This past week concluded my second Journey to the Heart. God met me unexpectedly the first day. I suddenly became aware of what had been holding me back from fully experiencing God’s power! As a young child, I had been rejected/pushed away by my parents, and although they had confessed and repented of this many times, I had harbored a lot of bitterness towards them and many others who had hurt me deeply over the years.
When I was younger, there had also been a struggle between my parents in their marriage, which had caused me to cut off my spirit from them, to build up walls of defense, and to suffer asthma and nightmares from my fears. I had sought acceptance in other people and possessions, which had caused me to not only lack the trust I needed for my parents, but to hold back from fully trusting God.
The Breaking Point
As this realization dawned upon me, I broke down and wept on the floor where we had all knelt to pray in groups of 3 or 4. My team leader, sensing that God was doing a work in my heart, led me away to talk in private. Over the course of the next 2 hours, she helped me identify 30 lies I believed, 20 painful memories I was suffering from, and 5 different fears that were affecting my health.
That day my eyes were opened to the bondage that I had been in for so many years. I experienced a new freedom as I prayed asking God to take back the ground I had surrendered. I was able to fully forgive my offenders and to develop a new love for them, and a desire to serve and bless them!
Dying Leaves are More Beautiful
This amazing event set the stage for the rest of my Journey! I found that my heart was open to examination as I studied the different heart conditions. I was able to pray for others with a whole new love for them! I saw God use me to encourage and disciple many other girls throughout the time there, and to cry out to Him without fear of what others would think. There was a whole new awareness of His promptings, and the ability to hear His voice like never before! Most of all, I learned to understand the pain of others who were in similar bondage to what I had been in.
God showed me how to understand the hurts of another and to care for them! He broke me one night as I was spending time alone with Him under the stars. I wept for a girl I had known who was experiencing much more than I had ever experienced, but was held by the chains I had been in.
Throughout the week, as I observed the beauty of the colorful leaves on the trees, I was reminded continually by our team leader that the leaves were beautiful, yet they were dying! I saw that just as dying leaves are more beautiful than those that are alive, so we as believers are required to die to self and to be on fire for the Lord, in order to achieve the greatest beauty.
Just Three Days
As we prepared to leave journey and come back home, I was encouraged to go back and make disciples, to grow in the Lord, and to do great works for His kingdom. I could never have imagined just what awesome things God would do in so short a time!
The first full day back home, God brought a young lady across our path to meet with us regularly for discipleship. That same day, my sister and I decided that God would have us bring a team of girls we were discipling back to a journey next year. He has already provided several who are interested!
The second day proved to be a little more challenging. Mr. Garvin had taught us a valuable lesson on sharing the gospel with lost souls, shortly before the journey ended. We were at the park with some friends, when I decided to put to practice a little of what he had placed before us. In the past, I had always handed out tracts, and had actually shared the gospel with four little children and an older woman. Yet each time my conversation had never been more than just a few minutes long and I had always been so fearful during the whole presentation.
This time, however, I felt led to give a tract I had with me to a young man who was up on the hill smoking and texting on his cell phone. I was a little nervous, but I felt very strongly that God wanted me to do this. To my surprise, he was friendly and after handing him the tract and asking a few questions, we started a rather lengthy conversation. About 20 minutes later he started opening up and sharing about his life. He professed to be saved, but didn’t know much about the Bible at all, even to know if he was saved by works or by faith. I was able to share with him a lot about the Word, and to present 49 Commands of Christ to him. He became so interested that He wrote down the IBLP website so that he could check out some of the materials and learn more about the commands of Christ. He also showed much interest in attending our church!
I keep wondering what would have happened if I had disobeyed God’s voice and had failed to be a vessel through which His love could shine to someone so spiritually hungry.
The third day God impressed upon me this question: “If I don’t know the 49 commands of Christ and if I am not living them all out in obedience to Him, then how can I effectively teach them to those whom I am discipling?” That night I began to work on the first command and to apply it to my life.
As I went to bed, I prepared a passage of Scripture from Philippians 2 to quote and meditate upon. God gave me so many significant insights even as I was falling asleep that I could write down the next morning. He also showed me two books He wanted me to write concerning two areas of bondage that I have found freedom in.
As I went to sleep, I dreamed about a man of God who was competing in a race. And as he sought to do his best, God faithfully rewarded him by allowing him to win! When I woke up, there was a post on the Living the Journey website, about running our race successfully as a champion runner. It was like God reaffirmed to me that He has set the narrow way before me, and that now there is nothing holding me back from trusting Him fully and from running with all my strength to win!
When I was in bondage to bitterness, and when I chose to believe Satan’s lies, the chains kept me from running to win. But now I have been offered another chance to run without anything holding me back. God is so gracious and merciful! Even now He has already given me such a new heart for Him, so that when temptation comes (and it has been so less frequent) I can easily and victoriously overcome it by the strength of Jesus Christ!
Each person must come to a place where Jesus is everything to them. For me, this is just beginning!
September 2009 Girls Journey