"It's ok; we're breaking you out..."
These are some of the questions that have echoed through the corridors of my heart for a very long time now.
"Why aren't I free?" That was the big question for me. "If it is for freedom Christ set us free, then shouldn't I be free?!"
I know what God has done in my life and I love Him for it. I don't doubt His existence, His goodness, His presence or His love for me. So that's not my problem. I haven't lost faith in Him. Rather, I grew weary of doing good. Basically, over the years, I closed down my heart to the world, and I knew it, but I couldn't find the energy, or the will, to break out of that.
However, there has been a desire growing in me for several months now, to do good again, to be part of a church again, to reach out and love as I used to, and, above all else, to be intimate with God again. So I kept praying for His guidance and for understanding - and, at the same time, asked God to lead me to a church I can feel 'at home' in again.
Most of all, I kept saying, "I don't understand... Why aren't I free? Set me free..."
A few weeks after planting ourselves in Encounter Life, they started a course on prophecy. I love prophecy. (I mean, having a clear channel from God's heart to yours? There ain't nothin' better than that for me! :) ) So, Matt (youngest son; 2nd youngest child) and I put our names down for the course...and, I confess, I did so not to learn more about the prophetic, really, but with a knowing that God could use this course, and my openness to it, to help free me of whatever it is that's been hindering my growth, etc.
The course has been going for about a month now, and not only have I been gaining understanding and getting to know some really beautiful people, I've been witness to God moving in my life, again. :) *sigh*
Last week, the course fell on the night of a full moon. If you know my testimony then you'd know the full moon is a contact point for me and God. For those who don't know, 22 years ago, at the point of longing to commit suicide, I looked up at the full moon and thought, "Wouldn't that be wonderful if that was the face of God watching over us..." then prayed, "God, if You're there, I've had enough of this BS. Help..." That night I went to bed and, prior to crying myself to sleep, prayed to Jesus, asking Him to speak to God on my behalf, :) then repented for all the wrong I had done, and asked God to forgive everyone who had wronged me in someway. I asked that He would wipe the slate clean and help me start again... Long story (meant for another time and place) short, two days later I ran into the only Christian I knew, in a dead-end lane at the back of the place I attended Sunday School twenty years earlier, and, from there, watched as God picked me up, dusted me off, and helped me start again - and that while filling my heart with hope and opening my heart and eyes to His great love.
Many times since that 'first' full moon, I've been at church or been sitting at home and felt something stir inside me, something break from me, a healing take hold of me, and so on, only to look outside and see a full moon smiling back at me.
For me, a full moon is a powerful reminder of God's great love for me. A testimony, if you will, to all He has done for me.
Last week, He used that connection to remind me of His love, yet again.
In truth, I was convicted. lol. But that's not as bad as it may sound. I love conviction. It sets free. It is not the same as condemnation. Condemnation pours guilt on a person and makes them feel lousy. Conviction speaks truth, from God's heart to yours, and not only does it set you free in some way, it lifts you up and fills you with hope, joy, faith, healing or something else that is good and of God. I knew this 'conviction' was from God, because I knew that's where my heart had gone.
When Jill encouraged me to open my heart, something clicked, and I felt a new sense of hope, faith, joy, delight, and freedom. I laughed. I did. For such is the response of God's Spirit in us when He speaks the truth that sets us free: Pure joy!
The following week, at the course, we were in worship and I knew I was tense. I was guarding myself, it seemed. I recalled the 'open your heart and be vulnerable' message Jill had given me and moved to do just that. Within moments of relaxing and opening my heart more to worship and to God, I sensed Him say to me (from His Spirit and heart to mine), "It's ok; we're breaking you out..." and I knew He meant Himself and some of the members of the group there that night.
A little later, I shared what can happen when we go to man for God's word above going to God: 16 years earlier, I was getting ready to attend church, when God impressed upon my heart NOT to go out the front for prayer that morning. However, because I struggled with confidence and trusting that I could hear from God, by the time the congregation was invited to go out the front for prayer, I went, longing for a 'word from God'.
