Questioning Everything

Inner healing, identity, and dark night of the soul
Photo by _Marion at Pixabay

Have you ever felt like one day you woke up and everything you believed was in question? I’m experiencing this right now but am quite sure I am not yet even fully awake. So, not only am I questioning all of the things that I have always “known” for sure, but I am also groggy from the process of getting here. It took a lot of upheaval to get me here.

About three years ago, after a series of very traumatic events, I found myself questioning everything I had ever believed. I questioned myself, my identity, my “calling,” my choices, my beliefs, my faith, and oftentimes, even God. All those things I had always felt so secure in suddenly weren’t. And, quite honestly, I didn’t know how to respond.

In my quest to stop the spinning (envision the little icon on your computer when it can’t settle), I felt like the only way I could get any peace was to be very still and quiet. Before long, quiet was the only thing I desired. I was completely raw inside and out. My brain felt foggy, my body lethargic, and my heart broken. I didn’t know how to get out of this experience.

Generally, when I have had a circumstance of upheaval in my life, whether emotional or spiritual, I would just read all of the books, articles, etc. on how to deal with it. This time I had no energy to read, and if I did attempt to read, I was unable to process information. I knew I needed help, so I reached out to a few friends that I trusted knew me enough to help me navigate this chasm of chaos.

I called on those friends to sit in the darkness with me. I didn’t want to be around anyone very often because I found that conversation was exhausting. However, I had been through depression before and just needed to make sure I was safe, still somewhat sane, and didn’t need professional help. “Taking my emotional pulse” kind of friends. I knew these folks wouldn’t discount me when I needed to rant, cuss, spit, and growl. They had no idea what they were in for. God bless them for persevering. I ranted, spat, cussed, and cried for a couple of years. They were enduring to say the least. Most importantly, they didn’t try to fix me. They just sat with me in my pain.

Sometimes we would sit at the barn with the horses, a stray cat, chickens, and a rooster that I’m sure needed deliverance. Or we would sit by the creek with a bottle of wine. Sometimes Susan would treat us to her homemade cookies and infamous chicken salad. They seemed to be completely content just sitting and listening. Wherever we were, no matter what we were doing or not doing, they seemed content to sit in my mess with me.

I called on another couple of friends to counsel me into or out of this experience that I began to think was a mid-life crisis. I didn’t really want to admit it, but that thought ran through my mind. I didn’t google what I was going through. I just knew it was pain. Deep emotional pain. And, quite honestly, I couldn’t remedy it with the things that had worked before: eating, drinking, art, good music, nature, etc. It just kept hanging on like a bad cold. It affected me like a bad cold too. No energy, stuffy headed, just wanted to rest and be quiet.

After a couple of prayer ministry sessions with friends of mine, I began to understand that what I was going through was called the Dark Night of the Soul. The dark night of the soul is just that – a place where your soul questions everything and the Teacher is quiet. The thing that stood out like a siren was the silence of the Lord. I had never gone for such a long time without hearing, being led by, or enjoying the Lord. Not only did I not hear Him or sense Him, but also I certainly didn’t feel His peace or presence. I thought He had abandoned me at my worst.

So, for three years, almost four now, I have been sitting, waiting, resting, arguing, growling, contemplating, wondering where the Lord is and what His intention is in allowing me to be in this place. I still don’t know. But what I do know is that I am not affected by dumb things as much as I used to be. I have way more sensitivities to the things that do matter. I am more at rest. More at peace. I have more tolerance for “stupid” (the one conclusion from the doctor out of my psych test when I went into ministry was that I had no tolerance for “stupid”). I was perplexed (and still am) as I had no idea I was supposed to tolerate “stupid.” Hey, I was just glad for documented evidence that I wasn’t crazy.

Inner healing, identity, and dark night of the soul
Photo by Comfreak at Pixabay

The dark night of the soul is the process of the Lord stripping you of the things that are really irrelevant regarding the issues of your heart. He wants to bring you out of any of the crutches you have depended on in your relationship with Him. He wants you to give up your faith and give up what works and what doesn’t work. He wants to tear down the falsehoods you believe about yourself, others, and mostly the falsehoods you believe about Him. Take you back to the beginning, so to speak, in your relationship with Him. No pretense, no knowledge, just the decision to walk alongside Him blindly without trying to figure things out. Pulling down all strongholds of belief about your religion, your denomination, your worship. He even took away my interest in reading and studying about Him. I just wanted to be still and quiet. And still do.

I understand that anybody who has asked that the Lord use them to any capacity will go through this, and I did ask that. I have always prayed that I wanted to serve Him more than anything. Now, in hindsight, I question what that means. And what did I commit to?

