Days Five and Six: And She Laughed to Herself

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*Read about Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4 of my Holy Yoga Retreat and healing from infertility.*

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After a night of confession and making amends with my Jesus, I was exhausted yet vibrant. There is something special about knowing WHOSE I am. For the first time I felt like my identity was completely based on who He is and who I am in relation to him. I am His.

I walked out of the Holy Embers’ cabin by myself that morning. Some Embers had already left, and some remained behind, and I was anxious to meet with my Jesus at Bible Study. I opened the door and stepped into the cool mountain air and without even thinking about it I took in a deep breath and loudly exclaimed, “OH! What a beautiful morning!” Just as I made my exclamation three women walked by. I instantly realized that I had made this exclamation aloud (normally I keep these excited thoughts to myself for fear of looking like a fool), but before I could even begin to feel foolish one of the women spoke to me, “Wow, I literally felt your joy. You are Radiant.”

I stood there baffled, with a goofy grin on my face. She didn’t know me at all, and yet she knew me, the real me, the name that God gave me, my true nature when I was completely secure in being His. Apparently, when I know WHOSE I am, who I am just oozes out! Sweeeeeeet.

The day continued on and when 11:30am rolled around and I still hadn’t shed a tear (or felt the need to), I thought, “finally, God has finished His work in me for now. I am done crying for the remainder of the retreat! I can rest easy in his acceptance, love, and forgiveness.”

And then Brooke led her power yoga class. I thought I was safe from tears in power yoga. Power yoga is like dancing for me. There is something about the movements that makes me feel like I am fully expressing myself: It is bliss, pure joy, acceptance, and FUN!

It was beautiful when my flow was so in sync with the flow of one of my Holy Ember Sisters. My modified forearm planks and dolphins, instead of high planks and down dogs, didn’t slow me down. Our breath matched and our movements followed our breath. My modifications didn’t keep me from fully expressing myself. There was no competition (probably for the first time ever in my life), it was just an expression of sisterhood. It was amazing.

Then Brooke said the dreaded words, “make your way into horse stance.” Fear gripped me. Horse stance, or as I liked to refer to it, goddess pose, was one of the hardest poses for me.

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This is the pose except your heels are on the ground

I could never stay in the pose for more than a couple breaths, and those couple breaths were agony. I never understood why this pose was agony, and I knew that poses that were hard for me were the ones I should practice more, but this pose stirred something up in me that I couldn’t handle. I have always had a deep desire to express this pose because of its symbolism of feminine power and fertility. I would do this pose with the intent to claim my feminine power and fertility, only to get two breaths in and feel completely powerless, worthless, and infertile. I would try to push through to five breaths, but I often felt like I was suffocating, and my whole body was shaking, even though I knew my muscles were strong enough.

So when Brooke said, “make your way into horse stance (or maybe she said victory pose…either way it’s all the same thing)” I literally started to shake with fear. I made my way into the pose and took deep breaths. This time I didn’t try to tap into my own power, I had never been able to fully express the pose through my own feminine power. This time I called upon God my Father.

I wish I could fully express this experience; it was beyond anything I had ever experienced before in my life. I stood there in Goddess pose for what seemed like hours, in reality it was around 2-3 minutes. By 5 breaths in I was shaking. By the tenth breath I was sobbing (so much for not crying…).

“God, I’m done, I need to come out of this.”

“Stay here with me.”

“I can’t, it’s too hard”

“Trust me.”

“Ok. I trust you.”

God started to bring me through my past. We started with my high school promiscuity and made our way all the way back to my childhood sexual abuse. With each memory I felt like God was scraping out scar tissue from my hips. Each memory was deeper than the last and there were so many times I wanted to stop. I was sobbing uncontrollably, and every couple memories I would say, “God, Daddy, Papa, can we stop now?” and He would say, “what do you want?” and I would say, “I want to be healed” and he would say, “stay with me, you’re doing great, I’m almost done, I love you.” Finally, we made it to the last memory, which was actually the very first memory I had of sexual shame. I was back in that basement. I could feel the damp air and smell the musty aroma. I wanted to run, but God said, “Trust me, stay here.” I felt him scraping out the final remains of my shame. But these ones had the deepest roots. The pain was beyond anything I have ever experienced. It wasn’t all physical pain, I didn’t at any point feel like I was injuring myself. It was hard physically, but it was the emotional and spiritual pain that had me sobbing. I felt like I was simultaneously surrendering and willing, strengthening and softening, sacrificing and receiving. Every time God removed a scar I felt lighter emotionally, but somehow the next scar was more emotionally heavy than the one before it. With each removed scar I felt stronger and closer to God and yet I was more aware of how desperately I needed my heavenly father. And just when I thought I was going to die in agony the memories stopped.

