Fragrance Restored by God

Inner Healing Testimony

A guest post by Karen Castleberry …

The unhealed parts of our hearts do affect people around us. I didn’t really believe that statement fully until this past spring when a potential tragedy occurred at my workplace. I am an administrative assistant at a school with 400 students and 60 employees.

The bell rang to start the school day when a teacher rushed up to the front desk and said with alarm, “I smell gas, do you?” The receptionist called the Principals to the area who smelled gas too, so they immediately evacuated the building. A gas leak was discovered in the pipes in the ceiling of our building. Due to a teacher’s sense of smell a tragedy was averted. That day helped me to realize the importance of being able to smell.

I had lost my sense of smell 24 years ago during the birth of my son. Or so I had thought.

Shortly after the gas leak occurred, I sent a picture of mountain laurels beside a beautiful mountain stream to a friend who is moving to the area from California. She asked what they smelled like. I told her I didn’t know because I can’t smell anything. She asked if I would like to have a prayer ministry session and ask the Lord what is the root cause of me not being able to smell. Realizing how important smell can be, I said yes.

We belong to a community of Christians called The Journey. In our daily walk through life, one of the aspects of our group is to come alongside of each other to help heal the wounded places of our hearts. I thought my lost sense of smell was a physical problem, so it didn’t occur to me to ask the Lord for the root of it.

It is always amazing to be able to come before the Lord in a safe place with a Christian friend to navigate back to the root of a problem. During this session the Lord revealed to me the root of why I couldn’t smell.

During my pregnancy my sense of smell was very keen. So much so that it became alarming. I could smell everything, and it was causing my nausea to escalate into vomiting beyond the first trimester. I became scared for the health of my unborn son when this continued.

In my prayer ministry session, God revealed I had made a judgment in my heart during my pregnancy. I judged my sense of smell was causing me to throw up and put my son in danger. I made a vow that resulted in my body turning off my sense of smell. During prayer ministry, I renounced, repented, and asked the Lord for forgiveness.

Shortly after God had revealed the root cause of my inability to smell, my niece invited me to go to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. We passed by a section in the garden of plants that have beautiful aromas. Knowing the story of God restoring my sense of smell, she asked if I had smelled any of the flowers. Bending over a Rosemary plant, much to my delight I breathed in its beautiful aroma.

My sense of smell was returning, but I was puzzled. In telling another friend in our tribe about God restoring my sense of smell, I wondered why it didn’t return all at once. She smiled and said, “It would be overwhelming to suddenly smell when for so long you couldn’t.” My friend continued, “God is so kind to restore you gently.”

*****

Karen Castleberry is a Missionary of Prayer. She lives with her husband, Gary, and 2 dogs, in a little cottage nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of North Georgia. Their son, Jeremiah, lives and works nearby. Karen loves reading, writing, photography, knitting, and all things creative. Her greatest joy in life is spending time with Jesus, her family and friends.

Christian inner healing

A Child’s Grief Story

A guest post by Susan McPherson …

Our eight-week grief support class has come to an end. I’m going to miss these ladies. It was such a privilege to be a small part of their grief journey.

Our grief group has been open and vulnerable about where they are in their grief journey. As we have learned (through the book Understanding Your Grief by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.), you have to feel to heal. Grief is on the inside and mourning is grief on the outside.

We also learned some healthy ways to mourn: crying, journaling, painting, and talking about your pain and grief, sharing your story.

Some of those in the class came with fresh grief and some with grief corked up for many years! It’s been such a blessing to watch the transformation of those in this group over the past eight weeks.

During one of our weeks, our chapter was “The Six Needs of Mourning.” Number one is: “Accept the Reality of the Death.” This video shared by a member of our grief support group is a living example of a child accepting the reality of the death of his father. He is fortunate to have a Mom who has helped him get to this place.

Visiting the Cemetery

To learn more and to stay informed about future grief classes, please visit our Grief Support Class info page.

*****

Susan McPherson is a mother of seven and blessed with many beautiful grandchildren. After raising her children on a farm, she and her husband have moved to the mountains, where they are enjoying rest.

Christian Inner Healing

 

What I Wish I Had Known about Yoga

A guest post by Susan McPherson …

Several years ago my head began shaking. When I would look down to read something, it was more pronounced. My children, family, and friends gradually began commenting, so it was getting more noticeable.

I went to a prayer ministry session during this time, and the minister saw a snake (spiritually) circling up my spine. The prayer minister knew that yoga could cause this, resulting in nervous system disorders and worse. I had been doing yoga for about two years. My situation had only gotten to head shaking. I repented of it (never to do yoga again!) and closed doors, and my head stopped shaking. So that’s how I know firsthand how dangerous this is.

I did another kundalini renunciation (the occult spirit behind yoga) recently with a group at a retreat on behalf of my family – my generations. My cousin was there at the retreat and did the renunciation also for herself and her family. My cousin and I had the opportunity to stand together in repentance and prayer for our generational line.

You may be asking, “What about Christian yoga?” During the two years I was doing yoga, I thought I was covered by praying to Jesus while the instructor and others in the class would do meditation. I thought as long as I focused on Jesus and prayed and meditated on Him, there should not be any problem.

