I was on my way to my church’s prayer room this morning and I heard the Lord speak the word “intimacy” over me and said “This is your year of intimacy.”
2021 was a year that lacked much intimacy between me and the Lord. I failed miserably at being intimate with Him and more times than not chose my flesh over Him. I allowed complacency and apathy to have more room in my life than Jesus. Months at a time went by where I didn’t even open my Bible and I battled much self-righteousness and pride. Looking back, I’m grieved at how much intimacy with Jesus that I missed out on—a year that I’ll never get back—but also a year I never again have to repeat.
When I think of my personal intimacy with the Lord, I think back to the end of 2019. 2019 marked the most broken and traumatic year of my life as I processed a very messy breakup, the death of my dad just two weeks later, and moving to a completely different city.
Right after my ex broke up with me, I decided to leave our tiny university to stay with my mom in North Carolina for a couple months just to breathe and heal and remove myself from his presence. I was able to spend two days there doing just that—finally being able to breathe for the first time since the breakup. We went to a very small university so every time I saw him, my heart shattered all over again so I know I needed to temporarily leave the university to be able to heal in peace without seeing him everywhere.
I landed on a Tuesday and spent two days doing what I loved—going to coffee shop after coffee shop, going to cider mills, and just spending time with my mom. Two days later, on a Thursday morning, I was in the living room talking about Christmas plans with my mom when I felt my phone vibrate and saw the name “Pastor Mike” pop up on my phone. Pastor Mike was our pastor and one of the closest people to my dad, so when I saw his name pop up, I immediately just knew the words that would follow my “Hello,” and I was right. He said 10 words I’ll never forget. He said “Nadia, your dad went to be with Jesus this morning.” After many, many years of suffering from health issues, Jesus finally decided it was time for him to be healed. Not in his earthly body, but his spiritual.
So now I wasn’t only grieving the loss of who I thought was the love of my life, I was now grieving the death of the man I loved most in the world. I flew back to Michigan and went to his funeral, and came back to my university a couple weeks later. The same day I came back, I saw my recent ex already with another girl. I tried convincing myself that they were just friends and that there was no way he could do this to me, but in the back of my head, I knew it was true. At this point, I genuinely didn’t think anything could break my heart more than it already was, but this time it didn’t just feel broken, it felt shattered into a million pieces then stomped on a million times. I didn’t know the human heart could feel such ache.
And although my heart had never been so broken, Jesus never failed once to meet me there. In my anger, in my devastation, in my disappointment… He met me there faithfully time and time again. He never got tired of showing up. My heart clung onto His promise in Psalm 34:18 that “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit.” That was me. Brokenhearted and crushed and spirit. And let me tell you… Jesus kept His promise. He was so near to me—He felt literally tangible. It was the most devastating time of my life, but it was also the most intimate I had ever been with Jesus. He gave me word after word. Vision after vision. Peace after peace. Joy after joy. I was completely mind blown at the level of intimacy He took me to.
One vision Jesus gave me was of Him standing in the middle of all of my garbage. All of my hurt, brokenness, disappointment… He was wearing a white robe that looked like it hadn’t been washed in years. Still standing in the middle of my mess, He pulled me in, gave me a hug, and as soon as He let go, I looked down and all of the garbage was gone and His robe was white as snow. He wasn’t intimated by my mess, but stood right in the middle of it.
Another vision He gave me was while I was crying and being prayed over by a friend. He showed me Himself as the Father sitting right next to me and as I was weeping, He placed His head on mine. As there were tears streaming down my face, there were also tears streaming down His and I will never forget the look of grief in His eyes. He said “My daughter, I am mourning with you. I am grieving with you. I am crying with you.” And that was the moment I felt most intimate with Him as I ever have. I felt intimate with Him because I knew He wasn’t a God that was just idly watching me suffer—He took my suffering on as if it was His own.
As I was praying over that word “intimacy” this morning, I told the Lord that although He far exceeded any of my expectations in 2019 and I felt closer to Him than I ever have, I want to grow even more intimate with Him this year. That was just the tip of the iceberg of how intimate He wants to be with me, and it doesn’t have to take trauma to be intimate with Him.
So as I was processing ways to grow in intimacy with Him this year, here’s what He told me.
Spend time with Him.
I know what you’re thinking… “Duh,” but in reality, it can be so hard to prioritize spending time with Him. If we go one single day without spending time with Him, it’s easier to go one more, then one more, then one more. But the more time you spend with someone, the more you learn about them, and you can’t be intimate with someone that you don’t know. Our intimacy with Him is dependent on our priorities with Him.
Remove all distractions.
When my fiancé and I want to spend quality time together, he turns his phone on do not disturb and I put mine way out of sight because I’m more likely to feel the urge to check it. You wouldn’t spend time scrolling on social media during your quality time with your significant other, you would put it away so they have your divine attention. If we want to grow in intimacy with the Father, we must treat Him the same and remove anything and anyone that could distract us from our intimate time with Him. This may mean secular music or tv shows we know that don’t edify us. Whatever it is, I promise it’s not better than Jesus and it’s absolutely not worth hindering your intimacy with Him.
Invite others into your relationship with Him.
Of course there are aspects of our relationship that are to remain sacred, but inviting safe and like-minded people into our relationship with Him is a beautiful way to grow intimate with Him. They’ll bring correction, they’ll intercede for you, they’ll give you wisdom, and so much more. God intended for us to be in community with our brothers and sisters in Christ and we grow even deeper with Him when we have others walking in life with us!
You cannot be intimate with someone that you believe lies about.
Whew… Read that one again. This one completely blew my mind. But the reality is, many of us do believe lies about God whether we realize it or not. Whether we believe He’s mad at us, disappointed in us… Whatever it is. ANY lie that we believe about Him hinders our intimacy with Him. So I challenge you to really seek your heart and ask Him to reveal to you if there are any lies you believe about Him and let Him make it right.
If you’re like me and have lacked in your intimacy with Him, don’t wait to make it right. Repent, remove all distractions, and just be with Him. He wants to take you to heights and depths you never thought possible. Today is the day to to say “Hinderance no more. Jesus, I am Yours and You are mine. Nothing and no one can take Your place in my life.”
Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.James 4:8