Thursday, April 24, 2014

Wednesdays of Wonder - Cutting It Off at the Root

When I approached my Bible Study leader - Ann Pouns - about this #WOW series, I expected she would know of something to contribute.  I did not expect it to be her story, and something so recent.  She's been teaching Bible Study for 20+ years and many of her own experiences come from those times.  She is real, authentic and full of joy for our Savior.

To imagine she had anything left over to give to the Lord was out-of-bounds.  But when I asked her last week, she pointed me to lesson I'd missed (and hadn't listened to yet!).  She said,

What He did in me that day was a miracle.

The story, told at the end of the lesson on cutting rejection off at the root, is truly awe-inspiring because it was the release she found after letting go off a 56 year old secret.  She'd never revealed it publicly, but there came a day, 3 years ago, the Lord told her it was time to give it up so He could finally pull out rejection she'd carried for so long by the last, little root.  She'd already done so much work towards it, there was just one final hill to conquer: facing the emotional cost of her abuse and understanding what was taken from her.

The result of clearing that final spiritual cholesterol in her veins?  Joy.  Over and abounding Joy.  She walks in a flow that is authoritative but conciously humble.  You can just feel this woman knows and loves Christ in a way that is very rare.  She is the embodiment of the believer described in Psalm 1:2-3,

His delight is in the Lord's instruction, and he meditates on it day and night.  He is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.

Before I describe the incredible vision she witness after praying forgiveness over her abusers, let me leave you with something she said,

It can't get healed until it is released.  Shame makes you hide.  Shame is a terrible thing.

Please enjoy this freedom-soaked story by Ann as this week's WONDER-filled Wednesday entry. 

God is so sweet, He brought some circumstances in my life that reminded me of this situation.  The Holy Spirit brought these things into remembrance.  While I had a great marriage, I knew, because of repeated sexual abuse I'd experienced as a child, I knew I could be even more vulnerable and even more intimate with my husband.  The issues was I knew it wasn't all that I could give. 

One day I was at my friend's house after a prayer meeting.  God had used me to set women free for years, but not me.  I'd never told her in the 20 years we'd been praying together I'd been molested as a child and she sweetly asked, "Uh, have we prayed about this before?"

No, we hadn't.

Peggy and I walked together through this process.  I forgave the perpetrators, for what they did to me. Then I remembered all the hurts, all the shame, all the fears, all the unworthiness - the loss of a childhood; the loss of innocence and I forgave them for all of those hurts.

When I reached forgiving them for the long-term effects their abuse had on my life, I couldn't get them out; I had a lump in my throat.  I began to wail and wail.  I thought it was a minute or two, but Peggy said it was 15 minutes long and I just...let go.  At the end of that time, I went back through and forgave them all over again for those long term effects.  

I then had to repent because I had judged them.  I hated them, I was bitter and had murder, anger in my heart.  I had to repent of every bit of that.  Then I prayed for them and blessed them.  I put myself at the foot of the Cross and let His water and blood wash away all that defilement.

Then Peggy, she spoke to the fear: the fear of intimacy and losing control.  She spoke to the little girl who hid behind her mother.  This abuse was the reason why I was so shy.  She spoke to her, telling her it was now safe to come out.

And she came out!

When Jesus said 'It is Finished," it is finished!  He gave me a vision as Peggy was praying, it was as real to me as I'm standing here today.  I saw a box, an oak wooden keepsake box with a little scroll work right there at the keyhole.  And God allowed me to see His Hand.

I have seen God the Hand of God!  It is the kindest, sweetest, fluffiest, most beautiful hand you've ever seen and it's strong.

In His huge hand, He had a tiny black key.  He put this key in the lock and as soon as He turned it to the right, the lid popped open and out came all this smoke.  And I'm thinking, "God, what is that?  What is that?!?"

I didn't figure it out till a few days later, but when I was hurt, my soul was locked and I remember being free as a little girl.  And I remember not being free.  But when He unlocked it, He unlocked the part of my soul that had been locked for FIFTY-SIX YEARS.

I came out - my personality came out.  He rejuvenated me.  He restored my youth.  He poured a love out for my husband - an insatiable love.  It was so sweet.  All of a sudden I know the difference between being vulnerable and not being vulnerable.  That allowing myself to be vulnerable led to intimacy.  I have decided God wants us to experience this intimacy because that's how intimately He wants us to be with Him!

It has changed my walk with God because I understand intimacy now.

He also gave me this tingly feeling, there was sensitivity on every part of my body.  It was like I was born again!  This last for months - I knew if I laid hands on the sick, they would recover.  That's how intimate it was!

Forgiveness brings forth faith, which leads to miracles.  It leads to signs, wonders and freedom.  But probably most importantly, it brings forth a deeper, longer, higher, closer walk with the Holy Spirit, a tangible relationship with the Most High God.

If you are struggling with shame, guilt and fear, that is not what God wants you to carry around.  He is willing to heal you.  He will give you the desire to deal with your circumstances - no matter whether they happened yesterday or 100 years ago.  Jesus is in the business of healing His people.  Take Him up on the offer, like Ann did, and find the kind of intimacy with the Lord that will change you for eternity. 

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