I started to come out of the pose when I heard Brooke say, “Just one more minute here and this time with joy hands.”

“God, I can’t! I’m exhausted.”

“I know my Radiant one, but I want you to feel this without the weight of your shame. Do this pose with joy, will you come meet me?”

“Yes.”

I hunkered back down into those hips of mine; those feminine, God-powered, fertile hips of mine, and with my hands moving in front of my heart like a water-wheel being moved by a river of joy springing forth from my heart I claimed the joy of the Lord. I laughed and cried, I raised my hands in praises to the Father that removed my shame, literally removed my shame from my hips. At the end of it I made my way into child’s pose.

Once again I was a face to face with a pose I struggled with. I could sit in child’s pose for far long, but after a minute or so of this pose I always started to feel clostrophobic, panicky, and like I was suffocating. The rest of the class moved on to the next part of the flow, but God said to me, “Stay here with Me.”

And I said, “ok.”

My breath became short as my stomach pressed firmly into the tops of my thighs with every shakey inhale. The tears began to pour out once more.

“God, are you here?”


“I Am.”

Once again God brought me back through every sexual shame I had, but this time He reminded me of the feeling I had of holding onto His hand and being held by Him during each memory.
“God, I know you where there, I felt you, I didn’t realize it at the time, but I do now. “

I continued to cry and feel anxious. I continued to try and catch my breath. I felt like a child who has just fallen down and although the pain is gone, the emotional shock still lingers on.

“God, I need to feel you now. I need comfort. I want to feel your hand rubbing my back as if I’m a child crying in your arms.”

“You are a child crying in my arms.”

And as He spoke those words I felt hands on my back. I felt peace drench me. My breathing slowed, my anxiety fled, and I rested in his arms. I’m not sure who answered God’s call and laid their hands on me, but their prayers and touch were of God.

When the power class came to a close my Holy Ember Sisters asked me if I was ok. I told them I was, and I tried to explain that my cries were in pain, but not of a completely physical nature. And when I said, “it was a pain of…of…release.” I once again began to cry (I know, I know…I’m so sick of crying too…) and my sisters ran to me and we all hugged and cried together. It was beyond what I can even explain.

*Here is a super short video of retreat, at minute 1:02 you can see the joy hands!*

That evening I declared to my group that, “I will no longer believe the lie that I am abandoned and barren.”

The next day my small group leader anointed me with Frankincense and just the first part of the verse from Genesis 18:12a “and Sarah laughed to herself…”

She then said, “Go fort and BE FRUITFUL” Once again I cried…and then….

…I laughed.

*If you want to watch the video it’s here…you don’t have to, it may make some people uncomfortable, but you know what? That’s me…this video is a very real portrayal of me. I cry and I laugh.

I laughed because it seemed impossible that I was healed, but I know I am. I laughed because I know my baby is coming soon (could it be within the year like Sarah?). I laughed because I was not alone in my belief. I laughed because I was filled with the joy of the Lord and His promise. I laughed because here I was on the very last day of retreat and I was still crying and why not? God is so good! I can cry because of His goodness.

I have been healed in body, mind, and spirit. Hallelujah! Praise my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I am healed! (side note: I am not pregnant….yet!)

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Day Four: Save Yourself

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If you haven’t been keeping up with how God was healing me from my past abuse and my current infertility, check out Day 1, Day 2,and Day 3.

