More on Growing Fruit

Making Room for Fruit to Grow 

The Bible names nine fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5: 22 & 23. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. In my early years as a Christian, I had few of these character traits in my life. I was a deeply troubled young lady. As I learned the Bible, I learned about God’s character and found out that He has all of them. 

When I got to the Book of Galatians and read about the fruit of the Spirit, I tried really, really hard to grow in love and patience especially. I tried for years. The harder I tried the more difficult it seemed. I had this verse on a plaque over my stove so that I would be reminded daily to try harder.  

One day I had one of those “God moments”. I thought I heard His voice in my head having a conversation with me telling me that the fruit of the Spirit was not the fruit of Muriel but of the Spirit. From that day on I began to ask Him to grow more fruit in me and He did. 

 Stumped 

One day it seemed that I had stalled. It seemed to me that although there was evidence that I was more patient and perhaps more self-controlled, even kinder and gentler towards my family, I had not increased in the production of this fruit for some time.  

I went to my quiet place late one evening when everyone was in bed to seriously think about why this was. I was looking for sin in my life and asking the Lord to examine my heart. I took care of some business repenting and confessing sins that I was aware of. I asked for help correcting some of my attitudes and forgave everyone I could think of that may have hurt or offended me. I thought it was all good between God and me and I think at the time I was as thorough as I could be. 

Breakthrough 

Yet even though I tried very hard to keep a short list with Him, I still did not see an improvement or increase in the growth of these fruit. It was around that time that I was introduced to the work and teaching of Neil Anderson. He wrote several books: The Bondage Breaker and Walking Through the Darkness among others. I met him in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada where he taught us how to be free from bondage that restricted our growth spiritually. I took every course he had. That began a new phase in my journey. I realized that there was more to the spiritual life than just forgiving others and then repenting and confessing my own sin. 

Learning and practicing what Dr. Anderson taught me got the growth of the fruit of the Spirit growing again. Cutting soul ties and renouncing the practices of my ancestors really helped me to see that life was not just about me and I was able to move out of old habits more easily. 

After learning that, I also found out about Transformational Prayer Ministry by Dr. Ed Smith. That was a real eye opener for me. The idea that the enemy plants lies into our lives that can hinder us from ever enjoying the new life Jesus paid for us to have with His blood on the cross was totally radical to me. The idea that the Lord would be willing to nullify the lies we believe with His truth was revelatory.  

Since learning about these methods of being freed from the plans and schemes of the enemy, not only have I grown more fruit in my life, I’ve also grown in my relationship to God as my Father, and Jesus as my closest companion. My life has gotten richer with the Holy Spirit being my helper  and I’ve navigated some of my most difficult seasons with the Lord in ways I couldn’t have imagined. The learning curve was steep sometimes, but it’s all worth it. 

My Prayer for You 

I wish you the best on your journey. May you discover the keys of growing more love, joy and peace in your life. May you enjoy an increase of patience, kindness and goodness. May those around you notice how faithful, gentle and self-controlled you have become. As the Bible says, “There is no law against these things.” 

 

 

How Emotional Healing Aided a Physical Healing

The Experiment

Over the years I’ve had opportunity to experiment with the connection between emotional pain and physical pain.  Sometimes the results have been astounding. One of my earlier trials of this kind of connection came when I was staying with a friend. I’ll call her Betsy. When I first arrived, she greeted me warmly and quickly put the coffee on so we could settle down for a nice long chat. I noticed she was limping around the stove and asked her about it. 

Apologetically, she told me she was not able to stand long and showed me her knee which was swollen to double its normal size. It was stretching her pants. Her other knee seemed fine. She was very discouraged by the pain.

I asked her if she had the time and energy for a bit of prayer. She nodded her head. I explained to Betsy that sometimes our physical pain is connected to something in our history and I’m going to ask the Lord to reveal where the source of your pain is coming from.  Then I prayed, “Lord, where did this pain and swelling begin? What crack in her history did it slip into?”

Then I asked her if anything came to mind. Her response was, “Well I thought of something right away, but that was years ago. What would that have to do with today?”

“I don’t know,” I replied. “What did you think about?”

“Well, I was thinking about our first year of marriage, about thirty years ago.” Betsy continued, “We were so in love and so poor, and I was so happy then. When we found out we were expecting our first child, my husband decided he should get a better paying job because he didn’t want me to have to work while we were raising our children. His job took him out of town a lot and I hated that he wasn’t always home every night and I missed him so much.”

“How did that make you feel?” I asked.