What I didn’t realize was that the yoga poses aligned me with the kundalini (occult) spirit. I was doing the yoga, loving it, and thought I was getting good benefits from it. I didn’t realize doing yoga was the whole reason my head was shaking. It was greatly affecting my neurological system, and I believe it would have gotten worse.

I just wanted to share about this so you could know the dangers of yoga and that it cannot be Christianized.

*****

Susan McPherson is a mother of seven and blessed with many beautiful grandchildren. After raising her children on a farm, she and her husband have moved to the mountains, where they are enjoying rest.

Inner Healing Testimony

Honoring the Sacrifice of Fellowship

I had someone contact me this week to interpret a dream.  Basically, she had a dream she was in college.  The next thing she heard was Leviticus 3 and 4.  The highlight of these scriptures is “… sacrifice of fellowship offerings …”

What an incredibly interesting God we serve! And He never ceases to amaze me with the way He plays with words, symbolism, and His unexpected sense of humor.

So, for the backstory, this lady (dreamer) is one of the sweetest you’ll ever meet!  She spends every ounce of her energy, time, money, etc. doing for others.  To. A. Fault.  Yet, this little missy wonders why she’s exhausted all of the time and consistently frustrated because she very seldom ever gets back from others what she pours in.  Often, not even a thank you.  For me, it is very difficult to watch.  With that being said, I pray for her often, and hope her heart doesn’t get calloused in regard to people.

Imagine my excitement when I heard her dream!

I began to explain that her dream basically means that God is “schooling” her in regard to the “honor of fellowship.”  She had read over Leviticus and had assumed God was going to ask her to donate a liver or a kidney, which I’m sure she was already trying to adjust her schedule for the time she would need off to make that happen.   I assured her that was not God’s intent.

He wants to spend the next season teaching her how to navigate relationships.  All of her relationships.  Her relationships with Him, her friends, family, acquaintances, and even folks that drain the life out of her with no interest in her best welfare.  Did I mention, she is a “giver” and is always tracked down by the “takers?”

He basically wants to teach her the beauty of navigating fellowship.  What a beautiful description of the art of learning to honor herself.

Today, I had an appointment and met with another young lady about the same age.  I mentioned the dream.  We discussed the “sacrifice of fellowship offerings.”  She was dumbfounded by the thought and excited to hear that she didn’t have to live her entire life exhausted at the cause of others.  She had also been wrestling with how to navigate a busy career, a young one, husband, and a nationwide privilege of attending and teaching at conferences.  Even before our session, she had actually reached out to me to help her navigate through the guilt of leaving her little one at home while she was away for the weekend.

We chatted about the privileges God gives us.  For each of these young ladies, they have incredibly successful careers, wonderful husbands, and littles.  Throw in health, family, friends, and self-care, and it begins to seem unnavigable or overwhelming, at best.  It seems that something has to give, or at least that’s what they both seemed to think.

Christian Inner Healing
Photo by Jonny Swales at Unsplash

My response to both of them is this:  Do you enjoy all of the things that are on your list?  If the answer is yes, it’s not about removing your passions.   It is, however, more about culling out the things that don’t bring you joy.

Don’t get me wrong, just because cleaning your house doesn’t bring you joy, doesn’t mean you can’t stop doing it.  But you can change your perspective about it.  For example, if God has given you the privilege of traveling the USA and teaching your trade, and you enjoy that, then by all means, do it!  Just don’t sacrifice your family, health, and welfare for it.  Don’t aspire to be a worldwide phenomenon at the sacrifice of your home and family.  But do it as you can and as you are able to enjoy.  It’s all about balance.

I can’t imagine either of these young ladies not operating in their gifting and talent regarding their careers but I pray they don’t let their careers lead their lives.  If your career is about chasing fame, power, or money – your relationships will suffer.  You will probably gain those things you’re seeking, but you will gain them at the altar of your children and possibly your marriage.

I do believe that you and your family benefit from following your dreams in a way that is acceptable for everyone. And scripture says that where there is unity, God commands a blessing (Psalm 133:1-3).  So, if your husband supports what you do, then you should go and kill it.  If you pine away the entire time you’re gone, are not able to be fully present and enjoy yourself, then you should refrain.  It’s all about “honoring the fellowship.” The key is to be “fully present” where you are.

I have several friends that I often take trips with.  Some of my friends will only go away for a day, some a couple of days, and one or two that I think would sell their wares and travel the world with me if I were to ask.

My one particular friend is good for about 5 days.  She’s married to a wonderful man who encourages her to travel with me.  One day, a couple of our friends and I loaded our kayaks in my hubby’s truck and went to pick her up to head to a beautiful cabin in the woods.  He was so excited to load her up that I became a little concerned.  He seemed more excited to ship her off than she was to go.  So, of course, I mentioned what I had observed and my concern.

His response was, “I am very excited for her to go on your girls’ trip!  She always comes home a better person!”

