Shackles to Freedom

Both of my kitties are rescues. My male cat Ragnar adapted quickly, but Katia has not. She came from a “loving home” but she has mannerisms of an abused cat. Its honestly so pitiful. She hides and shakes. It took about three months for her to just come out from under my bed. She has been severely wounded. Whether she was hit, or just abandoned, she has been hurt. Since day one I have gone in my room and just loved on her. Sometimes it is just kind words, and sometimes she would allow me to touch her. We brought her in our home and showered her with affection. We bought her a beautiful pink collar with rhinestones and a bright pink litter box. We wanted her to be excited, but we had quite the opposite reaction. She allows me to pet her, and she perks her head up and rubs her little face on me now, but she’s still reserved and hesitant. She’s wounded, and I have seen so many similarities in this cat and myself. I picked her, I chose her. Yet I ask her why she feels so unworthy, and so unloved. God frequently asks me the same thing.

One day I was going through a major healing in my own life. I was healed of ADHD and anxiety. God was dealing with me on something I’ve made my identity. I wear so many bracelets. I love sanctuary girl, good works, and the old humanity bracelets. They’re known for being bulky and made for layering, and I love it. My “thing” is to wear a lot of bracelets that don’t really go together, but I make it work. I love it, and it was something people commented on as to who I am. It was key in my identity, and separating my style from other people.

As I was talking with our dear friends in Pakistan, they were speaking of the villages they ministered in. They spoke about the women wearing the necklaces that made their necks longer, and the bracelets that were bulky. He mentioned to us how he told them to “remove their shackles”. That simple testimony hit me right in the gut. I was healed, delivered, set free, but I still wore my shackles, and I claimed it as my “identity”. God started dealing with me on being healed, but I was continually speaking of the things I had been set free from. As he was ministering to me so heavily about these bracelets. I thought about the story of Peter in prison. Peter was bound in chains in between two soldiers. This whole place was heavily guarded. This seemed like the end for him, but an angel came and woke him up, and said,” arise quickly”and his chains fell off. He put his sandals on, and left the prison guards ,and even went through the iron gate of the city. Now how differently would that story have gone if peter would have picked up his shackles and put them back on because he had become accustomed to it? How different would his life had been if he had argued with the angel that ‘breaking out of jail would be illegal, and he would face serious consequences. Surely God wouldn’t ask me to break the law.” Think of all the excuses we give instead of just being obedient when God speaks, and how incredibly easier our lives would be if we were truly lead by the spirit.

So I took off the massive amount of bracelets, and I told fear, anxiety, and ADHD that it no longer has control of me. It has no authority anymore. It cannot be a stronghold in my life because God has removed it, and I choose to replace it with something God puts there. So as I was loving on Katia and giving her affirmations, my husband leaned over and removed her collar. I was shocked (because of what we paid, and how long it took me to get it on her), but in that moment I realized she needed to know she was no longer a slave. So we left off her glittery 2 inch collar, and I told her how beautiful and precious she was to me. I didn’t expect anything of her, I just wanted her to know she is beautiful without anything being added. She immediately began purring like Ive never heard. She came completely out of her shell, and she felt accepted. I saw her reaction, and I took Ragnar’s collar off too. It ministered to me so greatly. That’s exactly what God does. He removes our shackles, and he tells us we are no longer slaves, but his children. He loves us, washes out our wounds, bandages us up, then heals the scars. He loves us so much.

God removes our shackles

and tells us we are no longer slaves,

but his children

The next day she was acting like a different cat. So I decided I would pick her up. I wanted to show her how much I truly loved her. As I wrapped my hands around her, she went back to her old ways. Her claws came out, and she panicked. Her claws dug into my face and ripped flesh out. My lip was swollen, my eyes were puffy. I had three gashes in my chin. She absolutely tore me up. It was that moment I realized, “ just because you are free doesn’t mean you are healed.” There are areas of our lives that we have to deal with. Our spirit is awoken, and we are a new creation in Jesus, but we have to sanctify and heal that old soul of ours. My soul had a hole from trauma, and God is still healing my deepest wounds.

Just because you are free

doesn’t mean you are healed

For many years I was a believer, but still hurt people. I didn’t want to, but I almost couldn’t help it. Hurt people hurt people. Its simple, yet so profound. When someone is hurt, they hurt. When someone is healed, they help heal people. How could I expect this cat to immediately be restored to her pre-hurt self? God removes our shackles, but then he heals us. He restores us where those really awful memories, or trauma no longer hold us down. Many of mine have come in little memories he brings to the forefront of my mind. It takes one little seed for an entire tree to grow. One little thing that hurt you can grow into a major stumbling block if you don’t deal with it. So many believers trim the branches, but never remove the root. It is painful, and it is inconvenient. Sometimes it requires forgiveness to someone who really hurt us. Maybe you’ve forgiven, but are still bitter. Perhaps you don’t forgive yourself. God removes that memory/pain and replaces it. He gives and takes away (job 1:21) he gives you a new heart, a new mindset, a new image of yourself. Then he takes away all the trauma, the guilt, and the unforgiveness and creates a beautiful masterpiece from the ruins you once had. He takes the ashes, and gives you beauty.

There is no longer a painful experience, but a testimony of his goodness. A testimony of his mercy, and his grace. It isn’t like a fairy godmother with a wand, who waves it and poof, it vanished.. It takes some vulnerability, and sometimes it takes time, but he restores. Love is the only thing that can replace hate. Love is what makes you change. Love heals deep wounds. God is love, and when you understand how much he loves you and cares for you, you understand who he is. You begin to see his heart. You almost feel like, “there has to be a catch, because this feels too good to be true.” God is pure. God is holy. God is sovereign. He just wants your heart. It isn’t about your works, or performance. It isn’t about your resumes or your accomplishments. Its all about your heart, and seeking his. He wants relationship with you. He wants to hold you, and heal you. He wants to be like a good father is to their child. He wants you to know that even when you mess up, he is there to hold you. Just as I said to my cat, “who hurt you?” I’m asking you today friend, who hurt you? I may not be able to take away the pain, but I know the one who can. Lay it down today and ask God to reveal his goodness to you. Ask him to heal that area of your life. Ask him to give and take away. Ask him what he has for your life, and what’s on his heart. So often he knows ours, but do you know his?

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