By day four of my Holy Yoga training retreat, I truly believed God was done with me for the week. I thought I had cried all I could cry and realized all the revelations He had for me at that time. So when we had our evening bible study on the topic of forgiveness, I smugly sat back and relaxed. I knew I wasn’t perfect, but God had been working on my abuse and infertility and I wanted to stay in that realm. I didn’t cause my abuse and I didn’t cause my infertility, so I didn’t have anything to apologize for. I didn’t want to go jumping around in my past just to find something to apologize for and then get distracted from what God had me focusing on.

I listened, but I didn’t relate it to myself at the moment. I appreciated the message, but I didn’t quite take it in. And then we were sent out into the night and told, “you’ll know what to do, and you’ll know when to come back.”

Ummmmmmm….ok.

I walked out into the dark night along with everyone else. The lights of the camp had been completely shut off. Even the moon was dark because it was a new moon. The only light was from the stars, and there were billions!!! Billions and Billions! I walked into the field and laid on my back in the grass. I wanted to see as much sky as I could. I wanted to take it all in.

“My God is so great and amazing! He created all of this! Did He create stars just so we could enjoy them? I may never know, but I’m enjoying them now.”

And then I remembered something I had read in Genesis 15 years ago:

The Lord’s Covenant With Abram

 After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:

“Do not be afraid, Abram.
    I am your shield,[a]
    your very great reward.[b]

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit[c] my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring[d] be.”

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

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I remembered the covenant God made with Abram years before Sarai bore their son, Isaac. It reminded me of the covenant God had made with me almost 6 years ago.

f4af9f2cd938aadb84b50bbfe60e9d7fPsalm 113:9 “He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD.”

As a laid there in the grass gazing at the stars that represented Abram’s descendants, I thought of how faithful God was to Abram and Sarai. I thought of how faithful He had been to me. And then it struck me, God had been faithful, but I had not. God had given me a promise and I heard it but I didn’t believe Him when the promise seemed out of my control. And when I was no longer in control, I would run from my Lord’s path and try to make it happen out of my own power. Although, unlike Sarah, I did not send my servant into my husband’s tent so He could impregnate her. BUT, I did try to manipulate my situation as much as possible and prove to God that I was worthy of children. I was spending each day trying to prove that I was ready for His promise. I wanted to decide the timing, just like Sarah.

I was suddenly aware of all the people surrounding me in the field. There were sobs and sniffles. I could feel the apologies of others surrounding me. I could feel their grief and sorrow being recognized and confessed. And then I was writing. I couldn’t see but I was writing:

“My Darling Father,

I’m sorry for not seeing you. I’ve been ignoring you. I have abandoned you. Everything I thought you did to me I was doing to you. Jesus, forgive me. I am so sorry. I was caught up in my own wounds and I didn’t even recognize yours, your saving wounds. Thank you for your forgiveness and your safety. I love you.”

I couldn’t believe it, this whole time I was mad at God when I was the one doing the offending! I was so focused on my own hurts and wounds that I couldn’t even recognize His. At least doubting Thomas placed his hands in Jesus’ wounds and recognized them. I was so caught up in my own pain, searching all the corners of my own wounds, that I didn’t even realize if I touched Jesus’ wounds, mine would go away. He kept saying, “come to me, place your hand in my side” and I kept saying, “Jesus, you don’t understand, I am so hurt.” And He would say, “come to me and you will no longer be hurt” and I would say, “I’m hurt, you should come to me!”

DUDE! I just realized this…I am the criminal on the cross next to Him. Not the “good” one either. I’m the criminal that was dying next to Jesus and was still an asshole!

Luke 23:39

“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’”

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I’m kind of an entitled brat…I’ll just blame it on my parents like the rest of the millennials…Just kidding mom and dad!

But the cool thing was that I had no doubt in my mind that God forgave me. He listened to me confess, but even before I was finished confessing I felt His love and forgiveness wash over me. I felt clean; squeaky clean. I lay in the grass and watched the stars and felt like a star myself. God didn’t even hesitate to forgive me. He didn’t even make me sit in my grief. I confessed and He forgave, just like that.