I almost cried.  What a gift he gives her in knowing that she enjoys our little jaunts and she comes back refreshed and renewed in her relationship with herself and with him.  It is so true!  After a few days with a couple of old ladies, she’s ready to get home to her man and back to life “better than.”  That is a perfect example of “the sacrifice of honoring fellowship.”

So, for the next little season, God is going to teach my sweet little dreamer the privilege of learning how to honor who she is in relationship to others.  Ideally, she will learn that often the enemy will keep you busy doing good. But if you stop and seek Him, God will only give you what is best.  The enemy will convince you to sacrifice your family for a career.  He will even coax you into believing that working 80 hours a week is good so your kids won’t “lack.”  While you’re traveling on a fun trip, he will make you feel guilty that you aren’t home. But when you are home, he will make you bitter because you can’t travel.

Bottom line is to learn to be present!  Wherever you are – there you are!  And if you abide in the Lord, He will ordain your steps so you are exactly where you are supposed to be.  If you are miserable, then you probably missed Him and you need to “recalibrate” your choices moving forward.  (Unless you are always miserable.  If you are, then you may need to assess whether or not you are just choosing to be a miserable cow.  If you have good friends, they will tell you.)

Bottom line, wherever you are, be fully there!  If you have a bratty little one who’s going through a hard time, it might seem like a relief to wish she were old enough to get her own snack or do her own homework.  Don’t fall for it.  Spending time with her during snack and helping her with her homework is the “honoring of fellowship.”  One day you’ll look back and would give anything to join her in snack and the process of mathematics (never thought I would say that?!) But it’s true, that is the best of life.  That little one is soaking up every little thing you think about her.  Whether you say it out loud or not, she knows if you enjoy her company.

In scripture, the definition of joy means “I am glad to be with you” (Psalm 16:11).  And that is the epitome of the honoring of fellowship. It means I have made the sacrifice of all other things, and I am glad to be with you.

So, here’s the skinny on “the sacrifice of fellowship offerings:”

  1. Honor your time alone.
  2. Honor your time with others. Give because you want to, not because you feel you owe anybody.  God has blessed us to be a blessing, not to be indebted to others.
  3. Honor your company, whether you are alone or with friends.
  4. Choose friends who make you a better person. The world is hell bent on making you a bitter person.  Don’t take the bait.
  5. Practice gratitude.
  6. Don’t be a miserable cow.
  7. Breathe. And Rest.
  8. Honor a Sabbath, with or without others. It refreshes your soul.
  9. Have no worry for tomorrow or thought for yesterday.
  10. Wherever you are, be fully present.

 

Dedicating Your Home and Land to God

Here is a testimony regarding sin/curses passing with the land and the beautiful process of consecrating your land to release the blessings.

When my husband and I moved to our property 22 years ago, almost immediately, we started ending every argument with the word “divorce.” Strangely enough, we had never used that word previously to moving to Dahlonega. Before long, we began to feel that divorce was our only answer. Thankfully, we both turned to God for direction. The Lord prompted us to repent for any sin/ trespasses that had occurred on our property. (Not only ours but with anybody that had owned the land before us). We followed the processes of consecration (pouring new wine, oil, new grain into our land, planted a Bible, and took communion as a family).

We later discovered that every time our land had been sold it was because of broken relationships. (The curse of broken covenant had passed with our land and we were starting to reap the fruit of it).

That took place 22 years ago and the word “divorce” has not been a go-to for us any longer. As a matter of fact, we have lived safe, peaceful, blessed lives on our land. As well, others who visit have commented about how quiet and peaceful our home and land are.

Have you ever thought about dedicating your home and land? We call it “consecrating your land.”

Here are a few reasons you may want to consider it.

If you have ongoing issues that are unexplainable such as
(not an exhaustive list):

  • Ongoing illness
  • Continual bad dreams/nightmares
  • Insomnia
  • Behavioral problems
  • Relational problems; ongoing fighting/arguing
  • No peace
  • Restless, disturbed children
  • Unexplained illness and bondage
  • Ghosts
  • Poltergeists (movement of physical objects)
  • Foul, unexplainable odors
  • Continual nausea/headaches
Land Consecration and Christian Inner Healing
Photo by Roberta Sorge at Unsplash

Here is a starter of how to dedicate your home and land.

  1. Accept Jesus as your Lord & Savior
  2. Take spiritual inventory of your life
  3. Dedicate your home & land
  4. Prepare for Battle (praise music, Psalm 91)
  5. Cleanse your home of anything ungodly
  6. Cleanse each room and cleanse the land
  7. Consecrate your home
  8. Consecrate your property
  9. Fill your home with Glory (Communion, praise, pray),
    testify of His goodness, speak the Word in your home.
    (Keep your house bright, refuse to invite anything dark in.).
  10. Maintain spiritual victory

These are just a few of the strategies that we teach at the Center for Inner Healing. If you would like more info on consecrating your home, land, business, church, etc. or would like to acquire a ready-made kit of the elements and instruction for consecration – please go to our website and reach out to us:  http://centerforinnerhealing.org/.