“I felt lonely and abandoned. I was so scared during my first pregnancy. You couldn’t just make a phone call and talk to someone back then. He had a travelling job. I didn’t always know where he was when he was on the road and we couldn’t afford a phone in those days let alone long-distance charges. We only called in an emergency from the neighbour’s house and had to pay them back for the extra charges on their bill.” She moaned a little as she spoke.

“What did you begin to believe during that time when you felt so lonely and abandoned?” I asked.

She looked at me and barked, “Well, what do you think I believed. He didn’t love me anymore. He was running away from me.”

Gently I asked again, “What did you believe at that time…about yourself?”

Her tone changed as she reprocessed the question. “I thought I’d become ugly or unlovable like I felt when I was a wee little girl and my dad was at war and my mom went to work leaving me with my grandmother. I felt abandoned then too.”

“What truth would God like you to know now?” I asked.

After a long pause I heard Betsy sigh. “Ahh, I was not abandoned. He did that because he loved me and wanted to take care of me…of our family just like my mother did. Ahh, wow,” she said. “All these years have gone by and I never knew he loved me.”    

At that point she began to think of all the ways he’d shown her he loved her over the years. We figured out that his love language to her was mostly doing nice things for her. He built them a beautiful home. He built her beautiful furniture and made her a lovely garden out back. He had made toys for their children and helped each one build a house of their own.

After the reminiscing, she got up to refresh my coffee. I asked her how her knee was. She was astonished as she realized that the swelling was gone and she could hop up and down on that foot without pain. Neither of us had noticed when it got better.

Now when people ask me to pray for physical healing, I start by looking for the crack that allowed it in. Sometimes there is a connection. It never hurts to look for it.

Behind the Anger

Behind the Anger Veil

In my last blog, I talked about anger and how it could mask the real problem and the real hurt in a person’s life. Following is a story about how I experienced this very thing in my own life. See if you can identify with this experience and follow the story to find the path I took to gain your own healing.

I was mad. I believed I had been robbed of my dignity and my character had been attacked. I was told that if I just stopped whining and complaining so much, all my problems would go away. I wondered if this was how Job felt when he was suffering.

I went home fuming. I replayed the conversation over and over again in my head. How could I have explained my concern with my brother without getting such a nasty response? I was hurting, looking for help to resolve an issue, not just whining and complaining to hear my own voice. I didn’t think I had rights that were more important than my brother’s. I had a problem that needed wise counsel, not just judgment and criticism. I had risked being vulnerable to someone I trusted and got nothing helpful to go home with, only more hurt. I wanted to tell the one I had tried to get help from what I thought of him and his “wise counsel”. I began a tirade to the Lord about this “servant of His” who was supposed to be a spokesperson for God and had done a terrible job of it. I wanted God to deal with him ever so severely and set the guy straight.

It Helps to Have Strong Friends

When I got home I called up my girlfriend. Thankfully she was not in the mood to hear my story and interrupted me. She asked me if I was willing to put my anger aside for a moment to see what the Lord wanted me to know. I was stopped in my tracks. I knew from my training and my years of practice that this was the right thing to do. I momentarily struggled with the decision to comply or continue my rant.

I complied. I put my hand on my heart and in an act of agreement, I pulled the anger out of my heart and symbolically put it in a basket. I put the basket at the foot of the cross and asked the Lord to take it.

After the Anger is Put Aside by Choice

Immediately, I felt the anger drop off and the pain behind it surfaced. She then guided me through the steps of finding what the real problem was and presenting this before God for His perspective. 

I’d had a fall-out with my brother. I really loved him and admired him. I was really hurt by the harsh words he had spoken to me. I knew the whole thing was over a misunderstanding and I did not know how to fix it. I believed I’d messed up and that our relationship was broken beyond repair. I had no idea how to correct the misunderstanding and restore the relationship.

Beyond that, when I went to a staff member at my church to try to sort it all out, he too misunderstood my conversation, became impatient with me and dismissed me with a remark like, “Women like you need to learn to stop whining and complaining. Then you might start getting along with others.” I was crushed believing that there was something terribly wrong with me. Outwardly I was angry. Inwardly I was decimated.

  

As I put the anger aside, the Lord gently took me to the first time I felt so crushed. I found it in my very first year of school when a boy told me that if I was a friend of the “retard” (Down’s syndrome child in our class), that I was retarded too. I loved the boy with the round face and was hurt to be put in a category that somehow made me feel less than the bully. I believed that there was something wrong with me. I remained friends with my friend but was taunted along with him every day as we walked home from school together.

The Lord revealed to me that there was nothing “wrong” with me and asked me to forgive the child bully, which I did immediately. The Lord also showed me that He loved my compassion and open heart towards those who were different from everybody else. He also showed me many other truths throughout the situation.

