Our Spiritual Fervor

Note: This is the second writing in a series of personal testimonies regarding trials and tribulations the Lord Jesus took me through in preparation for the ministry to which he has called me. The first one is called, “Slam-Dunked Again”.

**

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Rom. 12:9-13 NIV

Suppressed Memories

I had just gone through a trial with the pastor and elders of my church where they were accusing me falsely based upon judging me by their own selves. Because some of them wanted to serve God to be seen of others, to be in front of people, they assumed my motives were the same. But, they weren’t. I loved Jesus with all my heart, and I was answering his call to service to use the gifts he had given me for his glory.

So, in response to the Lord strongly urging me to fight this through, I sought out the counsel of a godly woman within the church with whom I had been friends for 13 years. And, she tried to help me identify what the problem was. So, she made several guesses, to which I responded, “No, that is not it.” And then, as if a lightbulb had shone inside her mind she said, “Hon, I know what it is.” “What?” I exclaimed. “It is a spirit of fear,” she said.

So, I asked her, “Can God deliver me from that?” She said, “Yes!” So, I asked her if she would pray with me right then for God to deliver me. She did, and as soon as she did I could feel that spirit leave my presence. Now, as a believer in Jesus, I could not be possessed or controlled by demonic forces, but I could be oppressed and influenced by them, perhaps as Paul was given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment him.

After we prayed that night, memories from my past with my father began to surface in my mind and in my own emotions. I had been taught to put the past behind me, so I thought that is what I had done. But, I hadn’t. All I had done was suppress those memories, and now they were beginning to surface, and I was remembering past abuses that I thought I had forgotten, and it was as if I was that little child all over again hovering in a corner of a room hiding out of fear of my father all over again, hugging and rocking myself. At this time, I was a mother of 4 small children, ages 1, 3, 4 & 7.

I didn’t know what to do with these memories, so I asked my friend who prayed for me. She didn’t know, either. So, she suggested I consult the pastor. “Oh, no, I can’t do that,” I exclaimed! “He hates me!” I said. So, she asked if it would be ok for her to call him and to explain to him my situation. I agreed. So, she called him.

The Man

That day or the next day I received a call from this man who had rejected me without cause, who hadn’t even tried to get to know me at all, and who had made up his mind about me based on his own personal prejudices. He said to me, “As your pastor I am to be your spiritual father, but I haven’t been a very good one. I want to be now. How can I help you?”

Even to this day, when I recall his words, my eyes swell up with tears. I was used to an abusive father. I was used to being mistreated and treated as though I was just property, a nothing. So, for this man to tell me that he wanted to be a good father to me, it melted my heart. And, I decided to trust him with my story, even knowing I could get rejected again.

So, I told him about my past life with my father, and I told him about these memories which were surfacing, and I asked him what I should do with them. His answer was that I should “give them over to God.”

I know that sounds terribly simplistic, but that is what I did. One by one, as they surfaced, I cried those memories out to God and I gave them over to the Lord, and I allowed the Lord to heal me one day and one step at a time. I had to let go of all that pain and suffering I had experienced, and I had to forgive my father over and over again with each memory.

The pastor walked with me through much of this, and he also worked with me towards allowing me to minister within the church, too, and I submitted to all that he required of me. And, through it all a good relationship began to form between us, and that is when he confessed one day that they had been wrong about me, and he apologized to me for them misjudging me. And, then they made it possible for me to be able to teach a class.

But, the Lord had other plans for me. He worked it out that my husband was given a promotion and a job transfer to North Carolina (from Ohio). And, so we packed up our house and we moved to Raleigh, NC within six months of when my friend prayed for me to be delivered from that spirit of fear.

New Leaders

Oh, and I forgot to mention this here, but when I was delivered from that spirit of fear, all of a sudden I was smiling all the time, and I had the freedom to hug people like I never had before. I had been bound up with fear and I just didn’t realize it until the Lord set me free. And, I definitely felt free, and I was experiencing much joy in the Lord. Praise Jesus!

Nonetheless, when we got to our next location and our next church fellowship, I was faced with a whole new situation. For, the Lord was still doing a work of healing in my emotions and in my mind as old memories would surface, which they did sometimes during a church service as my heart would respond to what the pastor was preaching. And, that often brought me to tears, quiet tears flowing down my cheeks.

So, this new church leadership decided I was spiritually weak and immature. The previous church leadership had said I came across too much like I had it all together for I had an invisible wall of fear as my protection from hurt. And, now that I had let down that wall, and I had removed the barriers, and I was allowing God to heal me of all these damaged emotions, I was being told I came across too much like I didn’t have it all together.

So, the first church would have been happy with me this way, and the next church would have been happy with me the way I was before.

So, what I learned through it all is that people are going to judge us falsely. They are going to have their criteria for how they think we should be that is not God’s criteria, but based on their own thinking. And, so we just have to be who God made us to be, and who his Word tells us we must be, and we have to not fret what other people think about us or think we ought to be.

But, one hypocritical thing this leadership did was to refuse me the ability to teach children because I had a child who was hyper-active. But, they didn’t make this demand of my husband, who is the head of the house. It was just me they went after. And, that is not biblical. And, when they finally did permit me to teach, it was with my husband to a group of junior high students who were unruly, disrespectful and unkind to me, and many of them were the children of the pastor and the church elders.

So, the Lord pulled me away from there. He had me meet a blind woman who was our neighbor who wanted to go to church with us, so I took care of her, instead, I think until we moved away from there, too.

What I Learned

But, through it all the Lord was teaching me that my dependency could not be in man, but that it had to be in God alone. He was teaching me, too, that humans are going to have varied opinions of who we ought to be and what our calling should be, and what that should look like. So, we cannot live to please man, but we have to live to please God, even if it means displeasing man.

Again, the Lord was preparing me for a ministry where I would have to stand strong on the Word of God and where I would have to say whatever it is he gave me to say, and so I could not fear man, but I had to fear God, instead.

Servant of the Lord

An Original Work / July 26, 2012
Based off Romans 1:1-17

Servant of the Lord;
For the gospel you’re set apart.
Promised through the prophets of old:
Jesus, Son of God.
Through Him, and for His name alone,
We receive His grace
To call people, Him to obey;
Coming from their faith.
Servant of the Lord,
For the gospel you’re set apart.
Promised through the prophets of old:
Jesus, Son of God.

You belong to Christ;
Loved by God, and called to be saints;
Serving God with whole heart and mind;
Preaching Jesus Christ;
Always praying for others’ needs;
Helping hand to lend;
Giving courage to others’ faith,
For the praise of God.
You belong to Christ;
Loved by God, and called to be saints;
Serving God with whole heart and mind;
Preaching Jesus Christ.

Servant of the Lord;
Of the gospel, I’m not ashamed;
For salvation, power of God
To those who have faith.
In the gospel find righteousness:
Being right with God.
Turn from sin, and trust Jesus Christ.
By faith, live in Him.
Servant of the Lord;
Of the gospel, I’m not ashamed;
For salvation, power of God
To those who have faith.

 

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