“Righteous indignation started to rise up, and I had to take a deep breath. If I gave myself permission to be angry, I would spill into a dark state of depression that would take days to climb out of. I couldn’t spend time thinking about the story of my life, or I wouldn’t want to live anymore. The string of disappointments and injustices never ended.”Set Free: How a Jiu Jitsu World Champion Found Jesus
I wrote a whole blog post about how releasing the gift of forgiveness opens the door for God to heal the wounds of the past. I included teachings I learned from leaders about forgiveness, references from the Bible to support my claims, and even some testimony about how forgiving people has brought me healing and peace.
But when I went back to reread the post, it sounded hollow and fake. I was writing about the bondage of bitterness and how unforgiveness was poisonous, and yet I could feel that I was holding back places in my heart that needed to be healed. In my first round of writing, I stuck to the surface where it was safe, because I knew that where Holy Spirit wanted to take me was going to hurt, and I was hardening my heart to avoid it.
Convicted of my hypocrisy, I said the words I always say when I find areas in my heart where the enemy is keeping me in bondage to bitterness. “I release the gift of forgiveness to __________________ in the name and authority of Jesus, and I surrender the wounds and hurts to you.”
I’d been hardening my heart to protect myself from the pain of having to go there. But there is where Holy Spirit was taking me. So as I’ve done for the last year and a half, I asked Holy Spirit for a worship song that would touch that deep wound, and listened to it until I felt the penetrating scalpel of Holy Spirit touch the scar tissue of what was done to me.
The moment it touched, the floodgates burst open and I was sobbing uncontrollably. I was screaming into the atmosphere. I was punching the wall. All the pain I had buried down deep to survive came surfacing up. It hurt as much as the day it happened, but I trusted that the pain I was feeling was a healing pain. The pain of surgery, fixing me back up. I knew that when Holy Spirit goes there, it’s ugly and messy and painful, but His work leaves no scars.
Often times we think we need to put on a front like we are okay and have it all together. But God doesn’t want us to look like we are free. He wants us to BE free.
I’d been avoiding this moment since last Thursday when I attended Freedom Ministry Level I – Closing Open Doors. It was a fiery, passionate preaching about how satan uses trauma and sin to open doors into our souls so that he can torment us.
At the end of the preaching, we all went up front for an altar call. As we were receiving prayer, the anointing felt like an electrical charge in the air. All my nerves were standing on edge.
As I was waiting for my turn to receive prayer, I felt an assault on my head and shoulders. I felt hardened like stone. It was like I was reliving all the times when people in my life were throwing verbal assaults at me; times of emotional and verbal abuse – criticisms and word curses.
The burden of the assault broke me. I felt like the assault was coming and I couldn’t stop it. Rage rose in me as I was helpless to stop the hurt. I couldn’t stop it; I could only endure.
I wanted to scream. I wanted to punch a wall. But I couldn’t do anything. I felt like the rage was tearing me apart and it was taking everything to hold it together.
I began sobbing. My fist clenched as I tried to keep the anger inside.
Then something broke and I screamed and ran to the back of the room and fell to the floor. I was grabbing my head and sobbing.
One of the pastors ran to the back where I was and started releasing the power of the cross over me to evict spirits of fear and intimidation. I felt like I was going to throw up. Then once I calmed a little, she prayed to pull out sorrow and replaced it with the joy of the Lord.
I was so overwhelmed by the work of the cross, that all I could do was sit against the back wall and receive. The work was so, so deep. I felt a fullness as the anointing was working. It was unlike any kind of worldly experience. Holy Spirit was going into places where satan had access to torment me my entire life. The torment had become part of a false identity. I believed fear was part of who I was.
But the work on Thursday wasn’t done. Even though Holy Spirit had gone in to close the doors and evict the spirits, I still had the personal work of forgiving the people who hurt me. The people who abused me. The people who criticized me. People who I should have been able to trust to take care of me and protect me where the people who hurt me most.
I had to let Holy Spirit in to those deep places once again to release the burden of bitterness I was carrying. Holy Spirit had taken back legal right for the enemy to operate in me through those open doors, but there were still wounds that needed to be healed.
The healing process is messier and more painful than the process of getting free. But unless those deep wounds are healed, we still remain in bondage, defensiveness, and bitterness.
I wanted a freedom that lasted, and so I surrendered to the painful process of letting Holy Spirit go there. Before Jesus, I had no choice but to avoid the pain, bury it down and ignore it. I didn’t have the tools to overcome. The best I could do was survive.
But now I have an advocate in heaven that died so I can be healed and set free. The only way to get truly healed from the trauma is to surrender to the healing process. It’s painful, but worth it.
I’ve had countless breakdowns alone in my house as I’ve walked through the process of restoration. It’s in the breaking down that we can be rebuilt.
Jeremiah 18:1-6 says:
“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord:“Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel.But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.”
God can take our broken pieces and rebuild us like clay in His hands. He can restore the broken things. It’s not always comfortable, but it’s always worth it.
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