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.
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”
“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?”
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?”
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….
*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!)