Unexpected Healing is the Best Kind of Healing

As I was preparing for this new season of my life I remember the excitement I felt knowing I would be learning how to help others!  I have this strong desire in my heart to help women who have been abused and I was so thankful to God for the opportunity to learn the skills to help these precious women.  To my complete surprise I am learning a lot more than how to help others.  Since starting this new journey with God, I have been learning how to let God help me with areas of my life I have closed off for so long.

This was so unexpected.  I did not think I needed to work through anything.  God has been teaching me that this season is one of pruning.  God wants to refine my heart.  As one of our speakers puts it, we have squishy spots in our hearts.  These are the sensitive areas where as counselors we need to have less and less of these spots in order to help others in the way they need help most.

While counseling, when someone pours their hearts out to us our response cannot be drowning in the sorrow, but rather standing on God’s Solid Rock, with an arm stretched out ready to bring them to His Rock.

In order for me to be on that Rock there are several parts of my heart that I need to open up to God.  The squishy, sensitive areas that I have not allowed God access to for so many years.  This process is painful and uncomfortable but it is oh so necessary.  I find so much hope and promise during this process.

I love what God says about this process:

Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit, He [repeatedly] prunes, so that it will bear more fruit [even richer and finer fruit].  John 15:2 AMP

I want to share one of my pruning experiences with God, with you.

During my morning devotions this past week I read a story about a woman who had a horrible feeling towards one of her friends.  She prayed and asked God to remove this feeling.  She did everything she thought she needed to do but nothing was working.  Later, God revealed to her that He did not want to fix her in the moment, He wanted her to get to the root of the problem.  This was a root of bitterness growing in her heart towards this friend.  She needed to deal with the root in order for God to bring lasting healing to her heart and soul.

Reading this made me think of a struggle I have in my life.  I always pray about this struggle but God never seems to answer.  I realized as I thought about this that the reason why He hasn’t been answering my prayers is because He wanted me to deal with the root behind this problem.  I had no idea what the root was.

Thankfully I have a dear staff member I meet with once a week during the lecture phase of our school.  This last week I shared with her about this problem I was faced with and my thought of needing to get to the root of this issue I have.  She listened and asked if I wanted to pray and ask God to reveal the root of this problem.  I really did so we prayed and God kind of took control from there.

Suddenly God brought lies to my attention that I had been believing for far too long.  This is where the root was.  These lies had a way of embedding themselves into my heart so deeply that I never recognized them prior to this day.

These words struck my heart and broke it into pieces.  These lies were the string holding these broken pieces of my heart together.  This string of lies is not how God intended to heal my broken heart.

While we were praying I was encouraged to think about the truth God wanted me to believe and to think about where God was when those sharp words were spoken to me.  I could picture the moment I felt those words shatter my heart and I could picture God there as a pillow on my heart.  He allowed the words to hit my heart but He softened the impact.  These words were intended to destroy me but God was protecting me and because of His protection in my life I was not destroyed!

I knew God was healing this place of my heart.  He removed the string of lies and sealed this break in my heart with His love, His words, His truth, His grace, His glory.  This is Everlasting Glue.  It never changes.

The best part is that God gave me new words to hold onto.  Ones to replace the lies.  I felt God speak to my heart, I am yours and you are Mine.  I needed these words.

I am not someone else’s property, I am God’s.  Thank you Jesus!

God truly set me free and reminded me of Galatians 5:1 AMP

It was for this freedom that Christ set us free [completely liberating us]; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery [which you once removed].

As if this moment wasn’t sweet enough God wanted this truth to really sink in.  The very next day my morning devotions spoke to this exact truth now reigning in my heart.  During worship before class we sang a song with the following lyrics: I am yours, You are mine, And we’ll be together Forever.  The verse of the day on my phone was Galatians 5:1.

God is so so good!  He waits patiently for us to hand over parts of our hearts that truly need His glue.  I pray that you can spend some time with God thinking and reflecting on parts of your heart that God wants to prune.  It is for freedom that Christ has set you free!

With His Love and Mine,

Diane

There is Always More

It is hard to believe I have been in Amsterdam for nearly a month now.  Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support for me.  I am so thankful for you!  I really would not be able to be here without your love, care, prayers, and support in my life.

This past week of classes has been a tough one.  The topic was trauma and sexual abuse.  I went into this week a little apprehensive as this topic really touches my heart.  Now that I am on the other side of this week, I look back with the most grateful heart for all God has done and is continuing to do in my life and my classmates lives.

I want to share with you just one of the things God taught me this week.

In class on Monday the speaker, teaching on trauma, gave an example of a trigger being a man with a beard.  As these words fell from his mouth I felt a shoot of pain in my heart.  I felt shock.  How could he possibly have used the one thing that used to trigger me into a life of complete fear?  There was a panic feeling that rushed through my body.