For The Cross

The life You gave

Your body was broken

Your love poured out

You bled and You died for me

There on that cross

You breathed Your last as you were crucified

You gave it all for me

 

Hallelujah, what a Savior

Hallelujah, what a friend

Hallelujah, King forever

We thank You for the cross

 

There in the ground

Sealed in the darkness

Lifeless laid

The frame of the Father’s son

In agony

He watched His only Son be sacrificed

He gave it all for me

 

But on that day

What seemed as the darkest hour

A violent hope

Broke through and shook the ground

And as You rose

The Light of all the world was magnified

And You rose in victory

 

Hallelujah, it is finished

Hallelujah, it is done

Hallelujah King forever

We thank you for the cross

 

And though our sins are scarlet

You have made us white as snow

 

Ok, now I had definitely experienced everything Christ had planned for me…but once again I was wrong. Keep and eye out for my next post to hear how God physically healed me!

 

Day Three: I am Healed

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(You can find Day One here and Day two here.)

I woke up convicted. But I was still scared. Trusting God with the most intimate details of my life was still very new to me. I mean, come on, I grew up thinking He abandoned me and ignored my cries for Him during my time of abuse. It had been less than two days since I found out He was actually with me during those abuse filled sleepovers. I believed Him… but my infertility…I didn’t know if I was ready to trust Him with that too. I mean, I had been trying to trust Him with that, but the real problem was that I didn’t believe He actually heard me when I cried to Him. I have cried to Him for nearly 7 years and nothing changed, He couldn’t have heard me, or if He did, He ignored me.

I didn’t really believe He ignored me, it didn’t match up with His character and nature, but He wasn’t defending Himself or denying it, and my feelings (which have often led me astray before) were so strong and stuck in abandonment mode. How could my mind know He has heard my cries and my heart still feel abandoned and ignored? I was a bundle of confusion.

Once again, I groggily made my way into our morning worship, bible study, and meditation time, and was instantly enveloped in a song:

Let the King of my heart

be the mountain where I run

The Fountain I drink from

Oh He is my Song

Let the King of my heart

be the shadow where I hide

the ransom for my life

Oh He is my Song

You are good

good

ohhh

Let the King of my heart

be the wind inside my sails

The anchor in the waves

Oh He is my Song

Let the King of my heart

Be the fire inside my veins

the echo of my days

Oh He is my Song

You are good

good

ohhh

You’re never gonna let me down

You’re never gonna let me down

I felt like my mind was singing to my heart, “come on heart, let Him be king, let Him protect you, ground you, bring life to you!” And with each, “You are good, good, ooooh. You are good, you’re good, ooooh” I felt His goodness wash over me. With my right hand on my heart and my left hand in the sky I praised my Jesus. I believed in His goodness and I FELT His goodness. And then… “you’re never gonna let, never gonna let me down, you’re never gonna let, never gonna let me down.” And I sang it, and I professed it, and I believed it, and once again the front of my shirt was covered in tears and snot and this time it wasn’t even 7am.

 

And God didn’t just leave it there. In meditation we were shown a picture full of word phrases that stated what we are to God. We were instructed to look at the phrases and then meditate on the one that stood out to us.

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“I am…not abandoned (Lam 3:31)”

 

“Ok God, I get it. You ARE good, and I am NOT abandoned, so I can trust You when you tell me to have the Holy Embers pray over me. But I need Your help, I’m scared to ask. I feel silly, or like I’m trying to get all this special attention. I need You to help me.”

 

No sooner had I sat down to breakfast, then one of the Holy Embers sat next to me and said, “Ok, tell me if I’m just letting my character defects get in the way, or if this is a God thing…if this isn’t a God thing just tell me to shup up…”

 

“Ok…” I replied

 

She said, “I think I heard God speak to me this morning during meditation. I think he wants all of us to pray over you.”

 

I laughed, “that is totally a God thing!” and I told my Holy Ember sisters all about what God had been telling me. And they all decided, that at some point that day they would lay hands on me and pray for my healing.

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But there was one thing I was still confused about. God told me I was healed, so why did I need prayer for healing? It didn’t make sense to me, but what I had been learning is not to run from those questions, but to ask God face to face. So I asked Him and then I waited for an answer.

