As I sat down to write about my experience of coming out of my 46 years as a part of the religious system and being “grafted into” Israel this song from way in my past came to mind.

Coming Out of the DarkSong by Gloria Estefan

Why be afraid if I’m not alone?
Though life is never easy
The rest is unknown
And up to now for me it’s been
Hands against stone
Spent each and every moment
Searching for what to believe

Coming out of the dark
I finally see the light now
And it’s shining on me
Coming out of the dark
I know the love that saved me
You’re sharing with me

Starting again is part of the plan
And I’ll be so much stronger
Holding your hand
Step by step, I’ll make it through
I know I can
I may not make it easier
But I have felt you
Near all the way

Coming out of the dark 
I finally see the light now
And it’s shining on me
(I see the light)
(I see the light)

Coming out of the dark
I know the love that saved me
You’re sharing with me
Ever… I stand on the rock

Never did I expect in my mid-life to come to a crisis of belief and have to walk away from much of what I had known and been taught concerning my faith. 

A chronic life-threatening illness, causing great disillusionment, brought a wrecking ball to my faith as I had known it and ripped me from what had worked for me for many years concerning my walk of faith and belief in God.

The religious system had been my foundation and I had spent most of my time, energy and money helping to sow into and build the churches I had attended over the years. I had found “life” there and had learned about Jesus and God there and I could not imagine ever walking away from that expression of my faith or this “family” I had become enmeshed with over most of my life.

Suffice it to say that the Bride of Christ had been my focus and it was not a bad focus but in the capacity that I was caught up with her it was robbing me of knowing the groom, my groom.

My illness was the first catalyst that Yah used to begin to separate me from my dependency on the bride. I simply could not perform to the ability I had before and could not get to all the meetings, serve on all the committees, and be involved like I had been in the past.

I found that once I could not keep the pace with the rest of the people I slowly became left behind and out of mind. This was a shock to me and to my self- importance learning that I was not as necessary as I had thought myself to be. My ego didn’t like this, but my spirit needed it in order to grow and mature.

During that time, I was surrounded by what I came to call the remnant of Yah who walked with me through my sufferings and vulnerabilities. This is where I learned the most about true and undefiled faith.

A divine appointment then came my way in an invitation to travel to Israel and be a part of an intercessory team praying through the land. While there we would connect with the local Messianic Congregations and we were being hosted and led by an Israeli Sabra into the land.

I was so weak and ill at the time I did not have any desire to go, until I heard the words of my savior say to my heart, “You don’t have to go to Israel. You will still be my girl. It’s just that we are getting married and I would like you to meet my people.” At that moment I realized for the first time that my Jesus was and is a Jew! 

It was my Emmaus Road experience where all of a sudden, the scales were removed from my eyes and He revealed to me who He was and is! I have NEVER been the same.

Needless to say, I was then determined to get to Israel. I had my friend make me a wedding veil and when the plane landed in Israel, I put the veil on my head before we disembarked. The Jewish people around me said, “Are you getting married here in Israel?” And I said, “Yes, I am! I am marrying a wonderful Jewish man! My father arranged the marriage and I have been reading my fiancé’s letters and I have heard his voice but now I will see him face to face!”

A little dramatic I know but it was something I needed to do in the physical to mark this time ceremonially for me.

I fell in love with Israel. Like Ruth, His people became my people. I found out His name is Yahushua, and the scriptures became real and alive to me. It was the beginning of my being grafted into Israel and the beginning of my wrestling as Yaakov (Jacob) had done when his name was changed.

Becoming Israel is not an easy process and not a fairy tale. Moses identified with his people and SUFFERED with them. I began to understand the scriptures that admonished me to “work out my salvation with fear and trembling.” Like a normal marriage after the honeymoon, I would have to do the hard work that was required to be grafted into Israel. 

For me, this process involved confusion, isolation at times, and grief. My grafting process required me to leave much of what I had learned and believed behind to press on to what I didn’t know or even imagine. It was a complete walk of faith as I began the journey to “Follow Him” on an unknown and much less traveled road in my generation.

At times it felt like I was on a roller coaster being pulled back and forth only to look up ahead and see no tracks ahead, they had run out, and I would have to believe the tracks would be there when I got there.

I had to say goodbye to my culture, the religious church as I had known it. I still had friends and family there and I was in contact with them, but I was now not one of the group and did not speak the same language. I had learned a new language that they didn’t understand or appreciate.

It was a time of isolation for me and pushing into Yahweh for my direction and strength. I was no longer one of many following the leaders. It was now me and Yahweh and He was undoing big parts of my belief system and the very foundation of everything I had put my trust in. It was the most uncomfortable time of my life and I wanted to run back to what I had known and pretend I never had known what I now knew. But I knew I could not go back to Egypt for shade.

I persevered.

I had given up my God Page to God. This was the page everyone had drawn on, the ideas I had been taught, some that were not even true. He had given me back a clean page that only He and I would draw on in order for me to know Him in His fullness and the truth of who He is.

I would have to reconstruct everything I had known and learned about God so that I could sort out the false and keep only the true. What that meant for me was that everything was suspect until I sorted it out with Yahweh and we together reconstructed my life on my true and beautiful God page.

Over the years YaHoVa and I have continued to paint my page together. It is far less threatening now than it was in the beginning when I began the deconstruction phase. I am no longer “needing” others to define Yah for me or hear from Yah for me. I hear Him clearly and I am familiar with His voice. 

Israel was the rock that I stumbled on that broke my life apart and shattered my old paradigm. Israel was the catalyst that opened my eyes to the truth and put my feet on the right path.

Knowing now that I am grafted into Israel and who I am has changed my life completely. I am no longer striving to “become.” I already am! I am free to “be” and to belong to the family of my Messiah and now my own family. The family of Israel. I am blessed. It is well with my soul.

Qaumaniq Suuqiina

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