What was spoken over me tore me apart. This 'word of knowledge' left me feeling more worthless and sinful than ever. I ended up on my knees in tears... Deflated, and broken-hearted, I went home and, laying on my bed weeping, asked God, "What was that all about?" to which He promptly replied (from His Spirit/heart to mine), "You wanted man's answer; I gave it to you."
LONG story short, 16 years on, sharing this 'ya need to trust God more than you do man' part of my testimony, one of the women at the group said that words spoken over someone like that can be like a curse. As soon as she said that *snap!*, God broke me free...and I realised that I hadn't been free, that I had become stagnant, that I had grown weary of doing good and so on and so forth, because I had been imprisoned by the word spoken over me. I had been cursed with a false identity.
What was said over me was a FALSE IDENTITY for me. She spoke of me as the person I didn't want to be, that I prayed I would never be. She even spoke of me as being 'as a(n ugly) princess locked in a tower' (as me being stuck up, basically).
This was spoken by an authority figure. And it got into my heart when her words broke my heart. It took root because I trusted her as God's authority, because I held love for her. And, I fed this image of me because I had trusted her. I hated this image of me. I hated me, believing that's what I was like. I hardened my heart to myself - next step was to harden my heart to others who spoke of me, or thought of me, as someone better than the self-image I held, because they were 'obviously lying to me'! Next step, closing my heart to God because He spoke to me like I was better than that image had allowed me to be. How can I give my heart to those who can't see me?! was basically my response. And, in hardening, I became like that 'princess in a tower'. I took on that identity. Hating her, hating me, feeding her, I became her.
I believed the lie that came from a wrong spirit...and I went on to build my character on that lie. I took on a false identity. I wasn't set free.
Some may say that maybe 'she' was right in her prophecy. To which I would reply, it wasn't a prophetic word, it was supposedly a word of knowledge. And, whatever it was, it could not have been from God because it did not set me free. When the 'curse' was mentioned the other night, a light went on; the truth was revealed and I was set free. When Jill encouraged me to be vulnerable, a light went on and I was raised up. When that word was spoken over me 16 years ago, it emotionally, mentally and spiritually crippled me - and the light of my heart started going out...
I wish this prophetic course had been around 20 years ago, prior to God telling me not to go out the front for prayer at that particular time. Had it been, I, a young Christian at the time, would've known that there are no superstar prophets, anymore - we have the Holy Spirit. We have Jesus. And that if the word spoken over you doesn't exalt you or encourage you, or set you free in some way, then it ain't God.
There's more I could write about concerning the day God told me not to go out the front for prayer, but I'll leave that for another time. All I really want to share here is:
- God is faithful... When you pray, He hears you, and while you may not see Him moving immediately, He immediately puts a plan into action to answer your prayer in a way that is most beneficial.
- The truth sets free... Remember Jill and the conviction? (Sounds like a great title for a novel, ay. ;) ) When she spoke 'conviction' - which she didn't know she was doing, at the time - I received joy and healing and hope. Remember the morning I shouldn't have gone out the front for prayer? Yeah, that imprisoned me...
- False Identity... It imprisons you and will hinder you in many ways... If you want to know who you are - the real, most beautiful you ever - ask God to reveal it. I asked, He answered. :) Jesus has given us a way to find all truth - He is that way. Seek Him in this, also. He will set you free.
- Trust God over man... I know it's hard to trust you're hearing His voice, but, the thing is, you can. Again, seek Jesus on this. :) He won't speak anything that opposes God, and anything that opposes what He has said, is not of God.
- And last but not least - and I may have forgotten a few more points; feel free to add some :) - in Christ, there is always hope; there is access to God; there is intimacy with God; there is freedom; there healing; there is joy; there is a never-ending flow of love...and so much more... Ya just gotta ask for it - with an open heart. :)