I used to love preaching more than ice cream. I haven’t been able to do that but a few times in the past couple of years. I have always loved leading a group of folks into their best spiritual selves, and He is restoring that opportunity. But I still long for the old days where I sensed Him, heard Him, and almost knew His will. Or did I?

Now I don’t know much of anything except that He desires that I live in this quiet, restful place even among others, amidst chaos, and even when I don’t feel like it. That’s His best. I am much more observant these days, and I watch folks buzzing around with miserable scowls on their faces. Then I think to myself – Is that what I look like? Is that how I affect my environment? If so, I don’t want to any longer. I want to bring peace and rest wherever I go. Most importantly, I want to love well.

I am in the process of recalibrating, trying to follow the Lord as best I can. I don’t know where I’m going or what I’m doing, but I have the best company (a couple of friends, good prayer ministers, a wonderful family, and a couple of dogs – we finally had to lay to rest the demonic rooster). And if I don’t hear Him, sense Him, or feel Him, I can trust that He works all things to good for those who are called according to His purpose. I’m called, and I have a purpose. For right now, I need to be okay with being still and in peace.

 

Please follow and like us:

Inner Healing Time

A guest post by Lisa Baumgarth …

My life plan was really unleashed at the Center for Inner Healing retreat. I sat in session after session listening to women and one man being vulnerable, broken, authentic and open to healing.

I was in a session that broke off years of lies, inner vows, and a lifetime of walls that had protected my heart. A group of women repented on behalf of the church for how I had been hurt by the church, and then they washed my feet. Really, who are these women? They are God’s messengers into a broken world where our heartache, disappointment, inner vows, and generational sins keep us stuck when sometimes we have no idea why.

After the retreat, I was free – old patterns were destroyed and my relationship and intimacy with Jesus became the focus of my life. I was empowered, encouraged and wanted nothing more than to speak this truth, love and healing into others’ lives .

We are all broken, we are all trying to find love, peace and hope in this crazy world. This retreat set me on a path that I am walking each day now. Kerri and her team are truly amazing people, and the moment I met her, I thought, Now this is my tribe, and it is and has been these past seven months.

God is still in the miracle-working business, and many of our issues in life can only be healed by digging down deep – getting those roots out. The retreat is the place to do this – I felt loved, honored, safe, valuable and by the end I felt FREEDOM.

There is still time to register for the healing retreat that begins Monday, March 18, 2019.

Please follow and like us:

Cobwebs

A guest post by Shannon Tormoen …

One peaceful morning on the retreat, I was having my quiet time down by the lake when something caught my immediate attention. I was looking towards the sun, and through the wooden beams around the deck I noticed cobwebs everywhere between each beam exposed by the sunlight. All the intricate lines and patterns were revealed creating their own specific detailed designs.

At first I was disgusted by the fact that it was cobwebs created by a spider, a creature to me to be feared and that represented evil. I wanted to demolish all the cobwebs to clean what I thought was dirty and destroying my experience and atmosphere on this placid lake that was so peaceful and calming. I then realized one thing that was missing in each cobweb: the spider that created it. The very thing that created this had vacated, but the remnants of its entwining traps were still firmly in place.

I then thought how magnificent they looked with the sunlight shining through them displaying like fine pieces of art. I had to capture it on my camera since I knew God was telling me something profound at that moment.

Inner healing retreat testimony
Photo by Shannon Tormoen

What started out to be a fascinating photo opportunity quickly morphed into a profound revelation from God. It was as though I was being transported back to the days Jesus walked on the earth and was teaching the disciples through a parable. The awesome truth was the God of the universe was speaking directly to me through His creation. He was explaining that the spider which was now gone represented the destroyer of our lives (satan) who comes into our lives creating a cobweb of torment, trauma, pain, dysfunction and destruction. No longer was the tormenter there, but the aftermath it created was completely still intact to the finest detail.

God showed me that when we look at somebody who appears to be dirty, messed up, hopeless, beyond repair that we tend to only look at the destruction on the surface. What we don’t realize is what series of many traumas, wounds and lies in their life created that web.

When Jesus is invited to come into our cobwebs of life and remove the spiders of destruction, His heavenly light can redeem and reflect a masterpiece for all to see and know that God can turn anyone’s mess into a message of hope, restoration and beauty. My eyes and heart have been opened to now see past the cobwebs in a person and look for the gold in them that the Lord wants to see shine.

*****

Shannon Tormoen is from Minnesota but left the cold for San Diego years ago. She is an avid outdoor lover of God’s creation and enjoys exploring new destinations to hike and mountain bike. She loves playing the guitar and singing in the worship band at her church. Her new passion now is helping people get freedom, healing and deliverance from a Christ-centered standpoint. “Freely I have received, now freely I will give.” Matthew 10:8

Inner healing

To learn more about The Center for Inner Healing’s retreats, please visit Healing Retreats.

