Although I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior at 4 years old, I was 41 when I gave him my heart. I was just home from an amazing, power-packed healing long weekend with the church I love so much in Ohio. It was another transformational time for me. A year earlier I had received tremendous instantaneous healing the first night of their then annual “Family Reunion” weekend. I had continued to receive prayer at different points the intervening year, concluding with a “sit-down” session a few days before the weekend at the start of August.
I had received prayer ministry in January of that year that had just rocked my world and instantly relieved me of many wrong things and thoughts. It was beyond profound. However, I had learned that I needed to replace the behaviors and thoughts and habits and I had been spending a tremendous amount of time in scripture and teaching since that January. I didn’t know how much healing I still needed in my ongoing behaviors and actions. Things had gotten rockier emotionally in the summer and I requested additional prayer ministry.
The second sit down session was rather different. There were some different ministers and it didn’t seem as easy or quick and looking back I can see that it took some time for things to flush out from that session. I had grown up being taught to expect miracles, expect healing, expect all these things, but the reality was that I had rarely experienced an undeniable healing as a result of prayer – yes, it did feel like stomach aches and head aches got better, but even that was so so, not always seeing or feeling a result.
Over the years I had come to rely on medication and doctors as the answer to my growing physical troubles. I relate very much to the woman in Mark 5:26 who “had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.” Shortly after I began to withhold “part” of my heart, I had also began to grow sicker and sicker and begun to use different medications that led to more and more and more medications, til I was on more than twenty different medications with more than thirty different daily doses and a slew of additional “as needed” medications. I had big bags of medication that I only allowed a few people to see because I didn’t want their judgement and censure.
I had thought I would get this prayer ministry and it would resolve my pesky troubles like a day at the spa. However, that time it stirred up a lot before relief was found. As a matter of fact, the first full day of the long weekend, I had a number of troubling emotions and sensations rise up in me. It’s difficult even to explain it now, but suffice to say the Friday of this long weekend that I was anticipating with excitement as a fun, enriching time with friends and the word, did not feel good at all.
I was so confronted and challenged that at the end of the day session I went to my friends where I was sleeping and hid in my guest room sobbing my eyes out. I pretended to be asleep for dinner because I could not stop crying and I didn’t want to freak my friend’s husband out by my bizarre behavior. My friend had only started attending that church a few months earlier and I thought I must look and seem crazy if I came to the dinner table bawling my eyes out. I actually did fall asleep for a bit and was able to sneak out later to grab some left over pizza and try to understand what was happening.
I wanted desperately to pack my bags and go home. I couldn’t bear the thought of
returning the next day. Amazingly, I wasn’t the only one feeling that struggle. The senior Pastor shared later that another woman had actually been driving home, when she turned her car around. She had reached out to the pastors who had worked with her to help her stay the weekend. I think there was so much light and life there at that church that day that was confronting error and darkness.
Now, I can look back at different stages of my journey and recovery the last many years
and see that there were “breakdowns” before there were breakthroughs. I can see now that there were churches and programs and weekends where I was angry and challenged and not happy and joyous because there was a true, godly cleansing occurring that was painful to the carnal flesh and sin that I had in my mind and life.
But there I was that Friday wanting to run away, run home, turn tail, and make for the hills. And I felt so strongly God telling me that as painful as that day had been was how beautiful the following day would be. I could SENSE it so DEEPLY, but it felt impossible to be true. But I did cling to that and with difficulty went back the following day. And God was right. Of course. It was an incredible, wonderful, amazing day full of so many memories I still hold to dearly.
And when I came home from that weekend, I was pondering the healing and beauty that Jesus had brought to my heart and my life. I was lying in my bed in wonder and awe at what he had done INSIDE me most of all. I was remembering this song where the singer offers his song as a gift to Jesus and I was thinking that I didn’t have a song. I wondered what I could give him as a thanks. And I thought, I’ll give him my heart. And in my mind’s eye, I placed my heart on the alter to Jesus. And I have never been the same since.