 

Liminal Space: The Act of Observation

I recently had a session with a friend who started out by saying “Everything in my world is spinning.  I can’t get any peace about anything that is happening in my world.”  (It might be important for me to say that this lady has everything in the world to be content.  She has an amazing husband, lives a very successful lifestyle, a beautiful career in a field she is gifted in, and two beautiful children (and this is not an exhaustive list of her blessings).  I was surprised to hear her say how frustrated she was, and I was intrigued as to what we were about to explore.

As it unfolded, she is in a place that I have had the privilege (lol) of being in for going on five years.  This place is called “liminal space.”  Liminal comes from a Latin word, limen, which means “threshold.”  I have heard it referred to as “the space in between the ‘after’ and the ‘before.’  (Go ahead and shake your head and read that again).

I believe there comes a time (or times) in a person’s life where they stop and assess everything they have built.  Whether “successful” or not, there comes a time of reflection, followed by a deep feeling of dissatisfaction, discomfort, and (as she described) irritability.  After we paint the living room, trade in the car, buy another dog, etc. we realize it is not external.  Eventually (if we choose to look inward) we will acknowledge it is inside of us.

What are we doing?  Who are we doing it with?  Am I living my best self?  Am I satisfying God with all of my time, gifts, service, and talents?  Or am I just living day to day, paycheck to paycheck, with no real meaning in my life?  If you look at that truth long enough, you’ll eventually come to a place where you have to (as we say in the country) “fish or cut bait.”  We will decide, I am not going to go through the motions of life anymore.

Christian Inner Healing
Photo by KT at Unsplash

I probably need to clarify that if you don’t know God, or if you know Him but choose not to walk with Him (there is a difference between Jesus being our Savior and Jesus being our Lord), then you might not delve any further into the self-discussion other than to take another drink and shrug it off, or take another puff, buy another house, etc.

But if you really want to live your best life, you’ll pull out all of the stops and wrestle intimately, with the reality that you have spent your entire life pursuing something that is not acquirable:  The “American Dream.”  The wife/hubs, two kids, puppies, and a minivan are not your best self.

After a series of ugly cries, you realize you’ve got work to do.  This is what that looks like.  Begin asking yourself,  Who am I?  What did God create me for?  Am I living my best life?  Is this all there is?  If you survive those questions, you may move on to,  Who do I need to purge? What do I need to purge?  Who can help me with myself?  What makes me smile?  How can I make a difference?  And then, you put it into action.

Wake up each day and ask God what He wants you to do.  Right now, and for the day.  Don’t allow your phone, calendar, or others to dictate your day.  Honor God.  Honor others.  And honor yourself.  Invest in those that are in your peripheral that are worthy of your resources (not the ones that perpetually suck the life out of you but those that you can pour into that will “bear good fruit”).

Change.  Change what hinders you.  Take inventory of yourself.  Find a community that speaks truth and life in you, and invest!  Stay fully present in the work of your heart and soul.  Do the hard stuff.  Speak life.  Rest.  Breathe.  Enjoy the sabbath.

And once you’ve purged (your purse, your car, your closet, your friend list, your activity list, etc.) then practice Presence.  Be still.  Observe.

Study God, study His Word.  Study others.  And when you observe the discontent in others, ask God how you can contribute to their peace.  Do you speak, act, or just pray?  Or maybe all three.  You never know until you ask.

When I ended the session with my beautiful friend, she was at peace.  More importantly, she was excited that “transition” is a beautiful thing.  It means she loves herself, her family.  All of that is enough to do the work to be her best self.  She doesn’t have to measure up or perform any longer.  She can let go and let God have His way with her.

And He will.  The beauty of our “liminal space” was God asking her if He could have it.  All of it.  The beautiful life that she is frustrated with.  He wants it.  He gave it to her to enjoy, and now He wants to teach her how to do so.  So cool.  So God.

 

My Testimony about Freemasonry and How It Affected My Life

A guest post by Susan McPherson …

I was born into an upper middle class home, never lacking for anything materially, and yet lacking in spiritual freedom. I felt like I always had a dark cloud over my head growing up as a child. I was probably not depressed but just kind of sad and empty, no joy. And yet, I had all of my physical needs met.

As a teenager I sometimes felt I was going crazy. Not knowing what that was or how to cope with it I just lived with it. I didn’t have much relationship with my two younger brothers, the older being very social and comfortable in crowds and my younger brother being rather shy and socially uncomfortable.

At 15 I went to a youth camp with my church. The Holy Spirit showed up and many were saved and their lives changed. I had received Christ at a young age, but this was the moment I felt He called me out to be His and live for Him, and I did. So began my journey with Jesus, looking to Him to guide me in decisions and choosing to follow Him. I had been brought up in the church so my decision was well received in my family. And, actually, my parents were greatly affected by my new life. As a teenager, I received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and healing (God grew one of my legs out as it was shorter than the other one), and deliverance. Lots of things were happening in the spiritual realm in the early 70s.

I received a measure of healing in my mind as I sought Him. 2 Timothy 1:7 became very real to me: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (NKJV).