Please follow and like us:

Love Letters in Your Dreams

I love dreams. I love having them. I love interpreting them.

Most folks have dreams. Dreams are often crazy. Let me rephrase: Dreams often seem crazy. They are, in fact, created in amazing symbolism. Some folks think that in itself is crazy. But in case you haven’t noticed, God is crazy. I mean, come on, have you read His book?

Dreams are an extension of our conversations with God. I often think God gives me dreams at night because he can’t get enough of my attention during the day. (Not proud, but it’s probably true).

Inner Healing and Dream Interpretation
Photo by JR Korpa at Unsplash

This month, our tribe (The Journey) met together to go over dream interpretations. They each sent in their dreams, and they were asked to pray for interpretations for each other. I gave them some pointers to help them prepare. I would like to share these with you, so you can explore dream interpretation.

Rarely do we get the interpretation for our own dreams. God gives us interpretations for each other because He wants us to work in community.

Here are a few pointers when praying for an interpretation for a person’s dream:

1. Prayerfully read over the dream. Ask the Lord to show you anything that would be relevant before you work on symbolism. Look for “plays on words, dark speech, etc.”

Make note of anything that pops out during reading.

2. Take your dream materials (I recommend the book A to Z Dream Symbology Dictionary by Barbie Breathitt, and John Paul Jackson has some amazing resources also) and research all of the symbolism. Type it into your dream in a different color.

3. Now reread the dream with symbolism included. Ask the Lord to give any additional revelation. Try to recognize the tone/position of the dream regarding the dreamer. Symbolism has a negative and a positive slant. Try to follow the “perception” of the dreamer. For example: If the dreamer has a dream of cats, it’s important to note that the symbolism of a cat can be positive or negative, all depending on whether the dreamer is a cat fan or not.

4. Check for emotions/perspective from the dreamer. If you have any questions or need elaboration, call the dreamer for more info. It is always very helpful to talk to the dreamer so you can grasp their emotions, motives, etc. of the dream.

5. Pray again and ask God for the interpretation.

6. Write out the interpretation above the dream in story form. (Leave out specifics of symbolism, notes, etc.)

Present your interpretation to the dreamer, but the dreamer must have a revelatory response to the dream or you may not have the appropriate interpretation.

If the dreamer doesn’t resonate with your interpretation, that is okay. Just present the dream back to the dreamer to take before the Lord for His revelation in His timing. God may want this person pursuing Him for revelation instead of someone else doing the work for them. We very seldom are able to interpret our own dreams. But often, the Lord wants us all to Himself and desires that we pursue His heart for His nighttime love letters.

So, there you go. I hope that will help as you begin the amazing experience of interpreting dreams.

Interested in more experiences like this? We have a Healing Retreat coming up soon (March 18-22, 2019) and would love for you to join us. Or for more info, join our ongoing revelations at The Center for Inner Healing or sign up for our e-newsletter.

God bless and keep dreaming!!!

Please follow and like us:

Lovers v. Fighters

Inner Healing and Identity
Photo by Allen Taylor on Unsplash

I am convinced that whatever our natural instinct is, God wants us to operate in the opposite. Take “lovers” vs “fighters” for example. If you know me, you would know I am a fighter. I’ve been fighting my whole life. History would support that I have been fighting since the day I was conceived. In fact, one definition of my name means “tenacious one, or persevering.” I have to “fight” not to fight.

For someone like me, fighting is natural. It comes easily. But if you’re a lover, fighting goes against every fiber of your being. (And for the sake of this article, the term “lover” isn’t the same as Mother Teresa, Jesus, or Gandhi. It is more a reflection of one who doesn’t stand up for himself or others.) Most lovers can’t muster up a fight for love nor money. You can’t even force a lover to fight. Lovers would rather walk away, cow down (good ole southern term), or even worse, decide to become a martyr. Some lovers finally get up the nerve to assert themselves but do so only passively. Passive fighting to me is cowardly, but that’s easy for me to say. I’m a fighter.

I’m learning as I grow older that whatever I can do in my natural strength is not what God wants. He wants me to trust Him. As a matter of fact, one of His names is Defender. Well, that’s not what I was taught my whole life. I didn’t know Him until I was around my late 30s, so I’ve got a lot of undoing to do. And 50-plus years of fighting isn’t easy to undo overnight. It takes work. Just like I hear it takes work for lovers not to “love.”

I have a lot of friends who are lovers. Exhaustingly so. They just want everyone to be happy at all costs – mostly at the cost of themselves. Most of them have been (or are being) used. Most of them are used up. It’s infuriating to watch. I want to just shake them and say, “Stand up for yourself.” They can’t; they are lovers. Or should I say, they can’t on their own. Which brings me back to my original thought: God wants us out of our comfort zones. Whatever comes naturally for us is the opposite of what He wants for us.

