First, from the Word: “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul. I cried to Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue. If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. But certainly the Lord has heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, Who has not turned away from my prayer, nor His mercy from me!” ~ Psalm 66:16-20
Many years ago, in Little Elm, Texas, I was at a very desperate place in my life. Several devastating things had happened that brought me to this place. Everything I had trusted in had fallen apart, and everyone I had trusted in, had betrayed me. I didn’t see how I could ever trust in anyone again. I was so beaten down and without hope that I knew I couldn’t go on unless God helped me.
Even after all these years, what happened next is still hard for me to grasp completely. I know it was real, but it was such an overwhelming experience that, even now, I can hardly speak of it without wanting to fall on my face before such a loving and gracious God.
I had come to such a place of despair on this particular day, all I could do was sob. Then I began to feel the sweet and tender presence of the Lord. It grew with such intensity that it was almost like a roar growing louder and louder in the room. Then the Lord walked into the room, came over next to the sofa, and sat down on the storage chest that I was using as a coffee table. I saw Him! Not in a seeing that would allow you to give details of His appearance, but seeing Him clearly in a way that I cannot describe to you.
He said that He was going to take me back in the past and heal me of some things. I went into what I can only explain as a trance.
The next thing I saw was myself, as a very little girl, holding my father’s hand. We were at the beach and walking toward the water. I was there both as the little girl participating in it and yet as myself, watching it happen. I knew what happened that day and even what my little mind was thinking. I was afraid of the waves but I told myself “It’s okay…he’s my Daddy and he won’t let anything happen to me.” But I knew what happened next.. The waves hit me and I lost my grip on his hand and was swept away under the water. I was terrified and it changed the way I thought about my Dad from then on. It looked as though we were going to replay the same event. I began feeling all the things I felt that day, because I already knew what was going to happen. Then something different happened! Just as the wave was about to hit me, I felt someone take hold of my other hand. I looked up to see who it was. It was Jesus.
The power of God both rose up from inside of me, and came down over me, at the same instant. All the fear and hurt went away and I knew I was healed from all the effect that incident had on me. I knew I had transferred what my father had done to a fear the Lord would do the same. That somehow I could not trust that He loved me enough to keep me safe.
Then we were in another scene. I was having the same tormenting dream I had so many times as a little girl. Again, I was there as the little girl and as myself watching what was going on. In the dream I was jumping rope with two of my friends holding the ends. I was reciting a rhyme we used to say as we jumped. I was laughing and having a good time, but when I turned around at a particular point in the verse my friends turned into these horrible evil little men who were always after me. I felt absolute terror. The kind where you feel like you can’t breathe. Then all of a sudden, Jesus walked into the picture. He looked very stern and pointed His finger and commanded them to go. They immediately fled and the same power of God came down over me and rose up inside of me. All the terror went away, and I knew they would never come again.
The next scene was extremely emotional. I have to give you some background on this for you to understand the significance of what happened here.
I was eleven years old. It was just a few days before Christmas and I was doing some shopping at what was called in those days “the dime store.” I saw a beautiful little apron that I wanted to get for my mother for a Christmas gift. (She was a waitress and wore fancy aprons over her uniform.) I was always trying to get my mother’s approval and this seemed like the perfect gift for her. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough money so I went out to the front of the store to wait for my sister to come to meet me. I was so disappointed!
I don’t remember how it started, but a man struck up a conversation with me. Somehow he got the story about the apron out of me. He seemed to really want to help. He said if I would help him deliver some Christmas cards, he would give me the other dollar I needed to buy the apron. That was all I heard. I could get the apron for my mom!
He handed me the cards he was carrying and we headed down the street. The next thing I knew we were standing next to his car and he opened the door for me to get in; telling me we would drive just up the street to drop off the cards. I got in, still thinking only about the money I was going to earn so I could buy the apron.
What happened to me next I will not go into except to say that it was a nightmare. Some things happened as we drove along that were horrible. After a while he pulled off the side of the road in a deserted area and put a knife to my throat and pushed me against the door. He said that if I didn’t let him do what he wanted to do to me, he was going to kill me.
A boldness rose up in me and I told him he would have to kill me because I wasn’t going to let him. He just stared at me for a moment and then backed away from me, put the knife down and started the car. We drove back to town and he stopped the car near a bus stop and told me to get out. I did, without ever looking back.
There was a crowd of people at the bus stop, but as I walked toward them I thought, “Who am I going to tell…nobody cares about me.”
I walked right past them and to this day I do not remember walking home, or even how I found my way.( I found out years later where he dropped me off and it was miles from my house.) The next thing I was aware of was that I was on my own front porch steps. I walked into the house where my Mom and sisters were waiting. My Mom was yelling at me for not being outside the store when my sister got there. I told her about the man and what had happened. She slapped me as hard as she could across the face. She took the dollar that I didn’t even realize was in my hand, and put it on the burner of the stove and burned it up.
I told you all this so you would understand the impact of this next scene in this story. I was back to that day as the 11 year old girl and watching also, just as before. Mercifully, I only went back to the part where I got out of the car. I was feeling all of the same feelings and still thinking “Who am I going to tell…nobody cares about me?” But, this time, I looked up and there was Jesus standing on the curb with his arms stretched out to me! I ran into his arms and just clung to him and sobbed. All the agony, hurt and shame that I had carried for years was taken off of me as the power of God flowed over me. It was, and still is, the most miraculous expression of God’s love and healing power I have ever experienced!
Then there was one more scene. I saw a table with three Easter baskets on it. Again, I was there as a little girl, and my adult self watching. I walked toward the table with a sense of excitement that suddenly turned to sadness. I already knew as the adult me that there was a note on the table from my father saying he had left us. (As an adult I always had this unexplained anger on Easter. I never remembered that my Dad had left us on Easter until the moment God revealed it to me. I guess I had blocked it out.) Horrendous emotions started to rise up in me, but came to a sudden stop!
The scene vanished and I was back on my sofa and the Lord said, “You are not ready for this one. I just wanted to show you I will not take you anywhere you are not ready to go. I am going to take you through some healing and deliverance in some other ways. JUST TRUST ME!” When He said “Just trust me!” it seemed to echo all around me. Then He was gone!
I must have cried for hours when I realized what had happened! Almighty God had visited me! He loved me so much that when I had no one to go to…He came to me.
Over the years God has done just what He said He would do…healed and delivered me in other ways. He is so faithful. The next major stage of that healing and deliverance came, seemingly, out of nowhere. It was quite a few years later, in Addison, Texas. I was in the middle of cleaning my bedroom and had flipped on the small TV, just to provide some “background noise.” (I will have to give you a little of the story line of the movie that came on for you to understand what happened next.)
It seems this woman, played by Linda Lavin, had just found out while her husband was away on a business trip, about 10 years ago, he had an affair. He didn’t know that out of it had come a child. The child’s mother was dying of cancer and contacted him so he would take this child, a girl, and raise her when her mom died. So he had to tell Linda Lavin what he had done. Lots of other details, but the just of it was…she finally agreed to let him bring the child into their home to raise. The little girl was devastated by it all, of course, and fought the situation with everything in her.
When I saw how much pain this little girl was in…I turned off the TV! I have never been able to bear to watch children suffer and see it as some form of “entertainment.” Before I even realized what I had done…I reached over and TURNED IT BACK ON. Watched a few moments and turned it off again! This happened over and over again! What in the world was going on with me? My emotions were going crazy!
During one of the moments it was on it had come to a scene where Linda was trying to get the little girl to face the reality that her mom was not coming back! She really had grown to care about this child and wanted so desperately to help her. She stood outside the room where the girl had locked herself in and kept saying…over and over, “Your mother is dead!” “How could anyone be that cruel?” I thought and yet, somehow, I knew what she was trying to do.
When the camera went inside the room and I saw how upset the little girl was, and the pain in her face…it was more than I could take! I reached over to turn it off, but the Lord stopped me! It was so powerful! Then He said, in the kindest, most loving voice I have ever heard…“That little girl is locked up inside of YOU! You were never allowed to grief the loss of your father.” When I heard those words it was as though someone flipped a switch and all the pain and agony of a lifetime came to the surface and filled the room. The Presence of the Lord overwhelmed me and I sobbed, uncontrollably, with a depth of pain I had never experienced before. It was coming from a place so deep in my soul that it almost seemed disconnected from my mind. It was as though I was listening to someone else; someone I once knew…the little girl that once was me! I could hardly breathe because of the sobbing…it seemed I was not even pausing to catch my breath between sobs. Then…and I don’t know how much time had gone by…the presence of the Lord seemed to rise up in the midst of me, and I became perfectly calm and at peace.
I knew that this was the place the Lord had said, when He visited me, I was “not ready for.” Well, apparently, this day I was and He showed up, not as He had the last time, but came, just as He said He would, and healed and delivered me from all of the pain. “He restoreth my soul…” were not just words on the pages of a book…they were a promise and became a reality in yet another area of my life that day.
Now, flash forward to December 16, 2011. It is early in the morning…almost daylight. Bill has left the house to walk the lake…as he does every morning during the week. I am still lying in bed and have begun a dialogue with the Lord. Something happened, the day before, between Bill and I that brought a reaction out of me that was way beyond what it should have been. I didn’t say or do anything in response to what I was feeling…but I was so hurt…and then brokenhearted over what had risen up in me. Even though I didn’t “act out” what I was feeling…I felt I had not only let myself down…but God too.
As I was talking to the Lord about it…don’t even remember exactly what I was saying…except repenting, of course, and I guess I was asking the Lord where all this pain and emotion had come from and would He please deliver me from all it…no matter what it was. I was so tired of it all, and so desperate to be free of it…once and for all.
Then the presence of the Lord showed up! He touched me and the same kind of sobbing I had experienced before exploded from the midst of my soul again. Wracking sobs from a place of pain I didn’t know existed! And once again, healing and deliverance flooded my soul. This was different because, when it was over, and the peace was restored, the Lord began explaining it to me. This was Stage II of my healing and deliverance from “rejection!” Stage I was the day He healed the child…and today, Stage II, He healed the woman! I had pushed aside all the pain of it for years…trying to be brave and pretending it didn’t matter. But it did! The rejection from two failed marriages had done so much damage, to me as a woman, and some other circumstances had added to it along the way, but I had learned to, (most of the time anyway) put on a brave front and keep putting one foot in front of the other. I didn’t deal with the pain; I didn’t know how to. But He did! Just as He promised He would do…He brought healing and deliverance it “other ways” just as He told me He would…if I would just trust Him!
My heart is so full of gratitude…there are no words to express it. I am healed! I don’t know how this is going to manifest itself by way of change in my heart and life, but I know it will be evident…if only to me and God. How faithful and trustworthy has God shown Himself to be in my life…I can never even begin to express it! Thank you, Lord just will not do it!
P.S. For anyone who may question the appearance of the Lord in my living room that day…I know there is scripture that says (paraphrased by me) “no man shall see God and live” but there are many instances in the Word where He did appear to men. Check them out…I will give you just two to get you started…not writing them out for you. Look them up! Exodus 24:9-11 (They not only saw God…they had dinner with Him!) Genesis 32:24-30 (read it all!)
And the part about the Lord waking me up in the morning and talking with me:
“The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He awakens me morning by morning, He awakens my ear to hear as one being taught. The Lord GOD has opened my ear; and I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away.” Isaiah 50 (Nor will I! EVER! He is not PART of my life…HE IS MY LIFE!)