 

I didn’t wait long. Ten minutes before lunch I laid in savasana during Jonnie’s Holy Yoga Slow Flow class. Right hand on my heart and left hand in the sky, I sang along to “I am Healed” by River Valley Worship:

Lord I am desperate for your power

 I need a miracle

Lord I am desperate for your touch

I need your miracle

heaven’s floor is shaking

healing rain is falling

and I am healed

I know I am

for my God

says I am

come what may

my faith will stand

I am healed I know I am

You are speaking, faith is rising

I need a miracle

Christ my healer, the work is done

I have my miracle

I am healed, I know I am

for my God says I am

come what may, my faith will stand

I am healed

I know I am

I know I am

‘cause you say I am

sickness you have no power here,

darkness you have no power here,

chaos you have no power here,

in Jesus name

sickness you have no power here,

darkness you have no power here,

chaos you have no power here,

in Jesus name

I am healed, I know I am

for my God

He says I am

come what may, my faith will stand

I am healed, I know I am

I am healed, I know I am

for my God says I am

come what may, my faith will stand

I am healed, I know I am

 

While I sang, I felt God’s presence. Once again I was sobbing (oh my God, was I ever going to make it through one class without crying?) and I felt God’s assurance. I knew I was healed, I believed I was healed, but God wanted me to claim it. He didn’t want me to forget reality and go back to living in the lies, and that was where the 7 other Holy Embers came in!

After lunch, the Holy Embers had small group time. I sat there half listening to our leader (sorry Dianne!) and wondering when we were going to get the time to pray. Our days were so packed full of yoga, anatomy classes, and posture breakdowns, that I feared we wouldn’t have time. Just then Dianne, our leader, confessed that she had to leave small group time early to shoot a Holy Yoga TV class. Once again, God came through, and provided us with the time we needed to do His work.

 

It felt weird at first. We were outside and the grounds were peppered with other small groups. I sat in a chair while the other ladies circled around me. I then asked what God wanted me to ask, “can you guys lay hands on my belly?” without hesitation, my dear sisters placed their hands on my belly and began to pray. It was amazing to hear their prayers, to feel their belief in the goodness of God, and to claim alongside them the healing that we all already knew had happened. Some of them thanked God for the child I would bear, some of them prayed for my strength in times of doubt, some of them oozed with pure joy at the promise that I would be a mom, but we all claimed the healing, claimed my fertility, claimed the promise, in Jesus’ name. It was amazing. That was why God wanted me to be prayed over. Not because their prayers healed me, no, God had already accomplished that, but so that in my times of doubt (which I have often) I would have seven sisters to remind me of the truth. Isn’t seven a holy number?

Already, I have had to rely on them to remind me (two days ago actually…), and they did. With flying colors they reminded me.

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Sickness, you have no power here.

Darkness, you have no power here.

Chaos, you have no power here.

In Jesus’ name.

I am healed, I know I am, ‘cause my God says I am.

 

Oh, btw, there is still more! I know right?

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Day Two: Put Off Your Old Self

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*Random Fact* It was not a coincidence that Holy Yoga was selling this tank top the same season I came to retreat. 

I have been meaning to write before now, but I have been attacked spiritually and I could not seem to get the words out. I couldn’t even make sense of what had happened after the first day, and when I first came home from training everything was so clear.

“I’m losing it! Oh no! I’m forgetting everything God showed me! I’m falling back into my old ways!”

And then a little glimpse of something came back to me.

Put on the new self.

I riffled through my retreat journal to find the bible verse about putting on the new self. Wouldn’t you know? Day two: Ephesians 4: 20-24 (but I like to include 25)

Ephesians 4:20-25

20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

I have started to believe the lies again. I have been telling myself lies again. “If I don’t feel God with me, then he isn’t with me.” LIE! Ok, here it goes…


Day Two (Read about day one here)

Day two felt more like week two. I remember walking into breakfast and thinking “why are they serving oatmeal for lunch?” I had only been up for 4 hours and I felt like we had accomplished so much.