God wants lovers to become fighters and fighters to become lovers. He wants misogynists to become heroes and victims to become overcomers. It’s just the way He is. He wants to take every one of our natural strengths (or for lovers – weaknesses) and turn it around. He wants to empower us to be able to say, “I can’t, in my own strength, but I can, in Him.”

It’s so frustrating, until He defends a fighter who stood quietly. It’s frustrating until you see a lover stand and fight. It’s so cool to see a victim overcome. That’s one of the reasons He came: to set things right. He doesn’t want me to fight in my own strength. He wants to fight for me. He wants to win the battles I go through.

So, what do I get to do? He wants me to be a lover. Hardest thing for me. Kinda like a lover becoming a fighter … goes against every grain of their being. But, then again, that’s one of the many reasons He came to earth – to change the way I think … the way I am.

 

Please follow and like us:

Take Off the Masks and Find Your True Self

My name is Kerri Johnson. For the past 20+ years, I have searched for answers to my own struggles. My lifelong passion has been in pursuit of my true identity and the healing of body, soul, and spirit. Out of those studies, The Center for Inner Healing (CIH) was birthed. CIH is an interactive healing process and a catalyst for helping people come out of the lies they believe and into the fullness of truth and identity.

Unfortunately, many of us spend our entire lives trying to mask who we are. That’s what we are taught. We are taught that we should hide our scars and shortcomings to survive and thrive in this perfect world. Neither of those statements is true. We shouldn’t hide our hurt, and the world is far from perfect. To be authentic, we have to identify our pain, bring it forward, and offer it on the altar of life to be able to be free. Otherwise, pain is our autopilot in everything we are, do, and say.

Pain is a great teacher and has helped us to be molded into who we are today. Unfortunately, no one teaches us how to embrace our pain and allow it to be a directive of the truth of who we are. We often need help to acknowledge our identity and the lessons pain has taught us, and to embrace our testimonies of how we have overcome life. We have to take every circumstance that has come to us, acknowledge the best of it, and let go of the worst.

We can’t cloak ourselves in pain, bitterness, and lies and expect to live a healthy life. We have to take off those issues and come into vulnerability and acceptance of all of the issues of our life and how those circumstances have affected us. Freedom comes in stepping out of the lies and cover-ups. That is where we will find who we are truly meant to be.

inner healing, pain, and identity
Photo by Lars_Nissen_Photoart on Pixabay

With masks off, we are free to be exactly who God created us to be and we are fully accepted. No more secrets, nothing to hide – the good, the bad, and the ugly. When you have no secrets, there is no fear of being uncovered. Everything is out in the open, and it’s all good. You become an instrument of truth, and folks can’t deny truth. As you’ve always heard, “The truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

God created all of us with a plan and a purpose. With your help, He intends to see that plan and purpose come into fruition. He created us to satisfy His heart – just the way we are. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect. Far from it. But He does expect us to be willing: to be real, open, honest, and transparent, just like little kids.

Many of us spend a great deal of time doing life. We are living up to the measures of others in an atmosphere where the bar is constantly being raised. That is neither God’s best nor God’s plan for us. Instead, that plan is a diabolic initiative to destroy us and keep us consistently, miserably trying to become someone or striving for something that is not attainable. We have to say: Enough is enough.

We have to realize that we are enough simply because of who we are – bruises, warts, and freckles. We have to learn to accept ourselves and everything that has ever happened to us. We have survived and overcome. God wants to use our stories to help others live in truth. As our authentic selves, we are a unique tapestry of the events and stories we have lived, and in that, we are enough.

Inner healing, pain, and identity
Photo by Klimkin on Pixabay

Often, in the unveiling of our unique, authentic selves, we need someone to come alongside us and help us get back to who we were created to be, like children. Children have no problem walking into a room or relationship with their hearts wide open. As we grow, we start believing the lies about who we are.  Before long, we forget who we are. We forget how to live in freedom and fullness of a healed heart. Life drapes us in counterfeits and lies, so we often don’t know how to get back to that original self.

That’s where CIH comes in. We can help you take off those masks and frauds and unveil your best self. Your true identity is the only place you will find peace, rest, and true joy. Otherwise, you are just like everyone else, walking around in your pretend world, masked and miserable.

So, if you are searching for your true identity and a tribe of wounded warriors, we are here, waiting to come alongside you in this pursuit of non-perfected, real, authentic testimonies and messages of hearts healed. Join us on this great adventure. You won’t regret it.

Please follow and like us:

Who’s Afraid of Death?

A guest post by Janet Eriksson …

You don’t realize how long you’ve been holding your breath until you finally start to breathe. I am living now in a depth of peace – mentally, physically, spiritually – that I’ve never experienced before. Everything is different. I’m not making it happen. It just “is.”

