‘You are my precious child and I love you. I am working in those hidden areas of your life which are so deep that you are unaware of them, though you are aware of the effects they are having now. Don’t be afraid, child. I will never give up on you. I won’t give up until you are cleansed and healed from your hurts. You are my precious, beloved child. You are mine. When you pass through the waters, I am with you. When you go through the fire, you will not be burnt. I will never leave you alone. You are always with me. You will be free, child, I promise.’
April 2009. One day, as I was reading the book, ‘If only – moving from blame to forgiveness and beyond’ by David A. Seamands, I was reading about Jesus’ crucifixion at the point where, God, His Father, turns His face away from Jesus when He cries out, ‘Father, why have you forsaken me?’ I found I was suddenly very angry at God for doing that. I tried to push it down because I knew it was wrong, but it persisted. I realised that there must be some deep down anger against God my Father for hurts that at that moment I knew nothing about, that must lie buried and which I didn’t even know were there. Maybe I was angry at God because He allowed them?
I knew that Jesus identified with my humiliations and fears, because of what He endured on the cross, but I had not realised that God my Father identified with them too. God the Father turned away from Jesus at that point. Because He turned away from Jesus on the cross I felt as if He had turned away from me at the times of my greatest need. I knew in my head that this wasn’t true, but not in my heart.
My buried hurts had led to a lot of negative feelings against Paul. I had struggled with this anger for so long. Also, for a long time, as far back as I could remember, it’s hard to describe, but I hadn’t felt ‘free.’ It was like there was a blockage somewhere. Even after very intimate times with God, afterwards, I was back to the old behaviour and I had always hated myself for it. I had always had this nagging voice saying it was all my fault. Like an weight, but at times, hardly noticeable – but always ‘there’. I realised that it was a destructive root and I needed it pulled out. There began a kind of excitement and hope in me that this was the means of my healing – at last!
The following Sunday, I went to church and asked two lovely friends to pray for me. I cried a lot! One lady had a lovely song she sang. The words said that God my Father has called me by name and that I was His child. I was HIS! She also had a picture of a shepherd with a sheep on his shoulder, gently rocking it and singing to it. I believe the song that she sang was the song the shepherd was singing. The other lady, was stroking my hair and praying.
I knew the root had been pulled out. I knew I was cradled in my Heavenly Father’s arms. I cried that I was sorry I had been so angry with Him. The friend who was praying for me said that it wasn’t my fault. She also said I must place this burden at the foot of the cross, and I did. I prayed that God would take it. He had seen how I had handled it! She told me not to take it back. I didn’t want it back.
The friend who had been singing to me said that I would probably be exhausted when I got home. I did feel tired, so had a rest, but a bit later, Paul, Chloe and I took Megan for a walk along the sea front, starting at the Spa, round the coast and up Holbeck Hill, stopping for a hot chocolate on the way. It was a gentle stroll in the sunshine and was so lovely.
Later, lying on my bed, I felt tired out. I actually felt sore, as if I had had an operation. I asked God to pour His healing balm into the wound to heal it completely. I rang my friends who had prayed with me from my mobile, while still lying on my bed and told them I felt just as if I had had an operation. They were over the moon! They advised me to fill up on God’s Word, to fill up the hole that was left.
Just like an operation, when something bad is taken out that shouldn’t be there, it takes time for the wound that is left to heal. My lovely friend told me to be kind to myself. All I wanted to do was just sit on my Heavenly Father’s knee and let Him guide and love me.
The next day, during the early evening, I plonked myself down on the settee and settled down to watch the Antiques Roadshow. During one of the commercial breaks there was an advert for ‘Roundup’ – a weed killer! It showed the weed being killed from the roots. The slogan was, ‘Kill the root – kill the weed!’
That morning I had tried to read my normal daily readings, but I just couldn’t study the readings at all. I had got to the book of James and managed a few verses, but I just couldn’t read any more. It was a strange feeling, as if something was pressing on the sore part of me. I needed something soothing, like a balm. I read Psalm 23. The night before, I had asked God to put a calming verse into my mind and the words, ‘He leads me beside the still waters; He restores my soul,’ came into my mind. Those last few words had a wonderful new meaning for me. So I read Psalm 23 and it really was balm to my soul. I didn’t need instruction at that time, just my Father God sitting me on His knee, stroking my hair and saying soothing words to me.
I had told Paul what had happened to me and he was lovely. That evening he came home from work at teatime, and I knew he meant well, but he was rather ‘in my face’! He really wanted to help and I loved him for it, but I couldn’t take any kind of pressure. I just needed to receive from God and allow Him to heal the wound. I tried not to be irritable, and felt momentary panic that I might have gone back to square one, but I knew without a shadow of doubt that God had done something wonderful in me and would continue to work in me.
‘The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.’ (Zephaniah 3 v. 17)
May 2009. One morning I got to town early after dropping Chloe off at school. After grabbing a take-away coffee, I sat on a seat overlooking Scarborough Harbour and sat silently listening to God. I watched the seagulls soaring on the air currents, effortlessly. A lady in our housegroup the previous evening had told us of when she was on the island of Lindesvarne and she was watching the seagulls. It was windy, and some were struggling against the wind, but others were flying with the wind. The birds trust the air currents completely and depend on them, resting on them and going where they take them. Those struggling and flapping against the air currents are striving in their own strength, but those leaning on them and trusting them go where they take them and don’t have to strive.
This was how I wanted my relationship with God to be. I wanted to be utterly dependant on Him, not struggling and striving in my own strength.
‘…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.’
June 2009. One Saturday I went to a New Wine Conference. Mark Carey, the son of Archbishop Carey of Durham, led it and spoke on Luke 4 verses 1-15, about Kingdom Breakthrough. At the end of the first session a lovely lady prayed for me and she told me that God thinks I am beautiful! She said that when He looks at me, I am the apple of His eye and as she prayed I fell to the floor. When I got up the lady said she had seen a picture of a wild, bubbling stream, going anywhere it pleased.
Later on there was a seminar on prophecy. During the seminar we split into groups of four and three of us prayed for one person. Then we swapped around, but I didn’t get a turn to be prayed for as we ran out of time! So the leader of the seminar asked those of us who hadn’t been prayed for to go to the front and he would pray for us. When it got to my turn he said I was a people person, (he called me an evangelist!) He also told me that I had a pain in my lower back which he thought related to my work. It was true! I had been sitting on a high stool at work behind the shop counter and it had given me a pain in my lower back. As he prayed for me, down I went again (I thought, ‘this is becoming a habit!) When I got up, a man who had been sitting next to me in the seminar said he had been getting a picture in his mind of a fragile vase, easily hurt and easily broken. He said I felt like I was that vase (true!) but that actually I was protected, as if I was totally wrapped in bubble wrap, but that it wasn’t restricting. I had a freedom and strength that came from God.
He also said that I felt trapped as if in a spider’s web. That I didn’t feel free or released. He prayed for me and I saw chains around my feet! He told me to take a step forward. I took a step forward and actually found myself stepping over the chains! He told me to take another step forward. I did, and he said I was free of the chains. He told me to walk in that freedom from now on.
‘It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.’ (Galatians 5 v. 1)
Another step on my journey…..