God already spoke to me and it was only 9am. I had already sobbed and leaked snot everywhere and it was only 9am. Oh boy, this week was going to be a long, hard, journey. But I’m jumping around. I want to tell you about what God said to me in the early morning hours of Day two.

In Ephesians 4:22 Paul says, “put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires.” I knew I must ask the Lord some questions:

God, what is my disease? What are my deceitful desires?

What should my new self look like and act like? How am I going to keep this up?

But I wasn’t quite ready to ask God those questions. I had them, but I kept them to myself. Because to ask those questions meant I wanted the answers, and to be honest, I didn’t want the answers. What if those answers meant I had to give up something I relied on, like sugar, or my obsession with fitness and dieting, what if God asked me to let go of my desire to be a mom? No, I wasn’t ready…I couldn’t ask those questions.

But God is persistent. He wanted me, all of me, and he was not going to let me off the hook.

We started our daily meditation. I’m going to encourage you to do this meditation right now. Seriously, it only has to take 15 minutes and then you can read what God showed me.

I would tell you to close your eyes, but then you wouldn’t be able to read my directions, so take a deep breath in…1…2…3 Breathe out…1…2…3 Breathe into your belly…1…2…3…4… And sigh out through your mouth….1…2…3…4. Keep breathing long and deep and read the following story (out loud if you can) and then just sit for 5 minutes reviewing the story in your mind. Then read the first set of questions and ask it of yourself and sit for another 5 minutes pondering. Then read the second set of questions and ponder for another 5 minutes and then end in prayer.

“Once upon a time in a faraway kingdom there lived a prophet. This prophet had a wonderful treasure. Word of this treasure came to the king. When the king heard of the treasure he thought he ought to see about it.

“So he made his journey to the faraway place where the prophet lived. When the king arrived, the prophet, who knew he was coming, was waiting for him. The king said, ‘I am your king’. And the prophet replied, ‘Yes, sire, I know’. The king said, ‘I understand you have a hidden treasure here.’ And the prophet said, ‘Yes, I do.’ So the king declared that he would like to see the treasure. The prophet agreed and led him around the side of the hill. There stood the prophet with his hand on the doorknob to a door leading into a room built into the hillside.

“The prophet turned to the king and said, ‘Sire, before I open the door I have a question for you: how far in would you like to go?’

“The king looked at him and replied, ‘Just far enough to say I’ve been there.’”

-Author Unknown

  1. Imagine yourself into the story. Who are you, the king or the prophet? Why?
  2. Imagine the room carved into the hillside. What does it look like? Smell like? Feel like? What type of atmosphere does it have? What is in the room? What is hidden there? How far into the room will you be going?

I was the king, but I said, “I want to see it all! I want to go in all the way and experience it all!” but when I sat and thought about it, I had literally just had this experience with God during bible study. I literally just told him, “I don’t want to ask those questions.” When I saw the situation from an outsider’s perspective I could easily say, “Oh king, don’t be such a fool! Why would you travel from far away and not want to experience the entirety of the treasure!?”

“Ok God, you got me… I’m ready; I want to experience all of you…”

“What is my disease?”

“You, my dearest, are the biggest liar you know. It’s killing you. Stop telling my precious daughter these falsehoods.”

“Who? Who have I been lying to? I hate lying to people, it makes me feel sick inside, so I think I would remember lying to someone.”

“You, you are my precious daughter, and you lie to yourself hourly, almost moment by moment.”

“Oh…I thought those words, “deceitful desires” were a little bit harsh, but I guess its reality. So what are my deceitful desires?”

“I would like to hear you answer that question yourself: what are your deceitful desires?”

“Well, I desire to be perfect, to be healed, to be skinny, to be healthy, to be fertile and full of life, to be loved, desired, wanted, coveted, and idolized. Some of those I see are deceitful, but not all of them. To be healthy, fertile, full of life, and loved isn’t deceitful.”

“Those are not bad desires, but the deceit is that you believe you aren’t those things already. I have made you Radiant, not “I will make you Radiant” but “I HAVE MADE you Radiant.” It is done. “Be fruitful and multiply” not “become fruitful and then multiply” you already are fruitful! Just be! You are already multiplying, just be! Be. Abide in me and be. Stop trying to perfect the past, stop trying to find perfection in the future, just be present with me. Be.”