It started three days ago. I knew my prayer ministry session would be big by how stirred up I felt. I was almost resistant. The last time I felt that way was the breakthrough that saved my life from cancer 11 years ago, when I repented of “death wish.” So I knew this would be big. But I couldn’t have imagined what was coming.

In prayer ministry, we start with the fruit (what we’re struggling with in our life) and ask the Holy Spirit to show us the root (where that struggle first started). We invite Jesus in to heal it at the root.

My fruit was that no matter how much I try to stay in peace, I can’t. I practice contemplative prayer. I have learned how to respond and not react (for the most part). I listen to worship music when I am stressed. I’ve had trauma prayed off me so many times. These have all brought deep and lasting changes in my life. But I can’t quite stay in peace.

Last week, I nearly had a meltdown over a circumstance beyond my control. I kept asking God to keep me in peace. I ended up in fetal position on the couch with a pillow over my head, sobbing, “I can’t do this, God.”

That’s the fruit I presented to my prayer minister, along with a question for God: “Why do I always fly off the handle?”

All my life, I’ve had hair-trigger emotions. My dad used to lovingly call me Sarah Bernhardt. My meltdowns could go from zero to 80 in two seconds. Through inner healing, I have come a long way from that level of reaction. But I still struggle to hold my peace when something comes at me. “Why, God?”

We went into prayer. God is very visual in how He communicates with me, so it’s almost like being in a movie. As my prayer minister prayed, I could see myself as a baby in the womb. Hands and feet were flailing. My prayer minister asked what emotion I felt. “So frustrated.”

The scene shifted, and I was a kid in elementary school on the playground. So much chaos. As a kid, I hated recess. All the kids were bigger than me – running wild, jumping, screaming. I just wanted to hunker down. The first time I enjoyed recess was when I got into sixth grade and found a group of friends who sat under a tree listening to music.

In that chaotic playground scene, I noticed a man standing behind the fence, staring at me. I knew immediately it was a demonic spirit. It was clear it had a right to be there and wasn’t going anywhere.

My prayer minister invited Jesus into the scene. My perspective shifted, and I was curled up like a newborn. I’ve had glimpses of this scene before but never knew why. I believe it was the Lord preparing me for this moment. I saw myself in the hospital delivery room lying on a scale where they weighed me as a newborn. The doctor was concerned at my frailty and weakness, and he spoke what seemed like a death sentence over me.

My mother had a high-risk pregnancy (for that era). I was small and physically weak, and the doctors worried I would not respond well to life. They spoke their doubts, concerns, and limitations over me. I absorbed all of that into my little being. I felt like I was sentenced to respond to how they saw me. I was born with a compromised immune system, had trouble getting nourished, was sick all the time, and had trouble recovering from illness. I remember always being frustrated (there’s that emotion again) because I wanted to do what my body wouldn’t let me do.

Later I came to realize that a curse of premature death and spirit of death had come down both sides of my family line. Hence, my flailing in the womb. Death was trying to knit itself into me from the moment of conception. Unfortunately, as a little one, I allowed that spirit of death to torment me. I gave the doctors power and authority (above God) to speak life or death over me. I believed their words instead of God’s – the God who made me and gave me life!

No wonder I’ve never known the feeling of true rest. I’ve always felt like “I won’t make it.” As a child, I shied away from activities that would have grown my physical strength because I was afraid those things would hurt me. I didn’t “choose life.”

Of course, I judged them all – my mom, the doctors, and even God for making me so weak. In reality, God did not make me weak. He made me little and super sensitive for His own delight! It was that mean old spirit of death – and my agreement with it – that made me weak.

As I watched that scene unfold of me as a newborn on the scale, with the doctor hovering over me, I realized the doctor was holding a clipboard, and he scratched my name out of the book of life. (Keep in mind, this is all symbolic. The Lord gave me that vision so I could “see” what happened spiritually. My mom’s doctor didn’t actually do that, but the enemy used the doctor’s words spoken over me to convince me that I did not have life.)

The Lord showed me three spirits had teamed up – the spirit of fear (I was always afraid of death and scared to fully experience life), the spirit of jealousy (“God, why didn’t You make me strong and healthy like the other babies?”), and of course the spirit of death. These critters are all part of “the enemy.” Demons get assignments just like angels do, and this bad bunch was assigned to thwart God’s plans for me.

The spirit of death was by far the strongest. I had given that spirit power over my life. My words say, “Jesus has conquered death,” but my heart has always believed the lie that Jesus isn’t more powerful than death. (In case you were wondering, that’s a sin.) In my heart, Jesus always pales in comparison to the power of death. That’s a bad place to be – a place of no peace and rest.

