I went to Houston last April unsure of what to expect. I only knew I didn't want fear of the unknowns to hold me back from a trip of a lifetime. It was a chance to meet 10 ladies I only knew from pixels on a screen.
These were women that showed me that friendship through the interweb was possible and real.
Women who encouraged me and prayed for me even though they had never met me in real life.
However, this was also the time I was going through a very dark period in my life due to my health.
I pushed through a lot of darkness (mentally and literally)to make that 4 hour road trip. Leaving at dawn, with no light outside, I weaved my way through Dallas morning traffic (if you've ever been to Dallas you know how horrible the traffic there is day and night, GAH!).
I prayed a lot for God to give me strength and enough joy so that I could come off as friendly and not a kill-joy. I really wanted this group to like me. I was stepping out of my comfort zone, as we all were.
All self-proclaimed introverts with the exception of a two or three, we needed each other and were so grateful for the ways God brought us all together in a way that only He can.
There was a lot of laughter, food (oh my the food!), talking, and praying.
But what I didn't expect was to awake the first morning there and have Gindi pull me aside and say in her quiet time that morning God placed me in her mind as she read a verse in Isaiah 61:1-3.
"The spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor."I was too full of meds to cry (I was on anti-anxiety and anti-depressants) so my emotions were zombie-like. But in my head I knew God was speaking, I just didn't know how or why. And Why that verse?
It's one He's led me to time and time again since I had started writing.
It took some time, but I think I have it figured out.
I mistakenly thought at first He sent me to that verse for me to continue to write about my past and all my yucky mistakes so that they would help someone else. You know, set them free. The other people who are trapped in a prison of guilt, condemnation, unforgiveness.
He wanted to set me free.
He started peeling back layers and revealing unforgiveness I had towards people in my past and present who have hurt me. The root of bitterness had started to grow without me realizing it.
I hadn't fully forgiven myself for being the girl that allowed a boy to mistreat her. For getting pregnant out of wedlock.
I hadn't fully forgiven others.
God showed me I was still nursing old wounds and not allowing Him to heal them. Everything I knew about forgiveness didn't apply to the people that had hurt me.
God was showing me areas in my life that was keeping me back from the freedom He wanted me to experience. He wanted this captive to be set free.
And He wants it for you too!
Anger, guilt, unforgiveness will always keep us tied to the past and never allow us to fully appreciate and live in the present.
Since then I've been working on forgiveness and trusting God more. And He's been healing my heart and putting all the broken pieces back together.
If any of this sounds familiar, ask God to help set you free, there's nothing more He'd rather do...even if you don't know what from.
Linking up with: Soli deo Gloria, #TellHisStory, Coffee For Your Heart, Thought-Provoking Thursday