“Oh…huh…..well….touché God, well done.”

“Thank you, my dear.”

“So, how do I do that?”

“Spend time with me, in my word, in silence, in stillness, and obey me.”

“I think I can do that.”

And then God gave me a vision. I was lying on my back and my small group sisters (the other 7 women in my cabin) all had their hands on my belly and they were praying.

“Seriously God? I barely know these women. I can’t ask them to pray over my womb! They are going to think I’m so weird! No, I can’t do it. I know I said I would obey, but that is just too bizarre. I know nothing about them, and they barely know anything about me. How will I ask them that? When do we even have time for that? No, God, it can’t happen, not right now anyway, it’s only Monday…maybe by Friday…”

He didn’t argue, He didn’t agree.

I wrestled with that thought for the rest of the day. But I just couldn’t get the courage to ask for prayer. Plus, God said he already healed me. He said I just have to be. So why would I even need prayer if I am already healed?

That night my small group (we call ourselves the Holy Embers and I’m going to refer to my group as that from now on) gathered in our cabin and each gave a short 5 minute testimony. During that time, one of the beautiful Embers, told us about the miracle of her two children. She was told she would never get pregnant, and then she gave birth…twice. I embarrassingly lost it. I ugly cried right there in the circle. I couldn’t stop. And God told me to ask for prayer when the testimonies were done, and I didn’t. I ignored him and made excuses.

“You know them now, they know you now, ask.”

“God, we are all so tired, it’s 9:30pm and we all just want to go to bed. There is no time. No one is going to want to lay hands on me and pray. No.”

And we all went to sleep (well some of us, some of us couldn’t sleep…but we pretended to sleep anyway).

Day One: Let the Children Come

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I couldn’t hold on. My little hand could not fully grasp the very thing that I knew I must never let go of. I was terrified. Then suddenly I wasn’t holding on anymore, but I was being held. My hand was tiny and it was surrounded by something too big, something too great, too strong. I would be crushed by the power of it, or lost in its greatness. I was terrified.

This was the dream, memory, and feeling that plagued my childhood. I’m not sure when it started or if it was a dream I would remember or a memory I would dream about. But either way it became a nightmare I would run from. I would start to feel how small I was and I would run from the feeling. I couldn’t handle the fear and anxiety it instilled in me. I couldn’t face the shame I felt at not being able to hold on. I couldn’t face the fear of being crushed and lost.


 

I stood in a sea of yogis at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and felt like a bruised apple stranded on a fruit stand full of bananas. I must have heard God incorrectly. I was not supposed to be here. Everyone here was so beautiful, so strong, so capable; meanwhile I was injured, afraid, tired, and unsure. Why did I think God was calling me to be a Holy Yogi? I was too beaten up, mushy, and broken to teach yoga and lead others to Jesus. No one wants a mealy apple, especially when there are a bazillion perfectly ripe bananas!

My childhood nightmare came back to me, over and over. As I stepped on the shuttle bus, I felt my entire body vibrate with the memory.  It had been washing over me for the past month, but it seemed to have lost its power. Ever since I started working through my past sexual abuse with my therapist, I had started to feel it again. But in the weeks leading up to retreat I decided to sit in the feeling, the nightmare, and try to figure it out. I didn’t want anything getting in the way of me and God on this retreat, and I was determined to figure it out. But a couple days before I was to leave I still hadn’t cracked the code and I got sick. I sat at home watching Peter Pan, Hook, and more versions of Peter Pan: my favorite childhood movies and I found myself sobbing in every movie. I felt like a kid again, I remembered trying to run away from the real world, sometimes wanting to be Wendy and sometimes wanting to be Peter. I didn’t want to grow up. I didn’t want to face reality, but I knew I had to. I wanted to go back to the days before…before THOSE days…but I couldn’t.