In the end, I was able to forgive the person I went to for counsel and received help from the Lord for my brother and me. He worked in both of us.  We are getting along very well today. 

In many times and in many ways the father of lies embeds lies into our lives. This is especially true while we are very young and unable to process the things we hear and experience in light of the truth. Once those lies turn into beliefs they can cause us to self destruct over the course of our lifetime. 

Letting God bring truth to those false beliefs can be life saving. The truth can open the door to restoration of precious relationships, peace in our hearts and the ability to help others so that our world can get better rather than continue in its natural course towards destruction. I know this experience was a life changer. It set me on a path that made my response to people who did not understand me much more compassionate. I gained an ability to forgive more quickly. I am not nearly so easily hurt or offended and there is room for more joy in my life than ever before. My prayer is that this will happen for you the reader as well.

How Anger Hinders Healing

 

One of the Biggest Hindrances to Healing 

 

Can we hinder our own healing? We sure can. There are many things that can block the process, but one of the biggest things that will prevent us from accessing the provision God gave us for our healing and restoration is anger. 

Anger is what has been referred to as a guardian emotion. When we feel hurt or vulnerable and we do not want to get run over by “weaker” emotions, we may choose anger. Our anger may seem to be so automatic that it doesn’t appear to be a choice, but I’ve seen people choose to put anger aside for a moment and allow themselves to dig deeper into what their anger is covering up.  It’s important for our healing that we recognize that anger can be a learned behaviour or a more socially acceptable emotion than crying. 

 

What does Anger Do for Us? 

 

Anger does many things for us. Anger covers our vulnerabilities when we feel threatened. It makes us appear stronger and tougher than we feel. It masks the fear we are feeling and gives us a sense of personal control over a given situation. Anger can be expressed both actively through outbursts of angry words and violence or passively through distancing, ignoring and punishing silence.  

 

Most psychologists now agree that anger is a symptom of wounds people carry. Without going into the many books on the subject of passive and active forms of anger, suffice it to say, they are well known among the hurting. Anger allows us to blame someone else for the pain we feel and removes us from any responsibility. 

 

There is a common phrase I’ve seen in recent months: “Hurting people hurt people”. If we use anger as a way of dealing with our pain, we may well be managing our pain but in the end, it doesn’t help us heal. Anger will hurt us and those closest to us in a perpetual cycle of negativity that prevents us from healing. 

The Bible says, Eph. 4:26, “Be ye angry and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:” Righteous anger is a legitimate emotion, but it is a rare thing among us mortals. Righteous anger is not about us. It is about what offends God and hurts others. Anger hinders healing and personal relationships when used as a coverup or reaction for offenses or hurts.  

In our anger we are often blame shifting. Sometimes we judge others for things they said when it is not what they said at all but what we think they meant. God is the only one who knows the whole truth, understands motive and sees every side of an incident.  It is not uncommon to be angry when we have been wronged, but prolonged anger leads to bitterness which can be hazardous to our personal health and relationships. Bitterness also does not lead to healing but rather can destroy more and more in our lives.  

Using the anger we feel as a signpost to help us turn to the healing process can make the emotion useful rather than harmful. The Holy Spirit can help us to control our reactions to anger when we ask Him to grow the fruit of self-control into our lives. 

 

Putting Anger Aside 

 

In many of the healing prayer sessions I’ve had with others the presenting emotion is anger. I will ask them if they are willing to put it aside for the moment because anger focusses on another person rather than oneself. What we are looking for is what’s behind the anger so that the recipient of prayer can find healing. When they get their healing, anger is no longer needed to protect them. 

 

Sometimes we can simply put anger into an imaginary basket for the time being. Sometimes we have to find out what they think might happen if they give it up. Then we look for truth to deal with that so that we can move on. 

 

I believe that if you are willing to put aside your anger for a short period of time, you too will find healing for yourself. When you gain healing, you are able to make room for some of the more positive things in your life, like love.             

 

1 Corinthians 13:5 says about love, “It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” It is a wonderful thing when we can love like this. Healing our hearts can lead to love that gives without pain. 

 

 

Hearing God’s Voice

Hearing God’s Voice  

The art of hearing God’s voice is one that can be cultivated. I highly recommend it. When you practice hearing God’s voice, it makes knowing what to do in any given situation easier.

A Relationship Blows Up

We all have disagreements one time or another. No one is exempt it seems. In a previous post, I talked about the fruit of the Spirit. At no time is this put to the test more than when there has been a major disagreement between two parties. I am no exception. It came to pass that when I went to visit a woman with my very young family in tow, the circumstances were ripe for an outburst.

I arrived very much later than I had intended and their dad who had arrived much earlier was unwilling to help with the three babies who were cold, wet and extremely tired. 

