God has been up to something new in my life over the past year. An unsettling. A shift in perspective. A new life. He is freeing me, moment by moment.
Which is why I changed my tagline from Turning Trials to Triumph to Live Uncaged.
It’s not that I don’t embody the first tagline. It’s that it seemed to place more emphasis on trials, and I really didn’t like the word triumph. It connotes something I’ve done, as if I’ve triumphed over my past in my own strength. So not true. It’s all Jesus, folks.
And as I examine what the Lord has done in my heart these past few months, I know He has uncaged me. Set me free. Allowed me to soar. This is something I couldn’t do on my own; it’s His sheer gift of grace. Nor is it that I’m a Pollyanna now, rejoicing when bad things happen. It’s that my perspective on my life is shifting from pessimism to optimism. A Jesusy optimism.
I learned this truth: I no longer need to be defined by the trials in the past. I am not Mary who suffered (though it is part of my story). I am Mary who has been set free. Untangled. Opened up. Ready for new things. Anticipatory.
I’m reminded of one of my favorite Scriptures:
New International Version (NIV)
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”
I have spent a lot of time in the past, dwelling there, ruminating, digging deeply. But God has been clear over the past 12 months that He is about to do something brand new. He is going to restore the desolation, renew what has been lost. He asks me (and you) the probing question, “Will you not perceive it?”
I believe our cages (usually created from our painful past) have become comfortable and easy. We’ve learned to live in them, to have them be our normal. Flying and soaring are too scary, too new, too different. We’d rather live trapped because it’s become our strange comfort zone.
In Colorado during our vacation, the Lord directed me to the Scriptures about fowlers. A fowler is someone who catches a bird in a trap or snare. He is a type of hunter who observes the behavior of birds to predict what they will do next. Then he traps the bird based on what it typically does. In like manner, Satan is our fowler, but Jesus sets us free. Satan wants to trip us up. Jesus wants to watch us fly.
Consider this scripture: “For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence” (Psalm 91:3, ESV).
Or this: “We have escaped like a bird out of the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:7-8, NIV).
Charles Spurgeon aptly expounds about this freedom here:
God delivers his people from the snare of the fowler in two senses. From, and out of. First, he delivers them from the snare—does not let them enter it; and secondly, if they should be caught therein, he delivers them out of it. The first promise is the most precious to some; the second is the best to others. “He shall deliver thee from the snare.” How? Trouble is often the means whereby God delivers us. … At other times, God keeps his people from the snare of the fowler by giving them great spiritual strength, so that when they are tempted to do evil they say, “How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” … Thou shalt yet be brought out of all evil into which thou hast fallen, and though thou shalt never cease to repent of thy ways, yet he that hath loved thee will not cast thee away; he will receive thee, and give thee joy and gladness, that the bones which he has broken may rejoice. No bird of paradise shall die in the fowler’s net.
We are all birds of paradise, meant to soar. We are meant to be free. To live so fully engaged and joyful in the present that most folks wouldn’t be able to tell that we’ve had difficult pasts. That’s how big our God is compared to our trials. “For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron. … He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart” (Psalm 107:6, 14).
My heart for you who are reading this post is that you’ll experience uncaged, joyful freedom as I have. I’m still in process. I still deal in the doldrums, but I’m seeing more light lately. And that is why I write. I can’t help but tell you the beautiful things God is doing in my life. God gave me a voice. “If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would’ve lived in the land of silence” (Psalm 49:17).