In my prayer vision, with me as a newborn in the delivery room, the spirit of death sunk its claws into my head. It said, “She is mine.”

My prayer minister said, “Janet, would you like Jesus to come into this place with you?”

“Yes, please.”

In a split second, in my spirit, I heard the music from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The door to the delivery room flew open with a loud crash. Jesus came in! He walked straight over to the spirit of death and punched it in the face. Sent it reeling. The spirit fell to the floor, and Jesus pinned it with His foot.

Jesus said, “She is Mine.”

Jesus looked around the delivery room. The spirit of fear and the spirit of jealousy were cowering behind a crib. Jesus looked at them and said, “Any questions?” Those other spirits left the room.

Jesus looked at me and, never taking His gaze off me, He took the clipboard from the doctor and erased the marks where my name had been scratched out of the book of life. Jesus blew on the eraser dust, smoothed the page, drew a beautiful design around my name, and smiled.

The spirit of death was still in the room, pinned under Jesus’ foot. I knew I had to repent for allowing that spirit to control my life. I repented, and the critter shrank to the size of a cotton ball. Jesus picked it up in His hand, set fire to it, and the thing burned into a pile of ash.

The pile of ash did not disappear, so I knew something else had to be done. My prayer minister asked God what was left to do. Jesus told me, “You always turn your head and look away from death because you are afraid and you can’t deal. Come and look at death in my hand and you will see who I am.”

I moved closer and looked straight at the pile of ash in Jesus’ hand. I repented of always hiding from death, and for my lifelong fear of death. Before my eyes, the ash shriveled up, disintegrated, and was gone.

I repented for judging the doctors, my mom, and God. I gladly accepted the life God intended for me to have all along.

Where death had tried to weave itself into my life, Jesus’ untangled and renewed me. My prayer minister asked the Holy Spirit to fill me with His Spirit of Life. I felt a surge pumping through my physical arteries. It was the breath of life God had breathed into me at conception that I had never allowed myself to experience.

All this took place spiritually in the “delivery room” (I was delivered!).

In the next hour after the session, I experienced an immediate drop in the high blood pressure I had been struggling with. I chose (and desired) to eat healthy food for dinner instead of the “bad for me” food I always crave.

Immediately after the session, I received an invitation from a client to bid on a freelance project. I’ve had a long habit of bidding too low on projects and undervaluing myself. This time, without hesitation, I bid twice as high. There was nothing in me that would have allowed me to lower my bid. If the client rejected my offer, I would have stood firm, just as I did with three other conditions of the project. Without argument, the client hired me.

I asked God what had changed. He showed me that since I was no longer choosing to align with death, I was free to earn a “living.”

Fear of death had always been strongest for me at night in my bedroom. Because of soundproofing issues, I had moved my computer into the bedroom for my session. So the whole thing took place in the very space where the enemy had tormented me. That night when I went to sleep, I felt a peace I had never known.

Two days later, I encountered another moment of frustration like the one that began my session. This time, I was immediately able to step away from it, re-center myself in peace, and let the Holy Spirit resolve the situation. I love how God often gives us a “before” and “after” so we can see the changes from our healing.

Since that time, I am walking in a deeper place of peace. My insides have changed. I feel like my very DNA has been cleaned up, recalibrated, and restored to life. I can’t wait to see what Jesus will do next along this journey of healing.

*****

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 five books and editor of many more, Janet blogs and teaches online at https://adventureswithgod.blog/.

 

Please follow and like us:

Journey to Enter His Rest

A guest post by Susan McPherson …

I have been a Christian since I was 15; and not just a “church-going Christian” but also a follower of Christ, as in, I gave my life to Him, removed myself from my friends, found new friends who were like-minded, and began a life of seeking and trusting God. Sounds like everything would be great after that, right? What more could I do?

I had daily devotions, married a man who was a follower of Christ, and had many children. God was with me every step of the way and did many miraculous things in my life, and I saw lots of answers to prayer – regularly. I had a prayer group in my home, which was amazing, and we saw lots of answers to prayer on every level. And I had a church that was as close to a New Testament church as you can get that I had the privilege of being a part of for 43 years. I homeschooled and raised my 7 children in the Lord, filling them daily with the Word and teaching them about God and His ways.

Everything was rocking along pretty well until my children became teenagers. I thought homeschooling, church, and loving and caring for them as best I could would insure godly children. You would think so! But, no, they began acting like I did as a teenager, before I was saved! So that’s when I started on a quest/search for what was missing.

My search led me first of all to a book called A Time for Repentance by Elizabeth Greer, and I had the privilege of being able to talk to the author occasionally. She knew and talked about stuff I had never heard of, mostly about repentance. Now, I had repented of my sins, so I thought that was enough. And it probably was for me but not for my children. All the generational sins were still there.

