I suffered from an anxiety disorder most of my life. In addition to this disorder, I felt shame and unworthy of God’s love and grace even though I had been a Christian for almost 20 years. But now, I can’t deny I’m loved.
In September 2012, I found myself sitting in a prayer service thanks to the strong urging
of a good friend. I remember listening to the live praise music and other Christians around me worshiping God with a love and adoration I didn’t yet understand. I felt nothing. After months of crying and begging God to pull me out of a desperate situation that had only deepened my anxiety and depression, I was completely drained.
“I know you’re real and powerful God, but where are you?” I remember thinking.
The prayer service message that night was all about oppression, mental and physical bondage and how our spirits are affected by these things. As the prayer director spoke, I realized I was the person who needed to hear the message.
“What an odd coincidence,” I remember thinking. But now I know it was a divine appointment.
When the message concluded, there was an opportunity for prayer and worship before we were dismissed. That’s when I felt a tug on my heart as if God was saying, “Go ask for prayer” – so I went to the alter. As the prayer director began to pray over me, she motioned for an intercessor to join us. The girl who assisted didn’t know my story, but immediately said words I’ll never forget, “God wants to know He hears your cries. You think He’s not listening; but He hears you, and He loves you. He calls you His precious daughter.”
After the young intercessor spoke, the prayer director placed her hand on my forehead and prayed for God to break the hold of spiritual oppression and restore my joy. Suddenly, I was overcome with an immediate feeling of immense love and joy. It struck me so hard and so fast that I felt like I might stagger backwards during the prayer, and that’s when the giggles started — and I couldn’t stop. During prayer, joy and happiness overpowered me, and the silly giggles increased into laughter. I felt the love of the Father completely engulf me, sweeping away the pain and the darkness I suffered for so many years.
When the prayer ended, I realized I was a different person. My anxiety disorder was gone and peace had replaced it. I undeniably know God loves me. I will never question His love for me again. For the first time in my life, I have learned to trust with my whole heart.
Thank you for reading my story, and I hope it has encouraged you.
Another great post written by a friend of mine:
One evening, my wife and I watched a video we borrowed from a friend called Finger of God.Finger of God is part of a trilogy of short films put out by Darren Wilson. The trilogy is a documentary where Mr. Wilson and company travel to meet people around the world in attempt to ask a simple question: who is God?
I was touched by one scene in Finger of God in particular. A group of Christian missionaries were visiting Turkey. One of the missionaries named Heidi Baker began talking to a Muslim woman through a local Christian pastor who was interpreting for her. The woman suffered from blindness in one eye which Heidi asked permission from the woman to pray for. As the missionary and local pastor prayed, the woman was healed from her affliction. Afterwards, the woman praised Allah. In response, the local pastor tried to correct the woman by saying it was Jesus who had healed her, and he seemed quite annoyed the woman kept praising Allah. Finally, the missionary pulled him aside and asked him not to continue to correct her. The point was the woman was healed.
As I watched the scene unfold, I thought, “Yes, the missionary is absolutely right.” The fact God loves all His children and He just healed one from her afflictions without any conditions attached was the point. The healing was a gift, no strings attached. The local pastor was so focused on getting the old woman to acknowledge the healing was done through Jesus, he missed the most important part of it all. It is so obvious to me it’s like the 300lb gorilla in the room; yet he missed the point. With great sadness, I feel I can’t say it enough.
Sometimes, we miss the forest for the trees. We’ve all been guilty of this at some point in our lives. We get so wrapped up in the details of something that impassions us that we lose focus on the big picture and what we were trying to accomplish; therefore, I will ask an important question. Do we know what we want to accomplish? Maybe more importantly, what is it that God really wants us to do?
Written by Leslie Hardin
I write this blog post, feeling strongly someone may need a word of encouragement while walking through the desert today…
The saying is true that life can be a series of mountain peaks and valleys. In fact, many times, I find myself in some sort of valley instead of sitting upon the mountain top; and I’ve heard people ask, “How can you believe in God when your life turns upside down? If He’s real, why would He let these things happen?” After all, my husband and I have had a lot happen to us in recent years: deaths of parents, witnessing one deteriorate mentally; financial crisis, almost the point of ruin; emotional distress and oppression, straining our marriage; and physical sickness — just to name a few. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10
One simple truth is my bedrock in moments of trial, pain, and sadness. He never promises life won’t be hard, but He is always sovereign. How can I turn against the One who knows my steps before I take them and knows the stars by name? My pain is His pain. Yes, I truly believe He cries with us when we are stricken with grief and sorrow; but at the same time, the mantle I’ve been given leads to victory. “Then Jesus wept.” – John 11:35 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” – Romans 8:28
In my life, He has proved Himself worthy to be trusted over and over again, no matter how small my faith is in the moment of weakness and pain. I’ve learned without question the most desperate moments which cause me to fall to my knees, knowing I can’t walk another step, is exactly when He miraculously and undeniably shows up. He never fails to arrive just in time. Like a knight on a white horse, he scoops me from the ground and carries me to safety. How can I reject my faithful Lord who has never failed me? In His mercy, He protects me. If I trust Him to take the burden, His peace surrounds me. As a wise man once said, “God will never let you see the battle without first giving you the victory.” Besides, what is there in this life to be afraid of? Even if I die, He has conquered death. “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” – 1 Corinthians 15:55
Struggles of this life ebb and flow like the tides, but His love and grace is constant.