Depression and mental illness seemed to run in our family on my mother’s side. My aunt was depressed, my cousin was having mental problems, my younger brother developed mental problems characterized by hearing voices especially about the end times. I bet my mother was depressed – she didn’t seem very joyful or glad about life.

Thankfully, as I looked to God, He directed my steps and led me to Atlanta, out of college, to be with a Spirit-filled church. I had much growth in a great spiritual family.

I met my first husband in the church. God showed us we were to be married, so we were, and seven years later had our first baby. While he was in the womb, I was attacked one night and something was on me trying to suffocate me. We woke up and did much spiritual warfare thinking this was an attempt from the enemy on my baby’s life. But why was this happening? How did the enemy even have access to come in and do that?

Baby boy was born. Six months later we (my husband, baby, and I) were at the beach with many of our church family members, including our pastor. My husband took off to the beach, got in the water, and was taken out by a riptide and undertow and drowned. Devastation hit my life. I had never had any tragedies in my life. Yes, some of my grandparents had died but that was all. How did this happen, God? How could this have happened!

Thankfully, I had a close walk with Jesus and lots of support from my church family and my natural family. God saw me through this dark time, with me not knowing which way was up some days, and left with a six-month-old to care for by myself.

Fast forward, I met another man in my church and we became engaged and married. Before we were married we had a prayer time together that was very powerful. God showed my future husband that the enemy was trying to get to my baby – it was actually the hand of death. So we did warfare to cancel the assignment over my baby. But again, why was this happening?

To catch up on my family: My cousin who had the mental issues committed suicide, and my younger brother ended up in a mental hospital for a while and had other visits there in the years ahead. I was tormented by fear frequently, my aunt was still suffering with depression, and another cousin was having tormenting issues too, resulting in not being able to sleep.

As my son grew older and I had more children, they were all growing and at different stages. I had been raising them in the Lord, in prayer, in the church (a Spirit-filled church), even home-schooling them. But my husband and I began noticing history repeating itself. As I was sharing with a woman of God one day of some of my struggles, she said (out of the blue), “Do you have Freemasonry in your background?” I said, no, not that I know of. Several weeks or months later I found a picture of my grandfather with a Shriner’s hat on! That’s a high order of Masons. So I began to look into the “fruit” of Freemasonry: premature death, depression, mental illness, suicide, among some of them – which were common in my family on my mother’s side.

Fast forward to when I became the power of attorney for my mother-in-law (from my first husband) and was looking through her papers that I saw her husband was a Mason. He died prematurely, both of his sons died prematurely (one being my husband), and now the enemy was after my baby – now a teenager. So my son was getting it from both sides: father (his grandfather on his biological father’s side) and his great-grandfather on his mother’s side.

So what does this involvement in Freemasonry do? It opens doors for the enemy to have legal rights to torment, which can cause family members to kill themselves and/or the enemy to kill them when the person who was in Freemasonry either pulls out or the descendants don’t carry it on.

Because of all the fruit in my family, and especially in my immediate family with my son’s life being threatened by the enemy, I began to search out how to close doors. It’s not an easy fix. It’s a huge issue and not to be taken lightly.

I was led to some very experienced counselors/prayer ministers who taught me how to repent on behalf of my grandfather and father-in-law (my ancestors) and do a very thorough renunciation. This prayer also included closing doors to the enemy, so that present and future generations don’t have to suffer the torment of depression, mental illness, suicide, and premature death. This renunciation had to be done corporately since the oaths were made corporately. One of the first of many oaths they (the Masons) take is to be hoodwinked, which means “deceived.” So from that point on, all is deception. That’s why this can be so hard to pinpoint.

The first renunciation was done with a group of people, all corporately, in unison, speaking and reading the 11-page “Prayer of Freemasonry Renouncement.” I have done it many times since that first time. I’ve heard it said that one should do it as many times as their ancestor was involved. For example, 18th degree – 18 times; 32nd degree – 32 times. I still do this renunciation corporately every time I have the opportunity. This prayer of renunciation has tremendous spiritual impact, and things just change on behalf of your children and ultimately your generations.

For example, I was able to see how my renunciation prayer affected my son – the son I referred to earlier who was attacked in the womb and had freemasonry on both sides of the family line. He returned safely from two active war zone deployments. During one of those deployments, he was rescued several times from extreme near death encounters. He experienced God’s hand of intervention in those situations. So it was evident that those curses against my son were not in place anymore.

Also, my cousin I referred to who was tormented in the night and couldn’t sleep, she is no longer tormented and is sleeping better. I feel that the renunciation prayer also contributed to her freedom in this area.

If you have any fruit of Freemasonry or know of ancestors in your family that were Masons, seek out help with this. Warning: you cannot do this on your own. The Center for Inner Healing can put you in touch with those who can do this with you in a well-covered (by intercessors), safe place. This “Prayer of Freemasonry Renouncement” has done amazing things in my family. The doors have been shut to the enemy – the tormentor – not only for me but also for all my children.

Thank You, God, for leading my family and me on this journey to freedom from torment. I hope and pray others that have Freemasonry in their generations can identify this in their life and get the freedom that Jesus paid for.