I found out my Granddaddy was a Shriner, a high order of Masons, and my son’s grandfather was a Mason. This was having serious effects on us! This was one of many generational sins that were uncovered. The author of that book A Time for Repentance made this statement that really rocked my boat: “When you see your children sinning … start repenting” (p. 126). Up to that point I had operated more out of “When you see your children sinning, work harder on them.” As in, pray harder and pull the rope in more on them. It was a very stressful time trying to control my growing children. And make them into good Christians.

My body began to fail – my back gave out, resulting in back surgery, and later on my endocrine system became pretty non-functional. So in my 40s after knowing the Lord and trying to follow Him for 25 years I began a new search called “Journey to Enter His Rest.” (Or, to find out who I really am in Christ.)

As I began to rest because of my back, my spirit began to calm down so He could speak to me. He first of all gave me the scripture in Matthew 11:28-30: “‘Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light’” (NASB). Thus began my search for “rest.”

I eventually learned this condition of mine had a name – performance orientation (P.O.). When I heard about it and then read the fruit of P.O. it described me perfectly. I thought I was doing good all that time all those years, and I was, and it was killing me and my children. This is what I learned about the “fruit” of a person who is performance based – as in, the foundation of P.O.:

  • “tries to please” – I had done that my whole life because I quickly found out that if I pleased people, I got recognized and everyone liked me
  • busy all the time
  • can never do enough
  • feels responsible for everything and everyone
  • self-righteous
  • lonely
  • demands love/gifts

And many other traits. I think every one was characteristic of me!

I discovered the reason why I felt like I had to work to perform: lack of affection. Which also was my story. My parents, although very good Christian parents who provided well, did not know how to be affectionate. My insides were starving for acceptance, love, and recognition. So began my life, as a young child, of doing to get recognition and acceptance, which felt like love to me.

That carried right over into my Christian life. I tried to be the best Christian and make everyone around me be that way too. No wonder my kids were running the other way! They didn’t want any part of that, and I can see why.

So … I began repenting. Of course, being an unhealed P.O. person and just discovering this, I repented of everything! I was the best “repenter”! (See how P.O. affects you? One could say, there is no hope.) The truth is there really is no quick fix for P.O. But the first step is to “recognize” it. I had done that and knew that was me to a “T.” So began my life of repenting, thanks to my children.

Another thing about P.O. is that the only way for it to be healed (for it to get out of me) is through relationships. It can’t be “cast out,” and you can’t try to make it go away (that would be P.O.). The only way is to come into His rest and let others minister to us.

Needless to say, I still see P.O. or the fruit of it in my life today. If something unpleasant or bad happens to one of my children, my first thought is “What could I have done to have stopped or prevented that” or, “I should have done thus and such …” But I have come a long way!

Ask my friends, those who have been in relationship with me through this process and minister to me – still – constantly. Their lives to me are like water to a dry parched ground. This is the tribe Kerri talks about. We are all on a journey to find our true selves – who God created us to be – and live in His rest, not a life of striving.

By God’s grace and the relationships I have found, He is conforming me to His image.

I invite you to take this journey with us. Come out of whatever your foundational lie is that causes you to live less than who God created you to be. Discover His truth that will lead to your freedom!

*****

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.

Please follow and like us:

What Is Your Struggle?

Do you know who you are? Do you know who God created you to be?

Most people don’t know, but they are searching. I call this an identity quest.

How about you? Are you in search of your identity?

You Are Not Alone

If you’re on an identity quest, know that you are not alone. You are in very good company. Many of us are on the same journey. There is a whole tribe of us, and it grows bigger every day.

Getting to know your own heart is a key to discovering your true identity. I hope you will find some keys here to help you along your journey.

When we are not in touch with our true identity, we can experience all kinds of difficulties. These come from the lies we believe, or from things we hold onto that we need to let go of. Our goal with the identity quest is to help find freedom and live in true Peace in all areas of our lives.

In Search of Identity

These are common struggles of people who are searching for their identity and their tribe:

“I feel the emotions of everyone around me and it’s unbearable. I’m afraid to go into a crowded store because I’ll get overwhelmed. I’ve got the weight of the world on my shoulders.”

“When I hear certain people’s names, I growl. I’ve blocked them on Facebook. I’m still angry at things they did to me. When I see them, I avoid them. When I hear about something good that’s happened to them, I roll my eyes. I have a bitter taste in my mouth just thinking about them.”

“I feel overwhelmed all the time. When the slightest thing goes wrong, I want to curl up in a ball and cry. I feel like everything is too hard, like I just can’t do it. Some things that have happened to me, I can’t get them out of my mind. I feel like I keep re-living them.”

