Growing up, I experienced physical, mental, sexual, and religious abuse. Those wounds, in addition to the guilt of my sins, weighed heavily on me. The burden needed to come off. So many times throughout my life I cried out to God. Thoughts ran through my head:
God, where are you?
You said that I am loved, but it’s so dark here with nothing to hold on to.
I am scared and angry.
When my friend asked me to join her in Empower, all that changed. I longed for God’s goodness and mercy. But through those dark times all I could feel was emptiness, loneliness, and that all those promises were too good to be true for me. I was too far gone for Jesus’ love to reach me. Or so I thought.
During Wanda’s class on Spiritual Formation, when she asked for a volunteer to receive prayer, I jumped! I planned to ask to be more loving towards my husband, but when I got up there, the words: “I would like to be able to forgive the one who molested me when I was 14” flew out of my mouth. Oh no! What had I done?
But once I was able to declare it, God’s healing and restoration began.
Although not instantaneous, issues started to peel away like an onion, slowly. It was not until I soaked in His waterfall-like love that I started loving myself. I realized that God never failed me. When I removed my masks, I allowed myself to be seen by God for who I really was.
God already saw me and knew exactly who I was; but He was waiting for me to come to Him, give Him access, quiet myself, rid of all my pride, get to the root of my sins, and finally see myself the way He sees me: as His child, deeply loved!
I am so loved that the God of the universe would have given His life for me, even if I were the only person on this planet! As Rob Reimer says, “I am free from the prison of sin. I am free from the prison of my past failures. I am free from the prison of hate. Jesus paid the price for my redemption, and He stamped across my soul with His blood-stained ink: REDEEMED!”
I then received prayer ministry with the Empower team to assist me in forgiving others and accessing every painful memory the Holy Spirit recalled and wanted to heal. Through the tears and pain, I was told to look for Jesus. And to my surprise, He was always there!
While I strived to forgive, it felt like two sides inside me were at war. I heard the Holy Spirit inviting me to freedom. I eventually couldn’t take it anymore. I put my hands up and exclaimed: “Fine, have it Your way! I forgive, I forgive! You win! Are you happy now?” Little did I know that I would be happy as well. While fear was trying to hold on to me, the restorative radical forgiveness enabled me to look back at those memories, and not hurt anymore. Now, I smile looking at the scars, and imagine with expectancy numerous ways for me to help those with the same wounds!
I am a different person now that I took Empower: my fears are replaced by faith, fakeness is replaced by truth, darkness is replaced by light, emptiness is now filled with love, tears are replaced by joy, anger is transformed into compassion, and pain has changed into purpose.