My mentor friend invited me to minister with her at her retreat in Texas. She wanted me to tell my story of how I came to forgive my father. It was a big step for me to say “Yes”. I began the first of many different versions and angles I would write of this story before I got there to actually speak it!
Since I have already processed the breakthrough that occurred for me at this retreat, I can tell you that God was already at work in my heart before I went. A local friend invited me to go through an emotional healing process with her that uses essential oils to bring out stress points, memories, and feelings that one would want to deal with head on. I was so scared to do it! But I did it scared. Every invitation into the scary that God has brought me to, He has used to heal another place in my heart, and He has blessed me with the fruit of each one. The healing that occurred in me this time was one of releasing sexual abuse that took place when I was a baby. I had no memories of this, of course, but I believe my body did. The oil called SARA helped me release it, and the affirmations of protection and safety my friend gave me sealed my mental renewal in that place too.
I thought this was the total healing that Jesus gave me, but there was a deeper manifestation of this at the retreat. It was like God had highlighted this wounding in my life, and He was set on healing all layers of it. It’s amazing how He wants our complete wholeness, and He has the power to do it! It didn’t feel good while it was happening though. It took place through old feelings of not fitting in, separateness, and shame in trying to move my body, arising during a dance party a special speaker presented to us one evening.
I had the feeling this would be rough while she was talking about it. Dancing was labeled a sin in my household while growing up. That meant if you were to dance, you probably would be going to Hell. That’s a big burden to place on a child, along with the shame of sexual abuse, lack of worth that came out of poverty and neglect, and separation from the rest of the world through moving 23 times by the age of 18.
All of the feelings of these arose as I was trying to keep up with the direction the crowd was moving. I couldn’t keep up and I began sobbing. I found the others who were sobbing, and we were instantly ministered to by those in our group whom God had appointed for this! They hugged on us and listened to us. They prayed for us and offered further counseling later in the future if we chose that. My neck and shoulders hurt in a familiar pattern of trauma reaction.
I went to bed quiet and I woke up quiet. I didn’t tell my friend everything, but stayed back to process what had happened the night before. I thought it was surely something terrible that was going to keep me out of ministry. I had abandoned my table of women I was to be leading. I thought my friend would be disappointed in me. These are the lies satan took the opportunity to whisper to me.
As I was processing through my sobbing that morning, a friend from the retreat texted me. She said I was on her heart that morning. I’m so glad for friends who hear the Holy Spirit and obey. Her text conversation brought me to the place where Jesus felt the pain before and during His sacrifice on the cross. He did it for our healing. It suddenly dawned on me that that was exactly what He was doing with me, and I could identify with Him in a little of that pain! I took communion with the communion cup I had brought back to my room with me from the night before.
He reminded me that there were two stories happening at the same time - one where I felt the pain of past woundings, and I could end that story with feeling stuck and hopeless, but Jesus brought me another story. The story Jesus brings always ends in victory. In this story, I was feeling the old pains, but only as they were leaving my body. Jesus was pulling them out, and now I can declare healing in this area.
But He didn’t stop there. My friend Sara had scheduled massages for us the day after the retreat. I learned that this masseuse loved Jesus and believed that healing could occur from it. She told me to cry when I needed to, so I did. There were a couple areas I believe were related to the sexual abuse I received as a baby. I was able to release them from the memory of the muscles, as explained by my amazing masseuse. What an unexpected source of help!
I feel like dancing for joy now! In fact, when I got home, a sister of mine told me she wanted to order worship streamers for me! Isn’t it just like Jesus to keep inviting us further into Himself and wholeness! He doesn’t just give us a little healing - He wants us whole! I can look back on all of these things and see how God orchestrated every one of them to bring about the layers of surgery for my complete mending!
Forgiveness was the key to open the possibilities for these layers of healing for me. If I hadn’t made the initial choice to take my dad off of my hook and put him on God’s hook, I would still be wallowing in self pity, focused on the wounds instead of my Savior. I would’ve only seen the one story. The one in which I was the victim.
Instead, I trust that God will do whatever He needs to bring justice. He is all-powerful and can bring whatever punishment He sees fit. In the meantime, He also makes all things right. He brings about new wine skins. New ways of doing things. New mindset. I align my thinking to His and He sets my sights on living in the Kingdom. He fills my new wine skins with the new wine of joy, peace, love, etc. I get to walk in His footsteps and shine His Light to the world.
“And who would pour fresh, new wine into an old wineskin? Eventually the wine will ferment and make the wineskin burst, losing everything—the wine is spilled and the wineskin ruined. Instead, new wine is always poured into a new wineskin so that both are preserved.””
Matthew 9:17 TPT
I see my body now as a blessing to worship Him with. I am comfortable in this new skin. I get to move it in freedom, knowing that He is looking at me with a love that covers all of my flaws and sees only His beauty.
“Daily I will worship you passionately and with all my heart. My arms will wave to you like banners of praise.”
Psalms 63:4 TPT
I worship Him, and this is His response to me:
“For you reach into my heart. With one flash of your eyes I am undone by your love, my beloved, my equal, my bride. You leave me breathless— I am overcome by merely a glance from your worshiping eyes, for you have stolen my heart. I am held hostage by your love and by the graces of righteousness shining upon you.”
Song of Songs 4:9 TPT
This love affair with Him takes nothing from me. He doesn’t need anything from me. I can move and dance before Him, and He sees only the beauty He’s placed in me. I am safe, I am protected, and I am free!