I thought I’d share a testimony from a Christ Journey friend whose life was impacted by the Marvelous Light retreat on November 16-17. It just reminds me why I do what I do (by the power of Almighty God, of course).
Once upon a time I was me. It seemed like a long time ago, but praise to God, I am new today. I went to a retreat a few weeks ago hoping for a change. I say hoping because that is what I was doing, hoping. Not praying. I knew that others had come through it and they had been changed and I wanted change too. Anyway, I wanted to be made whole again so that I could see Gods miracles and blessings in my life. I knew that I was being held back because of things that I continued to hang onto in my magical backpack that no one but me and God knew was there. I would say they were gone, but they weren’t. They were just pushed deeper so I could keep on pretending. God knew though. He knew that He had blessings waiting for me and He stood there, arms crossed, toe tapping, eyes rolling saying, “C’mon, quit talking and start doing. I have a bagful of blessings piling up here…” Can you see Him? He is probably doing it to you too.
During our retreat, we heard about the things in the dark that we do and hold onto that keep us out of the light, (hence the name Marvelous Light). We heard about bondage and things of the occult, (which is more than you would have thought). We heard about legalism and idolatry. Most of all we heard about forgiveness. One of my dear friends and I have talked a lot about that in the past. She is very wise. She had given me some of her story but at the retreat, she gave all of it. When she talked about her story in full, it filled in the rest of the blanks for me and I got it. I understood all that she had said to me and more. She helped a lot of people that weekend.
At that moment I realized that the biggest thing holding me back from receiving the full blessings of God was the spirit of unforgiveness. I realized that I said I forgave but I just called it something else. I pointed fingers at other things. “Well, they made the bad decisions, they are not humble, they sure do have issues!” In reality, all those things are true, but because of my unforgiveness, I harbored anger and resentment. Those two things alone are enough to drive you insane when your mind starts thinking about it. Your stomach starts to boil, your blood starts to rush, your head feels heavy and before you know it you are taking it out on everyone around you who loves you. Then the ball starts rolling, they take it out on the people around them and around them and around them…. No wonder there are so many angry people.
But for me, NO MORE. I refuse to let Satan take my joy away anymore. I refuse to let Satan take my blessings away anymore. I know that I was changed at the retreat because I had an opportunity this weekend to let the anger retake control. I did not do it. I was faced with the one thing that would get me seething mad and I did not bite. Instead, I chose to remain calm. My stomach did not start to boil, my blood did not start to rush, my head did not feel heavy. I was completely and irrefutably unaffected. Even when I realized nothing was happening, I still was unaffected. Even when the discussion heated, I still remained calm. At that moment, I knew that my prayers at that retreat with the 2 other women in my triad were heard and delivered upon. I knew that that burden in my magical backpack was gone. I knew that God had answered my call to take them away from me. Wow, what a freedom I have received! I have been blessed beyond measure since then.
I would say that it was the same story that gave God a foothold on me as well. Before I heard it, I would have said that I had done a bang up job of forgiving those that had wronged me. Yet afterward, the list of those that were due my forgiveness could have gone on all day.
Sometimes it is the “bottled up” grudge that becomes the most damaging and flies in under the radar.
I am glad that God has shown Himself to you in this instance and my prayer is that He will continue to show Himself and mold you as you begin your ministry in Dallas.