*****

Susan McPherson is a mother of seven and blessed with many beautiful grandchildren. After raising her children on a farm, she and her husband have moved to the mountains, where they are enjoying rest.

Inner Healing Testimony

How Jesus Healed a Long-Hidden Fear

A guest post by Janet Eriksson …

After nine years in seminary, the big day had come. I was graduating! I should have been excited, and I was. After all the hard work, I could finally celebrate and enjoy the moment.

But as I made my way toward Orlando, Florida for my graduation, I felt something stronger than excitement. It was fear.

Fear? Seriously? What in the world did I have to be afraid of? I had done the hard work already. Successfully completed 96 credit hours of papers and exams. Shown up for classes on campus in Florida and Kentucky, exhausted and disoriented, after driving for hours to and from my home in Georgia.

What was left to be afraid of?

After some reflection, I was able to identify my fear. I was afraid of showing up at the graduation ceremony and not knowing what to do.

Seriously? I’m 53 years old. I’ve traveled all over the world into stranger situations. What in the world?

“I’m pretty sure they will tell you what to do,” said my friend who accompanied me on the trip. “That’s why you’re having rehearsal that morning.”

But as Orlando loomed closer, this knot of fear began to grow. I wanted to enjoy this weekend. Not only was it my graduation celebration. It was also a visit to one of my old home towns of Orlando where I don’t get to visit much anymore. One of my friends had surprised me with a day at Animal Kingdom as well. Surely I could set aside this fear and just enjoy my time.

Inner healing prayer

I tried to do exactly that. I was determined: I will enjoy this weekend. I will not be afraid. And I did have a great time at Animal Kingdom. But whenever the thought of the next day’s events crept into my mind, the knot of fear increased. By the eve of my graduation ceremony, that fear had reached unreasonable proportions.

All along, I had been asking God to help me and was wanting just to trust Him. I kept reminding myself, “God will be with you. What do you have to be afraid of?” But the fear kept growing stronger. Why did it have such a hold of me?

“Why won’t they tell us what to expect?” I kept asking my friend. “Why can’t they send us instructions for the ceremony, so we will be ready?” As if a bunch of graduating students wanted yet another set of instructions to study.

“I’m sure they will tell you at rehearsal,” my friend kept saying.

Finally about 10 pm the night before the ceremony, as the fear began morphing into terror, I asked God what I should have asked all along: “What is going on that makes me so afraid?”

Immediately He showed me. He brought to mind a scene from when I was four years old. I was graduating from nursery school, and I was the “valedictorian.” My teacher asked me to give a speech at graduation, a speech that I wrote myself and rehearsed until I had it memorized.

I was so short that I looked even younger than my four years. My head could barely be seen over the podium. But I wasn’t afraid to address the audience. I have always loved public speaking, even way back then, even as a shy kid. Put me in a room of people I don’t know and ask me to mingle, and I shut down. Put me in front of a crowd and ask me to speak, no problem. I love it and always did.

“Lord, what does that nursery school graduation have to do with my graduation from seminary? I already know I wasn’t afraid to give that speech when I was little. And I’m not even speaking at this graduation.”

As I pressed further in prayer, the Lord brought something to mind that I had not thought of in close to 50 years. I had been afraid at that little nursery school graduation, but it wasn’t the speech that caused my fear. It was my teacher. She never prepped me on what to do logistically – when to stand up, when to approach the podium.

I had tried to ask her for the details. It’s the way I am wired. I have to know how to map things out. I can’t just “show up.” I need some idea of what to expect. Neither my teacher nor my mom seemed to understand that about me.

My teacher kept saying, “Don’t worry. I will cue you.” For a little kid on stage, what does that mean? What’s a cue? Will I know it when I see it? What if I miss it? Is there a backup plan?

As adults, we can look at this situation and realize it’s no big deal. But put yourself in the mind of a four-year-old kid. Everything is riding on this cue, and you don’t even know what a cue is.

All my mom told me was, “Just follow your teacher.”

Great. So I couldn’t even enjoy my nursery school graduation ceremony. Because my eyes were glued to my teacher.

And the stress. Oh my goodness, the stress. My heart pounded every time my teacher made a move. I couldn’t hear her or see her half the time. Why are my fellow students so squirmy? Why won’t they be quiet and hold still? Don’t they know everything is riding on me not missing the cue?

Inner healing from fear
Nursery school graduation 1970. I’m the tiny one in the middle.

Everything I felt in that moment at four years old had been stored away in my heart as a big bundle of fear. It had never been dealt with or resolved. It just got pushed way down into my heart. When my seminary graduation day approached, that door in my heart was unlatched. All of that four-year-old fear rose to the surface.

“Lord Jesus, show me where You were on graduation day when I was four.”

He was right there, kneeling beside me, holding my hand. And smiling the proudest smile I have ever seen.

“I’ll show you what to do,” He said. “And we will go up there together.”