The woman stepped in to fill in the gap and began to unwrap and change babies beside me. I was annoyed with their father who would not get out of his warm bed to lend a hand and it was apparent that things were not set up in a way that the babies would feel safe and cozy. The playpens were in the laundry room with the freezer across the hall from the guest room. I had not planned well. I made a remark of complaint loud enough for their father to hear. 

Immediately the woman dropped the child in her hands into the playpen, deeply offended and stormed up the stairs declaring, “Well you don’t have to take it on me!”

I was chagrinned. I could not take back the foolish words out of my mouth and I could not get my attitude under control. In time, the children were put to bed and the three-year-old fell right to sleep, but the twins who were just eighteen months old cried and cried. They were in a strange place, cold, and scared. Their cries were heard upstairs because they were right below the lady’s room. I finally went and got them and brought them to bed with me and my husband. At last they fell asleep and I began to dose. Their dad picked them up off me and took them to their playpens in the next room. They awoke and cried and cried again. 

I could not allow them to cry indefinitely. I brought them back to our bed, and they fell asleep. Once again, their dad woke them and returned them to their beds. The cycle repeated itself several times. The last time I brought them to bed must have been around 4am. At that point I threatened my husband with murder if he touched them one more time. I reminded him that there was a couch he could sleep on.

All the while, I knew that I owed this woman a sincere apology. I also knew that she was not sleeping either and there was nothing I could do to make things better. I thought and thought about how I was going to fix the problem I had created by complaining to someone who was not responsible for my attitude.

In the morning after perhaps four hours of dosing off and on and no real restful sleep, I made an attempt to ask for forgiveness. It did not turn out well since she had no more sleep than I. My response to her tirade was to pack up my babies and take them and myself two hours down the road and visit my mother.

My mom was sympathetic and wise, redirecting my attention to the Lord gently but persistently. She suggested I pray and try again to apologize when I wasn’t so tired. In due season, I did.

Unfortunately, the response was not a positive one. It looked to me like she may have been angry with me for a long time and that there had been an accumulation of issues that I was not aware of. The late-night incident was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. I was hurt and did not know what else to do.

God Grows More Fruit in Me

I asked God to grow more fruit in me. I prayed blessings on her. I asked for brilliant ideas. My husband and her husband tried to talk to us. I was not willing to try again unless I had some idea how to approach her that would solicit a positive response. I waited. Time passed. I found myself growing patience, kindness and love toward her as I prayed. Yet I did not know what to say to her.

About two years went by. I’d heard through the grape vine that she had remained angry and unforgiving. I waited some more.

When the Time is Right, God Speaks

One day in the middle of the week, while I was making up the beds, I heard a clear voice say, “Call her.” Sometimes when you hear God’s voice you don’t have to ask questions. You just know what He means.

I argued with Him, “You know she’s just going to yell at me again.”

“Call her.”

“Ok, I’ll call her, but you know she doesn’t even answer the phone when my husband calls her to chat. She has call display so she doesn’t have to talk to me. If you want me to call her, she has to answer the phone because if her husband answers, I’ll just say hi to him and I won’t be asking for her.” Funny how we can argue with our heavenly Father like that. I was scared to hear her wrath like the last two times she had communicated with me.

So I called her. She answered the phone. We had a tearful reunion that remained until she passed away twenty years later. I’d grown some fruit in those two years. Reconciliation can happen with good fruit growing in our lives.

Learn to Hear God’s Voice

May I suggest that you learn how to hear God’s voice. One way to start is to read through the Bible bit by bit asking God to explain passages that you don’t quite understand or simply talking it over with Him. Write down what you think He is saying to you and check it out with someone who has more experience with it than you. Those who seek Him will find Him and hear Him. With practice you will get to know how He communicates with you on a personal level.

Do You Want Your Life to be Fruitful?

The Fruit of the Spirit

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22 & 23

I remember when I first understood this verse. I’d memorized it and tried for years to produce this kind of fruit in my life. It was written on a plaque over my stove and I reviewed it often. 

I had a large family and was a busy mom. I knew I wasn’t doing a very good job of loving. I didn’t know what joy was. My home was chaotic, not peaceful and I’d regularly run out of patience, kindness and gentleness. As I saw it the only thing I was any good at was faithfulness to my husband and children.

The Light Slowly Dawns 

One day as I looked at the plaque, I was bemoaning my lack of obvious fruit, confessing my sin of impatience and unkindness once again after yet another episode of barking at the kids.

I stopped suddenly in the middle of stirring the pot on the stove when I heard a near audible voice say, “Read that plaque again.” 

