Today I have the pleasure of sharing a guest blogger’s testimony. If you have followed this site, you are aware that my passion is to take the truths of Scripture and lessons learned in my Secret Place time with the Lord, or by experience to help others to grow and mature spiritually in their walk with the Lord. Today you will read about a wonderful example of God’s grace and mercy as He walked hand in hand with this young woman and brought a beautiful story of healing in her life. This story is near and dear to my heart because it is written by my beautiful daughter Nicole. I hope you enjoy and share with others who will benefit from reading about God’s delivering power.
Today I would like to share the testimony of some of the healing I have experienced in the last three weeks. First, let me tell a little bit of the background story that led me to the need for deliverance. I started struggling with an anxiety disorder when I was 12 years old. I felt sick to my stomach all the time and nervous at school. They put me on medication that controlled my symptoms most of the time, but around age 15, I began to have panic attacks, which continued off and on through high school. My experience of panic attacks is awful. It feels like I am completely out of control of my emotions and can’t catch my breath. As adrenalin gets pumping, I find myself gasping for air. The one thing I have found that helps me is to say the name Jesus over and over.
Fast forward to 2020, which has brought us so many struggles with COVID. I found my stress and anxiety level doubled due to the mandate to wear a mask. I felt claustrophobic and my loss of control in so many things that was happening weighed heavily on me. Since I work in the healthcare field, the stress of the job also increased. Many people going through the pandemic have struggled with stress, depression, or anxiety of some sort, but when you add all that stress to someone who has a preexisting anxiety disorder, it creates the perfect storm.
That is what happened for me three weeks ago when I felt like my world came crashing down. I had to get help both medically and spiritually. I described myself as broken and shattered into pieces. I felt like a puzzle fresh out of the box, all mixed up and could not see the beauty in pieces found in the final picture. I even thought if I bought a puzzle and put it together, I would feel better. It didn’t work. I wanted a quick fix. You know, like take pill, put a band aid on it, get a hug, sleep and be better, just like that. This time though, something had to change. No longer could I stand with the pressure of the world placed on my shoulders. I realized this was not going to be a sprint, but a marathon.
My mother helped me to start sorting the pieces to put me on the right track to recovery. First, I had to give it to God. I had to let Him take my mixed-up pieces and make me feel beautiful again. I started reading two Christian books that we studied at my church 4 years ago, “Telling yourself the Truth”, and “Hinds Feet on High Places”. I also started journaling how I felt and my prayers to God. I started to realize that I had deeper problems than just stress and anxiety. Some of the other things I discovered was that I also was struggling with worry, self-doubt, self-hate, trust, fear, depression, unfair expectations, work pressure, and even pride.
“Hinds’ Feet on High Places” was a book very meaningful to my healing. I have the children’s version and it is beautifully designed with illustrations and devotionals. It begins by saying, “This is the story of a young girl named Much-Afraid who learned to trust the Chief Shepherd. It is the story of how she left her Fearing relatives and went with the Shepherd to the High Places where ‘perfect love gets rid of fear.’”
Throughout the book Much-Afraid must face her fears, problems, struggles, and pain. Along the way up to the high places each time she laid down her own desires to follow the Chief Shepherd’s, she would build a tiny altar that would turn to ash. In the middle of the burned ash at each altar, she found a stone that she collected along her journey. These stones later are transformed into jewels for her crown at the High Places. She learned four lessons on her way. First, she learned that she must accept joy with every path the Shepherd led her on. Then she learned to forgive others when they hurt her. Third, she learned that the Shepherd never looked at her as weak and crippled. He only saw what she would become. Lastly, everything that happens in life, no matter how crooked and ugly it may seem to be, can be changed if treated with love, forgiveness, and obedience to the Shepherd’s will. When Much-Afraid reached the High Places, the Chief Shepherd transformed her into someone new and beautiful. He even changed her name from Much-Afraid to Grace and Glory.