“I have too many things to do and I can’t get it all done. People are always asking me to do things and I can’t say no. I’m worn out. I can’t get a break. Why won’t they leave me alone?”

“When I lie down at night, my brain doesn’t turn off. I can’t sleep.”

“It’s hard for me to feel what other people are going through. I can’t understand what they’re feeling. I can’t relate to them. I end up criticizing them, and I don’t know why. People ask me why I’m so analytical, why I can’t empathize.”

“I feel disconnected from everything. Like I’m always on the outside looking in. I get angry for no reason. I feel stuck.”

“When people say good things about me, I can’t believe them. I can see good things about other people, but not about myself. I keep criticizing myself. I say the same self-defeating things over and over. I can’t seem to break through this.”

What Is Your Struggle?

What is your struggle? Knowing what holds you back is the key to moving forward. You can’t get free if you don’t know what is blocking you.

If you see yourself in any of these situations, or if you simply want to know who you are and to live as the person God created you to be, join us on our Identity Quest.

 

Please follow and like us:

God’s Not Going Away

A guest post by Janet Eriksson …

About 10 years ago, I took an inner healing class where I learned that the way we see God as adults can be shaped by the way we saw our parents or primary caregivers in childhood.

Parents Can Affect the Way We See God

For example, if a parent abused me, I might expect (in my heart) that God will abuse me somehow. Even though I say, “God is good,” I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I never quite trust Him.

This expectation can be very subtle. My heart may hold onto a hidden belief that God is against me. I keep seeing evidence of that expectation, even though I say out loud, “God is good.”

As another example, if a parent wasn’t around much in my childhood or didn’t spend time with me, I might expect the same from God. So I struggle to sense His presence. I don’t expect God to show up when I need Him most. I try to take care of myself instead.

Or if a parent didn’t seem interested in anything I had to say as a child, I might conclude God isn’t interested either. My prayer life suffers because even though I talk to God, I don’t really believe He wants to hear from me. Mom or Dad modeled that for me.

Because these expectations are often hidden in the heart, I don’t realize I’m seeing God in this skewed way. But if I start to explore these areas where I struggle in my relationship with God, the Holy Spirit will bring to mind those childhood experiences that affect how I see God.

As I learned about these kinds of situations in that inner healing class, the examples made sense to me. So I asked God how my parents might have affected the way I see Him. I was shocked at what God showed me.

Why I Feared God Would Die

My dad died suddenly when I was only 15. It was a terrible trauma for me. I had been locked into that trauma for 27 years. I couldn’t even talk about my dad or think about him. Memories of the event and memories of my life with him were shoved into a closet in my mind, with the door bolted. I avoided the subject of death. When people talked about someone who died, I grew very uncomfortable and left the room. 

When I asked how that affected my relationship with God, He showed me that I also thought God would die and abandon me forever. I thought when it came my time to die and go to heaven, God would already be gone. No wonder I was terrified of death.

Inviting Jesus into that Place of Trauma and Death

My prayer minister and I invited Jesus into the place in my heart where I was stuck in trauma. I felt like Jesus understood my shock and grief. He wept with me, and He lifted the trauma off of me. Jesus showed me He was there with me when my dad died. I could literally see the memory of the paramedics taking away my dad, but Jesus was still standing there with me, holding onto me, and He never left me.

As suddenly as my dad had died, that’s how sudden the peace was that filled my heart. I could breathe again. I felt joy instead of sorrow because I knew my dad was absolutely alive – still the vibrant and fun-loving person I remembered. He wasn’t lying in the ground somewhere. He was hanging out with Jesus. And finally I knew, with my whole heart, Jesus would stay with me too. He wasn’t going anywhere!

I repented for judging God – for believing the lie that He would die and leave me – and for not really believing He was eternal. That unbelief had been hidden in my heart. I always said God was eternal, but in my heart I didn’t believe it. That’s why I struggled so much around “death.” The truth I spoke with my lips – that Jesus gives eternal life – was not what I held in my heart. You can see where that creates a constant struggle.

Thanks to Jesus, a Lot Has Changed

Since that time, so much has changed. I’m able to talk about death and able to mourn with people when they lose someone they love. My wonderful memories of my dad have returned. I can talk about him with my family and can see the ways I resemble him (my sense of humor, especially). I have found old photos and set them around my home (where before, I only set out photos of my mom).

This Christmas, as a special treat, my sister showed a DVD she had made from old home movies. For the first time, I got to see my dad in his younger years, before I was born. I loved every minute of watching him and have asked for a copy of the DVD so I can watch again. I never could have done that without the healing Jesus brought into my trauma.

inner healing
God’s Not Going Away!

*****

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 five books and editor of many more, Janet blogs and teaches online at https://adventureswithgod.blog/

Please follow and like us: