A Child’s Grief Story

A guest post by Susan McPherson …

Our eight-week grief support class has come to an end. I’m going to miss these ladies. It was such a privilege to be a small part of their grief journey.

Our grief group has been open and vulnerable about where they are in their grief journey. As we have learned (through the book Understanding Your Grief by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.), you have to feel to heal. Grief is on the inside and mourning is grief on the outside.

We also learned some healthy ways to mourn: crying, journaling, painting, and talking about your pain and grief, sharing your story.

Some of those in the class came with fresh grief and some with grief corked up for many years! It’s been such a blessing to watch the transformation of those in this group over the past eight weeks.

During one of our weeks, our chapter was “The Six Needs of Mourning.” Number one is: “Accept the Reality of the Death.” This video shared by a member of our grief support group is a living example of a child accepting the reality of the death of his father. He is fortunate to have a Mom who has helped him get to this place.

Visiting the Cemetery

To learn more and to stay informed about future grief classes, please visit our Grief Support Class info page.

*****

Susan McPherson is a mother of seven and blessed with many beautiful grandchildren. After raising her children on a farm, she and her husband have moved to the mountains, where they are enjoying rest.

Christian Inner Healing

 

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Wearing a Matter

As many of you may (or may not) know, my son just picked a university!!!  Not without many visits, many explorations, etc. that go along with such an important decision.

Finally, we had it narrowed down to two schools.  One has an incredible sports program, is more than 36 “driving” hours away from our house, and offered him an incredible scholarship.  The second school (and my personal fav) offers an incredible Biomechanics (also sports med but more robotic) program, is only 5 hours away, and offered him an even better scholarship.

In the end, we told McKinley he was the one who was going to have to live with his decision and we would support either.  So, the process began.  I offered advice (as usual).  My suggestion when choosing between one or more options is “to wear it.”

“To wear it” means that on the first day of the week, I “put on” my first option.  Everything for that week lines up with that decision.  Where are you going to school?  Option #1.  Have you picked a college yet?  Yes!  Option #1.  Have you narrowed down your choice of schools?  Yes!  Option #1.  I orchestrate my entire response based on Option #1.  Everything that I contemplate for my future is based on Option #1, for one week.

And then comes week two.  And I change things up a bit.

For week #2:  Where are you going to school?  Option #2.  Have you picked a school yet?  Yep, Option #2.  I keep “living,” “wearing,” “supposing,” “concluding,” that Option #2 is the answer to everything that is involved in my decision.  Option #2 is my answer.

The goal is to see what fits.  Does it feel “heavy?”  Do I feel that this answer “weighs me down?”  Do I have peace with this answer?  I have learned that over time, I can get a sense of peace based on how I feel “yoked” to my answer.

If Option #1 feels heavy and cumbersome, then I take note.  If it feels “unfitting,” I take note.  For each week that I have made that determination, I look for the results.  How do I feel saying it out loud?  How does it feel as my future?  Do I feel peace when Option #1 is my answer?  If not, then I continue rotating my options until I feel peace.

Soon enough, I will be able to determine if my choices are a comfortable fit for me.  If not, I cast them off.  Each time I am wearing them, I am asking the Lord to yoke me with His best for me and my future.

You see, I’ve learned over time that He has a path for me (Jeremiah 33:11), but it’s my responsibility to search a matter out.  Proverbs 16:9 says, “God puts a plan in a man’s heart but He directs his steps.”  For me, I have discovered it’s best to “wear” a matter to see how it “fits.”   Once I’ve “worn” it long enough, I’ll know if it’s God’s best or not.

Thank God McKinley is open to wearing his options instead of just flipping a coin.  I’m looking forward to watching God’s best unfold for him, and the best part is that I don’t have to worry if he made the right choice.  Go God and CONGRATS High Point University. You are gaining a great kid!!!

Inner healing

 

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Sabbatismos!

If you’ve been around me for any amount of time, you’ll know that one of my favorite words is “katartismos.”  This Greek word comes out of Ephesians 4:12 and refers to “fitting together in proper order” (referring to gifts, etc. in the Body of Christ).

Another definition of this word (which is my personal favorite) is “a chiropractic adjustment in the Spirit.”  Many of you experienced this during our most recent retreat.  You will also experience it many times during your ongoing prayer ministry sessions.

Today, however, I would like to introduce you to my new favorite word!!! “Sabbatismos!”  (Ref. Hebrews 4:10.)

As you begin to familiarize yourself with me and this ministry, you’ll quickly recognize that one of my goals for you is to learn to rest in the Spirit of the Lord.  That has a two-fold meaning:  1. To live in a place of rest.  2.  To move, and live, and have your being in the Holy Spirit.

This week while reading Hebrews, I came across the word “Sabbatismos.”  Oh!  My word!!!  I can’t tell you how excited I was to now have a word that perfectly describes our goal.

“Sabbatismos” means “living in the Sabbath rest,” which is exactly what we should desire.  Most folks think the Sabbath is only relegated to a day, but in fact, it is a promised lifestyle for us as Christians!!!

Inner healing, sabbath rest, peace
Photo by Javardh at Unsplash

Ideally, we all should grow in our spiritual maturity to the degree that we are completely unaffected by our surroundings, our environment, and our circumstances.  We then can choose instead – and are able – to live in perfect Peace.  (Notice the capital letter that begins Peace – which means we live in the personhood of Peace, promised to us by the cross and blood of Christ, in the promises of the Word of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit).

So, if we know all of that and believe all of that, then we should aspire to live in it.  And that is one of the goals we have in this Journey.  Which brings us to the next point.

How do we choose to live in Sabbatismos?  First, we have to acknowledge that it is a promise of God.  Not only does He instruct us to “take a day of Sabbath” (one day a week), but He also offers us this every day.

For me to learn this process, He first showed me the importance of honoring a Sabbath day.  I realized the difference in my life with just that small shift in my heart and mind.

After I realized the incredible results that the Sabbath had on my life, I started trying to bring that into the other aspects of my life.

Then, I realized this is His desire for me – to live absolutely unaffected by the things in the world.  Ideally, nothing should steal my Peace.  Nothing should affect my ability to remain in Presence.

The second thing He introduced me to was to practice “centering prayer” or “contemplative prayer.”  (They are the same thing.)  This form of prayer requires you to sit quietly focusing on the Kingdom of God within you.

(You can download a centering prayer app to help you with this process.  It’s located under Health & Fitness in the Apple store and is offered free.  You can also read about centering prayer and other contemplative processes in Richard Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline.  I highly recommend reading that book as it offers many of the disciplines that I suggest for growing in this Peace journey.)

The process of centering prayer not only offers the Peace that is promised, but also it actually rewires your brain to peace.  I’ll teach on that a little later, but for now, just trust that any and all forms of prayer re-train your brain to return to the “Joy center” of your brain which is where peace and rest are for you.  I call this “coming back to peace” or “coming home.”

Once you recognize this place is accessible for you, then you can practice it and choose it anytime and anywhere.  Then you will become so familiar with it that you will not want to be anywhere but in perfect peace.

While you’re in traffic you can “decide” to go to peace.  When there is chaos in your environment, you can choose to go to peace.  Before long you will realize that you are living there without even consciously making a decision to do so.

Out of practicing a Sabbath and practicing prayer, you can choose to live in this place of rest (body, soul, and spirit) no matter where you are or what you are doing.  You just have to choose over and over to bring yourself back to peace.

I believe this is the promise of living in Sabbatismos!!!  And we are going to become residents of this promise!!!

 

“Still / Live at Peace on Earth” by Amanda Cook

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Questioning Everything

Inner healing, identity, and dark night of the soul
Photo by _Marion at Pixabay

Have you ever felt like one day you woke up and everything you believed was in question? I’m experiencing this right now but am quite sure I am not yet even fully awake. So, not only am I questioning all of the things that I have always “known” for sure, but I am also groggy from the process of getting here. It took a lot of upheaval to get me here.

About three years ago, after a series of very traumatic events, I found myself questioning everything I had ever believed. I questioned myself, my identity, my “calling,” my choices, my beliefs, my faith, and oftentimes, even God. All those things I had always felt so secure in suddenly weren’t. And, quite honestly, I didn’t know how to respond.

In my quest to stop the spinning (envision the little icon on your computer when it can’t settle), I felt like the only way I could get any peace was to be very still and quiet. Before long, quiet was the only thing I desired. I was completely raw inside and out. My brain felt foggy, my body lethargic, and my heart broken. I didn’t know how to get out of this experience.

Generally, when I have had a circumstance of upheaval in my life, whether emotional or spiritual, I would just read all of the books, articles, etc. on how to deal with it. This time I had no energy to read, and if I did attempt to read, I was unable to process information. I knew I needed help, so I reached out to a few friends that I trusted knew me enough to help me navigate this chasm of chaos.

I called on those friends to sit in the darkness with me. I didn’t want to be around anyone very often because I found that conversation was exhausting. However, I had been through depression before and just needed to make sure I was safe, still somewhat sane, and didn’t need professional help. “Taking my emotional pulse” kind of friends. I knew these folks wouldn’t discount me when I needed to rant, cuss, spit, and growl. They had no idea what they were in for. God bless them for persevering. I ranted, spat, cussed, and cried for a couple of years. They were enduring to say the least. Most importantly, they didn’t try to fix me. They just sat with me in my pain.

Sometimes we would sit at the barn with the horses, a stray cat, chickens, and a rooster that I’m sure needed deliverance. Or we would sit by the creek with a bottle of wine. Sometimes Susan would treat us to her homemade cookies and infamous chicken salad. They seemed to be completely content just sitting and listening. Wherever we were, no matter what we were doing or not doing, they seemed content to sit in my mess with me.

I called on another couple of friends to counsel me into or out of this experience that I began to think was a mid-life crisis. I didn’t really want to admit it, but that thought ran through my mind. I didn’t google what I was going through. I just knew it was pain. Deep emotional pain. And, quite honestly, I couldn’t remedy it with the things that had worked before: eating, drinking, art, good music, nature, etc. It just kept hanging on like a bad cold. It affected me like a bad cold too. No energy, stuffy headed, just wanted to rest and be quiet.

After a couple of prayer ministry sessions with friends of mine, I began to understand that what I was going through was called the Dark Night of the Soul. The dark night of the soul is just that – a place where your soul questions everything and the Teacher is quiet. The thing that stood out like a siren was the silence of the Lord. I had never gone for such a long time without hearing, being led by, or enjoying the Lord. Not only did I not hear Him or sense Him, but also I certainly didn’t feel His peace or presence. I thought He had abandoned me at my worst.

So, for three years, almost four now, I have been sitting, waiting, resting, arguing, growling, contemplating, wondering where the Lord is and what His intention is in allowing me to be in this place. I still don’t know. But what I do know is that I am not affected by dumb things as much as I used to be. I have way more sensitivities to the things that do matter. I am more at rest. More at peace. I have more tolerance for “stupid” (the one conclusion from the doctor out of my psych test when I went into ministry was that I had no tolerance for “stupid”). I was perplexed (and still am) as I had no idea I was supposed to tolerate “stupid.” Hey, I was just glad for documented evidence that I wasn’t crazy.

Inner healing, identity, and dark night of the soul
Photo by Comfreak at Pixabay

The dark night of the soul is the process of the Lord stripping you of the things that are really irrelevant regarding the issues of your heart. He wants to bring you out of any of the crutches you have depended on in your relationship with Him. He wants you to give up your faith and give up what works and what doesn’t work. He wants to tear down the falsehoods you believe about yourself, others, and mostly the falsehoods you believe about Him. Take you back to the beginning, so to speak, in your relationship with Him. No pretense, no knowledge, just the decision to walk alongside Him blindly without trying to figure things out. Pulling down all strongholds of belief about your religion, your denomination, your worship. He even took away my interest in reading and studying about Him. I just wanted to be still and quiet. And still do.

I understand that anybody who has asked that the Lord use them to any capacity will go through this, and I did ask that. I have always prayed that I wanted to serve Him more than anything. Now, in hindsight, I question what that means. And what did I commit to?

I used to love preaching more than ice cream. I haven’t been able to do that but a few times in the past couple of years. I have always loved leading a group of folks into their best spiritual selves, and He is restoring that opportunity. But I still long for the old days where I sensed Him, heard Him, and almost knew His will. Or did I?

Now I don’t know much of anything except that He desires that I live in this quiet, restful place even among others, amidst chaos, and even when I don’t feel like it. That’s His best. I am much more observant these days, and I watch folks buzzing around with miserable scowls on their faces. Then I think to myself – Is that what I look like? Is that how I affect my environment? If so, I don’t want to any longer. I want to bring peace and rest wherever I go. Most importantly, I want to love well.

I am in the process of recalibrating, trying to follow the Lord as best I can. I don’t know where I’m going or what I’m doing, but I have the best company (a couple of friends, good prayer ministers, a wonderful family, and a couple of dogs – we finally had to lay to rest the demonic rooster). And if I don’t hear Him, sense Him, or feel Him, I can trust that He works all things to good for those who are called according to His purpose. I’m called, and I have a purpose. For right now, I need to be okay with being still and in peace.

 

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Inner Healing Time

A guest post by Lisa Baumgarth …

My life plan was really unleashed at the Transformations retreat. I sat in session after session listening to women and one man being vulnerable, broken, authentic and open to healing.

I was in a session that broke off years of lies, inner vows, and a lifetime of walls that had protected my heart. A group of women repented on behalf of the church for how I had been hurt by the church, and then they washed my feet. Really, who are these women? They are God’s messengers into a broken world where our heartache, disappointment, inner vows, and generational sins keep us stuck when sometimes we have no idea why.

After the retreat, I was free – old patterns were destroyed and my relationship and intimacy with Jesus became the focus of my life. I was empowered, encouraged and wanted nothing more than to speak this truth, love and healing into others’ lives .

We are all broken, we are all trying to find love, peace and hope in this crazy world. This retreat set me on a path that I am walking each day now. Kerri and her team are truly amazing people, and the moment I met her, I thought, Now this is my tribe, and it is and has been these past seven months.

God is still in the miracle-working business, and many of our issues in life can only be healed by digging down deep – getting those roots out. The retreat is the place to do this – I felt loved, honored, safe, valuable and by the end I felt FREEDOM.

 

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Cobwebs

A guest post by Shannon Tormoen …

One peaceful morning on the retreat, I was having my quiet time down by the lake when something caught my immediate attention. I was looking towards the sun, and through the wooden beams around the deck I noticed cobwebs everywhere between each beam exposed by the sunlight. All the intricate lines and patterns were revealed creating their own specific detailed designs.

At first I was disgusted by the fact that it was cobwebs created by a spider, a creature to me to be feared and that represented evil. I wanted to demolish all the cobwebs to clean what I thought was dirty and destroying my experience and atmosphere on this placid lake that was so peaceful and calming. I then realized one thing that was missing in each cobweb: the spider that created it. The very thing that created this had vacated, but the remnants of its entwining traps were still firmly in place.

I then thought how magnificent they looked with the sunlight shining through them displaying like fine pieces of art. I had to capture it on my camera since I knew God was telling me something profound at that moment.

Inner healing retreat testimony
Photo by Shannon Tormoen

What started out to be a fascinating photo opportunity quickly morphed into a profound revelation from God. It was as though I was being transported back to the days Jesus walked on the earth and was teaching the disciples through a parable. The awesome truth was the God of the universe was speaking directly to me through His creation. He was explaining that the spider which was now gone represented the destroyer of our lives (satan) who comes into our lives creating a cobweb of torment, trauma, pain, dysfunction and destruction. No longer was the tormenter there, but the aftermath it created was completely still intact to the finest detail.

God showed me that when we look at somebody who appears to be dirty, messed up, hopeless, beyond repair that we tend to only look at the destruction on the surface. What we don’t realize is what series of many traumas, wounds and lies in their life created that web.

When Jesus is invited to come into our cobwebs of life and remove the spiders of destruction, His heavenly light can redeem and reflect a masterpiece for all to see and know that God can turn anyone’s mess into a message of hope, restoration and beauty. My eyes and heart have been opened to now see past the cobwebs in a person and look for the gold in them that the Lord wants to see shine.

*****

Shannon Tormoen is from Minnesota but left the cold for San Diego years ago. She is an avid outdoor lover of God’s creation and enjoys exploring new destinations to hike and mountain bike. She loves playing the guitar and singing in the worship band at her church. Her new passion now is helping people get freedom, healing and deliverance from a Christ-centered standpoint. “Freely I have received, now freely I will give.” Matthew 10:8

Inner healing

To learn more about our Transformation retreats, please visit Healing Retreats.

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Love Letters in Your Dreams

I love dreams. I love having them. I love interpreting them.

Most folks have dreams. Dreams are often crazy. Let me rephrase: Dreams often seem crazy. They are, in fact, created in amazing symbolism. Some folks think that in itself is crazy. But in case you haven’t noticed, God is crazy. I mean, come on, have you read His book?

Dreams are an extension of our conversations with God. I often think God gives me dreams at night because he can’t get enough of my attention during the day. (Not proud, but it’s probably true).

Inner Healing and Dream Interpretation
Photo by JR Korpa at Unsplash

This month, our tribe (The Journey) met together to go over dream interpretations. They each sent in their dreams, and they were asked to pray for interpretations for each other. I gave them some pointers to help them prepare. I would like to share these with you, so you can explore dream interpretation.

Rarely do we get the interpretation for our own dreams. God gives us interpretations for each other because He wants us to work in community.

Here are a few pointers when praying for an interpretation for a person’s dream:

1. Prayerfully read over the dream. Ask the Lord to show you anything that would be relevant before you work on symbolism. Look for “plays on words, dark speech, etc.”

Make note of anything that pops out during reading.

2. Take your dream materials (I recommend the book A to Z Dream Symbology Dictionary by Barbie Breathitt, and John Paul Jackson has some amazing resources also) and research all of the symbolism. Type it into your dream in a different color.

3. Now reread the dream with symbolism included. Ask the Lord to give any additional revelation. Try to recognize the tone/position of the dream regarding the dreamer. Symbolism has a negative and a positive slant. Try to follow the “perception” of the dreamer. For example: If the dreamer has a dream of cats, it’s important to note that the symbolism of a cat can be positive or negative, all depending on whether the dreamer is a cat fan or not.

4. Check for emotions/perspective from the dreamer. If you have any questions or need elaboration, call the dreamer for more info. It is always very helpful to talk to the dreamer so you can grasp their emotions, motives, etc. of the dream.

5. Pray again and ask God for the interpretation.

6. Write out the interpretation above the dream in story form. (Leave out specifics of symbolism, notes, etc.)

Present your interpretation to the dreamer, but the dreamer must have a revelatory response to the dream or you may not have the appropriate interpretation.

If the dreamer doesn’t resonate with your interpretation, that is okay. Just present the dream back to the dreamer to take before the Lord for His revelation in His timing. God may want this person pursuing Him for revelation instead of someone else doing the work for them. We very seldom are able to interpret our own dreams. But often, the Lord wants us all to Himself and desires that we pursue His heart for His nighttime love letters.

So, there you go. I hope that will help as you begin the amazing experience of interpreting dreams.

Interested in more experiences like this? Sign up for our e-newsletter to stay informed about our latest revelations, activities, retreats, and more.

God bless and keep dreaming!!!

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Lovers v. Fighters

Inner Healing and Identity
Photo by Allen Taylor on Unsplash

I am convinced that whatever our natural instinct is, God wants us to operate in the opposite. Take “lovers” vs “fighters” for example. If you know me, you would know I am a fighter. I’ve been fighting my whole life. History would support that I have been fighting since the day I was conceived. In fact, one definition of my name means “tenacious one, or persevering.” I have to “fight” not to fight.

For someone like me, fighting is natural. It comes easily. But if you’re a lover, fighting goes against every fiber of your being. (And for the sake of this article, the term “lover” isn’t the same as Mother Teresa, Jesus, or Gandhi. It is more a reflection of one who doesn’t stand up for himself or others.) Most lovers can’t muster up a fight for love nor money. You can’t even force a lover to fight. Lovers would rather walk away, cow down (good ole southern term), or even worse, decide to become a martyr. Some lovers finally get up the nerve to assert themselves but do so only passively. Passive fighting to me is cowardly, but that’s easy for me to say. I’m a fighter.

I’m learning as I grow older that whatever I can do in my natural strength is not what God wants. He wants me to trust Him. As a matter of fact, one of His names is Defender. Well, that’s not what I was taught my whole life. I didn’t know Him until I was around my late 30s, so I’ve got a lot of undoing to do. And 50-plus years of fighting isn’t easy to undo overnight. It takes work. Just like I hear it takes work for lovers not to “love.”

I have a lot of friends who are lovers. Exhaustingly so. They just want everyone to be happy at all costs – mostly at the cost of themselves. Most of them have been (or are being) used. Most of them are used up. It’s infuriating to watch. I want to just shake them and say, “Stand up for yourself.” They can’t; they are lovers. Or should I say, they can’t on their own. Which brings me back to my original thought: God wants us out of our comfort zones. Whatever comes naturally for us is the opposite of what He wants for us.

God wants lovers to become fighters and fighters to become lovers. He wants misogynists to become heroes and victims to become overcomers. It’s just the way He is. He wants to take every one of our natural strengths (or for lovers – weaknesses) and turn it around. He wants to empower us to be able to say, “I can’t, in my own strength, but I can, in Him.”

It’s so frustrating, until He defends a fighter who stood quietly. It’s frustrating until you see a lover stand and fight. It’s so cool to see a victim overcome. That’s one of the reasons He came: to set things right. He doesn’t want me to fight in my own strength. He wants to fight for me. He wants to win the battles I go through.

So, what do I get to do? He wants me to be a lover. Hardest thing for me. Kinda like a lover becoming a fighter … goes against every grain of their being. But, then again, that’s one of the many reasons He came to earth – to change the way I think … the way I am.

 

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Take Off the Masks and Find Your True Self

My name is Kerri Johnson. For the past 20+ years, I have searched for answers to my own struggles. My lifelong passion has been in pursuit of my true identity and the healing of body, soul, and spirit. Out of those studies, Transformations was birthed. Transformations is an interactive healing process and a catalyst for helping people come out of the lies they believe and into the fullness of truth and identity.

Unfortunately, many of us spend our entire lives trying to mask who we are. That’s what we are taught. We are taught that we should hide our scars and shortcomings to survive and thrive in this perfect world. Neither of those statements is true. We shouldn’t hide our hurt, and the world is far from perfect. To be authentic, we have to identify our pain, bring it forward, and offer it on the altar of life to be able to be free. Otherwise, pain is our autopilot in everything we are, do, and say.

Pain is a great teacher and has helped us to be molded into who we are today. Unfortunately, no one teaches us how to embrace our pain and allow it to be a directive of the truth of who we are. We often need help to acknowledge our identity and the lessons pain has taught us, and to embrace our testimonies of how we have overcome life. We have to take every circumstance that has come to us, acknowledge the best of it, and let go of the worst.

We can’t cloak ourselves in pain, bitterness, and lies and expect to live a healthy life. We have to take off those issues and come into vulnerability and acceptance of all of the issues of our life and how those circumstances have affected us. Freedom comes in stepping out of the lies and cover-ups. That is where we will find who we are truly meant to be.

inner healing, pain, and identity
Photo by Lars_Nissen_Photoart on Pixabay

With masks off, we are free to be exactly who God created us to be and we are fully accepted. No more secrets, nothing to hide – the good, the bad, and the ugly. When you have no secrets, there is no fear of being uncovered. Everything is out in the open, and it’s all good. You become an instrument of truth, and folks can’t deny truth. As you’ve always heard, “The truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

God created all of us with a plan and a purpose. With your help, He intends to see that plan and purpose come into fruition. He created us to satisfy His heart – just the way we are. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect. Far from it. But He does expect us to be willing: to be real, open, honest, and transparent, just like little kids.

Many of us spend a great deal of time doing life. We are living up to the measures of others in an atmosphere where the bar is constantly being raised. That is neither God’s best nor God’s plan for us. Instead, that plan is a diabolic initiative to destroy us and keep us consistently, miserably trying to become someone or striving for something that is not attainable. We have to say: Enough is enough.

We have to realize that we are enough simply because of who we are – bruises, warts, and freckles. We have to learn to accept ourselves and everything that has ever happened to us. We have survived and overcome. God wants to use our stories to help others live in truth. As our authentic selves, we are a unique tapestry of the events and stories we have lived, and in that, we are enough.

Inner healing, pain, and identity
Photo by Klimkin on Pixabay

Often, in the unveiling of our unique, authentic selves, we need someone to come alongside us and help us get back to who we were created to be, like children. Children have no problem walking into a room or relationship with their hearts wide open. As we grow, we start believing the lies about who we are.  Before long, we forget who we are. We forget how to live in freedom and fullness of a healed heart. Life drapes us in counterfeits and lies, so we often don’t know how to get back to that original self.

That’s where Transformations comes in. We can help you take off those masks and frauds and unveil your best self. Your true identity is the only place you will find peace, rest, and true joy. Otherwise, you are just like everyone else, walking around in your pretend world, masked and miserable.

So, if you are searching for your true identity and a tribe of wounded warriors, we are here, waiting to come alongside you in this pursuit of non-perfected, real, authentic testimonies and messages of hearts healed. Join us on this great adventure. You won’t regret it.

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Who’s Afraid of Death?

A guest post by Janet Eriksson …

You don’t realize how long you’ve been holding your breath until you finally start to breathe. I am living now in a depth of peace – mentally, physically, spiritually – that I’ve never experienced before. Everything is different. I’m not making it happen. It just “is.”

It started three days ago. I knew my prayer ministry session would be big by how stirred up I felt. I was almost resistant. The last time I felt that way was the breakthrough that saved my life from cancer 11 years ago, when I repented of “death wish.” So I knew this would be big. But I couldn’t have imagined what was coming.

In prayer ministry, we start with the fruit (what we’re struggling with in our life) and ask the Holy Spirit to show us the root (where that struggle first started). We invite Jesus in to heal it at the root.

My fruit was that no matter how much I try to stay in peace, I can’t. I practice contemplative prayer. I have learned how to respond and not react (for the most part). I listen to worship music when I am stressed. I’ve had trauma prayed off me so many times. These have all brought deep and lasting changes in my life. But I can’t quite stay in peace.

Last week, I nearly had a meltdown over a circumstance beyond my control. I kept asking God to keep me in peace. I ended up in fetal position on the couch with a pillow over my head, sobbing, “I can’t do this, God.”

That’s the fruit I presented to my prayer minister, along with a question for God: “Why do I always fly off the handle?”

All my life, I’ve had hair-trigger emotions. My dad used to lovingly call me Sarah Bernhardt. My meltdowns could go from zero to 80 in two seconds. Through inner healing, I have come a long way from that level of reaction. But I still struggle to hold my peace when something comes at me. “Why, God?”

We went into prayer. God is very visual in how He communicates with me, so it’s almost like being in a movie. As my prayer minister prayed, I could see myself as a baby in the womb. Hands and feet were flailing. My prayer minister asked what emotion I felt. “So frustrated.”

The scene shifted, and I was a kid in elementary school on the playground. So much chaos. As a kid, I hated recess. All the kids were bigger than me – running wild, jumping, screaming. I just wanted to hunker down. The first time I enjoyed recess was when I got into sixth grade and found a group of friends who sat under a tree listening to music.

In that chaotic playground scene, I noticed a man standing behind the fence, staring at me. I knew immediately it was a demonic spirit. It was clear it had a right to be there and wasn’t going anywhere.

My prayer minister invited Jesus into the scene. My perspective shifted, and I was curled up like a newborn. I’ve had glimpses of this scene before but never knew why. I believe it was the Lord preparing me for this moment. I saw myself in the hospital delivery room lying on a scale where they weighed me as a newborn. The doctor was concerned at my frailty and weakness, and he spoke what seemed like a death sentence over me.

My mother had a high-risk pregnancy (for that era). I was small and physically weak, and the doctors worried I would not respond well to life. They spoke their doubts, concerns, and limitations over me. I absorbed all of that into my little being. I felt like I was sentenced to respond to how they saw me. I was born with a compromised immune system, had trouble getting nourished, was sick all the time, and had trouble recovering from illness. I remember always being frustrated (there’s that emotion again) because I wanted to do what my body wouldn’t let me do.

Later I came to realize that a curse of premature death and spirit of death had come down both sides of my family line. Hence, my flailing in the womb. Death was trying to knit itself into me from the moment of conception. Unfortunately, as a little one, I allowed that spirit of death to torment me. I gave the doctors power and authority (above God) to speak life or death over me. I believed their words instead of God’s – the God who made me and gave me life!

No wonder I’ve never known the feeling of true rest. I’ve always felt like “I won’t make it.” As a child, I shied away from activities that would have grown my physical strength because I was afraid those things would hurt me. I didn’t “choose life.”

Of course, I judged them all – my mom, the doctors, and even God for making me so weak. In reality, God did not make me weak. He made me little and super sensitive for His own delight! It was that mean old spirit of death – and my agreement with it – that made me weak.

As I watched that scene unfold of me as a newborn on the scale, with the doctor hovering over me, I realized the doctor was holding a clipboard, and he scratched my name out of the book of life. (Keep in mind, this is all symbolic. The Lord gave me that vision so I could “see” what happened spiritually. My mom’s doctor didn’t actually do that, but the enemy used the doctor’s words spoken over me to convince me that I did not have life.)

The Lord showed me three spirits had teamed up – the spirit of fear (I was always afraid of death and scared to fully experience life), the spirit of jealousy (“God, why didn’t You make me strong and healthy like the other babies?”), and of course the spirit of death. These critters are all part of “the enemy.” Demons get assignments just like angels do, and this bad bunch was assigned to thwart God’s plans for me.

The spirit of death was by far the strongest. I had given that spirit power over my life. My words say, “Jesus has conquered death,” but my heart has always believed the lie that Jesus isn’t more powerful than death. (In case you were wondering, that’s a sin.) In my heart, Jesus always pales in comparison to the power of death. That’s a bad place to be – a place of no peace and rest.

In my prayer vision, with me as a newborn in the delivery room, the spirit of death sunk its claws into my head. It said, “She is mine.”

My prayer minister said, “Janet, would you like Jesus to come into this place with you?”

“Yes, please.”

In a split second, in my spirit, I heard the music from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The door to the delivery room flew open with a loud crash. Jesus came in! He walked straight over to the spirit of death and punched it in the face. Sent it reeling. The spirit fell to the floor, and Jesus pinned it with His foot.

Jesus said, “She is Mine.”

Jesus looked around the delivery room. The spirit of fear and the spirit of jealousy were cowering behind a crib. Jesus looked at them and said, “Any questions?” Those other spirits left the room.

Jesus looked at me and, never taking His gaze off me, He took the clipboard from the doctor and erased the marks where my name had been scratched out of the book of life. Jesus blew on the eraser dust, smoothed the page, drew a beautiful design around my name, and smiled.

The spirit of death was still in the room, pinned under Jesus’ foot. I knew I had to repent for allowing that spirit to control my life. I repented, and the critter shrank to the size of a cotton ball. Jesus picked it up in His hand, set fire to it, and the thing burned into a pile of ash.

The pile of ash did not disappear, so I knew something else had to be done. My prayer minister asked God what was left to do. Jesus told me, “You always turn your head and look away from death because you are afraid and you can’t deal. Come and look at death in my hand and you will see who I am.”

I moved closer and looked straight at the pile of ash in Jesus’ hand. I repented of always hiding from death, and for my lifelong fear of death. Before my eyes, the ash shriveled up, disintegrated, and was gone.

I repented for judging the doctors, my mom, and God. I gladly accepted the life God intended for me to have all along.

Where death had tried to weave itself into my life, Jesus’ untangled and renewed me. My prayer minister asked the Holy Spirit to fill me with His Spirit of Life. I felt a surge pumping through my physical arteries. It was the breath of life God had breathed into me at conception that I had never allowed myself to experience.

All this took place spiritually in the “delivery room” (I was delivered!).

In the next hour after the session, I experienced an immediate drop in the high blood pressure I had been struggling with. I chose (and desired) to eat healthy food for dinner instead of the “bad for me” food I always crave.

Immediately after the session, I received an invitation from a client to bid on a freelance project. I’ve had a long habit of bidding too low on projects and undervaluing myself. This time, without hesitation, I bid twice as high. There was nothing in me that would have allowed me to lower my bid. If the client rejected my offer, I would have stood firm, just as I did with three other conditions of the project. Without argument, the client hired me.

I asked God what had changed. He showed me that since I was no longer choosing to align with death, I was free to earn a “living.”

Fear of death had always been strongest for me at night in my bedroom. Because of soundproofing issues, I had moved my computer into the bedroom for my session. So the whole thing took place in the very space where the enemy had tormented me. That night when I went to sleep, I felt a peace I had never known.

Two days later, I encountered another moment of frustration like the one that began my session. This time, I was immediately able to step away from it, re-center myself in peace, and let the Holy Spirit resolve the situation. I love how God often gives us a “before” and “after” so we can see the changes from our healing.

Since that time, I am walking in a deeper place of peace. My insides have changed. I feel like my very DNA has been cleaned up, recalibrated, and restored to life. I can’t wait to see what Jesus will do next along this journey of healing.

*****

Janet Eriksson is a prayer minister, writer, editor, and teacher in Dahlonega, Georgia. She loves conversation with friends, front porch swings, sweet tea, and spending time on lakes and rivers. The author of five books and editor of many more, Janet blogs and teaches online at https://adventureswithgod.blog/.

 

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