This book helped me see the transformation happening in me as I let my body and mind recover, learned to give up control, and ask for help. After weeks of studying God’s word and reading my books, I started to give up those problems. A Bible verse that gave me much peace was Psalms 46:1 TPT, “God, You’re such a safe and powerful place to find Refuge! You’re a proven help in time of trouble, more than enough and always available whenever I need you.” I also would repeat Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I found peace in encouraging songs like “You Say”, by Lauren Daigle and “Fear is a Liar”, by Zach Williams.
I had let the enemy tell me lies for years, like, “Everyone will think you are crazy! You’re not good enough! You’re never going to get better. You’re a bad mom and wife!” Instead of listening to these lies, I determined that I would get better because God said to cast all my fears, worries, and stress on him. He paid the price, so I don’t have to carry those burdens. I then had to learn to listen to the truth, which is that it doesn’t matter what people think, because I only must please my Heavenly Father. The truth is, I strive to do my best and I am successful at many tasks. The truth is, I go above and beyond for my family. I take special time and enjoy the moments we have together. I am loved and adored by my husband, boys, family, and fiends. They love me just the way I am!
On March 21st, I finally felt ready to place all my struggles at the feet of Jesus during a time of worship at my church. I went to the altar, fell on my knees, and gave all my problems and struggles to God! I no longer had to carry that pain, which made me feel such peace and freedom. I just wished I could have had a memorial stone like the character in the book did when she built her altars.
After feeling this deliverance, I wanted to complete a visual part of my healing. I took helium filled balloons and wrote words that represented my problems on them so I could release them to God. I went with my mother to Shawnee Mack Lake, where we have been walking and talking over the last several weeks during my healing process. The wind was strong that day, so we took the balloons along a path to a bridge where it was calmer. When we arrived, we realized the wind had tangled all the balloon strings. We broke some free but six of them were left tied in a bundle. I said a prayer telling God I was releasing all my pain and problems to Him, because I could not hang on to them anymore. Then I raised the balloons into the air and let them fly!
It was a beautiful picture watching my cares float away. A funny thing happened though, the six balloons that got tangled did take flight, but the weight of the strings brought them down on the other side of the bridge into a swampy, brushy, area where they stuck on a twig. We watched hoping the wind would blow them loose. Even though I felt like I got what I needed, I decided to throw rocks at them to try to knock them free. My mom joined in the effort, so you can imagine the funny site of two grown women throwing rocks at a swampy brush pile trying to release balloons. It felt great to throw rocks at “my problems” written on those balloons! While we never got them loose, I felt ok, because sometimes you give your problems to God and the enemy keeps them in sight, yet out of reach to taunt you. When you feel that pressure just throw some rocks at your problems and remember God has them.
I also thought it was important to take communion after I released them. Communion represents the healing work that Jesus did for me on the cross. This seemed to seal the thought that I had nothing left to hold on to and I really released it all to Him. My mother and I prayed over the cracker that represented Jesus’ body that was beaten and bruised for us. Then we prayed over the small cup of juice that represented His blood that washes us clean and protects us. We took our communion together to remember that He died for all my pain, problems, and sorrows, and He paid the price for our salvation and our healing.
Later that night, I returned home from an event and as I was taking my shoes off, I kicked a small white stone that looked like the ones from the lake where I had released my balloons. I asked my husband if he had seen a rock in the bedroom floor and he said, “Yeah, but it was after you got home from the lake.” There are no rocks around our home that looked like that stone, which made me immediately burst into tears. I realized that God had given me my memorial stone I wished for earlier that day at the altar!
I found my freedom by giving everything to the only person who can carry all my burdens and still love me endlessly! God has helped me to start finding the place for the pieces to my puzzle. I’m still working on the final picture, but I can see the beauty in the brokenness. I created a shadow box that displays memorials of my journey and it is now on the wall next to my “Secret Place” to remind me where God has brought me from. I never want to carry those pressures again, and I am refusing to listen to the enemy tell me lies! Thank you, Chief Shepherd, God Almighty, The Great I Am!
Hurnard, Hannah Hinds’ Feet on High Places: Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., 1993. Print.
Backus, Willilam and Chaplian, Marie Telling Yourself the Truth: Bethany House Publishers, 2000. Print.