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

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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

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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. Her 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

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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

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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A Wilderness Season

Have you ever been “amiss” with God? I know we all get frustrated with Him but I mean, like, nothing, no feedback, lights are on but no one’s home? Not just for a day or two but for a long period of time?

Have you ever longed and cried out for Him so much that you felt like you couldn’t cry or beg anymore? Have you ever felt like your prayers were hitting the ceiling and bouncing back? Or better yet, you felt like God left in the night with no forwarding address?  Have you ever measured your relationship with Him by how well you perform?

If you answered yes to any/all of the above, you may have come into a season called the Dark Night of the Soul. The Dark Night of the Soul is a period of time often described as “A Wilderness Season.”

It’s an amazing experience that I often talk about by saying, “I’m glad I went there, but I never want to go again.” I think anybody who cries out to the Lord for an authentic relationship with Him will experience it – but very few talk about it.

The Dark Night of the Soul is a time when God strips away every false ideal, expression, impression, and opinion (and everything else) you have about yourself and God. In its completion, you will realize the privilege of coming to the “end of yourself.” Most importantly, you’ll find out who you really think God is, aside from your doctrine, faith, and/or experience of Him.

It’s both terrifying and frustrating. If you survive it, in the end, you’ll not only unlearn a lot, but you’ll also slow down. You will sense a “shift” like Paul refers to in Ephesians 4:12 – a “katartismos,” so to speak. You will find that you don’t push up against God with your demands of yourself, others, and even Him. You’ll learn to rest, breathe, and respond instead of reacting.

It’s kind of like a shifting of gears in the Spirit. Cruise control, if you will. You’ll realize that you’re no longer in a hurry or running late. As a matter of fact, you’ll soon recognize that you’re not running at all. Instead, you’re basically just showing up.

You will finally choose to be. And watch God do. Whatever He wants. Without your help. You will finally realize that He doesn’t need you. He really just wants to be with you. And that is really cool.

No expectation, no performance. No rush. No worries. Just you and the Creator, the Most High – hanging out. Together. Quiet. Kind of like finally coming home – to yourself.

The best part is that your heart will overwhelm your mind with a greater experience of who God is and most importantly, who He created you to be. It’s actually a very cool experience. After it’s over.

Here’s a testimony of one of our tribe members, describing her experience in the Wilderness season, otherwise referred to as the Dark Night of the Soul:

“God Wants to Be My Mom?” by Vicki Eitel

For more testimonies and experiences like this, please look around our website.

Or contact me for more info as to how you can join The Journey, our tribe.

God bless,

Kerri

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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/.

 

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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.

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