Immediately my entire being was filled with calm and peace. I could breathe. My heart stopped racing and settled into a calm rhythm. I was holding Jesus’ hand. With His big strong hand wrapped around mine, there was no way I could miss my cue. All I had to do was let Him lead me up there to the podium. When I got up to speak, He stood there with me the entire time. Then He led me back to my seat when the speech was over. I didn’t miss a beat because He had my hand in His. And He knew what to do.

Which is exactly how it happened. Because that little nursery school speech in Miami, Florida in 1970 had gone off without a hitch. Jesus had been there with me all along. And now that I knew He was there, and I believed He was more than able to care for me, I could let go of fear.

And just like that, all the fear was gone. Deep breath. Exhale.

“Thank You, Jesus.”

With the help of my friend, I was able to pray through repentance for fear and lack of trust. I was able to forgive my teacher and my mom for not sensing that I needed more help with instructions. Back to the present moment, I was able to forgive the seminary for not telling us much ahead of time. I was able to tell God, “I trust You for the ceremony tomorrow. I just want to enjoy it with You.” And I meant it with my whole peaceful heart.

I was able to sleep well. I woke up refreshed and excited for the day.

When I got to the graduation site, I finally understood the lack of advance instructions. The ceremony was so complicated they could never have explained it ahead of time. If they had tried, no one would have shown up!

But it was so well-planned and implemented. We had lots of leaders guiding us at each stage, numerous prompts and cues, with extra fail-safe measures folded in, and plenty of rehearsal time. I was so impressed by the graduation crew, how well they had planned it out, how diligent they were to triple check that everyone was in the right place at the right time. It was a well-oiled machine.

And Jesus was right there, leading everything and everybody. Smiling, proud as can be of all His kids.

I enjoyed the events of the morning so much. The minute we put on our robes, I was grinning from ear to ear. My excitement was through the roof – as it should have been. I had no worries. And my smile never left my face. It was a day I’m sure I will always remember. And I am so grateful to God for healing my heart from fear so I could enjoy that amazing day with my friends and with Jesus.

*****

Janet Eriksson is a prayer minister, writer, editor, and teacher in Dahlonega, Georgia. She loves conversation with friends, front porch swings, sweet tea, and spending time on lakes and rivers. The author of eight books and editor of many more, Janet blogs and teaches online at https://adventureswithgod.blog/.

Healed of fear

The Little Secret

Christian inner healing
Photo by Skeeze at Pixabay

A guest post by Karen Castleberry …

Frustration, anguish, and shame permeated my being. How could a seemingly insignificant secret cause such pain?

My nephew moved his family of six across the state line for a new job and a fresh start when illness struck. His wife was taking care of their three little ones at home with health issues. My niece was in the hospital alone. And I couldn’t get there to help. My little secret was exposed. I couldn’t drive on the interstate, or for any distance really, without having a full-blown panic attack.

A coworker tried to comfort me as I sobbed my anguish. She suggested I go to a Christian counselor who is skilled in inner healing. Despite my uncontrollable fear of driving any distance, I was determined to get over this fear. I white-knuckled the 45-minute drive down the interstate to her office. Arriving with numb hands, sweat pouring off of me, and gasping for breath, my journey to inner healing began.

Several months passed, and while I did get a measure of relief, I couldn’t say I was healed. My counselor suggested I take a 12-week course in inner healing and deliverance. My eyes and heart began to open up to God. I cannot remember not knowing about God. I come from a long line of pastors and have been a Christian, I think, since birth. I often envied those that have a distinct before and after testimony, not grasping at the time how blessed I was to grow up in a Christian family.

Over the years my faith in God increased. And a personal relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit slowly developed as I peeled back the layers of inner healing. Learning that God desires to have a personal relationship and is wanting to be invited into every detail of my life was a revelation and a joy. As I studied the Bible, my relationship with God grew and my fear diminished.

Twelve years after my first counseling session I ran into my counselor. She asked if God ever revealed what was the source and origin of my fear of driving distances. Puzzled, I said, “No, He didn’t, but I am able to drive now because I know He is always with me.”

Curious, I asked God what was the source of my fear. Later that day a teacher was describing her experience at the dentist. It hit me that was the source of my fear.

Growing up I had a filling put in nearly every tooth. The visits to the dentist were dreadful. My father’s well-meaning attempt to lessen the trauma only made it worse. We went to a dentist that used what I called goofy gas to calm us while working on our teeth. I was the only one in my whole family who didn’t love it. It made me feel nervous and out of control. The noise of the drill and the light flashing in my eyes sent me into a panic, crying uncontrollably at the end of each session. I was horrified to learn, not long after my last tooth was filled, that my dentist was found dead, in his office, hooked up to the goofy gas.

The panic I felt in the dentist’s chair was the same panic I felt driving on the highway. The drone of the tires, the sunlight flashing through the trees, and the claustrophobic effect of traffic could trigger those traumatic memories. That combination would bring on a panic attack while driving.

I stomped my foot and demanded to know, “Why, God, didn’t You just tell me back in the beginning of this journey and heal me instantly?”

I felt His loving smile and His gentle eyes rest on me as I heard, “My beloved child, you wouldn’t have pursued Me.”