This doesn’t affect me anymore I told myself.

I shut off any feeling trying to invade me, I didn’t want this pain, not now.

I thought I was okay.

I thought Satan was trying to rattle me.

I don’t have to deal with this now, I already have, haven’t I?

The next day in class the speaker used the example of the man with a beard again.  This time the example carried on and my mind carried me back to that day I was walking to work, turning the corner to see a man with a beard walking toward me.  I was sitting in class but I wasn’t there, I was on the street paralyzed in fear.

I’m not okay.

Maybe I haven’t dealt with this.

Is this you God?

I decided in that moment the speaker needs to stop using that example.  Yes, I will ask him to stop.  He will certainly understand.  All it took was a simple prayer of, “Lord is this what you want me to do” to change my mind.

Tuesday night our class has an optional worship time.  I decided I was going to go in order to relax a bit before finishing up my homework.  God had a different plan for this time with Him.  I came into that time of worship with this burden heavy on my heart.  This sharp memory of the past that wouldn’t leave me.  As I was trying to sort this out with God I heard the sweet sound of these words, There is no fear in love.  

My heart needed these words.  It was in that moment I realized God took away the fear I used to feel from that memory.  These words from His Word truly came alive to me:

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear,…    1 John 4:18a

Because of God’s perfect love inside of me, there is no room for fear.  With allowing myself to “feel” I just started crying.  Several of the staff came to my side to pray for me and comfort my weary heart.

These tears came because I was silent in my struggle but the worship leader spoke directly to my struggle, encouraging us to give our burdens over to God.

It was in that moment I knew God wanted me to deal with this pain seeping into my heart.  He wanted to take my burden in His hands.

One of the sweet ladies praying for me told me she saw me as a bouquet of flowers-not lacking anything, completely full.  The Florist was rearranging the flowers, getting the bouquet ready to be exactly how the Florist planned for it to be.  She told me that the pain I am feeling is just God rearranging the wounds and scars of my heart so they are in a place where God is going to be able to use me as He planned.

This really touched my heart and helped me to see something I desperately needed to see.  I was trying to avoid pain that God wanted me to feel.  All pain is not bad.  There is pain God allows us to feel that is not meant to overwhelm us or hinder us but is meant to prepare us for the good works God wants to do in and through us. 

I feel like my theme for the remainder of this course is the following:

When God brings pain it’s not to hurt us it’s to heal us.

I came into this adventure with God thinking I was completely healed from the wounds of my past.  There is always more.  More healing.  More grace.

I hope you read these words and are left feeling encouraged about the pain currently in your life.  God has a purpose in the pain.  He doesn’t want to hurt you He wants to heal your broken heart and bring you into a life of freedom.

With His Love and Mine,

Diane

Loved, that is what I am!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the sweet birthday wishes today.  As I look back on the day, all I can do is smile and thank God for His love that I felt through each and every one of you!

From the sweet cards (bonus points to those of you who got my cards to me before/on my birthday all the way from America!!) to the birthday serenade, tea time, trampoline, face time with the family, movie night, and sweet gifts, I simply felt loved.  There is no better feeling to know that God has brought amazing people into my life who love Him and love me.

I am thankful for each of you!

I want to share one story from today because I think it is really neat and hope you will find it neat too!

A couple of us went shopping this afternoon.  We stopped in a store filled with all the things I love, make up and perfume!  As I was smelling all of the scents there was a woman who stopped me and asked me if I would like the full experience of what she was trying to sell me.  The experience included a hand massage, shimmery lotion, and a finish with perfume.  I did not hesitate to say yes.

There is something about being pampered on your birthday that just fits so well!  I was loving the shimmery lotion!  After the lotion, the sweet sales lady told me that she was going to spray perfume on a ribbon and tie it three times around my hand.  For each knot she tied I could make a wish.  If the ribbon fell off my arm it would mean my wishes will come true.

I told her that I don’t make wishes but I do say prayers.  She insisted I could do that too.  So, for every knot I prayed something from my heart to God’s.

After all of the knots/prayers I remember thinking there is no way this ribbon is going to fall off of my arm but it would be really cool if it actually fell off.

We left that store and went about our day.  I honestly did not give that ribbon another thought…until lunch.  I was sharing with my friends about the store and the lady and the ribbon.  When I pulled my sleeve up to show them the ribbon I was so shocked to see the ribbon had fallen off!

Now, I know that a ribbon does not need to fall off of my arm for God to hear and answer my prayers but I really feel as though God allowed that ribbon to fall off of my arm to remind me that He did hear my prayers and He is faithful to answer my prayers in a better way than I could ever ask on my own or imagine on my own.

This little moment today left me feeling so very loved by God.  I pray that you would feel God’s love in an extra special way today.

With His Love and Mine,

Diane