Thursday, May 22, 2014

Why Healing?

There are numerous callings and ways to serve the Body of Christ. Healing is just one of the many gifts God gives to people, yet it is the one I feel the most passionate about for very personal reasons.

When I became a believer in Jesus, I was only 16 years old, yet another twenty years would pass before I would ever know that the Lord actually loved me, and how He showed me was through the healing of my body, emotions, and my spirit.

I grew up with plenty of people in my life saying the words, "I love you." But promises were not kept. Hugs were not given. Birthdays were not celebrated. After awhile, the words became meaningless, so I stopped expecting them to do anything for me. When I became a Christian I responded the same way when people often told me, "Jesus loves you." I didn't care. True as it was, the words never changed the way I felt. And I was miserable. Day in and day out.

But one day I was at a healing prayer conference where I showed up with a wrist brace because I had tendonitis which was so painful that just moving a finger made me cry out--and this had been going on for about six weeks. But I stood in a prayer line with the rest of the attendees, received prayer from the conference speaker, and less than a day later, I was pain and wrist brace free.

Rather than just speaking words, Jesus took action on my behalf to heal my pain and because He did, I finally knew in my heart He loved me.

I didn't receive the Lord's love all at once, and many times since that day, I've continued to struggle with my self-esteem. Now and then I still question the Lord's love for me, but when I look back on all that has changed: a seventy pound weight loss, the healing of hypothyroidism, the healing of a torn rotator cuff (without surgery), the formation of friendships, emotional healing, a release from the most damning symptoms of autism, and other things I have written about, I see so much of what God has DONE on my behalf, I can't help but know that yes, My Father in Heaven does indeed love me.

And that is what I want for so many Christians out there. So many of you are walking around in agony working and volunteering in churches and doing so because you feel like it's the right thing to do! I am saved so I must serve! But you serve with a broken heart and spirit having NO idea that the Lord desires you to be whole and can make you that way. I don't want people just to get saved so they can get into Heaven one day and live in misery until then. Jesus loves you all. And there's no better way to know that than to be touched by Him--to be set free from lifelong pain, whether it is emotional or physical. He died in order to heal. In order to set the captives free. This is His great gift to you. The question is, will you accept it?

Peace be with you. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Love, Community, & Autism

Well, time flies! It has been about eight months since my last blog entry was posted. I did not really intend to be quiet for so long, but have you ever noticed that sometimes being quiet is exactly what the doctor ordered? Reflection is good, and we can draw strength from it if we are patient during the process. 

To bring you up to speed, I am still on my healing journey. For me, the biggest challenge to wholeness has been both trying and wanting to live in community and fellowship with other Christians. In other words, I had long been content with just sitting at home reading my Bible and praying, feeling like I was doing enough for God.

But...I learned that it's nearly impossible to read the Bible and not see that it's not a rule book, but rather it's a book of stories. About people. About people who came together to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the share the message of salvation, and to continue the work of Jesus--which was mainly to heal the sick, preach the gospel, and to cast out demons. And on occasion, to raise a dead person or two. And the reason we do that today is to demonstrate God's love to the world. People are healed when the love of Jesus Christ transforms their hearts. 

The truth is, there's no way to do this--to go out and minister to others as Jesus did--alone. Not even Jesus ministered alone! Additionally, I began to realize that church is not a place where I go to expressly receive a blessing from God. Nor is it a place to go where I want to hear good music. Church is where we, as the Body, gather together, and we worship, corporately, the Lord. In other words, we give something back to Jesus as a family. We take communion (which is healing, too), and we remember the body that was broken and the blood that was shed for us. Together. 

So, after much praying, the Lord led me to a little Anglican church here in Jacksonville where I fit right in. I was accepted right from the start. I joined a small group, I usher, and I was even sponsored to attend the Anglican 4th Day Weekend retreat where my new found cognitive flexibility was supremely put to the test! (For those of you not familiar with the weekend, it's like camp, and for four solid days our lives are in the hands of others who tell the attendees what to do every waking moment. They even drag people out of bed before the sun comes up!). But the weekend was wonderful, and I was in awe that not only did I tolerate being with people for a straight 96 hours, but that I actually loved the experience and bonded with many of the ladies also in attendance! 

Basically I am learning in this phase of my life that it truly is better to give than to receive. I'm not out there setting the world on fire, but my heart is being changed from the inside out. I am learning how to love. And to me, there is no better healing.