 2 Kings 5-17). In fact, we’re witnessing it occur throughout the Church at large, as one leader after another loses his fig leaves. We may hide our idols from other people for a season, but they are never hidden from our Father. His breaking is required to unclasp our grip from the idols which have taken supremacy in our hearts. The stripping takes place to bring about our brokenness, to reveal our deep need of Him alone, not God + _____.

Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom…

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart – these, O God, You will not despise.

Psalm 51:6 & 17, NKJV

I sincerely desire to know His wisdom, but it requires giving up my fig leaves…daily.

We may hide our idols from other people, but they are never hidden from our Father. His breaking is required to unclasp our grip from the idols which have taken supremacy in our hearts. Click To Tweet

God reveals idols in our hearts that keep us from being able to draw near to Him. This stripping process can be painful, but the outcome is beautiful. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #broken #beautiful #idols #pain

Ankul Singh

Written by Dodie
I’m a happy wife, loving mom of 3, and adoring grandmother of 6, and owner of an adorable Cocker Spaniel. I began blogging in 2016, when, in the midst of completing a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, I began radiation treatment for breast cancer. It became a good outlet for me to connect with other survivors and a also good way to let friends and family know what I was experiencing.

Life is a journey full of interesting, surprising, heartbreaking and fun things.

6 thoughts on “Stripping: When God Begins Removing To Bring Brokenness

  1. Dodie perfect timing for me! Had my first ever surgery on Ash Wednesday last week for a bladder cancer tumor. More surgery to come soon. I’ve asked God to do what it takes and while stripping away He has sent angels to protect and care for me. I have had peace and I pray God helps me stay in that place and close to Him. I am asking for total healing and to keep my bladder and believing He will make it so!

    1. Susie, my immediate reaction to cancer diagnoses is always “oh no!” However, as you are testifying and Gary and I have both experienced, our Heavenly Father never makes us walk alone during the trials. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because You are with me; Your rod and Your staff comfort me…”
      I pray you will continue to experience His peace surrounding you as you walk this road. Please know that I, as I’m sure many others, will be holding you up before the throne. ♥️

  2. We’ve always heard, “Be careful what you pray for”, because Our Lord may need to allow some trials to come into our lives, before the prayer can be answered. I’m learning that, regardless of trials in my life, God knew about them beforehand, and, I find peace in knowing that He has not been caught off guard. There have been trials in my past, that all I had to hang onto, was the peace from my Heavenly Father, and His reassurance to me, saying “Be still, and know that I am God.” ❤️

  3. I believe that phrase, ‘be careful what you pray for,’ denotes what so many Christians unconsciously believe about our Father- He really doesn’t want what is best for us. In fact, be careful, He’s so fickle, unless I pray just right, He might cause me to suffer! Of coarse, no one would vocalize such sentiments.

    But we have walked with Him a long time, haven’t we dear lady? He has revealed Himself over and over as a good, good Father, trustworthy and faithful. In the midst of joy AND trials we can be assured that we are sheltered under the shadow of the Almighty. He is our refuge and strength, a very PRESENT help in times of trouble…(Ps. 46:1-3, NKJV). Thank you for writing (and reading!) Carmel.

    1. Yes, He loves us more than we can fathom, and, only wants us to trust Him completely, regardless!! I love your blog, Dodie ! Bless you for doing it!

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