As a child I often felt like Peter Pan (in Hook) when he remembers his mother. He heard his mother talking about the future she wanted for him and he got scared and “ran away”. Well, really he rolled away in his pram. anigif_enhanced-buzz-26390-1377728776-12

His pram fell over and he laid in the rain crying. That’s where Tink found him and took him to Neverland. My parents would talk about me like I was a great kid, my dad would call me “Princess” and my mom would call me her “little helper” and say things like “what would I do without my little girlie to help me out?” and I would feel so undeserving of their affection and love. I felt like a liar, and I knew it was only a matter of time before they realized I wasn’t the perfect kid they thought I was.

But what really got me was when Peter Pan, in the movie Hook, returns home as a small boy to see if his mother remembers him, and he finds his parents snuggling a new baby. Peter believed that his parents had forgotten him.56396-8771

And I felt like that. Not by my earthly parents, I mean sometimes I felt ignored or forgotten, but that happens when you live in a big family, but I felt ignored and abandoned by God, by my heavenly father. There were so many better people out there for Him to love on. I had run away and I had been forgotten.

And the nightmare came and I sat in it, trying to figure it out.

And then I was at Lost Canyon Camp, once again sitting in this nightmare, which had become more of a confusing feeling, and wondered what the hell I was doing here. I felt like a zombie, walking into the club house, trying to look like someone alive and breathing. Could they all tell I was dead? Could they all smell my rotting corpse? Then Jill Fisk began to lead us in meditation.

Mark 10:13-15

13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

I wanted to be a child again and come to Jesus with that blind trust, but I couldn’t get to him. Why couldn’t I get to him?

Then I heard his words of blessing wash over me, “I did not forget you, ignore you, or abandon you.”

He said it, but why didn’t I believe him? I closed my eyes and thought of my childhood, I thought of my abuse and then  heard God again, “open your eyes.”

I opened my eyes and saw the words I had written on my paper, “I did not forget you, ignore you, or abandon you.”

And then he spoke, “I DO NOT ignore you, forsake you, or abandon you. Let your child self come to me. Do not stand in her way. Do not shoo her away. Come Elizabeth, come my child and find rest. My heart is open to you.”

I replied, “Jesus, Father, Spirit, I was so scared, I didn’t know what to do.”

“I know.”

“Where were you? Why didn’t you help me? Was it because I didn’t ask you to? That doesn’t seem like you. I felt abandoned and unworthy of your assistance and help. God I know you aren’t ignoring me now, but I can’t hear you. Something is in the way.”

“Yes my dear, you are in the way. Come to me dear child. Don’t just stand there crying for me. Run to me! Run!”

I ran to Him.

Into his loving arms I sobbed, “It was awful.”

“I know.”

“It hurts me even now.”

“I know, but it doesn’t have to anymore. Let me kiss the pain away. Let me dress your wounds and hug you close. Let me soothe you. And then I will sing over you! I will delight in you and nuzzle your neck with kisses and tickles like a father does a child. Will you let me? Do you want to be healed?”

“Yes.”

The childhood nightmare came back, and He said, “sit here with me, it’s ok, I’ve got you.” I sat in the feeling and clarity came:

I was a small child, a baby even, I was grasping at the finger of my father, my heavenly father and crying. I must hold on to him, I cannot lose him! But my hand is too small, my hand is too weak, I can’t hold on any longer. And God said, “sure, you were holding on to my finger, just as a baby holds onto a father’s finger, but you were not holding me. I was holding you. When you let go, I was still there, holding you. You didn’t want to let go of me, but it doesn’t matter because I NEVER let go of you.” mcenaney-newborn-hand

And then I felt his hand enclose my own. I felt the greatness and the power of his almighty hand hold my tiny weak and delicate hand within his. Once again I was scared of being crushed and lost. And God said, “It is true, I am strong and great, but do not fear me my child, I have made you precious and delicate and I will always treat you with honor and love. I will never lose you. I will never crush you. I will hold you close and protect you, always.”

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He was there the whole time. During my abuse, He was there. I just didn’t recognize it for what it was. He did not forget me, ignore me, or abandon me. Thank you, Jesus!

 

That was just Day 1. I’ll be posting more about my week at Holy Yoga training and the amazing healing God continued to bring to me!!!