So, I began to rattle off the line “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” 

“Can you read it more slowly, please.”

“Ok,” I replied, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…”

“Stop. Again, more slowly,” the voice interrupted.

“The fruit of the Spirit is love.”

“STOP!” more sternly. “Now one more time SLOWLY.”

With a sigh I began, “The fruuuuit of the Spiiirrriiiit.”

“Stop,” the voice interrupted yet again. “Did you get it?”

“What?” I cried exasperated. I had no idea.

The Simple Lesson

“It says the fruit of the SPIRIT. It does not say the fruit of you. If you want more patience and love, then ask the Spirit to grow some.”

On that day a light dawned in me. There I was trying to produce what only the Spirit of Christ can give. Since that day, I experienced times when only a prayer for more fruit in my life saved a relationship. This was most evident while I was raising my children. I remember one day particularly when I was tired and one of my children was particularly defiant and rebellious. I wanted to throw her out the window but managed to have enough self-control in me to command her to go to her room so that I would not act on instinct. As she ran up the stairs she announced to me that I was a horrible mother. Ouch.

I chased her up the stairs to deal with her. I was arrested mid-way and felt prompted to ask for a boost of patience. By the time I reached her room, she had thrown herself onto her bed screaming into her pillow. 

I knelt beside the bed and silently asked the Lord to grow more fruit in me. I immediately felt calmer. A new atmosphere of peace seemed to flow into the room. My daughter stopped screaming and her shoulders began to shake. I was wondering what was going on so I asked her. “Sweetheart, what are you thinking?”

She suddenly jumped up onto her knees with a big smile on her face. “I just want to hug you mommy,” she giggled. I cannot explain the transformation that just happened before my very eyes. Not only did I enjoy a new measure of spiritual fruit in that moment, but so did she. 

With a new perspective on these nine “fruit of the Spirit”, I began to see the difference between love according to the Spirit and love according to mankind. The Holy Spirit is very giving. Joy is not related to circumstances and neither are the rest of the fruit. 

May you invite the Spirit of Christ into your life and discover all the wonders of His fruit when they start growing in you.   

Free from Things Others Do

Free from Things Others Do

Have you ever noticed that you seem to be the target of a series of people in your life who do negative things to you? Let me explain what I mean by that by telling you a story from my own life.

When I was about 22 years old, I was a single mother of a little girl. I had a “friend” who wanted to give me a pair of ski pants for a four-year-old boy. They were torn at the knees, worn out at the ankles and the elastic straps over the shoulders were stretched out beyond help. I tried to refuse them. 

She told me, “I know you will need them, you are poor and I am doing you a favour here. Take good care of them and give them back to me when you are done with them. They are important to me because they are a keepsake to me.”

I tried again to refuse them, but she wouldn’t hear of it and I didn’t have the strength to offend her by insisting on refusing her offer. I knew that this “gift” had strings attached. I thought she would expect them back in better condition than she had given them to me. 

I was really bothered by this strange act of kindness which didn’t feel good at all. I felt trapped into storing something I didn’t want, and that I would be obliged to dress my cute little girl in ugly worn brown snow pants three to four years down the road.

Over the course of the next couple of years others gave me “gifts” with strings attached. Even though I said thank you again and again, it seemed I was never grateful “enough”.

Finally, I found someone I could talk to who understood the problem. She asked the Lord on my behalf where the problem began. I was taken back to an incident in my childhood at our small-town skating rink when I was about six years old.

My mom usually accompanied my brothers and me to the rink and supervised us there. She did not help us to skate, much as I wished she would. My brothers had great balance and skill in skating, but I was wobbly. One day she could not accompany us. My brothers begged her to let us go and she finally succumbed and said yes provided we all stick together and watch out for each other.

We were six, seven and nine years old. The minute we got there, my brothers forgot their pledge and I stumbled my way onto the ice. There was one man there who had often helped other children to skate. He offered me his hand and I gratefully accepted. I stayed on my feet as he guided me around the rink slowly and carefully. I was thrilled.

Where Fear Sets In

After two rounds of the rink, he lifted me up and plopped me on the side boards. With a hand on either side of me, I felt a sudden rush of fear. I frantically looked around for my brothers and could not spot them. All the other adults were behind glass in the warm up room chatting with one another and not looking at the ice. The man leaned very close to me and said, “I did something nice for you, now you owe me and have to do something nice for me.”

“What do you want?” I whimpered. 

“You owe me a kiss.” he said.

I felt trapped and there seemed to be no one to help me. I’d been trained as a child to be quiet and didn’t know yet that there were exceptions to the rule.

Finding Truth in the Past that Affects the Future

As I recounted the story to my friend, she asked Jesus to bring me truth. As I was feeling the fear of the memory and the sting of the words, “I did something nice for you, now you owe me.” I suddenly saw Jesus appear between us facing me. 

“That is a lie,” Jesus told me. “If a person offers a gift, they do not have the right to get paid for it.” Then He took a cloth and wiped a little chalk board clean in front of the man.

The memory faded and my little girl heart felt safe and secure. Then the Lord turned to me and said, “You don’t owe me anything either. You’ve been trying to pay me back for salvation from the moment you accepted me as your Lord. Salvation is a free gift offered to anyone who will receive it.”

I was surprised to hear that. “What about serving you as Lord and Master?” I wondered.

“Certainly, I am your Lord and your Master. But I would much prefer it if you would serve me because you want to, not because you have to. Service given in love is far more precious to me than service out of obligation.”

Immediately, I felt a peace and a love wash over me and through me that is very hard to describe. Yet it was tangible to me and I felt warmly loved and treasured. It’s easy to serve someone who makes me feel so loved.

Since that day, I have received many gifts and have enjoyed them without any strings attached. Some of those gifts may have been given by people who normally attach expectations of deep and abiding gratitude or special treatment of their gift (like putting their picture in a prominent place in my living room), but I have not been affected by it since Jesus revealed the truth to me. Furthermore, I have had no more trouble with inappropriate sexual demands since then either. You can have this too.

Getting Rid of Nightmares.

Getting Rid of Nightmares

Years ago, one of my daughters brought a friend home. We will call him Hank. He was a young man who did not have any religious background. He’d been warned that I was a “Jesus Freak” and that I was very religious. One day I was asked to entertain him for her while she went on an errand.

Hank: “Soooo, I hear you’re pretty religious.”

Me smiling, “You might say that. It depends on your definition.”

Hank: “She says you pray a lot. What do you pray about?”

A bit surprised by his childlike question I replied, “One of the ways I pray is to have a conversation with people who are struggling with some kind of issue in their lives where they feel stuck and can’t get free on their own, like fear of spiders or nightmares. That sort of thing. We invite Jesus into the conversation so that they can get unstuck.”

Squirming, Hank says, “Did she tell you about me?”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well, about my nightmares.” he said.

“No,” I told him. “I didn’t know that.”

“I had one last night.” He shivered.

“That must make it hard for you to sleep.”

Hank shivered again. “Yeah I haven’t hardly slept since I was a teenager. They used to be every day, but now I get them four to five times a week.” 

“Well, Hank,” I said, “would you be open to an experiment? Instead of telling you about how I pray with people, how about I show you instead and we can use your nightmares as my example?”

The young man agreed. He began to tell me about this terrible dream he’d been having for more than ten years. In the dream, he was always falling off a cliff. Each time he woke, he was about to hit the ground. In this young man’s case, the fearful nightmares were based on a real live event that occurred when he was a youth.

The Young Man’s Story

The boy grew up near the badlands of his nation. There are deep valleys that dip hundreds of feet below a prairie flatland made up of largely clay and sedimentary rocks with very little vegetation on steep slopes. They are quite amazing to a tourist since you cannot see them as you approach them. They just suddenly appear out of nowhere. They are great crevasses of coloured layers of fine rock.

One particular day, he and a buddy were riding their bikes toward the badlands with plans to dig for dinosaur bones all afternoon. In the last few hundred yards before reaching their destination, one fellow challenged the other to a race to the finish where they would park their gear and get started. Hank got there first. Too late, he saw the valley appear out of nowhere. Slamming on his brakes as hard as he could, he was not able to prevent himself from going over the cliff with his front tire. 

Hank flew over the handle bars twisting his body so that his bicycle went one way and he went the other. He flipped, landing hard on his belly feet first. With all his might, he tried to slow himself down by digging his sneaker toes into the loose grit and clawing the hard but slippery surface with his nails, ripping the sneakers, his jeans and his skin in the process. 

His friend managed to stop on time and watched in horror as he saw his best friend disappear over the edge. Peering over cautiously and terrified by what he might see, he looked down perhaps forty to sixty feet to see Hank hanging over a small lip of steep incline by his waist, feet dangling in the air. He had just barely stopped from plunging another 200-300 feet below.

As Hank dangled precariously over the edge, terrified to move or even breath, his buddy called down, “Hang on Hank. I’m going to get help. Don’t MOVE”.

Hank had no intention of moving. He was so scared. He knew he was hurt, but also knew that if he fell any further, he’d be broken to pieces on the floor of the valley. He hung there between life and death for more than an hour before he could hear the fire truck approaching with the siren blaring.

The rescue itself took another hour as they cautiously built a safety station around him, made him secure and pulled him up from the precipice. It was a near death experience that replayed itself in his dreams for years.

What Made the Memory Stick in His Dreams?

When I asked him what he believed about himself in that memory, Hank was able to identify several beliefs.

•He was going to die and probably go to hell 

•He was stupid for racing with his friend 

•His life was worthless since they took their time getting back to him 

•He was an idiot to have even thought of going out there with a friend without telling an adult where they were going or having planned for this kind of event.   

•He should have known better. It was his own fault. 

These beliefs and the fear connected to them made the memory remain stuck in his mind. Some of these beliefs came from the mouths of those he trusted. Some were based on his interpretation of what happened that day. Needless to say, a lot can go on in your mind in an hour while you are waiting to be rescued from a life-threatening situation.

When I asked Hank if he was open to hearing what Jesus had to say to him, he said yes. 

Almost Immediately, I saw him shrink into his seat. “That’s so weird,” he said. 

“What?” I asked him. 

“I just see this big guy fly through the air at me. He caught me and stopped me and held me on the edge of that cliff until the rescuers came to get me. I can feel his arms under my armpits.” At that point Hank began to cry openly. “He was there, man. He’s real. It feels so real”. 

I quietly waited for the tears to subside. “What would He like you to know?” I asked.

“Wow,” said Hank in awe. “He says I’m going to be ok and I’m not going to die until my time is up. He says His name is Jesus, and He has some pretty good plans for me. He just flew down there and caught me. He stopped me from going over the edge. Just like that! He was there. He says I don’t have to go to hell. I’m not stupid. It wasn’t my fault. It just happened. Wow. Wow. Wow.”

“How do you feel now when you think about that incident?” I queried.

“Wow. I feel so safe and secure. I’m not shaking anymore. I’m so peaceful. Man, that is such a strange feeling. What a trip.” he marvelled. 

“So, Hank, is there any reason you can think of that you wouldn’t want to follow this Jesus so you can find out what good plans He has for you?”

The rest, as they say, is history. He did not have another nightmare while at our home during the visit.

Recovering from Disappointment

Recovering from Disappointment

In this blog post I want to share with you a word I believe I received from the Lord that really helped me to overcome one of my greatest disappointments. I had been married for twenty five years. It had not been the worst of marriages nor had it been the best. We had separated and I’d always hoped we would reconcile and somehow it would all work out. During the course of the following three years, I’d experienced a series of disappointments. The greatest of these was finding out for the first time that my husband was in a gay relationship. Although this news explained a lot of our marital problems, I was nonetheless very sorry that I would not have a marriage recovery.

When God Answers “No”

In the aftermath of that shocking discovery, I went on a trip to California with a personal development organization. It was a four day weekend full of unique activities and instructions to help each of us increase our productivity, believe in ourselves and the like.

During one of the particular challenges, I  knew I was going to need a little help from my friend Jesus. The exercise required an excellent balance and bodily strength that I did not quite possess. As I watched different people attempt the challenge, some succeeded and some didn’t. The safety of all was clearly demonstrated for everyone. I decided it was my turn to try it.

I threw up a little prayer asking Jesus to please help me to succeed at the challenge. It was just a little thing, but I knew that if I managed to succeed, it would be a slight miracle and I’d be the first one to give Him glory for it. I proceeded with a hope that I’d enjoy the thrill of doing something just a little bit beyond my known abilities.

I got to the apex of the maneuver, the very part that would be the hardest. I whispered to the Lord, “Here we go,” and launched myself up and off the challenge. I’d failed to complete the final round. Those in charge of my harness floated me to the ground amid cheers and applause from the onlookers as a sign of encouragement for a good effort. I smiled when my picture was taken, all the while masking my deep disappointment in the Lord for answering my prayer with a resounding “NO”.

God Gives an Explanation

A few minutes later, having my harness removed and passed on to the next challenger, I went for a long walk toward the rest rooms. All the while wondering (whining) why the Lord couldn’t give me this one little thing I’d asked for. About halfway to the washroom, I was done asking and paused long enough to hear His answer.

“Muriel, I know you were just asking for this one little thing and I could have given it to you and in another circumstance, I might have. But, if I had given you this one little thing, you would have then proceeded to ask me for a much bigger thing. You would have asked me to change your husband into the man of your dreams.”

As I heard it, I realized that it was absolutely true. I had to agree.

“Now,” He continued, “about your husband, I am a God of choice. He made his. Will you please let him go?”

Coming into Agreement With God

Again, I saw the truth in the matter. I came into agreement with Him and proceeded with the divorce as soon as I got home. I was no longer attached to false hope and I was able to release my ex-husband to his own choices and accept them for what they were. It was very freeing. Had I asked for the greater miracle after receiving my first little one, my disappointment would have been much bigger.

God’s Ways are Better than My Way

We will not always appreciate God’s answers. If the whole world was as we would have it be, I’m not sure it would be a better place. I’m glad that God is a God of choice. I do wish people made different ones sometimes, but God is always good. There is no doubt in my mind. When He spoke to me that day, He was very kind and gentle. There was no condemnation in it. He knows me and loves both me and the man who disappointed me. Its much easier to be ok in spite of my circumstances when I get an explanation from God.

I continue on in my own healing journey. The more healing I get, the easier it is to get to know this God I serve. He truly is a great lover of my soul.

You Can Know the Truth.

You Can Know the Truth

The Bible says in John 8:32, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

Is that even possible? According to the Bible Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

If Jesus is the Truth, then when we interact with the truth, we are interacting with Jesus. If you get to know the Truth, then He can set you free from all kinds of emotional bondage.

What do you want to be free from today? Most likely, that which keeps you stuck. Jesus is looking for volunteers not slaves. He came here to give us our freedom back from whence it was stolen. I’ve found that Jesus is quite willing to help us in any area we are stuck with.

That reminds me of an experience I had. I met a woman in a coffee shop. She seemed very tired and worn out. As I walked by her, I leaned forward and asked her if she was ok because she seemed so weary. She looked at me with surprise and wryly remarked “If you had about an hour, I could tell you a story.”

“Actually I do have about an hour but I need my coffee and the bathroom first. If you want to tell me your story, you’ll still be here when I get back. Ok?” I responded.

Sure enough, she was still there when I got out of the bathroom. She began to tell me her story. It was an account of despair. She had been widowed in her fifties, her family were far away, and she’d experienced a great deal of loneliness since her husband had passed away. She lived on a farm and tried to make it work again because it was the only livelihood she knew, but it was tough trying to do it alone.

She had met a fellow farmer at a cooperative meeting who was full of ideas and strength. He was looking for a partnership of some kind. He’d been a butcher for many years and wanted a place suitable to set up a small butcher shop. She and her former husband had raised their own animals and had a small butcher shop next to the barn where they used to butcher their own animals for family. It hadn’t been used since the children left home and her husband had gotten too sick to help her.

It seemed like a good fit for her. She was not romantically inclined towards the neighbour but he seemed to know what he was about and so she allowed him to look the place over and set up shop. She had no idea what she was signing up for.

In a few short weeks, he was giving her orders left right and centre. He had virtually enslaved her. Every day he had new orders for her. “Buy these chickens, scrub the tables, vacuum and disinfect the floors, buy that calf and that set of lambs, feed those animals, you will need a dog.” On and on it went like she as his personal slave. She was exhausted and bewildered. She couldn’t seem to refuse his orders and she couldn’t seem to get rid of him.

When I met her in the coffee shop, she was beyond weary, and had gone to town without her phone so she couldn’t hear from him for a while till she could come up with a solution. She needed to get her farm back from this control freak.

I asked her if she was open to a bit of help? She gave me a resounding “YES” I explained to her that being trapped was based on beliefs. Did she want to know the Truth that would set her free?

On that day, she discovered a series of beliefs that had held her captive.

  • She was helpless
  • She was weak
  • She got herself into this on her own therefore had to get herself out on her own
  • It was all her fault
  • If she told anyone in her family about this they would be angry with her and punish her for it and make it worse.
  • No one loved her enough to help her or care.

In the course of perhaps an hour, she received truth over each argument set up against her and her face reflected the renewing of her strength with each new revelation. When I asked if there was any Bible verse that would convince her that she might be hearing from God, she asked if there was a Book of Jere-something or another. I asked if it was Jeremiah she was thinking of.

“Yes, that’s it she said.” Then she asked what on earth two 911’s meant.

I was a little confused by the question.

I see 2-911’s. She wrote it down on a napkin.

“WELL”, I exclaimed, “that would be Jeremiah 29:11 I believe.” And I quoted it to her from memory. “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future.”

She looked at me with great surprise. “It says that in the Bible?”

“Yes and would you like to know who said all those things to you today?” I asked her.

“Yes” she replied so I  introduced her to Jesus.

I’d like to say her problems were all solved that day. But she did have to go back and deal with a very belligerent controlling person. She went to face the challenge with peace and determination.

She told her children. They were very supportive and helped her work through everything. Last I’d heard she sold the farm and moved to the city where 2 of her children lived so she did work it out in due season.

There is hope. When we meet the living Truth, He sets us free.

Helping you find healing from the inside out