A Personal Testimony from the Inaugural Mother’s Journey
by Sharon Rose M. Rowe 14 October 2010
It is a difficult task to summarize 10 days of utter bliss. My transport to the Journey was not without its trials. Immediately, I wondered how many other mothers were experiencing spiritual warfare related to the upcoming Journey. There I was at 5:30 am, 30 minutes into my trip, staring at an ATM which literally ate my credit card—the only form of money I had packed. I wondered if I could physically make it to the Buffalo airport 1 ½ hours from home after wasting an hour backtracking. I had pulled an all nighter due to the excitement and anticipation of the Journey and just trying to tie up loose ends on the home front. At 53 years old with seven children ages 4 to 17, the fatigue was wearing on me. Somehow, I made it…Little did I know that a Psalm I had read earlier in the week would be the focal point of my Journey: “Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have showed Thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to everyone that is to come.” (Psalm 71:18)
No way could I afford this opportunity monetarily speaking, nor did it seem I could spare the time with all of the demands of life, yet I was constrained to come. It seems that my life has been wound so tightly and things have been happening so fast that I have hardly had time to breathe. I simply HAD to hear from God, and I was not going to take “No” for an answer.
In my devotions on the second day, I realized that I would have to fast to show God (if only within my own heart) that I was SERIOUS. It was emotionally painful, but I was able to hear God’s voice more so. God immediately pointed to the vows I had made in the past that I had not been taking seriously. I realized that my repentance had been fake and unprofitable—pathetic at the very least.
I asked myself, “What is the most important need in my life?” It was very clear to me that I just wanted to know God better, to discern his voice, and obey Him. I had such baggage–a barren testimony–reaping the bad seed that I had sown in the past. How, after 27 years of being saved, could I possibly say to anyone that I really did not know my Heavenly Father? And from the depths of my soul, I penned a few words… “Be my Abba e’er I die.” I had to be transparent with God and with my soul sisters in my Journey group.
On the way to the Northwoods, the Jerry Benjamin DVD, “The Most Important Thing God Asks of Us,” echoed my sentiments EXACTLY. I felt as if this whole Journey was orchestrated by God just for MY benefit. I had always prayed with my children that they would “love God with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength…” Yet, I looked at my own life that was devoid of 100% obedience to God. I was lukewarm. One line among many stopped me cold in my tracks: “If you sin, it is because you don’t believe Jesus is sufficient.” He nailed it. I was struggling with a weakened faith. I knew God existed. I believed all of the doctrines. I believed the Bible from cover to cover. My problem was, because of my sinfulness, I had heaped guilt upon guilt. I was not confessing, repenting, and forsaking. I was sorrowful, but that was not enough. I looked at my relationship with God like a marriage which was once passionate, but now was cold and lifeless.
I realized that it is difficult to be obedient to a Heavenly Father if you think that He is a tyrant. You can’t obey someone joyously that you do not love. And then, the final blow: Jerry said in so many words: You can know the Truth, and not love the Saviour… You can be doctrinally pure, but have lost your love for God… You cannot proclaim someone you don’t know… If you don’t love Christ, your life is vanity… Leaving your first love is an act of your will… Now I realized that Christ had not been preeminent in my heart: I WAS ON THE THRONE!!!
I came to the point of wondering, “How do you love someone?” My next question was: “What does God love?” During my time of fasting, I begged God for a breakthrough. I really wanted to experience His Presence. I really wanted to feel the reality of His Existence within my own realm. I was getting so frustrated because I felt God should answer me, but, I was treating God like a “Cosmic Genie”. When I got to the point where my physical symptoms became overwhelming, and I was too fatigued and distracted to participate with my soul sisters, I broke the fast.
Each day, the layers of my heart were peeled back to show the deceit that I had been gullibly believing about myself. My soul sisters listened and provided much feedback. I felt like our hearts were being knit together. It was miraculous. But I believe it was the product of many praying Christians. The most wonderful part of the Journey was to see these mother’s hearts being illuminated by the Holy Spirit and to see the scales falling from their spiritual eyes.
During one of our group meetings, one of the girls broke down, and the gift of mercy in me wanted to give her something to relieve the pain. That same evening, I wrote “Come to Abba” which was a picture of prayer. A day or so later, after reviewing Step 7 in the Journey notebook “The First Step in Knowing God,” and spending 2 ½ hours in a Strong’s Concordance and a KJV Bible, I wrote a second poem, “You Are My Abba Father”. This poem summarized the various attributes of God.
The time of consecration when Dr. Gothard literally stood for four hours to anoint mothers and to bless them (along with their husbands or guardians by telephone) was truly moving. Even now, I keep telling myself that God has given me a “double portion”, and that I must step out in faith. I confessed to all that I wanted to lead 500 million souls to Christ. I still shudder at those words (yet another vow!) and wonder how God could bring it to pass in my life. I know the answer is total submission to His Will without compromise. God reminded me in the following scripture (and so many more) that He is able: “...is there anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27)
My feeling at the very end of the Journey was that literally everyone on earth should experience the Journey. Somehow, some way, there has to be a way to slow down in our daily lives and experience similar “mini-Journeys” irregardless of our circumstances. I ask myself, “Have you changed?” I look at my day to day circumstances and find myself getting impatient and angry and frustrated. Then, I remember one of the points Dr. Gothard said about fear: You need not fear tomorrow. You are not promised tomorrow. You only have today… LIVE ONLY FOR TODAY!
I believe God loves me. I believe I will be able to live in the abundant joy of a loving relationship with God only to the extent that I yield myself to Him on a moment-by-moment basis. When I watched “Entertaining God” by Doug Small, I desired so much to have a deep intimacy with God that I would have no problem with any tempting distractions. Oh! That I would be as jealous for God as God is for me.
As Ken Pierpont’s message expressed, “…the greatest theological truth is: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so…” The other line that really impacted me was the simple fact that: “ God loves you and He wants you to love Him back” As I wondered about the love of God the Father, He brought this verse (among others) to my attention: “They that know thy name will put their trust in thee, for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.” (Psalm 9:10)
I believe that my personal remah for the Mother’s Journey could be summed up in the following verse: “He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”
I want desperately to live in victory on a daily basis! I want to shake the dust off of my rebellious sandals and to conquer heights heretofore unattained! Dear Lord, get me beyond words, beyond my limited mind, and down deep into my heart and soul where I may yield uninhibitedly to YOU!!! I am slowly, painstakingly reading through “Victory in Christ” by Charles Trumbull. I have begun to write another a poem based on the truths expounded in this book.
I am eternally grateful to my husband for allowing me to come on the Mother’s Journey…and for all of the staff and young people who poured their hearts and prayers and service into this undertaking…And to Dr. Gothard for his vision for a people of one accord.
Pursuing God and never to be the same… Sharon Rose
(Note: this is an abbreviated version. For the full version, contact me at: email@example.com and I can also send you the poetry mentioned herein)