*****

Karen Castleberry is a Missionary of Prayer. She lives with her husband, Gary, and 2 dogs, in a little cottage nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of North Georgia. Their son, Jeremiah, lives and works nearby. Karen loves reading, writing, photography, knitting, and all things creative. Her greatest joy in life is spending time with Jesus, her family and friends.

Inner healing testimony

The Ripple Effects of Little Wounds

Christian inner healing
Photo by Skitterphoto at Pixabay

A guest post by Janet Eriksson …

I am always amazed at how much God desires to remove the smallest of wounds from our hearts. I am equally amazed at how much this freedom from a minor childhood incident can change our lives today.

Throughout my adult life, I have undervalued myself in my working life. I also struggle to charge what I’m worth. A friend (a prayer minister) and I were talking about this one day over lunch. I was looking at a particular client writing opportunity, and I was already disqualifying myself, and certainly not wanting to charge a market rate.

“Why do you always undervalue yourself?” my friend said. “You know you can do the work, and you know what it should pay. Why do you always struggle with this? Have you asked God?”

In fact, I hadn’t asked God. However, I had complained to God a lot about this situation, without listening for His response.

She asked if we could pray together.

“Sure.”

God began to show me the root of this problem that had plagued my adult working life. As He peeled back the layers, I saw several incidents of my early adulthood where I had struggled with the same problem. My friend led me in repentance for undervaluing and disqualifying myself. She also prompted me to forgive those who had taken advantage, and especially to forgive myself for selling myself short.

Finally she said, “Why do you always give your authority away?”

Boy, that bumped up against a deep wound because through tears I said, “If I give it away, no one can take it from me.”

“Where does that come from, Lord?” my friend asked.

God showed me an incident long forgotten. I was 11 years old, just starting 6th grade, and I had been with our Girl Scout troop since Brownies. Our troop leader had told our parents she was going to make sure the new 6th graders would be the patrol leaders for the coming year. My mom told me what to expect.

At our first meeting, the troop leader divided us into patrols and left us to choose our patrol leaders. I guess she thought we older kids would speak up and assert the authority she intended to give us. But I was shy and not assertive. A 5th grader took over the discussion and volunteered herself as the leader. One of the newbies said to her, “I pick you.” The 5th grader looked at me and said, “How about I’ll be the leader, and you’ll be the assistant leader.” It happened so fast. I simply nodded. But I was deeply disappointed, really to the point of shock.

We went to our troop leader to tell her what we had decided. She looked at me funny but didn’t say anything. She was the kind of adult who wanted kids to figure things out for themselves. In hindsight, I realized she had wanted me to stand up and assert my authority. That was something I simply couldn’t have done without help. Later when I told my mom, she asked me why I didn’t speak up. It never occurred to her I was only 11, very shy, and didn’t know how to speak up.

You wouldn’t think such a seemingly minor moment in childhood could have such long-lasting consequences. But the wound I took into my heart that day would affect my entire adult working life until, at age 53, I finally prayed with my friend to invite Jesus into that wound. I forgave my Girl Scout leader, my fellow Girl Scouts, my mom for disappointing and hurting me. I forgave the adults for not teaching me how to be assertive and for not helping me to overcome my shyness.

Christian inner healing
Photo by jeffjacobs1990 at Pixabay

I forgave God for allowing the incident to happen. God didn’t do anything wrong, but sometimes we need to forgive Him to release our own unforgiveness that we hold against Him. My unforgiveness against God had grown over the years. Each time I gave my authority away and saw the results (not getting the jobs I wanted, not earning the income I needed), I blamed Him. My unforgiveness against God was even stronger because the Girl Scout leader who had not spoken up for me was a Catholic nun. So she represented God to me as well.

I also repented for giving away my authority that day and many days (years) since then. I repented for undervaluing myself and underpricing my freelance business contracts. I repented for not standing in the authority God intended me to walk in as His daughter. And I came out of agreement with the lie I formed in my heart that young day: That if I give my authority away, that’s better than someone taking it from me.

The change that followed these prayers was significant. I was able to raise my professional prices, to pursue work opportunities I would have shied away from, and to grow in the confidence that I could do jobs I was well trained for and well experienced in. I stopped disqualifying myself and was able to see clearly, “Yes, I’ve done this job before and done it well. I can certainly do it again.”

God is with us in the big things that come against us. But He is also with us in the little things. And those little things can cause deep pain and have lasting consequences. Often these little roots are invisible to us until we invite Jesus in and ask Him, “Why does this keep happening to me?” The answer is often surprising. A seemingly minor incident can be a big deal for a child, and those roots grow deeper in our hearts, affecting our adult lives many years after the incident was forgotten. But Jesus knows, and He desires to free us and heal us, so we can live the lives He intends for us to live.

Thank You, God, for Your love and for the freedom You desire for us.

*****

Janet Eriksson is a prayer minister, writer, editor, and teacher in Dahlonega, Georgia. She loves conversation with friends, front porch swings, sweet tea, and spending time on lakes and rivers. The author of eight books and editor of many more, Janet blogs and teaches online at https://adventureswithgod.blog/.

Christian inner healing