It has been several posts since I left off the story of my healing journey. In part, there were other things on my heart that I wanted to share. But if I’m completely honest, I was also avoiding. You see, although I believe God has prompted me to share my story, and has promised that He will redeem my brokenness for good, there is also a very real part of me that is more than a little uneasy about sharing this journey publicly. I feel so vulnerable, and for me vulnerability = danger. The times that I have been most vulnerable in my life are the times that I have been wounded most profoundly. I have worked diligently to build walls of protection around myself – to keep anyone from getting close enough to ever hurt me again.
This fear, at times paralyzes and threatens to consume. I am thankful that it is not the only emotion. There is a new sentiment rising up within me, growing stronger with each step of obedience…
God, in His love, continues to echo his promises to my heart. He pursues me relentlessly with words of love. I hear Him whisper to my heart of hearts when I read His word, listen to a message from the pulpit, or engage in worship. The truths line up in a way that cannot be pure coincidence. He promises to rescue and restore, He reminds me that He has a wonderful plan for my life, and that what He promises He will do. He speaks freshly of the comfort that He will continue to pour into my heart, so that I may be a comfort to others who are struggling.
I cannot help but be excited by the invitation to join the Holy One of heaven in the work He is doing in my life, and in the lives of those He gives me the privilege of ministering to. This hopeful anticipation stirs within my heart at the thought of seeing how He will work this miracle of transformation. Taking the grotesque, dark and twisted moments, plotted by the enemy to consume and destroy, and using those very things to bring the light of Christ to a world desperate for hope.
I love how this promise is so beautifully woven through the words of Isaiah –
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair. Isaiah 61:1b-3a (NLT)
I’m excited to see how God will take the ashes of my life, and transform them into a crown of splendor. Take my mourning and despair, and fill me with His blessed joy!
Knowing that this process is equally exciting and terrifying for me, I pray that those of you who journey alongside me will be gentle with my heart…
I shared, a couple of weeks ago, that my Pastor had suggested we work through a freedom-based curriculum. At first, I wasn’t sure I wanted to name the curriculum specifically, but feel now that there really isn’t any way around it. The program was Steps to Freedom in Christ by Neil Anderson. I want to be clear that I am neither promoting, nor criticizing Anderson’s ideas or methods. For me, this program was both immensely helpful, and incredibly wounding. As my story unfolds, you will come to understand what I mean.
The first step was Counterfeit Versus Real. This step involved renouncing any involvement with the occult or with false religions of any kind. My Pastor lead me in a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to reveal anything to my heart that needed to be dealt with. As thoughts came to my mind, I wrote them down on a piece of paper. The things I noted were:
1. Playing with a magic eight ball as a child.
2. Seeing a couple of movies that had a theme of satanic abuse.
3. Reading a book on a case of alleged satanic abuse that was graphic and disturbing (Required reading for a Child Welfare course I was taking in university).
Working through this step was fairly straightforward and even ‘easy’ for me. In fact, I was surprised by the things that came to mind. I had not even thought of them for years. I certainly was not struggling with guilt for having engaged in these activities. As I discussed them with the Pastor, however, I had no problem acknowledging that these things were not in line with Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (NIV).
After renouncing these activities, and rededicating myself to honor and serve God alone, I felt peaceful and content. We were off to a good start. “Okay,” I thought. “Maybe this won’t be so bad after all.” Boy, was I wrong. There was no way I could have been prepared for what was coming next. My whole world was about to come crashing down around me…
I don’t feel comfortable leaving off on such a negative note. I want Incremental Healing to be a place that inspires hope. Inevitably, though, there will be times that the story gets stuck in a dark place for a time. That is just the reality of how the healing has unfolded. Despite this reality, there is hope to be found, even in the darkest places. For it is in the moments of deepest despair that I have often heard the loving words of my heavenly Father most clearly – telling me that He loves me with a perfect love, that I am His precious child, and that He walks closely by my side. Although the pain can be excruciating, I would go as far as to claim that it has been God’s grace to allow me to experience it. Please don’t misunderstand, He certainly takes no pleasure in our suffering. I believe it breaks His heart to see me His children hurting. He has infinite knowledge, though, of the things that will lead to our ultimate best, and He longs for us to experience the fullness of His blessing.
It is during seasons of deepest despair that I have encountered Christ most intimately, and have experienced His healing touch most powerfully. I honestly would not trade those moments of soaring with Christ for any amount of comfort or ease.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31 (NLT)
May you, dear one, draw close to Jesus in your weakness, so that He may be your strength,
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